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Philip Ii Of Macedon Historical Debates Concerning The Life Of King Philip Of Macedon

2144 words - 9 pages

Born in 382 BC, Philip II was one of the most significant figures in Macedonian history. While he is most commonly recognized as the father of the renowned Alexander the Great, Philip also deserves recognition as the man responsible for the unification of a divided Macedon and creator of the most innovative and effective military structure the ancient world had ever seen.The son of Amyntas III, Philip was taken hostage in Thebes at the age of fifteen, and over the next three years learnt much from the Thebans in regard to military structure and warfare, information which served him well over the length of his career. Upon the death of his brother Perdiccas III, Philip claimed the throne of Macedon and through a mixture of bribery and battle skill eliminated other pretenders to the throne who had gained Athenian and Thracian support. He went on to conduct a wildly successful series of military campaigns to reclaim and then expand the kingdom of Macedon which set the scene for the later conquests of his son Alexander.An aspect of Philip's life that divided ancient historians and continues to divide modern historians is the question of his true personality, put simply, what Philip was really like as a person. It is undeniable that he made a significant contribution to the country as he reformed the military, brought greater civilisation to the citizens of Macedon and repelled the advances of the surrounding countries who wished to claim Macedon as their own land. One of Philip's greatest achievements was bringing together the divided tribes of Macedon into one unified nation. He ensured his nation prospered by encouraging the development of agricultural practices and creating the opportunity for trade, in addition to the introduction of a more masterful fleet then what Macedon had previously known and the growth of the nation leading to strong economic growth and thus economic stability.However, the answer to the question of Philip's personality isn't discovered by listing his accomplishments. It is through the evidence provided by historical sources that the most accurate assessments are made, although many of the sources, both the contemporaries of Philip and those who came after, are likely to display bias. A prime example of this comes in the form of the speeches of Demosthenes, a famed Athenian orator known for his anti-Philip sentiment. In his Philippics, a series of speeches intended to stir the Athenians up against Philip, he describes the Macedonian king as '...a liar and deceiver', as well as '... an unscrupulous and clever opportunist...'In contrast, Plutarch's Moralia describes Philip as someone who '...was not only great among kings, but owing to his fortune and his conduct, proved himself still greater and more moderate'. This was based on the records of Theophrastus, who was a companion and pupil of Aristotle and accompanied him whilst he tutored Alexander. Alexander himself had a tumultuous relationship with his father and so his...

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