Macedonia or Macedon; Μακεδονία, Makedonía; was an ancient kingdom on the northern periphery of Classical Greece and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. It was ruled during most of its existence initially by the founding dynasty of the Argeads, the intermittent Antipatrids and finally the Antigonids. Home to the Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south.
Prior to the fourth century BC, Macedonia was a small kingdom in northern Greece, outside the area dominated by the great city-states of Athens, Sparta and Thebes, and at one time was subordinate to Achaemenid Persia. The reign of Philip II (359–336 BC) saw the rise of Macedonia, when the kingdom rose to control the entire Greek world. With the innovative Macedonian army, Philip defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the decisive Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC and subdued them, while keeping Sparta in check. His son Alexander the Great pursued his father's effort to command the whole of Greece through the federation of Greek states, a feat he finally accomplished after destroying a revolting Thebes. Alexander then led this force in a large campaign against the Achaemenid Empire, in retaliation for the invasion of Greece in the 5th century BC.
In the ensuing wars of Alexander the Great, Alexander overthrew the Achaemenid Empire, conquering a territory that came to stretch as far as the Indus River. For a brief period his Macedonian Empire was the most powerful in the world, the definitive Hellenistic state, inaugurating the transition to this new period of Ancient Greek civilization. Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advancements in philosophy and science were spread to the ancient world. Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, a teacher to Alexander, whose teachings carried on many centuries past his death.
Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the ensuing wars of the Diadochi and the partitioning of his short-lived empire, Macedonia proper carried on as a Greek cultural and political center in the Mediterranean region along with Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, and the Attalid kingdom. Important cities like Pella, Pydna, and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory, and new cities were founded, like Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander, which is now the second-largest city of modern-day Greece. Macedonia's decline began with the rise of Rome until its ultimate subjection in 168 BC following the Macedonian Wars.