Philip Of Macedon

No one would have supposed, B.C. 400, that the destruction of

Grecian liberties would come from Macedonia--a semi-barbarous kingdom

which, during the ascendency of Sparta, had so little political

importance. And if any new power threatened to rise over the ruins of the

Spartan State, and become paramount in Greece, it was Thebes. The

successes of Pelopidas and Epaminondas had effectually weakened the power

of Sparta. S
e no longer enjoyed the headship of Greece. She no longer was

the leader of dependent allies, submitting to her dictation in all

external politics, serving under the officers she appointed, administering

their internal affairs by oligarchies devoted to her purposes, and even

submitting to be ruled by governors whom she put over them. She had lost

her foreign auxiliary force and dignity, and even half of her territory in

Laconia. The Peloponnesians, who once rallied around her were disunited,

and Megalopolis and Messene were hostile. Corinth, Sicyon, Epidaurus, and

other cities, formerly allies, stood aloof, and the grand forces of Hellas

now resided outside of the Peloponnesus. Athens and Thebes were the new

seats of power. Athens had regained her maritime supremacy, and Thebes was

formidable on the land, having absorbed one-third of the Boeotian

territory, and destroyed three or four autonomous cities, and secured

powerful allies in Thessaly.

When the battle of Mantinea was fought, at which Epaminondas lost

his life, Perdiccas, son of Amyntas, was the king of Macedonia. He was

slain, in the flower of his life, in a battle with the Illyrians, B.C.

359. On the advice of Plato, who had been his teacher, he was induced to

bestow upon his brother Philip a portion of territory in Macedonia, who

for three years preceding had been living in Thebes as a hostage, carried

there by Pelopidas at fifteen years of age, when he had reduced Macedonia

to partial submission.

At Thebes the young prince was treated with courtesy, and resided

with one of the principal citizens, and received a good education. He was

also favored with the society of Pelopidas and Epaminondas, and witnessed

with great interest the training of the Theban forces by these two

remarkable men--one the greatest organizer, and the other the greatest

tactician of the age. When transferred from Thebes to a subordinate

government of a district in his brother's kingdom, he organized a military

force on the principles he had learned in Thebes. The unexpected death of

Perdiccas, leaving an infant son, opened to him the prospect of succeeding

to the throne. He first assumed the government as guardian of his young

nephew Amyntas, but the difficulties with which he was surrounded, having

many competitors from other princes of the family of Amyntas, his father,

that he assumed the crown, putting to death one of his half brothers,

while the other two fled into exile.

His first proceeding as king was to buy the Thracians, his enemies,

by presents and promises, so that only the Athenians and the Illyrians

remained formidable. But he made peace with Athens by yielding up

Amphipolis, for the possession of which the Athenians had made war in


The Athenians, however, neglected to take possession of Amphipolis,

being engaged in a struggle to regain the island of Euboea, then under the

dominion of Thebes. It also happened that a revolt of a large number of

the islands of the AEgean, which belonged to the confederacy of which

Athens was chief, took place--Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Cos, and Rhodes,

