Many tribes existed throughout the Balkan region in the Neolithic to the Bronze Age where we would see defined cultures develop with the onset of the Iron Age. We hear origin stories and hints at the early Macedonians in Myth through Homer and Hesiod. We even get through Herodotus, the hint of a tribe called the Makednoi during the Bronze Age in the mountains north of Greece.
The culture of the Macedonians that emerge in the Archaic Age and into the Classical Age, would seem to be the result of many migrations that had been filtering south into Greek lands as well as other locations. These migrations would be seen to have peoples with Indo-European roots consistently moving through much of the Balkans through many generations, help spread a common root language and ideas.
It wouldn’t be until Herodotus that we start to hear about the origins of the Macedonian dynasty, the Argead, develop. Although this was some 250 years after the foundation of the kingdom of Macedon, it appears to be the official account coming from the Macedonia court. This traditional telling would see the Argeads being descendants of Heracles and coming from the city of Argos down on the Peloponnese.
The kingdom established, rule in Macedon appears to be somewhat stable with dates of the various kings being very respectable lengths. During these generations the territory of the Macedonians would expand out of the Pierian Mountains, north of Mount Olympus. By the opening of the Greek and Persian Wars and under the 7th King Alexander I, they would control lands along the coast of the Pierian Mountains, the coastal plains around the Thermaic Gulf and north across the Haliacmon River.
Regions where Macedonian expansion would take place
Modern map of the area around Lake Kastoria
Modern map of the Pierian Mountain region