Epaminondas was a Theban general and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a pre-eminent position in Greek politics. In the process he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helots, a group of Peloponnesian Greeks, enslaved under Spartan rule for some 230 years after being defeated in the Messenian War ending in 600 BC. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, supervised the construction of entire cities, he was militarily influential and invented and implemented several major battlefield tactics. Cicero called him "the first man of Greece", Montaigne judged him one of the three "worthiest and most excellent men" that had lived, but Epaminondas has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times; the changes Epaminondas wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated.
A mere twenty-seven years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas—who had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator—is today remembered for a decade of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great city-states and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest; the life of Epaminondas is poorly attested in the ancient sources compared to some of his near contemporaries. One principal reason for this is the loss of Plutarch's biography of him. Epaminondas was one of 50 ancient figures given an extensive biography by Plutarch in his Parallel Lives, in which he is paired with the Roman statesman Scipio Africanus. Plutarch was writing over 400 years after Epaminondas's death and is therefore much a secondary source, but he explicitly names his sources, which allows some degree of verification of his statements; some episodes of Epaminondas's life can be found in Plutarch's "Lives" of Pelopidas and Agesilaus II, who were contemporaries.
There is a surviving biography of Epaminondas by the Roman author Cornelius Nepos from the first century BC which, in the absence of Plutarch's, becomes a major source for Epaminondas's life. The period of Greek history from 411–362 BC is attested by the historian Xenophon, who evidently saw his work as continuation of Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War. Xenophon, who idolized Sparta and its king, avoids mentioning Epaminondas wherever possible and does not note his presence at the Battle of Leuctra. Epaminondas's role in the conflicts of the 4th century is described by Diodorus Siculus, in his Bibliotheca historica. Diodorus was writing in the 1st century BC, is very much a secondary source, though useful for corroborating details found elsewhere. Epaminondas was born into the Theban aristocracy in the late 5th century BC. Cornelius Nepos claims that his father, had been left impoverished by his ancestors, he was educated in his childhood by Lysis of Tarentum, one of the last major Pythagorean philosophers.
Epaminondas excelled as a student, was devoted to Lysis. Nepos tells us that the young Epaminondas worked hard to increase his physical prowess, his agility, since "he thought that strength suited the purposes of wrestlers, but that agility conduced to excellence in war." He trained in running and wrestling, but most of all, he undertook "martial exercises". Epaminondas began serving as a soldier after adolescence. Though not explicitly stated, this was the Spartan attack on Mantinea in 385 BC, as described by Xenophon. Epaminondas was not old enough to have served at the First Battle of Mantinea, in 418 BC, it was at this battle, regardless of when and where this occurred, that a defining moment of Epaminondas's early life would happen. Epaminondas saved the life of his fellow Theban Pelopidas, and now he too was in a sorry plight, having been wounded in the breast with a spear and in the arm with a sword, when Agesipolis the Spartan king came to his aid from the other wing, when all hope was lost, saved them both.
Plutarch says that this incident cemented their friendship, Pelopidas would be Epaminondas's partner in politics for the next twenty years. Epaminondas was considered the greatest warrior-statesmen of ancient Thebes by many, including the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus. Diodorus does not have anything to say about the sexual orientation of Epaminondas or the Sacred Band, nor does he say anything about the following account, again from Plutarch. According to Plutarch's dramatic dialogue, Epaminondas had two male lovers: Asopichus and Caphisodorus, they were buried together, something reserved for a husband and wife in Greek society. Epaminondas lived at a turbulent point in Greek history. Following the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC
The Achaemenid Empire called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, the development of civil services and a large professional army; the empire's successes inspired similar systems in empires. By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire.
Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time; the Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire. The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon; the historical mark of the empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social and religious influences as well. Despite the lasting conflict between the two states, many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by or allied to the Persian kings; the impact of Cyrus's edict is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts, the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
The empire set the tone for the politics and history of Iran. The term Achaemenid means "of the family of the Achaemenis/Achaemenes". Achaemenes was himself a minor seventh-century ruler of the Anshan in southwestern Iran, a vassal of Assyria. Astronomical year numbering Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Persian nation contains a number of tribes as listed here....: the Pasargadae and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dai, Dropici, being nomadic; the Achaemenid Empire was created by nomadic Persians. The name "Persia" is a Greek and Latin pronunciation of the native word referring to the country of the people originating from Persis; the Persians were an Iranian people who arrived in what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and settled a region including north-western Iran, the Zagros Mountains and Persis alongside the native Elamites.
For a number of centuries they fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. The Persians were nomadic pastoralists in the western Iranian Plateau and by 850 BC were calling themselves the Parsa and their shifting territory Parsua, for the most part localized around Persis; the Achaemenid Empire was not the first Iranian empire, as the Medes, another group of Iranian peoples, established a short-lived empire and played a major role in the overthrow of the Assyrian. The Achaemenids were rulers of the Elamite city of Anshan near the modern city of Marvdasht. There are conflicting accounts of the identities of the earliest Kings of Anshan. According to the Cyrus Cylinder the kings of Anshan were Teispes, Cyrus I, Cambyses I and Cyrus II known as Cyrus the Great, who created the empire. In Herodotus' Histories, he writes that Cyrus the Great was the son of Cambyses I and Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, the king of the Median Empire. Cyrus revolted against the Median Empire in 553 BC, in 550 BC succeeded in defeating the Medes, capturing Astyages and taking the Median capital city of Ecbatana.
Once in control of Ecbatana, Cyrus styled himself as the successor to Astyages and assumed control of the entire empire. By inheriting Astyages' empire, he inherited the territorial conflicts the Medes had had with both Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. King Croesus of Lydia sought to take advantage of the new international situation by advancing into what had been Median territory in Asia Minor. Cyrus led a counterattack which not only fought off Croesus' armies, but led to the capture of Sardis and the fall of the Lydian Kingdom in 546 BC. Cyrus placed Pactyes in charge of collecting tribute in Lydia and left, but once Cyrus had left Pactyes instigated a rebellion against Cyrus. Cyrus sent the Median general Mazares to deal with the rebellion, Pactyes was captured. Mazares, aft
Artaxerxes III Ochus of Persia was the eleventh emperor of the Achaemenid Empire, as well as the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. He was succeeded by his son, Arses of Persia, his reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Nectanebo II in Egypt. In his Historia Scholastica Petrus Comestor identified Artaxerxes III as the successor of Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes was a commander of his father's army. Artaxerxes came to power after one of his brothers was executed, another committed suicide, the last murdered and his father, Artaxerxes II died. Soon after becoming king, Artaxerxes murdered all of the royal family to secure his place as king, he started two major campaigns against Egypt. The first campaign failed, was followed up by rebellions throughout the western part of his empire. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes defeated Nectanebo II, the Pharaoh of Egypt, driving him from Egypt, stopping a revolt in Phoenicia on the way. In Artaxerxes' years, Philip II of Macedon's power was increasing in Greece, where he tried to convince the Greeks to revolt against the Achaemenid Empire.
His activities were opposed by Artaxerxes, with his support, the city of Perinthus resisted a Macedonian siege. There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis in his life, where Artaxerxes erected a new palace and built his own tomb, began long-term projects such as the Unfinished Gate. Artaxerxes III was the throne name adopted by Ochus when he succeeded his father in 358 BC, he is referred to as Ochus, but in modern Iran he is known as Ardeshir III. In Babylonian inscriptions he is called "Umasu, called Artakshatsu"; the same form of the name occurs in the Syrian version of the Canon of Kings by Elias of Nusaybin. Before ascending the throne Artaxerxes had been a commander of his father's army. In 359 BC, just before ascending the throne, he attacked Egypt as a reaction to Egypt's failed attacks on coastal regions of Phoenicia. In 358 BC his father, Artaxerxes II, died, it was said to be because of a broken heart caused by his children's behaviour, since his other sons, Darius and Tiribazus had been eliminated by plots, Artaxerxes III succeeded him as king.
