King Philip II of Macedonia

Portrait of Philip II of Macedon
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

King Phillip II of Macedon reigned as King of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC until he was assassinated in 336 BC.

King Phillip II was a member of the Argead dynasty. He was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice I. Both of Phillip II’s older brothers, King Alexander II and Periddiccas III, died, thus allowing Phillip II to claim the throne of King as his own.

King Phillip II was the father of Phillip III and Alexander the Great. He had many wives, although the exact number is disputed. The most famous of his unions was with Olympias. Together they had Alexander the Great.

Military Prowess

King Phillip II is noted for his military savvy. According to ancient history professor, Donald L. Wasson

“Although he is often only remembered for being the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II of Macedon (reigned 359 BCE - 336 BCE) was an accomplished king and military commander in his own right, setting the stage for his son’s victory over Darius III and the conquest of Persia. Philip inherited a weak, backward country with an ineffective, undisciplined army and molded them into a formidable, efficient military force, eventually subduing the territories around Macedonia as well as subjugating most of Greece. He used bribery, warfare, and threats to secure his kingdom. However, without his insight and determination, history would never have heard of Alexander.”

King Phillip's Assassination

King Phillip II was assassinated in October of 33 BC at Aegae, which was the capital of Macedon. A large gathering was taking place to celebrate the marriage of Phillip II’s daughter, Cleopatra of Macedon and Alexander I of Epirus. While at the gathering, King Phillip II was killed by Pausanias of Oretis, who was one of his bodyguards.

Pausanias of Oretis immediately tried to escape after murdering Phillip II. He had associates stationed directly outside of Aegae who were waiting for him to make an escape. However, he was pursued, eventually caught, and killed by other members of King Phillip II’s bodyguard crew.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was the son of Phillip II and Olympias. Like his father, Alexander the Great was a member of the Argead dynasty. He was born in Pella in 356 BC and eventually went on to supplant his father, Phillip II, on the throne of Macedon at the young age of twenty. He followed in his father’s footsteps, basing his rule around military conquests and expansion. He focused on expansion for his empire throughout Asia and Africa. By the age of thirty, ten years after he had taken over the throne, Alexander the Great had created one of the largest empires in the entire ancient world.

Alexander the Great is said to have been undefeated in battle and is remembered as one of the greatest, strongest, and most successful military generals of all time. Over the course of his reign, he founded and established many cities that were named after him, the most famous of which being Alexandria in Egypt.

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Gill, N.S. "King Philip II of Macedonia." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Gill, N.S. (2023, April 5). King Philip II of Macedonia. Retrieved from Gill, N.S. "King Philip II of Macedonia." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).