Philip II of Macedon

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Philip II of Macedon (382 BC336 BC; Greek: Φίλιππος) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his death. He was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Philip III of Macedon.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Queen Eurydice. In his youth (ca. 368 BC365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, the leading city of Greece at that time. During his captivity in Thebes, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 355 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.

Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians.

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. Philip defeated an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated by a lover named Pausanias.

Theory on Philip's assassination

According to Aristotle (Politics) and Diodorus Siculus (Diodorus), Pausanias was a young man who was having a sexual relationship with Philip. However, Pausanias's place had been taken by another younger man of the same name that Philip loved more. The elder Pausanias denounced his younger rival as a whore. Unable to endure the insults from the elder Pausanias, the younger Pausanias had a conversation with Attalus and later committed suicide. Attalus then became enraged at the older Pausanias for provoking the suicide of his younger competitor and invited Pausanias to a feast where Attalus made him drunk and had him raped. After the rape Pausanias demanded vengeance from Philip. Philip rebuked Pausanias because Attalus was one of his top generals and the uncle of his latest wife. Pausanias is said to have bided his time until Philip's daughter's wedding. When Philip was walking un-guarded, Pausanias stabbed him to death out of revenge.

Archaelogical findings

On November 8, 1977, Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos announced that he had found the unopened tomb of Philip II at Vergina in Pieria prefecture. The finds from this tomb were later included in the traveling exhibit The Search for Alexander displayed at four cities in the United States from 1980 to 1982. While the discovery is of great archaeological importance, the identification of the tomb with Philip has been disputed.

External links

Preceded by:
Amyntas IV
King of Macedon
359 (or 356) BC–336 BC
Succeeded by:
Alexander III