People > Alcetas II of Macedon

Alcetas II of Macedon


Alcetas II (?? - 448 BCE), known in Greek as Ἀλκέτας B' ὁ Μακεδών was a king of Macedon and member of the Argead Dynasty. He was born as the eldest son of Alexander I of Macedon and an unnamed Queen. He was the grandson of Amyntas I of Macedon and Eurydice. His brothers were Perdiccas II and Prince Philip. He would eventually ascend to the throne of Macedon after his father died in 454 BCE. However, he was known as being an alcoholic and after six years of reigning over Macedon he would be by killed by his own nephew Archelaus. Following this Alcetas' younger brother Perdiccas took over the throne.

Alcetas II of Macedon was a king of Macedon who reigned during a tumultuous period in the kingdom's early history. His reign is not as well-documented as those of some of his successors, but he is a significant figure in understanding the lineage and political dynamics of early Macedon.

Background and Lineage

  1. Dynasty:

    • Alcetas II was a member of the Argead dynasty, which claimed descent from the legendary hero Heracles. The Argeads were the ruling dynasty of Macedon, with Alcetas II being a descendant of King Amyntas I.
    • His father was Alexander I of Macedon, who had significantly expanded Macedonian territory and influence.
  2. Succession:

    • Alcetas II succeeded his father, Alexander I, to the throne. The exact dates of his reign are unclear, but it is believed to have been during the early to mid-5th century BCE.

Reign and Political Context

  1. Internal Strife:

    • Alcetas II's reign was marked by internal strife and familial conflict. Historical records suggest that his rule was contested, leading to instability within the kingdom.
    • He faced opposition from within the Argead family, particularly from his younger brother, Perdiccas II, who would eventually succeed him.
  2. Challenges to His Rule:

    • The primary source of information about Alcetas II comes from later historical accounts, including those of Herodotus and Thucydides, which indicate that his rule was short and troubled.
    • His reign ended violently, as he was assassinated by his brother Perdiccas II, who then took the throne.

Legacy and Historical Significance

  1. Instability and Dynastic Struggles:

    • The brief and turbulent reign of Alcetas II exemplifies the internal power struggles that plagued the Macedonian kingdom during its early history. These struggles often involved violent coups and assassinations.
    • The conflict between Alcetas II and Perdiccas II highlights the challenges of maintaining a stable and unified rule in the face of ambitious family members.
  2. Transition to Perdiccas II:

    • The assassination of Alcetas II by Perdiccas II led to a period of relative stability under Perdiccas's rule. Perdiccas II managed to consolidate power and deal with external threats, including conflicts with neighboring states and internal revolts.
    • The transition from Alcetas II to Perdiccas II marked an important moment in the consolidation of the Argead dynasty's control over Macedon.


Alcetas II of Macedon was a king whose reign was marked by internal conflict and dynastic strife. Although his rule was short and ended violently, his reign is an important part of the early history of Macedon. The challenges he faced and his assassination by his brother Perdiccas II illustrate the turbulent nature of Macedonian politics during this period. Understanding Alcetas II's reign provides valuable insights into the struggles for power within the Argead dynasty and the broader historical context of early Macedon.


Plato, Gorgias, 470d–471e

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