including Byzantium. This revolt is called the social war, caused by the

selfishness of Athens in acting more for her own interest than that of her

allies, and neglecting to pay the mercenaries in her service. The revolt

was also stimulated by the intrigues of the Carian prince, Mausolus. But

it was a serious blow to the foreign ascendency of Athens, and in a battle

to recover these islands, the Athenians, under Chabrias, were defeated at

Chios. They were also unsuccessful on the Hellespont from quarrels among

their generals--Timotheus, Iphicrates, and Chares. The popular voice at

Athens laid the blame of defeat on the two former unjustly, in consequence

of which Timotheus was fined one hundred talents, the largest fine ever

imposed at Athens, and shortly after died in exile--a distinguished man,

who had signally maintained the honor and glory of his country. Iphicrates

also was never employed again. The loss of these two generals could

scarcely be repaired. Soon after, peace was made with the revolted cities,

by which their independence and autonomy were guaranteed. This was an

inglorious result of the war to Athens, and fatally impaired her power and

dignity, so that she was unable to make a stand against the aggressions of


One of the first things he did after defeating the Illyrians was to

lay siege to Amphipolis, although he had ceded the city to Athens. For

this treachery there was no other reason than ambition and the weakened

power of Athens. Amphipolis had long remained free, and was not disposed

to give up its liberties, and sent to Athens for aid. Philip, an arch

politician, contrived by his intrigues to prevent Athens from giving

assistance. The neglect of Athens was a great mistake, for Amphipolis

commanded the passage over the Strymon, and shut up Macedonia from the

east, and was, moreover, easily defensible by sea. Deprived of aid from

Athens, the city fell into the hands of Philip, and was an acquisition of

great importance. It was the most convenient maritime station in Thrace,

and threw open to him all the country east of the Strymon, and especially

the gold region near Mount Pangreus. This place henceforward became one of

the bulwarks of Macedonia, until the Roman conquest.

Having obtained this place, he commenced, without a declaration of

war against Athens, a series of hostile measures, while he professed to be

her friend. He deprived her of her hold upon the Thermaic Gulf, conquered

Pydna and Potidaea, and conciliated Olynthus. His power was thus so far

increased that he founded a new city, called Philippi, in the regions

where his gold mines yielded one thousand talents yearly. He then married

Olympias, daughter of a prince of the Molossi, who gave birth, in the year

B.C. 356, to a son destined to conquer the world.

The capture of Amphipolis by Philip was, of course, followed by war

with Athens, which lasted twelve years. And this war commenced at a time

Athens was in great embarrassments, owing to the social war.

But he was aided by another event of still greater importance--the

sacred war, which for a time convulsed the Hellenic world, and which grew

out of the accusation of Thebes, before the Amphictyonic Council, that

Sparta had seized her citadel in time of profound peace. The sentence of

the council, that Sparta should pay a fine of five hundred talents, was a

departure of Grecian custom, and Sparta refused to pay it, which refusal

led to her exclusion from the council, the Delphic temple, and the Pythian

games, and this exclusion again arrayed the different States of Greece

against each other, as to the guardianship of the Oracle itself.

Philip of Macedon seized this opportunity, when so many States were

engaged in war, to prosecute his schemes. He attacked Methone, the last

remaining possession of Athens on the Macedonian coast, and captured the

city, and then advanced into Thessaly against the despots of Pherae, who

invoked the aid of Onomarchus, now very powerful.

It was at this time, B.C. 353, that Demosthenes, the orator,

appeared before the Athenian people. He was about twenty-seven years of

age, and the wealth of his father secured him great advantages in

education. His father died while he was young, and his property was

confided to the care of guardians, named in his father's will. But they

administered the property with such negligence, that only a small sum came

to Demosthenes when he attained his civil majority, at the age of sixteen.

After repeated complaints, he brought a judicial action against one of the

guardians, and obtained verdict against him to the extent of ten talents.

But the guardian delayed the payment, and Demosthenes lost nearly all his

patrimony. He had, however, received a good education, and in spite of a

feeble constitution, he mastered all the learning of the age. His family

influence enabled him to get an early introduction to public affairs, and

he proceeded to train himself as a speaker, and a writer of speeches for

others. He put himself under the teaching of a famous rhetorician, Iaenus,

and profited by the discourses of Plato and Isocrates then in the height

of their fame. He also was a great student of Thucydides, and copied his

whole history, with his own hand, eight times. He still had to contend

against a poor voice, and an ungraceful gesticulation; but by unwearied

labor he overcame his natural difficulties so as to satisfy the most

critical Athenian audience. But this conquest in self-education was only

made by repeated trials and humiliations, and it is said he even spoke

with pebbles in his mouth, and prepared himself to overcome the noise of

the Assembly by declaiming in stormy weather on the sea-shore. He

sometimes passed two or three mouths in a subterranean chamber, practicing

by day and by night, both in composition and declamation, such pains did

those old Greeks take to perfect themselves in art; for public speaking is

an art, as well as literary composition. He learned Sophocles by heart,

and took lessons from actors even to get the true accent. It was several

years before he was rewarded with success, and then his delivery was full

of vehemence and energy, but elaborate and artificial. But it was not more

labor which made Demosthenes the greatest orator of antiquity, and

perhaps, of all ages and nations, but also natural genius. His

self-training merely developed the great qualities of which he was

conscious, as was Disraeli when he made his early failures in Parliament.

