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ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY
ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

Philip II of Macedon

Philip II of Macedon

Before the reign of Alexander the Great, his father, Phillip II of Macedonia, ruled the Macedonian state and became one of the ancient world’s most accomplished generals.

Grades

5 - 8

Subjects

Ancient Civilizations, Anthropology, Archaeology, Social Studies

Image

Philip II of Macedon

This 1825 illustration of Philip II of Macedonia depicts him wearing a lion's skin headdress.

Photograph by Ken Welsh / Design Pics / Corbis via Getty Images

Philip II of Macedon was born in 382 B.C.E. in Aegae. He was the son of King Amyntas III. He was the 18th king of Macedonia and ruled from 359 to 336 B.C.E.

Macedon was unstable during Philip II’s youth. During an invasion by the Greek city-state of Thebes, Philip himself was even taken hostage. He remained in Thebes for three years and learned military strategies from Epaminondas, the great Theban general. Upon returning to Macedon, Philip was able to help his brother, Perdiccas III, rule and succeeded him as king after Perdicass died.

King Philip II is credited with restoring internal peace to his country. Philip used his military knowledge to strengthen the Macedonian army. His soldiers were trained to fight as a phalanx. A phalanx was a large group of foot soldiers armed with shields and spears. Soldiers moved closely together in a rectangular formation as if they were one giant soldier. One phalanx could contain 265 soldiers.

King Philip’s military battles and diplomatic tactics resulted in the expansion of his empire and domination over all of Greece. After he conquered Greece, he planned to conquer the Persian Empire, but he would never achieve this goal. Philip II was assassinated in 336 B.C.E., and was succeeded by his son, Alexander III, later known as Alexander the Great. While Philip II did not fulfill his plans to expand his empire through Persian territory, he is often credited with paving the way for his son to be one of the greatest military leaders in history.

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Director
Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Author
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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