Philip II of Macedon (Macedonia) (382 BC - 336 BC), King of Macedon (ruled 359 BC - 336 BC), was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Philip III of Macedon.
Portrait of Philip II of Macedon
, found at Vergina
Born in Pella in 382 BC, he was the youngest son of King Amyntas III of Macedon and Queen Eurydice. In youth (c. 368 BC - 365 BC) Philip was the hostage in Thebes, the leading city in Greece of that time. In 364 BC he return to Macedonia. The deaths of his elder brothers, Kings Alexander II of Macedon and Perdiccas III of Macedon, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed Regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV of Macedon (359 BC) 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, Amphipolis, which commanded the gold-mines of Mount Pangaion. In 355 BC Philip conquered Crenides and renamed the town name in Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. He took Methone in 354 BC, which belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.
Coin with likeness of Philip II of Macedon
Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC that he faced any serious resistance. Philip didnot attempt to advance to central Greece because Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. In 352 BC the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians in 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 BC 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, indeed, Olynthus, he continued to profess friendship till its neighbor cities were in his hands.
In 349 BC Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus in first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance with Athens. Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus and Philip took it in 348 BC and razed it to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.
Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympian 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 BCPhilip led a great military expedition north against Scythians.
In 340 BC Philip started the siege of Perinthus and in 339 BC Byzantium. After uneccesfull sieges, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. Philip defeated an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. 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 a army in invasion against Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in early progress, Philip was assassinated by a servant named Pausanias.
In 357 BC, Philip married to Epirote princess Olympias, the daughter of the king of the Molossians.
On November 8, 1977, Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos announced that he had found unopened the tomb of Philip II at Vergina in the prefecture of Pieria. 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 archeological importance, the identification of the tomb with Philip has been disputed.
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.