Without natural gifts of eloquence, he might have worked till doomsday

without producing the extraordinary effect which is ascribed to him, for

his speeches show great insight, genius, and natural force, as well as

learning, culture, and practice; so that they could be read like the

speeches of Burke and Webster, with great effect. He had great political

sagacity, moral wisdom, elevation of sentiment, and patriotic ardor, as

well as art. He would have been great, if he had stammered all his life.

He composed speeches for other great orators before he had confidence in

his own eloquence.

In contrast with Demosthenes, who was rich, was Phocion, who

remained poor, and would receive neither money nor gifts. He went

barefoot, like Socrates, and had only one female slave in his household,

was personally incorruptible, and also brave in battle, so that he was

elected to the office of strategus, or general, forty-five times, without

ever having solicited place or been present at the election. He had great

contempt of fine speeches, yet was most effective as an orator for his

brevity, good sense, and patriotism, and despised the "warlike eloquence,

un-warlike despotism, paid speech-writing, and delicate habits of


This Athenian, with Spartan character and habits, was opposed to

the war with Philip, and was therefore the leading opponent of

Demosthenes, whose foresight and sagacity led him to penetrate the schemes

of the Macedonian king. But the Athenians were generally induced to a

peace policy in degenerate times, and did not sympathize with the lofty

principles which Demosthenes declared, and hence the influence of Phocion,

though of commanding patriotism and morality, was mischievous, while that

of Demosthenes was good. The citizens of Athens, enriched by commerce and

enervated by leisure, were at this time averse to the burdens of military

service, and formed a striking contrast to their ancestors one hundred

years earlier, in the time of Pericles. In the time of Demosthenes, they

sought home pleasures, the refinements of art, and the enjoyments of

cultivated life, not warlike enterprises. And this decline in military

spirit was equally noticeable in the cities of the Peloponnesus. And hence

the cities of Greece resorted to mercenaries, like Carthage, and intrusted

to them the defense of their liberties. The warlike spirit of ancient

Sparta and Athens now was pre-eminent in Macedonia, where the people were

poor, hardy, adventurous and bold.

It was against these warlike Macedonians, rude and hardy, that the refined

Athenians were now to contend, led by a prince of uncommon military

talents and insatiable ambition, and who joined craft to bravery and

genius. Demosthenes in vain invoked the ancient spirit which had inspired

the heroes of Marathon.

In the year 383 B.C., Philip attacked Lyeophron, of Pherae, in

Thessaly. Onomarchus, then victorious over the Thebans, advanced against

Philip, and defeated him in two battles, so that the Macedonian army

withdrew from Thessaly. But Philip repaired his losses, marched again into

Thessaly, defeated the Phocians, and slew Onomarchus. His conquest of

Pherae was now easy, and he rapidly made himself master of all Thessaly,

and expelled Lycophron. He then marched to Thermopylae, to the great alarm

of Athens, which sent a force to resist him, which force succeeded in

defending the pass, and keeping Philip, for a time, from entering Southern

Greece. The Phocians also rallied, again availed themselves of the

treasure of Delphi, and melted down the golden ornaments and vessels which

Croesus, the Lydian king, had given one hundred years before, among which

were three hundred and sixty golden goblets, from the proceeds of which a

new army of mercenaries was raised.

The power of Philip was now exceedingly formidable, and his

successes inspired great alarm throughout Greece, as would appear from the

first Philippic of Demosthenes, delivered in B.C. 352. But the Grecian

States had no general able to cope with him on the land, while he created

a navy to annoy the Athenians at sea.

