In what ways was Philip II a new kind of Macedonian King?

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                AH1010: Introduction to Greek History

In what ways was Philip II a new kind of Macedonian King?

In order to see if Philip II of Macedon was a new kind of Macedonian king, one must look at the actions and situations that he was in and make comparisons to his ancestors and predecessors. It could also be considered in what ways that Philip’s actions directly influenced those of Alexander the Great (his son). There are strong arguments regarding how Philip was the reason for some of Alexander’s successes, of course Alexander would have had his own influence on these events but it was all started due to the new precedent that was his father. It has been said that Philip and Alex were kings who set the standard for expanding the role of the kings to one of protecting Hellenism and the dissemination of Greek culture (Shipley and Parkins, 1998, p.78). One must also consider in what ways was Philip II not a new kind of Macedonian king and so one can consider just what was it that made Macedonian a great superpower in the fourth century BC.

Firstly we know that Philip was most definitely seen as a threat from the Athenians and possibly other Greek states as well. Demosthenes made several speeches that have come down to us which regard the power of Philip and the threat to Athens that it is becoming. The Olynthaic’s deal with the conquest over Olynthus in Chalcidice and the Philippic’s on the general power that Philip had accumulated. Our contemporary views are massively bias as the vast majority if not all of how ancient sources come from Athens which was particularly hostile towards Philip. This is understandable as Philip had raised the Macedonians to become a great power which threatened Athens. Even so it is interesting to read Demosthenes with the inferences made that Philip’s rise to become the ‘greatest monarch who ever appeared in Macedonian’ (Olynthaic I, 9) was more due to the Greek’s refusal to fight and seize the opportunity to dispose of him than of Philip’s own prowess. Even so some credit, however minute is given to him due to the fact that he never ‘rest[s] on his laurels’ (Olynthaic I, 14). What we can infer from this is that Philip was doing something completely new, never stopping working towards his goals and more importantly when he has achieved them, maintaining them. Philip wanted to be ‘master of every situation’ (Olynthaic I, 21) and was able to expel fear into the populations of his cities due to what happened to Euphraeus, being ‘rushed... off to prison’ for revealing at the city of Oreus, the treachery of Philisides and his associates (Demosthenes, Philippic III, 60). Something that perhaps his predecessors could not do, they might not have had the man power or the will to act in this way.

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Philip was a politician (Ellis, 1976, p.7). He knew how to influence those around him and how he could use them. For example Demosthenes tells he used ‘deception’ rather than force to take towns (Demosthenes, Philippic III, 13). He would get people loyal to him to seize the towns for him. He was the final judge to his people and would spend a lot of his time devoted to settling their disputes (Hammond, 1996, p.185). This may seem surprising but it was one of the things that the king of Macedon was expected to do. His people swore loyalty to ...

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