From the IV century BC the Macedonian kingdom started to be organized into a network of dynastic foundations in which the royal palace played the role of predominant “landmark”, fulfilling the different functions of residence, court’s setting and perhaps administrative, key element of the political propaganda. Although the existence of such a residence in all these royal cities is just suspected (as Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Cassandria, Ouranopolis), there is clear archaeological evidence only in the so called “capital cities” of the realm, findings that characterize within the kingdom the most important hubs of Aigai, Pella and Demetrias.
The latter was the last big city founded in the Macedonian area of influence, main Antigonid stronghold during the war with Cassander and Pyrrhus and afterwards the south-capital of the realm. Born by synecism around 293 BC on behalf of Demetrius Poliorketes itself, it claimed his international role due to a crucial strategic position, both on the sea and land route, and for the presence of a huge basileion in its center since the first planning phase. The excavations in the city area started from the ’50 and, subsequently leaded by D. Theocharis and P. Marzolff, discovered only a part of the monumental royal quartier, fully embedded into the orthogonal urban grid that clearly follows the provisions of the Hellenistic period in term of urbanistic layout.
Thus, the most important feature of this new city is the centered position of the royal residence, due to its military function, alongside the detection of a systematic modular calculation for the size of the whole basileia compared to the other city’s areas; but the level of the destruction, the big extension of the investigated sector and the scant dating remains complicate the overall interpretation of the archaeological context. Through a critical and selective review of the available studies and graphic documentations, the author attempts an overview of the detected phases of the basileion, focusing on the relation among the constituent parts of the building with the surrounding polis. Looking at this impressive architectonical complex within the development of the courtyard representative building, as better documented in the dynastic context of Aigai and Pella, the heart of the royal residence (the so-called anaktoron) shows a rare mingling of different typologies. This architectural apax combines the inner-courtyard palace (aulè) and an eastern stronghold model (tetrapyrgos) in a castle-like monumental building, which will be discussed as an original and syncretic typology that suits the need of luxury dwelling and military defense, moreover corresponding with a representation of royal wealth and political control within a period of experiment and new definition on the relation between architecture and power.