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The Argeades and the emblem of the Radial Sun


The Argeades were the dynasty that controlled Macedonia from the 8th century B.C. up to 306 B.C. Aeropo’s, the Gavanis and the Perdikkas were three brothers, descendants of Heraklid Timenos. Herodotus reports that the were in the service of a king in Upper Macedonia at the city Levaia. When the king learned from his queen that when she baked the bread , the portion of  the small brother, Perdikkas,  became double, he considered it a marvel and ordered the brothers to leave his kingdom. The brothers asked for their wages. That moment the Sun entered from the chimney and the king said: «You can take the sun, this I give you as your wages». The two brothers Gavanes and Aeropos remained speechless but the younger brother, Perdikkas said «we accept oh king!», and with his knife he made circle three times as if  cutting the sun, which he put to his knapsack, accepting  the «payment» and left with his companions.

When the king saw what the youngster did, ordered his guards to chase them but a sudden storm brought a lot of water in a river and prevented the persuers from arresting the three brothers. Perdikkas, beginning from Vermio mountain, subjugated all Macedonia and became the first Dorean king of Macedonia. The title Argeades emanates from Argos, place of origin of the Timenidae Doric clan. This point is interesting if we compare it with the relation of Herakles and Eurystheas another unjust ruler, but also more generally with the conviction of the Doreans, including Macedonians, that their origins were from Herakles. (Timenos was the son of Herakles). In the grave of Vergina there was also found a golden plaque with Herakles club on it. The plaque was a decorative element of the royal armor attributed to king Philip.

As soon as Perdikkas put the sun in his knapsack (700 B.C.), he took it as his legal inheritance and from now on his permanent personal property, in order to pass it to his royal descendants. So it was very natural for them to maintain it in the Macedonian myths and make it official emblem of their dynasty. Therefore the star of  Vergina or the Sun of Vergina is more equitably considered by a lot of researchers as the symbol of the Argeades dynasty. Despite objections that continue to exist inside the academic community, there are always more clues and proofs that tend to confirm that the Sun of Vergina was royal emblem. The theory that the the sixteenth ray sun of Vergina is… » the supposed emblem of theMacedonians», is not reconciled with the following:

a) A lot of Dorian Royal Houses consider “Solar Deities” as their patrons. Also the griffins that are related with Apollo are represented intensely in the Macedonian royal graves decoration.

b) In the grave of Philip II, the king’s larnax had the sixteenth ray sun on it while that of Olympias  the twelveth ray sun – showing thus the royal hierarchy. Also existed a lot of golden disks with suns of eight rays, as well as three shields that had embossed representations of lions and the sun of Vergina. Former minister Nicolaos Martes, well known for his books and his researches with regard to the Greek character of Macedonia, connects the sun of Vergina with the report of Herodotus about Perdikkas.

c) Herodotus report along with the above ranking of rays (16 rays on larnax of the king, 12 on the larnax og the queen and eight in djsks) reveals that because the sixteenth ray sun adorns the burial of king, this and only this makes it symbol of ancient Macedonians.

d) A variant of solar emblem however is also related with the royal house of Attica, the Medontidae. But except Attica Medontidae existed and in Central Greece with enough turbulend history involving royal injustice and clan revenge according to Pausanias and  Hellanikos. So the symbol travelled north and south with them.


Herdotus book VIII 137 Loeb Classic Library published 1920

Pausanias » Description of Greece» 2.16.7 and 3.1.6 Loeb Classic Library published 1920

Stabo Geography 8.5.39 9.3.93 Loeb   Classic Library published 1920

3 Σχόλια
  1. The information on this post is handy.

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