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Friday, April 24, 2009

King Philip II of Macedonia

King Philip led many campaigns across Greece before confronting the Persians. He was a stern man, a believing strength came from discipline.
Philip allowed the sons of nobles to receive education in the court of the king. Here the sons would not only develop a fierce loyalty for the king, but it was also a way for Philip to, in a sense, hold the children hostage to keep their parents from interfering with his authority. He also gave more people positions of power and more of a sense of belonging to the kingdom.

His primary method of creating alliances and strengthening loyalties was through marriage. In 357 BC he married Olympia, from the royal house of Molossia, and a year later they had a son, Alexander. (Later became Alexander the Great)

Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire.

In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, by one of his seven bodyguards. His son took command and continued his father's campaign.

Philip raised a great army of full time soldiers who were paid well and battle ready at all times. The monies came largely from gold and silver mines conifscated after battle.

The introduction of the phalanx infantry corps was one of his biggest innovations. A phalanx was the poistioning of the army in a rectangular formation which guarded against loss from the enemy. Those in front and in back were armed with very long spears, called a sarissa. 15 feet long, the sarissa had bronze/iron leaf shaped spear heads at the end and a "foot" or shoe along the shaft so the spear could be mounted into the ground (also known as a butt-spike) that would allow it to be anchored to the ground to stop charges by enemy soldiers.

This shoe also served to balance out the spear, making it easier for soldiers to wield. The advantage to this weapon was the enemy had to get past the sarissas to engage the soldiers. However, outside the tight formation of the Phalanx the sarissa would have been almost useless as a weapon as it was bulky and difficult to carry on the march.


Mary Ricksen said...

I love a blog that gives me a little historical information.
I didn't know any of this, thanks for an informative blog.
Interesting stuff!

Jen Childers said...

Gonna take the easy way out with historical moms this week, then I will advance through history with weapons.
take care,