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ἕβδομος. Alexander himself is included (cf. ch. 139). It is usual in ordinals to count in both the beginning and the end, but the method seems strange when it causes a man to be counted among his own ancestors (cf. i. 91. 1) or descendants (i. 13. 2). Thucydides agrees as to the number of the Macedonian kings and in tracing their descent from Temenus of Argos (ii. 99 f.; v. 80); but in the fourth century another account was current, probably derived from Theopompus (fr. 30, F. H. G. i. 283; cf. Diod. vii. fr. 17; Euphorion fr. 24, inf.; Vell. Paterc. i. 6. 5; Justin vii. 1, &c.). By this Caranus (‘head leader’), son or brother of the Argive king Pheidon (cf. vi. 127. 3 n.), is made the founder of the Macedonian dynasty, and is succeeded by Κοῖνος and Τυρίμμας (Satyr. fr. 21, F. H. G. iii. 164), who precede the first Perdiccas. The object of this lengthening of the line was to make the Macedonian dynasty at least as old as the Median (cf. vi. 127. 3 n.).

ἐξ Ἄργεος. Argos in the Peloponnese appears as the ancestral home of the family in all versions of the legend (Isocr. Phil. 32). But the Argos with which the Argeadae (cf. Appian, Syr. 63 Ἄργος τὸ ἐν Ὀρεστείᾳ ὅθεν οἱ Ἀργεάδαι Μακεδόνες, Strabo 329, fr. 11 τούτων δὲ πάντων οἱ Ἀργεάδαι καλούμενοι κύριοι) were really connected is Argos Oresticum (Strabo 326; Steph. Byz.), near the source of the Haliacmon. They first held the fruitful valleys there (valley of Kastoria), and the hill country as far as the source of the Erigon; this is the Upper Macedonia (cf. vii. 128. 1 n.) where the three brothers served (inf.), and to which Caranus went by order of an oracle (Euphorion, fr. 24 ἐκπρολιπὼν Ἄργος τε καὶ Ἑλλάδα καλλιγύναικα χώρει πρὸς πηγὰς Ἁλιάκμονος). The Argeadae (cf. Paus. vii. 8. 9) later made Aegae their capital, and established an hegemony over the kindred tribes (cf. Thuc. ii. 99) in Upper Macedon, the Lyncestae, Orestae, Elimiotae, as well as over the coastlands as far as the Axius.

The likeness of name (Argos and Argeadae) led the Macedonian kings, at least from the time of Alexander I (cf. v. 22. 2 n.; ix. 45. 2), to claim descent from the Heracleid kings of Peloponnesian Argos, just as the princes of the Lyncestae did from the Corinthian Bacchiads, those of the Molossi from Achilles (Strabo 327), and the Illyrian Enchelees (cf. v. 61. 2 n.) from Cadmus. Yet their names are not even Greek, and their origin is at least doubtful (cf. v. 22. 2 n.). In the legend the name Argos is misinterpreted, and Temenus is falsely inserted. Probably ἐς Ἰλλυριούς is put in because these Argives are believed to have come to Macedon by land from the West. Otherwise the story is a folk-tale, current among the Argeadae, about their earlier homes and the claim of their princes to their possession.

Γαυάνης: probably = βουκόλος, since in Sanskrit gô = βοῦς. If so, Ἀέροπος may refer to horses (cf. Φίλιππος) and Perdiccas to goats. The three brothers represent three tribes (Hesych. Ἀέροπος, ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ γένος τι), as in the Scythic legend (iv. 5 n.). Another point of resemblance is the superiority of the youngest brother.

ὑπερβαλόντες. The Scardus range, stretching south from the source of the Axius (Vardar), is crossed by two passes (Tozer, Highlands of Turkey, i. 350), one at Kalkandele, the other leading by Lake Lychnitis (Okhrida) eastwards to Aegae (Vodena), later the Via Egnatia (op. cit. i. 149). This route would take the brothers to the Lyncestis; Lebaea is otherwise unknown.

τὰ λεπτὰ τῶν προβάτων: sheep and goats (i. 133. 1).

For this primitive simplicity cf. Od. vi. 57 f. (Nausicaa washing clothes) and Il. vi. 424.

The double portion was an omen of future kingship; cf. vi. 57. 1; vii. 103. 1.

κατά indicates the direction and path of the rays that poured in.

ἐσέχων: cf. i. 193. 2; ii. 11. 1, 158. 2.

Perdiccas symbolically claims possession of the hearth (ἑστία) of the house and thus of the whole estate of its master, and then calls the sun to witness his claim to house and land. The primitive Germans seem to have looked on the sun as the original source of all rights to land; so Grimm says of a symbolic taking possession of a new fief: ‘The new holder early in the morning rode out fully armed and with his naked sword (cf. μάχαιρα) made three strokes crossways in the air as soon as he saw the sun rise’; cf. also iii. 86.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 6.57
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 7.8.9
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.99
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.424
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