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Philip II and the Coming of
March 5th, 2012
Sources For The Life of Philip II
Theopompos of Chios (378-320 BCE)
Demosthenes (384-322 BCE)
Isocrates (436-338 BCE)
Diodorus Siculus.
General Remarks
Greece is broken.
Sparta a non-entity.
Thebes not strong enough to realize its ambitions of hegemony.
Athens suffering from economic decline; still harboring delusions of
hegemony; political realities of the fourth century BCE make them
increasingly disposed toward to peace and cooperation.
Other Greeks states (i.e. Pherae in Thessaly, Phocis in Boeotia) attempt to
fill the power vacuum; not quite up to the task.
Macedon the rising power; Greece divided, weak, and ripe for the taking.
Macedon will subdue Greece through: 1. Military superiority. 2. Diplomatic
chicanery. 3. Sound policy when victorious.
Inclusiveness of Macedonian policy in Greece augmented Macedonian
power with every victory.
Macedonian Society
Very “Homeric” in outlook.
Highly militaristic (i.e. a warrior elite ruling over a serf population).
Monarchical government (i.e. rule by a basileus).
Crown was “quasi-hereditary” (i.e. the noble – “companions” – ratified or
rejected the heir).
Macedonian polygamy + infighting between nobles result in frequent
dynastic conflict.
Frequent dynastic conflict + incessant warfare with neighboring ethne (i.e.
Thracians, Illyrians, Dardanians etc.) keep Macedon weak and divided.
Successful basileus had to: 1. Gain and retain the approval of the
“companions.” 2. Gain and retain the loyalty of the neighboring chieftains.
3. Provide for a smooth transition of power to a clearly designated heir.
A Multi-Ethnic Hegemony
“So they assembled at Doberos and made preparations
to cross over the mountains and invade lower
Makedonia, the domain of Perdikkas. Up-country, the
Lynkestians and Elimiots and other peoples are also part
of Makedonia: they have their own kings but are
nonetheless allies and subjects of the coastal
Makedonians. This country by the sea – which we now
know as Makedonia – was first acquired by Alexandros
the father of Perdikkas and his ancestors, who were
originally descendants of Temenos from Argos…And
these Makedonians also conquered, and still hold,
certain places that belonged to other peoples…”
(Thucydides II. 99-102. Crawford & Whitehead, Doc.
The Backdrop: A Quick Review
Early 370s BCE – Jason of Pherae becomes tagus (i.e. basileus);
unites all of Thessaly under the hegemony of Pherae.
370 BCE – Jason assassinated and succeeded by his brother
(Alexander); Alexander unable to maintain the unity of Thessaly;
Assistance sought and given from Athens; rebel cities seek and
receive help from Macedon.
369 BCE – Macedonian troops descend into Thessaly and seize
control of Larissa and Crannon; remaining rebel towns of Thessaly
place themselves under Theban protection.
Three-way struggle: Pherae + Athens vs. Macedon vs. Thebes +
Thessalian rebels.
Dynastic Conflict in Macedon from 370
BCE to 359 BCE
370 BCE – Alexander II becomes basileus.
369 BCE – Ptolemy of Alorus rebels against Alexander II in attempted coup;
Supported by Eurydice (stepmother of Alexander II).
Pelopidas (Thebes) invited to adjudicate; power-sharing deal did not last.
Alexander II murdered by Ptolemy and civil war erupted.
Athenian fleet under Iphicrates operating in Thermaic Gulf; Iphicrates an adopted son
of Amyntas III (father of Alexander II).
Eurydice visits Iphicrates with her two sons from Amyntas III (Perdicas III and Philip
Iphicrates brokers a settlement; Perdicas III (still a boy) to be king with Ptolemy as
368 BCE – Pelopidas moves north to: 1. Disrupt Athenian operations in Chalcidice. 2.
Support rebel cities in Thessaly. 3. Detach Macedonians from Athens.
Thebes secures and alliance with Ptolemy; hostages sent to Thebes to ensure the
treaty; Philip II among the hostages.
365 BCE – Perdicas III grown up; murders Ptolemy; restores alliance with Athens;
Athens agrees in exchange for Amphipolis; Upon accession Perdicas immediately
takes Amphipolis back; Athenians enraged.
360 BCE – Perdicas III killed fighting Illyrians; succeeded by son Amyntas IV (still a
boy); Philip II recalled from Thebes as regent.
359 BCE – Athens opens negotiations with Philip; will support Philip II in a bid for
power if he gives them Amphipolis; Amyntas murdered; Philip II becomes basileus.