His first order was the execution of over 80 of his nearest relations to secure his place as king. In 355 BC, Artaxerxes forced Athens to conclude a peace which required the city's forces to leave Anatolia and to acknowledge the independence of its rebellious allies. Artaxerxes started a campaign against the rebellious Cadusii, but he managed to appease both of the Cadusian kings. One individual who emerged from this campaign was Darius Codomannus, who occupied the Persian throne as Darius III. Artaxerxes ordered the disbanding of all the satrapal armies of Asia Minor, as he felt that they could no longer guarantee peace in the west and was concerned that these armies equipped the western satraps with the means to revolt; the order was however ignored by Artabazus II, satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, who asked for the help of Athens in a rebellion against the king. Athens sent assistance. Artabazos was at first supported by Chares, an Athenian general, his mercenaries, whom he rewarded generously.
The gold coinage of Artabazos is thought to have been issued to reward the troops of Chares. The Satrap of Mysia, Orontes I supported Artabazus. Artabazos was supported by the Thebans, who sent him 5,000 men under Pammenes. With the assistance of these and other allies, Artabazos defeated the King in two great battles in 354 BC. However, in 353 BC, they were disbanded. Orontes was pardoned by the king, while Artabazus fled with his family to the safety of the court of Philip II of Macedon, where he remained from 352 to 342. In around 351 BC, Artaxerxes embarked on a campaign to recover Egypt, which had revolted under his father, Artaxerxes II. At the same time a rebellion had broken out in Asia Minor, being supported by Thebes, threatened to become serious. Levying a vast army, Artaxerxes marched into Egypt, engaged Nectanebo II. After a year of fighting the Egyptian Pharaoh, Nectanebo inflicted a crushing defeat on the Persians with the support of mercenaries led by the Greek generals: the Athenian Diophantus and the Spartan Lamius.
Artaxerxes was compelled to postpone his plans to reconquer Egypt. Soon after this Egyptian defeat, Phoenicia and Cyprus declared their independence from Persian rule. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes committed responsibility for the suppression of the Cyprian rebels to Idrieus, prince of Caria, who employed 8000 Greek mercenaries and forty triremes, commanded by Phocion the Athenian, Evagoras, son of the elder Evagoras, the Cypriot monarch. Idrieus succeeded in reducing Cyprus. Artaxerxes initiated a counter-offensive against Sidon by commanding the satrap of Syria Belesys and Mazaeus, the satrap of Cilicia, to invade the city and to keep the Phoenicians in check. Both satraps suffered crushing defeats at the hands of Tennes, the Sidonese king, aided by 40,000 Greek mercenaries sent to him by Nectanebo II and commanded by Mentor of Rhodes; as a result, the Persian forces were driven out of Phoenicia. After this, Artaxerxes led an army of 330,000 men against Sidon. Artaxerxes' army comprised 300,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalry, 300 triremes, 500 tra
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece, a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his first-hand observations; this work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology. Andrew Stewart assesses him as: A careful, pedestrian writer...interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is careless or makes unwarranted inferences, his guides or his own notes sometimes mislead him, yet his honesty is unquestionable, his value without par. Pausanias was born in 110 AD into a Greek family and was a native of Lydia. Before visiting Greece, he had been to Antioch and Jerusalem, to the banks of the River Jordan. In Egypt, he had seen the pyramids. While at the temple of Ammon, he had been shown the hymn once sent to that shrine by Pindar. In Macedonia, he appears to have seen.
Crossing over to Italy, he had seen something of the wonders of Rome. He was one of the first known to write of seeing the ruins of Troy, Alexandria Troas, Mycenae. Pausanias' Description of Greece is in each dedicated to some portion of Greece, he begins his tour in Attica, where the city of its demes dominate the discussion. Subsequent books describe Corinthia, Messenia, Achaea, Boetia and Ozolian Locris; the project is more than topographical. Pausanias digresses from the description of architectural and artistic objects to review the mythological and historical underpinnings of the society that produced them; as a Greek writing under the auspices of the Roman empire, he was in an awkward cultural space, between the glories of the Greek past he was so keen to describe and the realities of a Greece beholden to Rome as a dominating imperial force. His work bears the marks of his attempt to navigate that space and establish an identity for Roman Greece, he is not a naturalist by any means, although from time to time, he does comment on the physical realities of the Greek landscape.
