You may have expected that here you will read about Alexander the Great, yet despite the fact that he built the greatest empire that ever existed, we are writing the story about King Philip II, without which Alexander might not be the ruler of the world.
Here are the 10 facts of the father who was always in the shadow of his child:
10. He was a prisoner in Thebes
Approximately 371 BC, Philip’s older brother, King Alexander II, was forced to sign a peace treaty with Thebes after losing the war in Thessaly. A key condition was to hand over his 15-year-old brother Philip.
It turned out that this was a very good opportunity for the young prince because there he learned all about Thebes and that knowledge helped him in his further reign. He trained with the formidable elite force of the Theban army (the most powerful at the time), but he also had the chance to study their administration.
9.He inherited the kingdom at the worst possible moment
After his brother’s death in 359 BC, Philip sat on the throne. The country that he inherited was in chaos. The Illyrians were preparing to attack from the west, the Thracians from the east and the Athenians from the south occupied the Macedonian mines and gave support to Philip’s rivals.
The new king reacted extremely fast and made wise decisions eliminating all obstacles. He bribed the Thracians with precious gifts and gave the Amphipolis to the Athenians in order to buy time and gather an army. Applying the new tactics, he defied the Illyrians and completely defeated them in the battle of 358 BC.
8.He transformed the army of Macedonia
Philip’s most important reform was the military. He transformed civil militia into an army with well-trained professionals. The main trump card of his army was the phalanx, congested and tilted formation made up of heavily armed soldiers. Each wore a 6-meter spear, giving them a great advantage in the battles. The phalanx was divided into units, each of which had its own commanding officer, which facilitated great communication and maneuvering in the fight.
As invincible king, Philip established Macedonian domination in Greece. However, the main weakness of his rule lies in the lack of a well-structured and stable state. Philip often dealt with the internal affairs of the state.
Therefore, applying the knowledge that he acquired as a young man in Thebes, he decided to build a different Macedonia according to the example of Persia. Instead of directly occupying and controlling remote cities, he gave them independence, and the first people directly responded to him. By establishing this type of control, Philip used their resources without wasting resources for their control.
6. In the fight he earned many injuries
Philip wanted to lead the army. He personally headed the cavalry and shared the danger that his people faced. This undoubtedly inspired his troops and gave them an edge in the tough battles, but Philip paid a high price. He have undergone many injuries that have permanently changed him.
At the time of his death in 336 BC, “memories” of the battles were visible to his whole body. He lost his right eye during the siege of Metohija 354BC when he was hit by an arrow. He leaned on his left leg because of a huge wound he had earned from a Thracian spear. He broke the clavicle, and one of his hands was almost unusable.
- He had seven women
It is very known fact that Henry VIII had eight women, but Philip II had seven and all at the same time! Audada, Phila, Nikesipolis, Olympias, Filina, Meda and Cleopatra were his wives who did not enter his life because of love, but because of pure political ambition.
The best example is the mother of Alexander, Olimpia. Philip married her in 357 BC in order to secure the western border of Macedonia. This happens to be a wise move, as he strengthened his alliance with Epirus, and this allowed him to concentrate on occupying the Athens city of Amphipolis.
4.He fought his most significant battle at Chaeronea
As Philip’s influence in Greece grew, Athens politician Demosthenes worked to build an anti-Macedonian coalition with Thebes, who finally declared war on Philip. The king assembled an army and set off on the attackers in the south.
Near Chaeronea in 338 BC the two great powers collided. On the right wing of Greece, there were 300 of the sacred band of Thebes, consisting of 150 pairs of male lovers and most feared troops in Greece. On the opposite, was the young prince Alexander with his cavalry.
The Athenians of the left wing attacked first, but Philip ordered his army to retreat to this wing, in order to leave a vacant space between the two wings of Thebes and Athens. Then they encircled their army and then managed to kill more than half of Thebans army, the allies fled the battlefield and handed over the victory to Macedonia.
3.Greece was controlled by the Corinthian Union
After the victory over the two most powerful Greek armies at Chaeronea, the idea to take over all of Greece start to mature in Philip’s mind. Philip gathered all the first people of Greek cities in Corinth and promised them peace. The conditions were for the city leaders to join the Corinthian alliance under Philip.
2.Alexander himself may have been behind his murder
In 338 BC, Philip wanted to marry Cleopatra, a woman who belonged to the higher class in Macedonia. He probably wanted to get an heir with pure Macedonian blood, which created a clash with his son Alexander, who wanted to be his only successor.
During the celebration, Philip was stabbed by the young Macedonian Pausani. The killer tried to escape, but he was caught and killed by Alexander’s friends. He was a great friend of Alexander and for some time the prince was the main suspect in ordering the murder. In any case, Philip’s widow, Cleopatra and their child were soon killed by the mother of Alexander, Olympia.
1.The location of his grave is unknown
Archaeologists in 1977 hoped to find Philip’s tomb in Aegean Macedonia near Thessaloniki. However, it was later established that the grave was from 317 BC. He didn’t belong to Philip.
Recently, another tomb near Thessaloniki was also examined, in which a skeleton of a 45-year-old man (who resembled to Philip during his death) was found along with the remains of a woman and a baby, which was thought that it is the tomb of the Macedonian ruler.