Pelopidas Brings the Young Philip II
to Thebes (368 BCE)
“Having arrived in Makedonia, settled the disputes there and
brought back the exiles, Pelopidas took as hostage the king’s
brother Philippos, together with 30 other sons of the most
distinguished men, bringing them to live in Thebes; thus he showed
the Greeks what progress the Theban state had made in the respect
paid to its power and the trust placed in its justice. This was the
Philippos who subsequently went to war to deny the Greeks their
liberty, but who at this time was a boy. In Thebes he lived with
Pammenes, and because of this was believed to have become an
enthusiastic follower of Epaminondas – perhaps because he grasped
how effectively Epaminondas conducted his wars and the role of a
strategos. Yet that was only a small part of what made
Epaminondas outstanding: it was his self-control, his justice, his
greatness of heart and his gentleness which made him a truly great
man, and these were qualities in which Philippos had no share, by
either nature or imitation.” (Plutarch, Pelopidas 26.4-5. Crawford
and Whitehead, Doc. 324).
The Reign of Philip II of Macedon:
359 BCE – 336 BCE
Securing His Position: The Reign of
Philip II from 359 BCE – 354 BCE
359 BCE - Philip immediately secures his
precarious position.
358 BCE - Coup provoked outlying ethne into
rebellion; bought off.
357 BCE – Secures himself with three dynastic
marriages (Olympias the Molossian, Phila of
Elymiotis, and Audata of Illyria).
Economic and military reforms.
Diplomacy by Marriage
“Philippos always married with war in mind. At any rate,
in the 22 years of his reign, as Satyrus says in his Life of
Philippos, he married Audata the Illyrian and had by her
a daughter, Kynna; and he also married Phila, a sister of
Derdad and Machatas. And in his desire to conciliate the
nation of the Thessalians he had children by two
Thessalian women: one of them was Nikesipolis of
Pherai, who bore him a daughter, Thessalonike; the
other was Philinna of Larisa, by whom he had Arridaios.
He also acquired the kingdom of the Molossians by his
marriage to Olympias, by whom he had Alexander (the
Great) and Kleopatra. And when he took control of
Thrake, Kothelas the king of the Thrakians came to bring
him his daughter Meda and many gifts; Philippos married
her, adding her to Olympias.” (Athenaeus XIII. 557B-D.
Crawford and Whitehead, Doc. 331).
The Mining Operations of Philip II
(359 BCE)
“After this Philippos went to the polis of Krenides, and
after increasing its size with a mass of settlers renamed
it after himself: Philippoi. Then turning to the gold mines
in its chora, which were altogether paltry and
unimportant, he contrived to increase their output to
such an extent that they were able to yield him revenues
of more than 1,000 talents. So very soon he amassed a
fortune from these mines, and thus with the abundance
money elevated the Makedonian kingdom to ever
greater and greater superiority: for with the gold coinage
which he struck – which came to be known after him, as
Philippeioi – he organised a considerable force of
mercenaries, as well as bribing many Greeks to betray
their native cities.” (Diodorus XVI. 8.6-7. Crawford and
Whitehead, Doc. 327).
Philip’s Reform of the Army
Transformed Macedonian irregulars into a permanent standing army.
Imbued ethnically diverse population with sense of Macedonian nationalism.
Constant training and drill.
Hetairoi (companions) = Formed into an elite heavy cavalry unit; ca. 600 in
Hypaspists = Crack heavy infantry unit.
Pezhetairoi (Foot Companions) = Macedonian phalanx; battalion 1500 men
Agrianians (Elite light infantry; armed with javelins; no armor or shields;
stationed on Macedonian right, often together with the companions)
total; a new aristocracy.
strong; deeper; armed with sarissa (i.e. 6 meter thrusting spear); drilled
The Macedonian Phalanx
Artwork by Johnny Shumate
Diodorus on Philip’s Military
“So because of the disastrous battle and the magnitude of the
dangers pressing in upon them the Makedonians were utterly at a
loss. Nevertheless, despite the fears and dangers which threatened
them, Philippos was not dismayed by the magnitude of the perils
that lay in store: instead, bringing the Makedonians together in a
series of assemblies and using the persuasive power of his oratory
to exhort them to courage, he filled them with heart; and once he
had satisfactorily organised the deployment of his forces for the
better and equipped his men suitably with the weapons of war, he
held constant musters of the men under arms and competitive drillmanoeuvres. He also devised the close-packed order and the
equipment of the phalanx – imitating the heroes of Troy, with their
shields held closely together; he was indeed the originator of the
Makedonian phalanx. He was also gentle in his dealings with men,
and sought by his gifts and promises to become supreme in popular
favour, as well as making skilful moves to counteract the multitude
of impending dangers.” (Diodorus XVI. 2.3.3. Crawford and
Whitehead, Doc. 325).