He notices the pine trees on the sandy coast of Elis, the deer and the wild boars in the oak woods of Phelloe, the crows amid the giant oak trees of Alalcomenae. It is in the last section that Pausanias touches on the products of nature, such as the wild strawberries of Helicon, the date palms of Aulis, the olive oil of Tithorea, as well as the tortoises of Arcadia and the "white blackbirds" of Cyllene. Pausanias is most of Delphi, yet in the most secluded regions of Greece, he is fascinated by all kinds of depictions of deities, holy relics, many other sacred and mysterious objects. At Thebes he views the shields of those who died at the Battle of Leuctra, the ruins of the house of Pindar, the statues of Hesiod, Arion and Orpheus in the grove of the Muses on Helicon, as well as the portraits of Corinna at Tanagra and of Polybius in the cities of Arcadia. Pausanias has the instincts of an antiquary; as his modern editor, Christian Habicht, has said, In general, he prefers the old to the new, the sacred to the profane.
Some magnificent and dominating structures, such as the Stoa of King Attalus in the Athenian Agora or the Exedra of Herodes Atticus at Olympia are not mentioned. Unlike a Baedeker guide, in Periegesis Pausanias stops for a brief excursus on a point of ancient ritual or to tell an apposite myth, in a genre that would not become popular again until the early nineteenth century. In the topographical part of his work, Pausanias is fond of digressions on the wonders of nature, the signs that herald the approach of an earthquake, the phenomena of the tides, the ice-bound seas of the north, the noonday sun that at the summer solstice, casts no shadow at Syene. While he never doubts the existence of the deities and heroes, he sometimes criticizes the myths and legends relating to them, his descriptions of monuments of art are unadorned. They bear the impression of reality, their accuracy is confirmed by the extant remains, he is frank in his confessions of ignorance. When he quotes a book at second hand he takes pains to say so.
The work left faint traces in the known Greek corpus. "It was not read", Habicht relates. The only manuscripts of Pausanias are three fifteenth-century copies, full of errors and lacunae, which all appear to depend on a single manuscript that survived to be copied. Niccolò Niccoli had this archetype in Florence in 1418. At his death in 1437, it went to the library of San Marco, Florence it disappeared after 1500; until twentieth-century archaeologists concluded that Pausanias was a reliable guide to the sites they were excavating, Pausanias was la
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology is an encyclopedia/biographical dictionary. Edited by William Smith, the dictionary spans 3,700 pages, it is a classic work of 19th-century lexicography. The work is a companion to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography; the work lists thirty-five authors in addition to the editor, an author for some definitions and articles. The authors were classical scholars from Oxford, Rugby School, the University of Bonn, but some were from other institutions. Many of the mythological entries were the work of the German expatriate Leonhard Schmitz, who helped to popularise German classical scholarship in Britain. With respect to biographies, Smith intended to be comprehensive. In the preface, he writes:The biographical articles in this work include the names of all persons of any importance which occur in the Greek and Roman writers, from the earliest times down to the extinction of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era, to the extinction of the Eastern Empire by the capture of Constantinople by the turks in the year 1453.
