Amyntas III of Macedon

Amyntas III (Greek: Αμύντας Γ΄ της Μακεδονίας) (420 – 370 BC) was king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 393 BC and again from 392 to 370 BC. He was the son of Arrhidaeus and grandson of Amyntas, one of the sons of Alexander I.[1] His most famous son is Philip II, father of Alexander the Great.

Amyntas III of Macedon
Coin of Amyntas III-161113.jpg
silver stater of Amyntas III
King of Macedonia
SuccessorArgaeus II
King of Macedon
PredecessorArgaeus II
SuccessorAlexander II
Died370 BC
SpouseEurydice I
IssueAlexander II
Perdiccas III
Philip II
Eurynoe (wife of Ptolemy)
FatherArrhidaeus, son of Amyntas


He came to the throne after the ten years of confusion which followed the death of Archelaus I. But he had many enemies at home; in 393 he was driven out by the Illyrians, but in the following year, with the aid of the Thessalians, he recovered his kingdom.[2] Medius, head of the house of the Aleuadae of Larissa, is believed to have provided aid to Amyntas in recovering his throne. The mutual relationship between the Argeadae and the Aleuadae dates to the time of Archelaus.

To shore up his country against the threat of the Illyrians, Amyntas established an alliance with the Chalcidian League led by Olynthus. In exchange for this support, Amyntas granted them rights to Macedonian timber, which was sent back to Athens to help fortify their fleet.[3] With money flowing into Olynthus from these exports, their power grew. In response, Amyntas sought additional allies. He established connections with Kotys, chief of the Odrysians. Kotys had already married his daughter to the Athenian general Iphicrates. Prevented from marrying into Kotys' family, Amyntas soon adopted Iphicrates as his son.

After the King's Peace of 387 BC, Sparta was anxious to re-establish its presence in northern Greece. In 385 BC, Bardylis and his Illyrians attacked Epirus instigated and aided by Dionysius I of Syracuse,[4] in an attempt to restore the Molossian king Alcetas I of Epirus to the throne. When Amyntas sought Spartan aid against the growing threat of Olynthus, the Spartans eagerly responded. That Olynthus was backed by Athens and Thebes, rivals to Sparta for the control of Greece, provided them with an additional incentive to break up this growing power in the north. Amyntas thus concluded a treaty with the Spartans, who assisted him in a war against Olynthus. First Spartan-Macedonian forces suffered two defeats but in 379 they managed to destroy Olynthus.[3] He also entered into a league with Jason of Pherae, and assiduously cultivated the friendship of Athens.[2] In 371 BC at a Panhellenic congress of the Lacedaemonian allies, he voted in support of the Athenians' claim and joined other Greeks in voting to help Athens to recover possession of Amphipolis.[5][6]

With Olynthus defeated, Amyntas was now able to conclude a treaty with Athens and keep the timber revenues for himself. Amyntas shipped the timber to the house of the Athenian Timotheus, in Piraeus.


Amyntas married first Eurydice, daughter of Sirras of Lynkestis, in 390 BC.[7] By her, Amyntas had three sons, all of whom became kings of Macedonia one after the other, and a daughter:

  • Alexander II (384–367 BC), succeeded his father.
  • Perdiccas III (383–360 BC), succeeded his brother.
  • Philip II (382 – 21 October 336 BC), father of Alexander the Great, deposed his nephew Amyntas IV.
  • Eurynoe: According to Roman historian Justin, Eurynoe prevented Amyntas' assassination by her mother and her husband (thought to be Ptolemy of Aloros), who was also her mother's lover, by revealing the plan to her father. She is not referred again by any other source.[7] Amyntas divorced her in 379 BC.

Justin also mentions that Amyntas had three sons by his second wife, Gygaea. She was the daughter of Archelaus I and thus Amyntas's second cousin. To make peace with Argaeus II, Amyntas's second cousin-once-removed, Amyntas chose to marry Gygaea because she was the aunt of Argaeus but to do so he had to divorce Eurydice. Eurydice and her children considered the divorce to be against the permission of the gods because they considered the reason illegitimate. As a result, they considered Amyntas to have committed adultery. Justin also mentions that Amyntas had three sons by another wife, Gygaea (probably an Argead): Archelaus, Arrhidaeus and Menelaus. The fact that they did not try to take the throne before the 350s suggests that they were younger than Amyntas' children by Eurydice. They were ultimately eliminated by their half-brother Philip II because they had a claim to the throne.[7]

Amyntas died aged 50, leaving his throne to his eldest son, Alexander II.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roisman, Joseph (2010), "Classical Macedonia to Perdiccas III", in Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (eds.), A Companion to Ancient Macedonia, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 145–165, ISBN 978-1-4051-7936-2
  2. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Amyntas II". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 900–901.
  3. ^ a b Champion, Jeff. Antigonus the One-Eyed. Barnsley. pp. Chapter I. ISBN 978-1-4738-4036-2. OCLC 894227661.
  4. ^ A History of Greece to 322 B.C. by N. G. L. Hammond. ISBN 0-19-873095-0, 1986, page 479, "Molossi, Alcetas, who was a refugee at his court, Dionysius sent a supply of arms and 2,000 troops to the Illyrians, who burst into Epirus and slaughtered 15,000 Molossians. Sparta intervened as soon as they had learned of the events and expelled the Illyrians, but Alcetas had regained his..."
  5. ^ Aeschines - On the Embassy 2.32
  6. ^ A history of Greece by George Grote
  7. ^ a b c Carney, Elizabeth (2000). Women and Monarchy in Macedonia. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3212-4.

General referencesEdit

  • Duane A. March (Third quarter 1995), "The Kings of Makedon: 399–369 BC", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte (Franz Steiner Verlag) vol. 44, No. 3, pp. 257–282. JSTOR 4436380.

External linksEdit

Amyntas III of Macedon
Born: Unknown Died: 370 BC
Preceded by King of Macedon
393 BC
Succeeded by
Preceded by King of Macedon
392–370 BC
Succeeded by