Macedon is a historical region and former kingdom on the borders of northern Greece, from which Alexander the Great originated, and which provided the initial base for his conquests of Persia, Egypt and the northwestern borderlands of India.
Prior to Philip's conquests in the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered the southern half of the modern region of Macedonia (corresponding approximately the modern-day region of Macedonia in Greece). Under king Philip II it incorporated the present-day Greek administrative region of Macedonia and the Monastir (now Bitola) and Gevgelija districts of what is now the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Out of the mythical kingdom of Midas a historical Macedonian state emerged around the first half of the 7th century BC: after a brief period of Persian overlordship the country regained its independence under king Alexander I (495-450 BC).
The area's ancient inhabitants spoke a language closely related to the Greek of the states to the south, and from the 5th century BC Macedon was closely associated with Greek cultural and political development. Less Hellenic were the archaic palace-culture, first at Aigi (modern Vergina) then at Pella, which retained aspects more like Mycenaean culture than classic Hellenic city-states, and other archaic customs, like Philip's multiple wives in addition to his Epirote queen Olympias, mother of Alexander.
In Philip's time there remained strong contrasts between the cattle-rich Hellenized coastal plain of Macedon and the fierce isolated tribal mountain clans, allied to the king by marriage ties. They controlled the passes through which barbarian invasions came from Illyria to the north and northwest.
Under king Philip II (359-336 BC) and his son Alexander the Great (336-323 BC), Macedon extended its power in the 4th century BC over not only Greece but also the Persian empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as the fringes of India.
Alexander's adoption of the styles of government of the conquered territories was counterbalanced by the spread of Greek culture and learning through his vast empire: although the empire fell apart shortly after his death, his conquests left a lasting legacy, not least in the new cities founded across Persia's western territories.
In 215 BC Macedon became involved in the first of three wars with the rising power of Rome: defeat in the second (197 BC) and third (168 BC) led to the deposition of the Macedonian dynasty and the establishment of Roman client republics. Macedonian independence came to an end with the country's annexation as a province of Rome (146 BC). Under Roman rule the province of Macedonia, its culture became largely Latinized. When the Emperor Constantine made Byzantium the imperial residence in 330 CE, the inhabitants called themselves Romans and spoke Latin.
During the great migrations the country was temporarily devastated by Goths and Avars, but the waves of Slavonic immigration (3rd - 7th centuries) resulted in permanent Slav settlement. In the 9th and 10th cenuries the Byzantines contested for Macedonia with the Bulgars, whose chief Krum (802-8I0) controlled central Macedonia, and were pushed back to the coastal region under the brief empire of Simeon I of Bulgaria (893—927). Byzantine rule revived in western Macedonia under Emperor Basil II; from 1014 Greek domination was established for a century and a half.
After the taking of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade (1204), Latins and Bulgars fought over Macedonia, until it was absorbed in the empire of Nicaea in 1234.