Samuel Sharpe thought Edward Bunbury had plagiarised his work, as he wrote of in his diary entry on 3 September 1850: I felt mortified on reading the articles on the Ptolemies in Dr. Smith's "Dictionary of Classical Biography." They were all written by E. H. Bunbury with the help of my "History of Egypt," and with-out any acknowledgment, though he borrowed the volume from my brother Dan for the purpose. Many of the Dictionary's definitions and articles have been referred to in more recent works, Robert Graves has been accused of "lifting his impressive-looking source references straight, unchecked" from it when writing The Greek Myths; the work is now in the public domain, is available in several places on the Internet. While still accurate, much is missing more recent discoveries and epigraphic material. More the context in which ancient evidence is viewed has changed in the intervening century and a half. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Vol. I online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. II online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. III online at University of Michigan Library; the Internet Archive has a derivative work: Smith, William. A new classical dictionary of biography and geography based on the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology.". London: Murray. Anthon, Charles. A new classical dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and geography: based upon the Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology by William Smith. New York: Harper and Brothers
Diodorus Siculus or Diodorus of Sicily was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica, much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC, it is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Europe; the second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning ` library', acknowledges. According to his own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily. With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about his life and doings beyond in his work. Only Jerome, in his Chronicon under the "year of Abraham 1968", writes, "Diodorus of Sicily, a writer of Greek history, became illustrious". However, his English translator, Charles Henry Oldfather, remarks on the "striking coincidence" that one of only two known Greek inscriptions from Agyrium is the tombstone of one "Diodorus, the son of Apollonius".
Diodorus' universal history, which he named Bibliotheca historica, was immense and consisted of 40 books, of which 1–5 and 11–20 survive: fragments of the lost books are preserved in Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. It was divided into three sections; the first six books treated the mythic history of the non-Hellenic and Hellenic tribes to the destruction of Troy and are geographical in theme, describe the history and culture of Ancient Egypt, of Mesopotamia, India and Arabia, of North Africa, of Greece and Europe. In the next section, he recounts the history of the world from the Trojan War down to the death of Alexander the Great; the last section concerns the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgment that he was assembling a composite work from many sources. Identified authors on whose works he drew include Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Philistus, Timaeus and Posidonius.
His account of gold mining in Nubia in eastern Egypt is one of the earliest extant texts on the topic, describes in vivid detail the use of slave labour in terrible working conditions. He gave an account of the Gauls: "The Gauls are terrifying in aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh, they are boasters and threateners and are fond of pompous language, yet they have sharp wits and are not without cleverness at learning." Pliny the Elder Strabo Acadine Ambaglio, Franca Landucci Gattinoni and Luigi Bravi. Diodoro Siculo: Biblioteca storica: commento storico: introduzione generale. Storia. Ricerche. Milano: V&P, 2008. X, 145 p. Buckley, Terry. Aspects of Greek History 750-323 BC: A Source-based Approach. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09958-7. Lloyd, Alan B.. Herodotus, Book II. Leiden: Brill. Pp. Introduction. ISBN 90-04-04179-6. Siculus, Diodorus. H.. Library of History: Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. Siculus, Diodorus. Rhodomannus; the Historical Library of Diodorus the Sicilian in Fifteen Books to which are added the Fragments of Diodorus.
London: J. Davis. Downloadable via Google Books. Siculi, Diodori. Bibliothecae Historicae Libri Qui Supersunt: Nova Editio. Argentorati: Societas Bipontina. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Downloadable via Google Books. Clarke, Katherine. 1999. "Universal perspectives in Historiography." In The Limits of Historiography: Genre and Narrative in Ancient Historical Texts. Edited by Christina Shuttleworth Kraus, 249–279. Mnemosyne. Supplementum 191. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. Hammond, Nicholas G. L. 1998. "Portents and Dreams in Diodorus’ Books 14–17." Greek and Byzantine Studies 39.4: 407–428. McQueen, Earl I. 1995. Diodorus Siculus; the Reign of Philip II: The Greek and Macedonian Narrative from Book XVI. A Companion. London: Bristol Classical Press. Muntz, Charles E. 2017. Diodorus Siculus and the World of the Late Roman Republic. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. Pfuntner, Laura. 2015. "Reading Diodorus through Photius: The Case of the Sicilian Slave Revolts." Greek and Byzantine Studies 55.1: 256–272. Rubincam, Catherine.
