country of Macedon in the 4th- Century, was ruled Philip II. Originally,
Philip’s father Amyntas III, had three sons who were in line to rule Macedon. Unfortunately,
the Illyrians, Athenians, and Thebans were a constant threat to his kingdom. As
time went on, the first two brothers were killed, and Philip took the throne at
twenty-three years old. A better-known ruler of Macedon was Alexander the Great,
son of Philip II. Alexander the Great and his father were profound kings and warriors.
They displayed many similarities rather than differences, in the way they ruled
Philip inherited the throne, Macedon was in a very vulnerable situation due to
the constant wars with the Illyrians. They were also a country with little
resources except having an abundance of timber and pastureland. Philip’s two
main goals during the early years of his reign, were to organize his army and
defend Macedonia in order to have a future with Macedonia. He quickly got to
work creating a powerful army.
the reign of Philip’s brothers, Philip was held as a hostage in Thebes. During
that time, he took note of their military strategies and went on to change the combat
tactics of the 4th century. The Thebans way of fighting indirectly
helped Philp to come with the fighting method the “Phalanx” and the weapon “Sarissa.”
The Sarissa was modeled after the Thracians long spear. The Macedonian sarissa
was a wood pole 1 ½ inches in diameter, and 15- 18 feet long. It was constructed
in a way that improved balance, sturdiness, and was less likely to bend. If necessary,
the sarissa could also be taken apart to be used as two small spears in each hand.
The Sarissa played a huge role in the
success of the Phalanx.
Phalanx was only successful with the bravest and toughest soldiers carrying out
the tactic. There were ten rows of men with the first row holding their spears
straight. All the other rows had their spears a little bit higher than the one
below them and held their shields above their heads. Looking from the outside,
the ten rows of men looked like a bowl with twenty-foot-long spears sticking
out of it.
II started to work on defending Macedon after he was satisfied with his army.
He first made his capital city, Pella. He brought in poets, writers, and philosophers.
He also had his neighbors bring in their sons to be taught in Pella. Philip was
secretly holding the sons as hostages for leverage in case they were to be
attacked. He also held hostage the Royal Pages in order that his throne would
safe against his enemies. Philip was
finally ready to start conquering land.
looked north and defeated the Bardylis. He married the daughter of the king of
Molossians to secure peace with them. The daughter, Olympias, later bore Alexander
in 356 BC. Philip looked east and captured the Greek city-states that surrounded
Chalcidice. He defeated the Amphipolis which was an Atheninan colony filled
with many riches. He went on to control the Balkan frontiers and all the little
city-states in Aegean. There are many other recorded battles of Philip’s reign
but the most important was his plan to take over Persia.
The plan to
overthrow Persia had been developed as early as 348 BC but the plan never fell
through. Researchers don’t know the exact reason why Philip wanted to take over
Persia except for more territory. Philip had already placed 10,000 soldiers in
western Asia Minor as he prepared for a larger attack. Right before he was supposed
to lay siege to Persia, the unthinkable happened to Philip.
He was at a wedding
celebration when of Philip’s own body guards decided to stab Philip too death.
The body guard, Pausanias, wanted to kill Philip because he was mad about a
personal matter that Philip didn’t address with seriousness. There are many theories
and tall-tales about who and why Philip was killed but Alexander took throne soon
Great is one of the most well-known rulers to this day. We have seen very few
generals and kings accomplish as much as he did during his life time. Alexander’s
life began right after the death of his father in 366 BC. He began by killing
off anyone that was an accomplice to assassinating his father. He also took
this time to kill anyone that rivaled his kingship. Alexander was quick to get
going on the Persian campaign as soon as possible.
In the year 334 BC,
Alexander led a massive army into Thebes. He had 3,000 cavalry and 30,000
infantry to fight Thebes. Alexander’s attack on Thebes was supposed to be a
warning to any other Greek city-state planning a revolt. Many city-states became
allies with Macedon or remained neutral. After he captured Thebes he moved on to Asia Minor,
slowly creeping his way to Persia where he would have a small battle with the
Persian King Darius III’s army near Grancius River. It was an easy win for Alexander
and he made his way to Gordium to take a break from the war for the winter.
In the summer,
Alexander resumed fighting and he started with the Battle of Issus against King
Darius III. Persia was supposed to win but Alexander was a such intelligent
general, Macedon won even though they were outnumbered. Finally, Alexander had
fulfilled his father’s dream of conquering Persia. Alexander wasn’t done though.
He went on to conquer Egypt, Ariamazez, and part of northern India. Alexander
was known as the “King of the Four Quarters of the World.”
in many battles that would take pages to write about. Unfortunately, you can’t
escape your own fate. On June 13, 323 B.C., Alexander died of malaria in
Babylon. When he died, his empire was too large to control and it collapsed. All
the nations fought and fought for the land and Alexander’s empire was split up.
Philip II and Alexander
the Great are quite similar in the way they lived. Their character as men was
made up of more than just good warriors. The were outstanding leaders as they
led their soldiers through battle. Philip II had all his soldiers pledge their
loyalty to him to make sure they had a reason to fight for him. Alexander also
copied this ritual with his own army. During long times of traveling, both
kings were able to motivate their entire army to press on because of their
relentless spirits. They were very adaptable to their situations when they came
upon an unexpected situation. Alexander the Great and Philip II were powerful
kings because they thought so similarly. It is no doubt that these two men are
exact resemblances of each other.