For a time, however, the efforts of Philip were diverted from

Southern and Central Greece, in order to conquer the Olynthians. They were

his neighbors, and had been his allies; but the expulsion of the Athenians

from the coast of Thrace and Macedonia now alarmed the Olynthians,

together with the increasing power of Philip, so that they concluded a

treaty of peace with Athens. Hostilities broke out in the year 350 B.C.,

and Demosthenes put forward all his eloquence to excite his countrymen to

vigorous war. Athens, partially aroused, sent a body of mercenaries to the

assistance of Olynthus, one of the most flourishing of the cities of

Chalcidia, southeast of Macedonia. But before effective aid could he

rendered, the island of Euboea, through the intrigues of Philip, revolted

from Athens. It was in an expedition to recover that island that

Demosthenes served as a hoplite in the army, under Phocion as general. It

was not till the summer of B.C. 348 that this territory was recovered by

Athens. In the year following, Athens made great exertions in behalf of

Olynthus, and amid great financial embarrassments. Three expeditions were

sent into Chalcidia, under the command of Chares, numbering altogether

four thousand Athenians and ten thousand mercenaries. But they were

powerless against the conquering arms of Philip, who completely overran

and devastated the peninsula, taking thirty-two cities, and selling the

people for slaves. At last Olynthus fell, B.C. 347, and the spoils of this

old Hellenic city were divided among the soldiers of the conqueror, who

celebrated his victories by a splendid festival.

No such calamity had befallen Greece for a century as the conquest of

Chalcidia, and it filled Athens with unspeakable alarms. AEschines, the

rival of Demosthenes as an orator, now joined with him in denouncing

Philip as the common enemy of Greece. Aristodemus was sent to him with

propositions of peace, and Philip professed to entertain them favorably,

with his characteristic duplicity.

Meanwhile the sacred war had impoverished the Phocians, and there

were dissensions among themselves. Their temple of Delphi had already been

stripped of the enormous sum of ten thousand talents, eleven million five

hundred thousand dollars, probably equal in our times to two hundred and

thirty million dollars; so that it must have been richer, when the

relative value of gold and silver is considered, than any church in

Christendom. The treasures of the temple, enriched for three hundred years

by offerings from all parts of the world, still enabled the Phocians to

maintain war with Thebes. At last the Thebans invoked the aid of Philip,

and a Macedonian army, under Parmenio, advanced as far as Thessaly. But

the Phocians, in alarm, entreated both Sparta and Athens for assistance.

The crisis was great, for if Philip should once secure the Pass of

Thermopylae, all Southern Greece was in imminent danger. The whole defense

of Greece now turned upon this Pass, of as much importance to Philip as to

Athens and Sparta, for it was the only road into Greece. Envoys were again

sent from Athens to Philip, to learn on what conditions peace could be

secured, among whom were Demosthenes and AEschines. But he would grant no

better terms than that each party should retain what they already

possessed, and the Athenians consented. Philip reaped all the advantages

of a peace, which gave him the possession of the cities and territory he

had taken. The Phocians were left out in the negotiations, a fatal step,

since it required the united forces of Greece from preventing the further

encroachments of the Macedonian king. He had now leisure for the

completion of the conquest of Thrace. When this was completed, he marched

toward Thermopylae, which was held by the Phocians, carefully veiling his

real intentions, and even pretending that his advance to the south was for

the purpose of reconstituting the Boeotian cities and putting down Thebes.

His real object was to surprise the Pass, for he was a man who had very

little respect to treaties, promises, or oaths. All this while he

contrived to deceive Athens and the Phocians, with the connivance of

AEschines, whom he had bribed or cheated. But he did not deceive

Demosthenes, who entreated his countrymen to make a stand against him,

even at the eleventh hour, for he was then within three days' march of the

Pass. But the eloquence and warnings of Demosthenes were in vain. The

people went with AEschines, who persuaded them that Philip was friendly to

Athens and only hostile to Thebes. It was the design of Philip to detach

Athens from the Phocians, and thus make his conquest easier; and he

succeeded by his falsehoods and intrigues. Under these circumstances, the

Phocians surrendered to Philip the pass, which they ought to have defended

at all hazard, and the king retired to Phocis, but still professed the

greatest friendship for Athens, with whom he made peace.