1987. "The Organization and Composition of Diodorus’ Bibliotheke." Échos du monde classique 31:313–328. Sacks, Kenneth S. 1990. Diodorus Siculus and the First Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. Sinclair, Robert K. 1963. "Diodorus Siculus and the Writing of History." Proceedings of the African Classical Association 6:36–45. Stronk, Jan P. 2017. Semiramis’ Legacy; the History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press. Sulimani, Iris. 2008. "Diodorus’ Source-Citations: A Turn in the Attitu
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon was the king of the kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead dynasty of Macedonian kings, the third son of King Amyntas III of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great and Philip III; the rise of Macedon, its conquest and political consolidation of most of Classical Greece during the reign of Philip II was achieved in part by his reformation of the Ancient Macedonian army, establishing the Macedonian phalanx that proved critical in securing victories on the battlefield. After defeating the Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Philip II led the effort to establish a federation of Greek states known as the League of Corinth, with him as the elected hegemon and commander-in-chief of Greece for a planned invasion of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. However, his assassination by a royal bodyguard, Pausanias of Orestis, led to the immediate succession of his son Alexander, who would go on to invade the Achaemenid Empire in his father's stead.
Philip was the youngest son of the king Amyntas III and Eurydice I. In his youth, Philip was held as a hostage in Illyria under Bardylis and was held in Thebes, the leading city of Greece. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, became eromenos of Pelopidas, lived with Pammenes, an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedon; the deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, the son of Perdiccas III, Philip succeeded in taking the kingdom for himself that same year. Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success, he first had to remedy a predicament, worsened by the defeat against the Illyrians in which King Perdiccas himself had died. The Paionians and the Thracians had sacked and invaded the eastern regions of Macedonia, while the Athenians had landed, at Methoni on the coast, a contingent under a Macedonian pretender called Argeus.
Using diplomacy, Philip pushed back the Paionians and Thracians promising tributes, crushed the 3,000 Athenian hoplites. Momentarily free from his opponents, he concentrated on strengthening his internal position and, above all, his army, his most important innovation was doubtless the introduction of the phalanx infantry corps, armed with the famous sarissa, an exceedingly long spear, at the time the most important army corps in Macedonia. Philip had married great-granddaughter of the Illyrian king of Dardania, Bardyllis. However, this did not prevent him from marching against the Illyrians in 358 and crushing them in a ferocious battle in which some 7,000 Illyrians died. By this move, Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid and earned the favour of the Epirotes; the Athenians had been unable to conquer Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. So Philip reached an agreement with Athens to lease the city to them after its conquest, in exchange for Pydna.
However, after conquering Amphipolis, Philip kept both cities. As Athens had declared war against him, he allied Macedon with the Chalkidian League of Olynthus, he subsequently conquered Potidaea, this time keeping his word and ceding it to the League in 356. In 357 BC, Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, the daughter of the king of the Molossians. Alexander was born in 356, the same year as Philip's racehorse won at the Olympic Games. During 356 BC, Philip changed its name to Philippi, he established a powerful garrison there to control its mines, which yielded much of the gold he used for his campaigns. In the meantime, his general Parmenion defeated the Illyrians again. In 355–354 he besieged Methone, the last city on the Thermaic Gulf controlled by Athens. During the siege, Philip was injured in his right eye, removed surgically. Despite the arrival of two Athenian fleets, the city fell in 354. Philip attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian coast. Philip was involved in the Third Sacred War which had begun in Greece in 356.
In summer 353 he invaded Thessaly. The latter however defeated Philip in the two succeeding battles. Philip returned to Thessaly the next summer, this time with an army of 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry including all Thessalian troops. In the Battle of Crocus Field 6,000 Phocians fell, while 3,000 were taken as prisoners and drowned; this battle earned Philip immense prestige, as well as the free acquisition of Pherae. Philip was tagus of Thessaly, he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae. Philip did not attempt to advance into Central Greece because the Athenians, unable to arrive in time to defend Pagasae, had occupied Thermopylae. There were no hostilities with Athens yet, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again travel south, he was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus.
To the chief of these coastal cities, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighbouring cities were in his hands. In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus, apart from its strategic position, housed his relatives Arrhidaeus and Menelaus, pretenders to the Macedonian throne. Olynthus had at first allied itself with Philip, but