Philip’s Operations in the North
Policy of interference in Greek politics to his own advantage.
359 BCE – Betrayed Athens and took back Amphipolis (wanted access to
the gold mines of Krenides); Macedonian capital transferred from Aegae to
358-357 BCE – Philip preoccupied with rebellious ethne.
356 BCE – Furthering Macedonian interests in Chalcidice (i.e. Seizes Pydna
and Potidaea).
Olynthus (hegemon of the Chalcidian League) alarmed at Philip’s behavior;
urges Athens to join in a common resistance; Athens refuses.
Athenians offered Amphipolis as compensation for Potidaea; Athenians
accept and war avoided.
Philip takes back Amphipolis; Athens without any foothold in Chalcidice.
Athenians preoccupied with the Social War (357-355 BCE).
Affairs in the Eastern Aegean:
The Outbreak of the Social War (357-355 BCE)
“While these things were going on, the inhabitants of Euboia fell
into stasis among themselves, and when one side summoned the
Boiotians to its assistance and the other the Athenians, war broke
out in Euboia. Several battles and skirmishes took place, in which
sometimes the Thebans were superior and sometimes the Athenians
carried off the victory. No important pitched battle occurred, yet,
even when the island had been devastated by internecine warfare
and many men had been killed on both sides, the two sides barely
came to an agreement as a result of this lesson taught by the
disasters and made peace with each other. Now the Boiotians
returned home and remained quiet, but the Athenians suffered the
revolt of Chios, Rhodes, Kos and, moreover, Byzantion, and became
involved in the war called the War with the Allies which lasted three
years.” (Diodorus XVI. 7.2-4. Crawford & Whitehead, Doc. 339).
The Struggle for Control of the
Eastern Mediterranean
The overbearing attitude of Athens (exacerbated by the loss of Euboia and in Chalcidice) stirred
up revolt among the allies.
357 BCE - Chios, Cos, Rhodes, and Byzantium overthrow pro-Athenian democracies; encouraged
by Mausolus of Caria; Cabrias sent against Chios and is killed; Chares sent against Byzantium.
356 BCE – Athenians send out Timotheus and Iphicrates to help Chares; attempt to retake Chios
Chares accuses Timotheus and Iphicrates of treachery; Chares also accused by Iphicrates and
Timotheus; Iphicrates acquitted but Timotheus driven into exile.
355 BCE – Chares returns east with a fleet but w/o sufficient funds.
Supported Artabazus (satrap of Phrygia) in rebellion against Persian King (Artaxerxes) in
exchange for funds; Artaxerxes demands the Athenians leave Asia Minor; Athens gives up the
Persians rumored to be preparing for war vs. Athens.
Burst of patriotism in Athens; but voices of peace prevail.
354 BCE – Independence of Chios, Cos, Rhodes, and Byzantium recognized; other allies fall away
one by one.
Demosthenes Urges an
Exhausted Athens toward Peace
“I agree that the King is the common enemy of all the
Greeks, yet I would not on that account advise you to
undertake a war against him by yourselves apart from
the rest; for I observe that the Greeks themselves are by
no means common friends of each other, but that some
of them place more confidence in the King than in some
of themselves. From this state of things I conclude that
it is in your interest to be careful that your grounds for
beginning a war are fair and just, but to prepare for
everything which is necessary and settle on that.”
(Demosthenes XIV, On the Symmories 3. Crawford and
Whitehead, Doc. 340)
Phocis and the Sacred War to
352 BCE
After the death of Epaminondas and Pelopidas, Thebes gradually losing control of
Boeotian League.
Phocis attempts to assert its independence.
Thebes induces the Amphictions of Delphi to accuse the rebels of sacrilege; huge fine
imposed but not paid.
356 BCE – Phocians seize Delphi and its treasury; War with Thebes; Phocis promised
assistance from Athens and Sparta.
355 BCE – Ongoing stasis in Thessaly (i.e. Pherae trying to exert control); Phocis
involved backing Pherae; Other Thessalians seek help from Macedon.
354 BCE – Thebans defeat Phocians (b. of Neon) but to no result.
353 BCE – Philip II enters Thessaly; defeated (twice) by the Phocians and Pherae.
352 BCE – Philip II re-enters Thessaly and drives out Phocians (b. of the Crocus
Fields); Philip master of all Thessaly; preparing to march into Boeotia (to avenge
Phocian sacrilege); Phocis and Athens occupy pass at Thermopylae and Philip
withdraws; Athens and Sparta on collision course with Macedon.