Master now of Phocis, with a triumphant army, he openly joined the

Thebans and restored the Temple of Delphi to its inhabitants, and convoked

the Amphictyonic Council, which dispossessed the Phocians of their place

in the assembly, and conferred it upon Philip. The unhappy Phocians were

now reduced to a state of utter ruin. Their towns were dismantled, and

their villages were not allowed to contain over fifty houses each. They

were stripped, and slain, and their fields laid waste. Philip was now

master of the keys of Greece, and the recognized leader of the

Amphictyonic Council. Athens had secured an inglorious peace with her

enemy, through the corruption of her own envoys, B.C. 346, and was soon to

reap the penalty of her credulity and indolence. She allowed herself to be

deceived, and Philip, in co-operation with Thebes, the enemy of Athens,

presently threw off the mask and disgracefully renewed the war with

Athens, He had gained his object by bribery and falsehood. It is mournful

that the Athenians should not have listened to the warnings of the most

sagacious patriot who adorned those degenerate times, but the influence of

AEschines was then paramount, and he was sold to Philip. He cried peace,

when there was no peace. The great error of Athens was in not rendering

timely assistance to the Phocians, who possessed the Pass of Thermopylae,

although they had brought upon themselves the indignation of Greece by the

seizure of the Delphic treasures.

The victories and encroachments of Philip, within the line of

common Grecian defense, were profoundly lamented by Demosthenes, and he

now felt that it was expedient to keep on terms of peace with so powerful

and unscrupulous and cunning a man. Isocrates wished Philip to reconcile

the four great cities of Greece, Sparta, Athens, Thebes, and Argos, put

himself at the head of their united forces, and Greece generally, invade

Persia, and liberate the Asiatic Greeks. But this was putting the Hellenic

world under one man, and renouncing the independence of States and the

autonomy of cities--the great principles of Grecian policy from the

earliest historic times, and therefore a complete subversion of Grecian

liberties, and the establishment of a centralized power under Philip,

whose patrimonial kingdom was among the least civilized in Greece.

The peace between Philip and Athens lasted, without any formal

renunciation, for six years, during which the Macedonian king pursued his

aggressive policy and his intrigues in all the States of Greece. His

policy was precisely that of Rome when it meditated the conquest of the

world, only his schemes were confined chiefly to Greece. Every year his

power increased, while the States of Greece remained inactive and

uncombined--a proof of the degeneracy of the times--certainly in regard to

self-sacrifices to secure their independence. Demosthenes plainly saw the

approaching absorption of Greece in the Macedonian dominion, unless the

States should unite for common defense; and he took every occasion to

denounce Philip, not only in Athens, but to the envoys of the different

States. The counsels of the orator were a bitter annoyance to the despot,

who sent to Athens letters of remonstrance.

