According to Herodotus, the history of Macedonia began with the Makednoi tribe, among the first to use the name, migrating to the region from Histiaeotis in the south. There they lived near Thracian tribes such as the Bryges who would later leave Macedonia for Asia Minor and become known as Phrygians. Macedonia was named after the Makednoi. Accounts of other toponyms such as Emathia are attested to have been in use before that. Herodotus claims that a branch of the Macedonians invaded Southern Greece towards the end of the second millennium B.C. Upon reaching the Peloponnese the invaders were renamed Dorians, triggering the accounts of the Dorian invasion. For centuries the Macedonian tribes were organized in independent kingdoms, in what is now Central Macedonia, and their role in internal Hellenic politics was minimal, even before the rise of Athens.
The Slavic, Avar, Bulgarian and Magyar invasions in the 6–7th centuries devastated both provinces with only parts of Macedonia Prima in the coastal areas and nearer Thrace remaining in Byzantine hands, while most of the hinterland was disputed between the Byzantium and Bulgaria. The Macedonian regions under Byzantine control passed under the tourma of Macedonia to the province of Thrace. View of the interior of the Roman-era Rotunda in Thessaloniki with remnants of the mosaics. A new system of administration came into place in 789–802 AD, following the Byzantine empire’s recovery from these invasions. The new system was based on administrative divisions called Themata. The region of Macedonia Prima (the territory of modern Greek administrative district of Macedonia) was divided between the Thema of Thessalonica and the Thema of Strymon, so that only the region of the area from Nestos eastwards continued to carry the name Macedonia, referred to as the Thema of Macedonia or the Thema of “Macedonia in Thrace”. The Thema of Macedonia in Thrace had its capital in Adrianople.
The name Macedonia derives from the Greek (Makedonía), a kingdom (later, region) named after the ancient Macedonians. Their name, (Makedónes), is cognate to the Ancient Greek adjective (makednós), meaning “tall, slim”. It was traditionally derived from the Indo-European root mak-, meaning ‘long’ or ‘slender’. Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes supports the idea that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology.
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