Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the Great

Macedonia was a small but mountainous place that was North of Greece. The Macedonians deeply valued the Greek culture and way of life, but did not particularly have an opinion on the people. The Greeks thought of Macedonia as barbarians, almost like they were not a part of civilization because they had no famous people. The population was mostly made of farmers.

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Philip of Macedonia lived from the year 382 B.C.E to the year 336 B.C.E. Philip was a hostage for three years in Thebes and while he was there he learned many things. He found out what their culture was like, figured out their strengths and weaknesses, and dreamed of having his own place like that with his own touches. Philip was the youngest of his brothers which made it very unlikely for him to be king. Philip became a leader by becoming his nephew’s regent, then by taking his power and quickly made it his. Many people who study this think that Phillip killed his nephew. Philip’s dream was to hellenize Greece, which means to unify the city-states. It took 20 years to complete his goal.

The army that Philip used to take over Greece and other places with was called the Macedonian Army. He turned his army into a year-round force, which strengthened it. He also introduced the heavy phalanx formation and heavy cavalry attack.

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Philip of Macedonia was a very smart, yet devious, king. He had many strategies at taking over empires and city-states easily. The strategies were things like giving gifts, making treaties, or even marrying somebody who was royal. Then he would attack when they would least expect him to because they were “friends.” This was called physical warfare

Demosthenes was an excellent Greek speaker especially in meetings. One of his most famous speeches was a series called “Philippics” where he would tell about how Philip of Macedonia was not somebody who they could trust. The people did not believe him and later found out that everything he said was the truth.

Greek independence was ended when Athens and Thebes joined together to fight against Macedonia. They were beaten by their enemy, Philip, in the Battle of Corinth. After Philip took over Greece, they formed the League of Corinth which consisted of all of the Greek city-states but Sparta. As a way of sneakily taking over more places, he allowed anybody outside of Greece to also join this league. The decisions came from the Synhedrin Council, which he headed.

Alexander the Great was Philip of Macedonia and Olympias’s son. He was born in Pella, Macedonia, on July 20, 356 B.C.E. He had grown up to believe that he was a descendant of gods and that he had significant power over others. This boosted his confidence and was the beginning to the leader that he became. Alexander was known for taming a wild horse, who later became his life-long friend. Alexander named many cities after himself and his horse. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, became Alexander’s tutor. Aristotle taught him about literature, philosophy, and politics, while also doing physical education and training for war. He finished school at the age of sixteen.

When Alexander was eighteen years old, he was given a leading position as the commander in cavalry in the Battle of Chaeronea. Philip, Alexander’s father, died when plotting to take over the Persian empire. Philip’s bodyguard hated him so much that he murdered him. When city-states that had been taken over by Philip thought that Macedonia would be weakened due to the loss, they attacked, but Alexander, at the age of 20, took over right away and would not let them win. He wanted to follow his father’s plan to take over the Persian Empire. Everybody under Macedonia’s control was trying to rebel. Alexander made them stop by burning down Thebes and selling the citizens into slavery.Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.16.34 PM

Alexander soon began to expand his empire by taking over Persia, Asia, and Egypt. In order to take over Asia it was a legend that you would have to untie the Gordian knot that had been impossible to untie. Alexander outsmarted everybody and cut through the knot. He took over Asia just as quick as that! Alexander became the Pharaoh of Egypt after taking it over. He founded, and named a city there after himself, Alexandria. Before Alexander left Egypt, he was told by the oracle of Zeus-Ammon that he was the god’s son. This confirmed what his parents had told him all of his life.

After leaving Egypt Alexander went to Persepolis where he took gold and silver from royal palaces. After, he burned the palaces down. In 325 B.C.E. Alexander sent half of his soldiers west to explore and half to a desert where more of them died than in an attack. When Alexander got back to Macedonia he began to plan many more trips and voyages to northern Africa and Arabia. Alexander got married to the daughter of Darius, a Persian princess. Alexander then tried to expand his army with Persians but could not lead the people successfully. After this he made his way through India. and then Alexander died on June 13, 323 B.C.E. after catching a fever while he was in Babylon. He was thirty-two years old and accomplished so much in that short time. Philip III Arrhidaeus, his son, took Alexander’s spot. In 300 B.C.E. the empire that Alexander had put together fell apart into three powerful states. These states were led by his generals.

This was the story of Alexander, his father, and everybody in between.

 

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