At last an occasion was presented for hostilities by the refusal of

the Athenians to allow Philip to take possession of the island of

Halicarnassus, claiming the island as their own. Reprisals took place, and

Philip demanded the possession of the Hellespont and Bosphorus, and the

Greek cities on their coast, of the greatest value to Athens, since she

relied upon the possession of the straits for the unobstructed importation

of corn. The Athenians now began to realize the encroaching ambition of

Philip, and to listen to Demosthenes, who, about this time, B.C. 341,

delivered his third Philippic. From this time to the battle of Chaeronea,

the influence of Demosthenes was greater than that of any other man in

Athens, which too late listened to his warning voice. Through his

influence, Euboea was detached from Philip, and also Byzantium, and they

were brought into alliance with Athens. Philip was so much chagrined that

he laid siege to Perinthus, and marched through the Chersonese, which was

part of the Athenian territory, upon which Athens declared war. Philip, on

his side, issued a manifesto declaring his wrongs, as is usual with

conquerors, and announced his intention of revenge. The Athenians fitted

out a fleet and sent it under Chares to the Hellespont. Philip prosecuted,

on his part, the siege of Perinthus, on the Propontis, with an army of

thirty thousand men, with a great number of military engines. One of his

movable towers was one hundred and twenty feet high, so that he was able

to drive away the defenders of the walls by missiles. He succeeded in

driving the citizens of this strong town into the city, and it would have

shared the fate of Olynthus, had it not been relieved by the Byzantine and

Grecian mercenaries. Philip was baffled, after a siege of three months,

and turned his forces against Byzantium, but this town was also relieved

by the Athenians, and the inhabitants from the islands of the AEgean. These

operations lasted six mouths, and were the greatest adverses which Philip

had as yet met with. A vote of thanks was decreed by the Athenians to

Demosthenes, who had stimulated these enterprises. Philip was obliged to

withdraw from Byzantium, and retreated to attack the Scythians. An

important reform in the administration of the marine was effected by

Demosthenes, although opposed by the rich citizens and by AEschines.

While these events transpired, a new sacred war was declared by the

Amphictyonic Council against the Locrians of Amphissa, kindled by

AEschines, which more than compensated Philip for his repulse at Byzantium,

bringing advantage to him and ruin to Grecian liberty. But the Athenians

stood aloof from this suicidal war, when all the energies of Greece were

demanded to put down the encroachments of Philip. As was usual in these

intestine troubles, the weaker party invoked the aid of a foreign power,

and the Amphictyonic Assembly, intent on punishing Amphissa, sought

assistance from Philip. He, of course, accepted the invitation, and

marched south through Thermopylae, proclaiming his intention to avenge the

Delphian god. In his march he took Nicaea from the Thebans, and entered

Phocis, and converted Elatea into a permanent garrison. Hitherto he had

only proclaimed himself as a general acting under the Amphictyonic vote to

avenge the Delphian god,--now he constructed a military post in the heart

of Greece.

Thebes, ever since the battle of Leuctra, had been opposed to

Athens, and even now unfriendly relations existed between the two cities,

and Philip hoped that Thebes would act in concert with him against Athens.

But this last outrage of Philip exceedingly alarmed Athens, and

Demosthenes stood up in the Assembly to propose an embassy to Thebes with

offers of alliance. His advice was adopted, and he was dispatched with

other envoys to Thebes. The Athenian orator, in spite of the influence of

the Macedonian envoys, carried his point with the Theban Assembly, and an

alliance was formed between Thebes and Athens. The Athenian army marched

at once to Thebes, and vigorous measures were made at Athens for the

defensive war which so seriously threatened the loss of Grecian liberty.

The alliance was a great disappointment to Philip, who remained at Phocis,

and sent envoys to Sparta, inviting the Peloponnesians to join him against

Amphissa. But the Thebans and Athenians maintained their ground against

him, and even gained some advantages. Among other things, they

reconstituted the Phocian towns. The Athenians and their allies had a

force of fifteen thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, and

Demosthenes was the war minister by whom these forces were collected.

These efforts on the part of Thebes and Athens led to renewed preparations

on the part of Philip. He defeated a large body of mercenaries, and took

Amphissa. Unfortunately, the Athenians had no general able to cope with

him, and it was the work of Demosthenes merely to keep up the courage of

his countrymen and incite them to effort.

At last, in the month of August, Philip, with thirty thousand foot

and two thousand horse, met the allied Greeks at Chaeronea, the last

Boeotian town on the frontiers of Phocis. The command of the armies of the

allies was shared between the Thebans and Athenians, but their movements

were determined by a council of civilians and generals, of which

Demosthenes was the leading spirit. Philip, in this battle, which decided

the fortunes of Greece, commanded the right wing, opposed to the

Athenians, and his son Alexander, the left wing, opposed to the Thebans.

The Macedonian phalanx, organized by Philip, was sixteen deep, with

veteran soldiers in the front. The Theban "Sacred Band" was overpowered

and broken by its tremendous force, much increased by the long pikes which

projected in front of the foremost soldiers. But the battle was not gained

by the phalanx alone. The organization of the Macedonian army was perfect,

with many other sorts of troops, bodyguards, light hoplites, light

cavalry, bowmen, and slingers. One thousand Athenians were slain, and two

thousand more were made captives. The Theban loss was still greater.

