CLS 150-01

Philip II & Macedonian monarchy

  • Macedonians not quite Greek (at least not thought so in antiquity)
  • Throwback: no polises, powerful noble class, farmers & pastoralists
  • macedon rich in gold, silver, timber, manpower
  • Imitated Greek culture: Pindar, Euripides visited, architecture
  • Greeks regarded Macedonians as semi-barbarous, hunted, fought, drank
  • King absolute but also first among equals: lived among nobiility
  • Only two prior to Philip died of natural causes: throne insecure
  • Macedonians “medized” in 480, sided with Xerxes
  • Tension with Athens over control of coastal cities (Greek)
  • Constant threat from barbarian neighbors
  • In 360 Philip’s older brother killed in battle w/4000 troops
  • Philip takes throne as Athenians, Thracians, Illyrians among others set to invade or support pretenders to throne
  • Philip II of Macedon

    Philip’s military reforms

  • Developed siege warfare, torsion catapults & corps of engineers
  • specially traied light-armed troops for scouting and skirmishing
  • New equipment for heavy infantry (phalanx)
    • enormous spear, up to 18′ called the sarissa
    • small shield hung around neck: both hands free for sarissa
    • but: retained metal helmet and short sword of Greek hoplite
  • used cavalry as striking arm: companion cavalry
  • encouraged strong bonds between officers and men; led from front
  • set up an elite corps of foot companions
  • Philip solidifies hold on throne

  • uses diplomacy to persuade Athens & Thrace to back off
  • then smashed Illyrians and other invaders
  • Alliance via marriage (mother of Alexander) w/Molossians secures help to west
  • grabs Greek cities in SW Thrace, including gold mines
  • Controls macedonian barons; noble youths required to live at court & serve as pages = oficer corps and hostages
  • became power in Greek world by intervening in dispute between Thessalian cities
  • Alexander’s mother: Olympias, originally named Cleopatra
  • Philip becomes master of Greece

  • 353 Philip elected archon of Thessalian cities
  • Athenians owrried about route to Black Sea, but do nothing
  • Demosthenes, Athenian orator/Politician, in series of speeches (Philippics), tries but fails to rouse Athens to action
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