Philip of Macedonia

Philip of Macedonia was born in 382 BCE in Pella. He was the youngest son of Amyntas II and Eurydice I. When he was young, he was held hostage by Thebes, an enemy Greek city-state. The reason he was held640px-Filip_II_Macedonia there was because he would be killed if Macedonia did not carry out their side of the bargain. When he was there, he learned a lot about Greek military strategies and the flaws in their military. In 359 BCE, he became in control of Macedonia when he was regent for his nephew. This happened when Philip’s older brother died. Soon after this, he made himself king of Macedonia without opposition. He did this within two years.

Since he learned so much about military strategies when he was in Thebes, he now redesigned his army. Macedonia only had farmers as soldiers, but Philip turned them into real soldiers that fought year-round. He first equipped all the members of his army with sarissas, sixteen foot long spears. He then came up with the heavy Phalanx formation. He used cavalry in the back of his foot soldiers to have a killing blow. He also had soldiers trained to use slingshots and bows and arrows to fight in rough terrain areas where the phalanx could not go. Using his new and remodeled army, he regained territory that Macedonia lost.

He married the female relative of an enemy leader many different times. When he did this, he gained that country’s trust. He then attacked that country and took it over. This was a type of psychological warfare. Between 357 and 353 BCE, Philip had many victories until a large defeat in 353 BCE. All of these victories increased Macedonia’s wealth, unity, and security.

Demosthenes was born in 384 BCE. His parents were fairly rich and he should have gotten a good education. But, his parents both died when he was seven. His guardians stole all of the money. He was a very bad speaker when he was a child. So, he started training by putting pebbles in his mouth and making sure he pronounced the words correctly. When he was twenty-two, he sued the guardians that stole all of his money. He then started studying with an actor, developing hand gestures and facial expressions. He practiced by making hand gestures and facial expressions in front of mirrors. He also practiced talking at the seashore because he wanted to be heard clearly when making a speech. He became a politician soon after. He made a series of speeches called the “Philippics” to warn the citizens of Greece about King Philip. The citizens did not listen to Demosthenes when he tried to warn them. This was because the governments were so bad that they believed Philip when he said he would bring improvement.

In 338 BCE, Philip fought against a large number of Greek forces (Thebes and Athens combined). He made a retreat which allowed his cavalry to come in and win the battle. He also won because Thebes and Athens were very weak. At this point in time, Greek independence ended. He then set up the League of Corinth, which unified most of the Greek city-states. This was his goal since the beginning and it took him twenty years to accomplish it. Philip made a new goal of attacking Persia and taking over all of it. In 336 BCE, while he was making his plans to take over Persia, he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. This bodyguard was a man named Pausanias. Philip was at about the age of forty-six when he died.

 

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was born on July 20, 356 BCE in Pella, the capital of Macedonia. His parents were King Philip of Macedonia and Queen Olympia. Alexander and his sister grew up in Pella’s royal court. He did not see his father much, which made him450px-Alexander_the_Great-British_Museum resent his father even though his mother was a powerful role model. There are many rumors and myths of his early childhood. One well-known legend is that Alexander tamed Bucephalus, a black stallion. No one could tame the horse. Alexander noticed that the horse was frightened when someone approached him with the sun in his eyes. Alexander mounted the horse with ease after he noticed the mistakes the other men did. Bucephalus was Alexander’s life-long companion and he rode his horse all the way to India. When the horse died, Alexander built a city in India called Bucephalus.

In 343 BCE, Aristotle was hired by Alexander’s father to tutor him. Aristotle taught Alexander and some other students for three years. Alexander was very inspired by a poem called the Iliad. Since Aristotle noticed his interest in this, he made a shortened version of this poem and gave it to Alexander.

In 339 BCE, he became a soldier. A year after he became a soldier, he took control of the Companion Cavalry and helped his father take down Athens and Thebes.

Alexander’s father died at a festival. Alexander was determined to become king. He got support from the Macedonian army and his mother. The army killed any potential heirs for the throne. His mother, Queen Olympia, killed Philip’s daughter and drove Cleopatra to suicide.

A few years after that, Thebes revolted and kicked out all the Macedonian troops. Alexander was fearing this was going to happen to the other city-states, so he sent his army down all the way to the peninsula of Greece. He destroyed Thebes, which made all the city-states fearful and not revolt .This also made Athens pledge their allegiance to the Macedonian Empire. He continued his military campaign for many years with many victories. One great victory was defeating Darius III’s army near the Grancius River. He again defeated Darius’s army in the summer of 333 BCE. Even though his troops were greatly outnumbered, he used great military strategy and defeated them. This caused Darius to flee. He seized Babylon and the Persian capital of Susa. Alexander then became the king of Persia. In the spring of 330 BCE, Alexander went toward the Caspian Sea in search of Darius. Darius was killed by his own nobles. Alexander only believed that leaders should kill leaders, so he gave Darius a proper burial.

In 327 BCE, Alexander married Roxan, a Bactrian princess. When Alexander’s army reached Pakistan, he wanted to continue forward but his troops refused to follow him anymore. In 325 BCE, Alexander had some ships built and some of his army sailed west from the Indus River. They explored the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. He then led the rest of his troops across the Desert of Gedrosia, where half of his troops died on the way. He then returned back to Babylon. He intended to make Babylon his capital.

While he was considering taking over Rome in 323 BCE, he fell very sick and died in Babylon on June 19, 323 BCE. No one really knows how he died, but people suspect it was from malaria, typhoid fever, or the many battle wounds he had. A few months later, his wife gave birth to his son, Alexander IV. Alexander’s half-brother, Philip III Arrhidaeus, took over Macedonia after Alexander died. Alexander’s empire split up into different pieces which some important generals ruled. They fought each other to gain territory. Soon after, Alexander’s empire collapsed into a few independent states. No other empire was ever as great as Alexander’s.

 

Image Credits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alexander_the_Great-British_Museum.jpg

 

Information Credits:

http://www.biography.com/people/philip-ii-of-macedon-21322787#early-life

http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/greeks/literature/demosthenes.htm

http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-the-great-9180468