Episode 28 (King Philip V)


Philip V took the throne of the ancient state of Macedonia in the year 221 BC, aged just 17.  Even in the first year of his reign he managed to defeat the Dardanians and other tribes that invaded Macedonia from the north. Later, with some of his activities (attacking Illyria, making a deal with the great Roman enemy Hannibal), he irritated the Romans (who at the time were a growing military force) and provoked them to turn against Macedonia. The Romans too found allies in the Balkan Peninsula against the activities of Philip V. So, two Macedonian-Roman wars occurred in which Philip V was defeated and forced to a few concessions (which we already wrote about). Philip V died in the year 179 BC and was replaced with his oldest son Perseus, who led and lost the Third Macedonian-Roman war and was the last legitimate ancient Macedonian king. We will not talk about details of the life and work of Philip V (which many ancient authors have covered), but we will mention just a few segments from the aspect of the subject we are covering.

In the chapter of Polybius, we presented a statement which was given by Philip V himself. After the defeat he suffered from the Romans, during the negotiations it was demanded for the Macedonians to leave the occupiedGreek territories. To these demands, Philip V responded:

          “And what is that Greece from which you order me to withdraw, and how do you define Greece?  For most of the Aetolians themselves are not Greeks. No! The countries of the Agrae, the Apodotae, and the Amphilochians are not Greece. Do you give me permission to remain in those countries?”(SOURCE: Polybius, “Histories”, XVIII, I, 4).

We made an analysisof this statement from the last legitimate ancient-Macedonian king in the chapter on Polybius, so here we will just give a reminder that Philip V clearly treated the Macedonians as a separate nation to the Greeks.


Johannes Malalas was born around the year 491 in Antiochia. He is the author of the work “Chronographia” which contained 18 books, but only fragments are preserved. He passed away in 578.

In the Eighth book, Johannes Malalas gives a description of the history of the world, starting with the genesis and ending with his time (VI c.). He devoted a significant part to Macedonia and the Macedonians (above all to Alexander the Great of Macedon). About the activities of this Macedonian king, Johannes Malalas writes:

“He freed the cities and countries and all the lands of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians from the subjection and slavery which they had suffered under the Assyrians, Persians, Parthians and Medes, and he restored to the Romans everything which they had lost. From Adam until the victory of Alexander the Macedonian, there were 5557 years.”(SOURCE: Johanes Malalas, “Chronographia”, Book VIII).

From the aspect of the subject we are covering, it is clear that in here also the Macedonians are separated from the Greeks (which are mentioned together with other nations that were freed from “Alexander the Macedonian“).

Further on in the same (eighth) book, related to Alexander the Great, Malalas writes:

“Alexander… reigned for 17 years, during which time he subdued all countries, and his war lasted for 9 years. He subdued 22 barbarian nations, and 13 Greek nations; and he and his associates founded many cities. From Adam until the death of Alexander the Macedonian, there are 5,593 years, as Theophilus the chronicler has recorded”.

We can see that here as well Malalas mentions the Greeks as a different nation. Of course, the “13 Greek nations” are actually Greek citizens of different cities on today’s Greek territories, including Asia Minor as well.

Malalas describes Alexander’s heirs that remained to rule the territories of the fallen Macedonian empire. About Ptolemy, he writes:

“Ptolemaeus ruled the Egyptians with the authority of the Macedonians for 42 years. The second king was Ptolemaeus, his son… The thirteen Macedonian monarchs of the Ptolemaic dynasty, from Ptolemaeus son of Lagus until Cleopatra daughter of Dionysus, ruled over the whole country of Egypt for a total of 300 years…” (SOURCE: “Chronographia, Book VIII).

Malalas among other things, wrote about theSeleucids that:

“Seleucus set up a stone image of the eagle in front of the city. He ordered that the months in Syria should be named after the Macedonian fashion, because he found that giants had once lived in the country… Seleucus himself came from Pella, a city in Macedonia.” (SOURCE: “Chronographia, Book VIII).

Let us conclude that we can see a clear distinction between the Greek and the Macedonian nation in the Johannes Malalas’s work too.