Philip II

Philip II, 382–336 B.C., king of Macedon (359–336 B.C.), son of Amyntas II. While a hostage in Thebes (367–364), he gained much knowledge of Greece and its people. He was appointed regent for Amyntas, young son of his brother Perdiccas III, but seized the throne for himself, ruthlessly suppressing foreign and Macedonian opposition. Reorganizing his army and training it in the effective Theban phalanx formation, he entered upon an ambitious career of expansion by conquest and diplomacy. In the first two years he moved eastward, taking over Amphipolis (357) and the gold mines of Thrace (356), in the same region where he had founded Philippi. In 351, Demosthenes, fearing Philip's encroachments, delivered in Athens the first of the denunciatory Philippics. By 348 Philip had annexed the Chalcidice (now Khalkidhikí), including Olynthus, and was involved in a war over Delphi between Phocis and its neighbors. In the settlement (346) Philip became a member of the Delphic council, with a recognized position in Greece. But Demosthenes continued to agitate, and when Philip moved to absorb the European side of the straits and the Dardanelles (340), Athens and Thebes went to war with him. Philip crushed them at Chaeronea (338). Now master of Greece, he established a federal system of Greek states. He was preparing an attack on Persia when he was killed. His wife, Olympias, was accused (probably falsely) of the murder. Philip's consolidation of his kingdom and his reduction of Greece to relative peace made possible the campaigns of his son, Alexander the Great. Philip was the true founder of Alexander's army and trained some of his best generals, e.g., Antigonus Cyclops (see Antigonus I), Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

See biography by I. Worthington (2010); studies by S. Perlman, ed. (1973) and R. A. Gabriel (2010); D. G. Hogarth, Philip and Alexander of Macedon (1897, repr. 1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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