The name of the region of Macedonia (Greek: Μακεδονία, Makedonia) derives from the tribal name of the ancient Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδώνες, Makedónes). According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Makednoi (Greek: Mακεδνοί) were a Dorian tribe that stayed behind during the great southward migration of the Dorian Greeks (Histories 1.56.1). The word "Makednos" is cognate with the Doric Greek word "Μάκος" Μakos (Attic form Μήκος - "mékos"), which is Greek for "length". The ancient Macedonians took this name either because they were physically tall, or because they settled in the mountains. The latter definition would translate "Macedonian" as "Highlander".
Most academics take the view that the ancient Macedonians probably spoke either a language that was a member of the North-Western Greek dialect group (related to Doric and Aeolic), or a language very closely related to Greek which would form a Graeco-Macedonian or Hellenic branch; others such as Eugene Borza reach the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence on which to base a conclusion as to whether the original language of the Macedonians was a form of Greek or not, but that the Macedonians were most likely of proto-Greek stock. The controversy over whether the Macedonians were originally Greek or not is caused mainly by contradictory ancient accounts, but also due to the peculiar features of a few Macedonians words, though most words are consistent with Greek (see Ancient Macedonian language). Some scholars view the Pella katadesmos, written in a form of Doric Greek, as the first discovered Macedonian text. The vast majority of Macedonian names on inscriptions and coinage are Greek and conform to the Doric Greek dialect morphology. In any case, even if the ancient Macedonians were originally not Hellenic or part of a Graeco-Macedonian branch, they were universally considered Hellenes after the reign of Alexander the Great.
Before the reign of Alexander I, father of Perdiccas II, the ancient Macedonians lived mostly on lands adjacent to the Haliakmon, in the far south of the modern region of Macedonia. Alexander is credited with having added to Macedon many of the lands that would become part of the core Macedonian territory: Pieria, Bottiaia, Mygdonia, and Eordaia (Thuc. 2.99). Anthemus, Crestonia, and Bisaltia also seem to have been added during his reign (Thuc. 2.99). Most of these lands were previously inhabited by Thracian tribes, and Thucydides records how the Thracians were pushed to the mountains when the Macedonians acquired their lands.
Generations after Alexander, Philip II of Macedon would add new lands to Macedon, and also reduce neighboring powers such as the Illyrians and Paeonians to semi-autonomous peoples. In Philip's time, Macedonians expanded and settled in many of the new adjoining territories, and Thrace up to the Nestus was colonized by Macedonian settlers. Strabo however testifies that the bulk of the population inhabiting in Upper Macedonia remained of Thraco-Illyrian stock. Philip's son, Alexander the Great, extended Macedonian power over key Greek city-states, and his campaigns, both local and abroad, would make the Macedonian power supreme from Greece, to Persia, Egypt, and the edge of India.
Following this period there ware repeated barbaric invasions of the Balkans by Celts.
Read more about this topic: Demographic History Of Macedonia
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