Ancient Paionia



The most frequent question of someone who visits Paionia.

Visitors of Paionia often wonder about the roots of the name of ancient Paionia.

According to mythology: Paion was one of the sons of Endymion, lover of Luna. Together with his brothers, Epios and Etolos, he competed in a road race in Olympia to claim his father’s kingdom. On the way, however, Epios won and Paionas,left his kingdom as being sad and settled in the upper valley of Axios, which was named “Paionia”. As the ancestor of the Paionians, according to mythology, Pelegonas the man who emerged from the love of king Axios with his eldest daughter of Akkessamenos, king of the neighboring Axios Pieria, Perivoia.

Paionia was also called the Goddess Athena and Paion or Peion, who was the savior of the god Apollon.

Pausanias accords the name to the eldest son of the king of Elis Endymion, Paionas, while Homer refers to the Paionians and Paionia in more detail in the Iliad, calling the Axios River wide and the most beautiful on earth.

The “magical” journey in Mythology hides beautiful surprises and before the visitor decides to get to know Paionia deeper, it is worth knowing this information that is going to make their imagination gallop wild.

Ancient Evropos
Ancient Evropos


In a special “time travel”, the visitor of Paionia, is able to see through the eyes of imagination, everything history provides:

Ancient Paionia stretched from Northern Macedonia as part of the northern department of the ancient Macedonian kingdom and as a small area of Western Bulgaria.

It is about a big area labeled by the river Axios.

But who were the ancient Paionians?

The ancient Paionians are considered as one of the largest and most powerful tribes of the central areas of the Aimos Peninsula.

References to the ancient Paionians can be found in the texts of Homer, Herodotus, Strabo and Thucydides.

According to Homer, the capital of Paionia was the city of Amydon, which, geographically, was very close to the current village of Axiochori and the Paionians of Amydon struggled in the Trojan War.

The borders of the kingdom of ancient Paionia changed over the centuries, due to the frequent wars with the neighboring populaces (Phrygians, Thracians, Illyrians, Pelasgians), but the Paionians were never displaced from the wider valley of the Axios River.

The kingdom of Vottia

In the 12th century BC. the area was inhabited by Cretans, who were named Vottians, due to the settler Votton. The Vottians founded Atalanti (current Axiopolis), Gortyna (current Gorgopi) and Idomeni. At the beginning of the archaic period, the invasions of the Phrygians from the west and the Thracians from the east limited the Paionians in the area of Doviros (Doirani).

Their kingdom received a heavy blow with the Persian invasion (512-511 BC) and the subsequent pressure of the Thracian and Macedonian tribes of the region that forced them to retreat to the area of their domination. After the Peloponnesian War, where they participated as allies of the Athenians, they formed an independent kingdom in the upper valley of the Axios river and the springs of Strymon.

Ancient Evropos
Ancient Evropos

Junction with the Macedonian kingdom.

Their independence under King Agi was maintained until the invasion of Philip (355 BC – 354 BC), which was decisive for their annexation to the ancient Macedonian kingdom. They participated in the campaign of Alexander the Great with a unit of lightly armed cavalry-scouts. They fought heroically and with their commander, Ariston, crushed a part of the Persian cavalry that tried to stop the advance of the Macedonian army from the river Tigris, a few days before the battle of Gavgameli (331 BC).

After the death of Alexander the Great, the Paionians took advantage of the civil conflicts that followed and regained their independence until their submission to Lysimachus (281 BC), one of the successors of Alexander the Great, who became king of Thrace and Macedonia until his death. Later on the region of Paionia and ancient Macedonia was conquered by Galatians (Celts). Paionia was finally annexed to the kingdom of Macedonia at the end of the second half of the 3rd century BC. until the Roman invasion.