Unspeakable was the grief and consternation of Athens, when the

intelligence reached her of this decisive victory. A resolution was at

once taken for a vigorous defense of the city. All citizens sent in their

contributions, and every hand was employed on the fortifications. The

temples were stripped of arms, and envoys were sent to various places for


Thebes was unable to rally, and fell into the hands of the victors,

and a Macedonian garrison was placed in the Cadmea, or citadel. From

Athens, envoys were sent to Philip for peace, which was granted on the

condition that he should be recognized as the chief of the Hellenic world.

It was a great humiliation to Athens to concede this, after having

defeated the Persian hosts, and keeping out so long all foreign

domination. But times had changed, and the military spirit had fled.

Athens was not prostrated by the battle of Chaeronea. She still retained

her navy, and her civic rights. Thebes was utterly prostrated, and never

rallied again.

Philip, having now subjugated Thebes, and constrained Athens into

submission, next proceeded to carry his arms into the Peloponnesus. He

found but little resistance, except in Laconia. The Corinthians, Argeians,

Messenians, Elians, and Arcadians submitted to his power. Even Sparta

could make but feeble resistance. He laid waste Laconia, and then convened

a congress of Grecian cities at Corinth, and announced his purpose to

undertake an expedition against the king of Persia, avenge the invasion of

Greece by Xerxes, and liberate the Asiatic Greeks. A large force of two

hundred thousand foot and fifteen thousand horse was promised him, and all

the States of Greece concurred, except Sparta, which held aloof from the

congress. Athens was required to furnish a well equipped fleet. All the

States, and all the islands, and all the cities of Greece, were now

subservient to Philip, and no one State could exercise control over its

former territories.

It was in the year B.C. 337, that this great scheme for the

invasion of Persia was concerted, which created no general enthusiasm,

since Persia was no longer a power to be feared. The only power to be

feared now was Macedonia. While preparations were going on for this

foolish and unnecessary expedition, the prime mover of it was

assassinated, and his career, so disastrous to Grecian liberty, came to an

end. It seems that he had repudiated his wife, Olympias, disgusted with

the savage impulses of her character, and married, for his last wife, for

he had several, Cleopatra, which provoked bitter dissensions among the

partisans of the two queens, and also led to a separation between himself

and his son Alexander, although a reconciliation afterward took place. It

was while celebrating the marriage of his daughter by Olympias, with

Alexander, king of Epirus, and also the birth of a son by Cleopatra, that

Pausanias, one of the royal body-guard, who nourished an implacable hatred

of Philip, chose his opportunity, and stabbed him with a short sword he

had concealed under his garment.

Alexander, the son of Philip by Olympias, was at once declared

king, whose prosecution of the schemes of his father are to be recounted

in the next chapter. Philip perished at the age of forty-seven, after a

most successful reign of twenty-three years. On his accession he found his

kingdom a narrow territory around Pella, excluded from the sea-coast. At

his death the Macedonian kingdom was the most powerful in Greece, and all

the States and cities, except Sparta, recognized its ascendency. He had

gained this great power, more from the weakness and dissensions of the

Grecian States, than from his own strength, great as were his talents. He

became the arbiter of Greece by unscrupulous perjury and perpetual

intrigues. But he was a great organizer, and created a most efficient

army. Without many accomplishments, he affected to be a patron of both

letters and religion. His private life was stained by character or

drunkenness, gambling, perfidy, and wantonness. His wives and mistresses

were as numerous as those of an Oriental despot. He was a successful man,

but it must be borne in mind that he had no opponents like Epaminondas, or

Agesilaus, or Iphicrates. Demosthenes was his great opponent, but only in

counsels and speech. The generals of Athens, and Sparta, and Thebes had

passed away, and with the decline of military spirit, it is not remarkable

that Philip should have ascended to a height from which he saw the Grecian

world suppliant at his feet.