Macedonia, Or Macedon (the latter name being used, exclusively by English writers, to designate the state or empire, the former designating the land or province), an ancient country of S. E. Europe, N. of Greece, the principal parts of which now form the Turkish vilayet of Selanik (Salonica), the population consisting of Turks, Wallachs, Albanians, Greeks, and Jews. Parts of this country are renowned in modern times for fertility, producing among others abundant and excellent crops of wheat, cotton, tobacco, wine, oil, and fruits. Its most ancient name among the Greeks seems to have been Emathia, and subsequently Macetia or Maxetia, the people being called Macetae. The name Macedonians is first applied to them by Herodotus. They were probably of Illyrian race, and seem originally to have lived in the S. W. part of the country, in the vicinity of Mt. Pindus, whence they spread northeastward, mingling with Thracian as well as Grecian settlers. The reigning house of Macedon is believed to have belonged to the descendants of the latter, or to a Hellenized tribe, and their influence gradually extended the use of the Greek language; but the people were never regarded as genuine Hellenes by their neighbors of the Grecian peninsula and the islands.
The boundaries of Macedonia varied in the different periods of its history. In the time of Herodotus, or at least according to him, it consisted only of the district extending from the confines of Thessaly to the river Lydias. In a subsequent period it extended E. as far as the Strymon (now Struma), which separated it from Thrace, being bounded N. by Pteonia, W. by Illyria, and S. by Olympus and the Cambunian mountains, which separated it from Thessaly. This may be called Macedonia proper. Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, extended the limits of his kingdom by the conquest of Paeonia on the north, of the Thracian district between the Strymon and the Nestus (Kara-su) on the east (afterward Macedonia Adjecta), of the peninsula of Chalcidice on the southeast, and of an adjoining district of Illyria on the west. Thus his kingdom was bounded N. by the Scardus, Scomius, and Orbelus ranges, separating it from Moesia and Dardania, E. by the Rhodope range and Nestus river, separating it from Thrace, S. E. by the AEgean sea (archipelago), S. by the Olympus and the Cambunian mountains, and W. by the northern prolongation of the Pindus and the river Drilo (Drin). It comprised the districts of Paeonia, Pelagonia, Lyncestis, Orestis, Pieria, Emathia, Chalcidice, Bisaltia, and others.
Besides the encircling mountain ranges, there were some less important chains in the interior, divided by fertile valleys. Of the rivers, which mostly flow in a S. E. or E. direction into the .AEgean, the most important were the Nestus, the Strymon, whieh flows into the gulf of its name, and the Axius (Vardar), which receives the waters of the Lydias, and like the Haliacmon (Vistritza) flows into the Thermaic gulf (gulf of Salonica). The southern part of Chalcidice, washed by the Thermaic, Toronaic, Singitic, and Strymo-nic gulfs, was divided into the three minor peninsulas of Pallene, Sithonia, and Acte, the last of which terminated in Mt. Athos, and a canal was said to have been cut through it by Xerxes on his invasion of Greece. Among the cities were: AEgee, or Edessa, the residence of the early kings; Pella, that of Philip and his son Alexander; Thessalonica (Salonica, now the largest town), that of Cassander, at the head of the Thermaic gulf; Olynthus, formerly one of the most powerful cities of Thrace, besieged, taken, and destroyed by Philip; Potidaea, a colony of Corinth, conquered by Athens, and subsequently by Philip; Chalcis, a colony of the town of the same name in Euboea; Amphipolis, a colony of Athens, near the mouth of the Strymon; Philippi, founded by Philip, and renowned for the battle of its name (42 B. C), which terminated with the victory of the triumvirs and the death of Brutus and Cassius; Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle; Pydna, where Perseus was defeated by the Romans under AEmilius Paulus (1G8 B. C.); Dium, Pelagonia, Bercea, Methone, Stobi, and Acanthus. Under the Romans the province of Macedonia included large portions of the neighboring western and southern countries, extending from the AEgean to the Adriatic, and being bounded S. by the province of Achaia, which included the largest part of Greece. - Macedon, having been founded by Perdiccas L, first appeared in history under Amyntas, a contemporary of Darius, the first Persian invader of Greece (about 500 B. C), was made powerful and the virtual mistress of Greece by Philip (359-'36), son of Amyntas II., and the greatest empire of the period by the conquests of his son Alexander (336-'23), decayed under the successors of the latter, was broken by the two victories of the Romans at Cynoscephalae (197) and Pydna (168), and made a Roman province after various insurrections and the final defeat of the Achaeans in 146. Its history is closely connected with that of Greece, and we refer our readers to the history of that country, as well as to the lives of the most important Macedonian monarchs. - The Geographie ancienne de la Macedoine, by M. Desdevises du Dezert (Paris, 1863), which also treats the history of the country, is probably the most accurate and exhaustive work that has yet appeared on ancient Macedonia.