Indecisive fighting in the Peloponnese.
From the Outbreak of the Sacred War to the
Peace of Philocrates 352-346 BCE
Athens forced to cultivate relations with Thrace in lieu of losses in
352 BCE – Thracians attempt to attack on Macedon; Philip II returns
from Thessaly and defeats the Thracians; extends Macedonian
control all the way to Propontis; Macedonians threatening Athenian
grain supply; Demosthenes and the First Philippic.
350-349 BCE – Olynthus leads the Chalcidian states to rebel from
Macedon; Athens asked for assistance; Thebes calls on Macedonian
support v. Phocis
348 BCE – Demosthenes convinces Athens that Philip must be
stopped; 2000 troops sent to Olynthus but arrive too late.
347-346 BCE - Chalcidice incorporated into Macedonia.
346 BCE – Philip II moves against Phocis; seizes Thermopylae;
Phocis surrenders; Philip II occupies Boeotia and is given majority
seats on the Amphyctionic Council; The Peace of Philocrates.
From the Failure of the Peace of
Philocrates to the B. of Chaeronea
343-342 BCE – Philip II forced to withdraw to deal with rebellions in
Epirus and Thrace.
341 BCE – Demosthenes takes advantage of Philip’s preoccupation;
sails to Byzantium and entices them away from Macedon.
340 BCE – Philip seizes Byzantium and Perinthus; Black Sea grain
fleet seized; Athens compelled to fight.
338 BCE – Philip II descends on Greece; coalition of Greek allies, led
by Athens, decisively defeated by Philip II at b. of Chaeronea.
Philip in complete control of Greece.
The Oath of the Council of Corinth
“Oath. I swear by Zeus, Earth, Sun, Poseidon, Athena, Ares, and all
the gods and goddesses. I will abide by the peace, and I will not
break the agreements with Philip the Macedonian, nor will I take up
arms with hostile intent against any one of those who abide by the
oaths either by land or by sea. I will seize in war by any device or
stratagem any city or fort or harbor belonging to those who share
the peace. Nor will I suppress the kingdom of Philip or of his
descendants or the constitutions in force among any of those [who
share the peace], when they swore the oaths concerning the peace.
I will not commit any act which contravenes the agreements nor will
I permit any other to do so. If any one breaks the agreements, I will
assist those who had been wronged in accordance with their
requests. I will fight against those who will break the common
peace as the common council and the leader (hegemon) decide….”
(Inscriptiones Graecae 2.236. As found in Pomeroy, Burstein,
Donlan, and Roberts 2009: 301).
The Aftermath of the B. of
Chaeronea (338 BCE)
Philip undisputed master of Greece.
Thebes treated brutally (i.e. Cadmea garrisoned, Political
leaders exiled or executed, Prisoners ransomed).
Athens treated more deferentially (No ransom for
prisoners, No garrison, No exiles or executions etc.); Cult
of Philip est; Antipater and Alexander made citizens.
All leagues and confederacies dissolved and
reconstituted under Macedonian hegemony.
Greece finally unified under Macedon and Philip’s Council
of Corinth.
The Synedrion of Corinth
Master-stroke of Greek diplomacy.
Two stated aims: 1. To unify the Greeks in peace. 2. To avenge the
crimes of the Persians!
Included all Greek states represented except Sparta.
Council met in Corinth; representatives from each member polis.
The role of the Synedrion: 1. Pass decrees binding on all member
states. 2. Arbitrate disputes between poleis. 3. Try any accused of
treason or breach of the treaty. 4. Oath of mutual non-aggression.
Council deliberated; Philip as hegemon.
Events from 338 BCE to 336 BCE
338 BCE – King of Persia (Artaxerxes III) assassinated; perfect
opportunity for Macedon (i.e. Greece needs unity, Persia in
338-336 BCE - Philip II prepares for invasion of Persia.
336 BCE - Generals Parmenio, Amyntas, and Attalus cross to Asia
Minor (Spring, 336 BCE) and secure a beachhead; Greek cities in
Asia Minor begin to revolt (i.e. Go over to Macedon).
336 BCE (Summer) – Philip II assassinated by Pausanias (member
of Philip’s bodyguard); succeeded by his son, Alexander the Great
(b. 356 BCE).
An Assessment of Philip II
Clearly motivated by personal ambition; careful
not to idealize.
Welcomed by many of the middle and smaller
Careful to respect constitutions (probably out of
political expediency).
Watershed moment; political, social, cultural
landscape of Greece irrevocably changed.