Philip Ii Of Macedonia Essay

2353 words - 9 pages

Philip II of Macedonia became king when he was 23 years old in very dire situations in 359 B.C.E. (Sekunda 4). There were threats from barbarians north of Macedonia, and threats from the cunning Greek southern cities (4). Philip had to act quickly to gain control so he needed to create an army (4). He had spent time in Thebes as a hostage and gained military knowledge "from the work of Epaminondas, one of the greatest generals of the day" ("Philip II"). He armed his military "with a sarissa, a pike that, at about 16 feet long, had a greater reach than Greek weapons" ("Philip II"). This weapon made his army very powerful and allowed his phalanxes to strike first ("Philip II"). In 338 B.C.E., Philip defeated Chaeronea, "one of the Greek city-states" (Heckel 2). The "League of Corinth" was formed securing "an alliance of Greek states" under King Philip, the "hegemon or supreme military commander" (2). Philip had "unified the Macedonian state, consolidated power to the north, and made himself master of the Greek world" (15). He was known to create alliances by marriage, securing allegiances to grow his empire ("Philip"). His first wife, Audata, sealed an allegiance with Illyria, and his marriage to Phila, a Macedonian princess, made his ties much stronger in Macedonia ("Philip"). He later married Olympias, securing an alliance with Epirus and the western frontier ("Philip"). Philip and Olympias had two children, Alexander III and Cleopatra (Freeman 36). He divorced Olympias to marry Cleopatra of Eurydice, the niece of his general Attalus, who he needs for the invasion of Persia (33). Attalus made it known at their wedding ceremony that he does not believe Alexander is a legitimate heir (34). Alexander has an altercation with Attalus, which leads to a drunken Philip rising with his sword drawn towards his son (34). Alexander makes a snide remark against his father, and flees with Olympias to her brother in Epirus (34). Philip and Cleopatra soon have a daughter and name her Europa (34). Philip is preparing for his invasion, and without a male heir to the throne, everyone is concerned about what will happen to the empire if he is killed in battle (35). Philip follows the advice of Demaratus and sends for his son Alexander (35). Soon after Alexander returns, Philip is offered a proposal of marriage between his mentally handicapped son, Arrhidaeus, and the daughter of the Carian throne (35). Alexander goes behind his father and sends the famed actor, Thessalus, to negotiate the marriage with him instead (35). Philip finds out and tells Alexander that he has "showed little hope for being a worthy king" (36). Alexander has just returned to the empire and does not want to create a new rift with Philip so he readily admits "he had behaved imprudently" (36). With all of the family distractions, Philip tries to focus on his plans for the invasion. He does have one other family matter to take care of before he leaves. Philip fears that Olympias' brother,...

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