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Philip II


Tetradrachm 355-348 BC. 14,37 g. Amphipolis Head of Zeus, laureate, to right / FILIP-POU King wearing kausia and chlamys and raising r. hand in salute, riding left; below, erased protome of pegsos, before bow. This commemorates Philip's victory in the horse race at Olympia in 356 BC . LeRider 164. (D75/R135)., VF-EF, ex Ritter Aug 2006 Philip came to power in 359 B.C.E. after the Macedonians had just suffered a defeat at the hands of the Illyrians. Macedonia was in political and military turmoil, and Philip immediately set about bringing the people of Macedonia under his control. After exacting revenge on the Illyrians by defeating them in 358 B.C.E., Philip sought to bring all of Upper Macedonia under his control and make them loyal to him. His primary method of creating alliances and strengthening loyalties was through marriage. The most important marriage for Philip was to Olympias, from the royal house of Molossia. By 357 B.C.E., they were married, and she gave birth to Alexander the next year. Philip's military zenith was at the battle at Chaeronea in August of 338 B.C.E. Philip's army was greatly outnumbered by the Athenian and Theban forces, yet his phalanxes overwhelmed the Athenians and Thebans. Athens and Thebes were forced to become subjects of Philip and Macedonia, leaving Sparta as the only Greek state not under Macedonian control. At the Council at Corinth the next year, Philip outlined his system for ruling the Greek states. He gave freedom and autonomy to all the political parties in each state, yet established a network of bureaucracies that would be stable and loyal to Philip. Then, with the support of all Greece, Philip declared war on Persia to retaliate for the Persian invasion of Greece several generations before. In the spring of 336 B.C.E., Philip sent Attalus and Parmenion with 10,000 troops over into Asia Minor to begin liberating Greek cities along the coast. Just before Philip himself was to travel to Asia to begin the conquest, he was assassinated. Philip II had employed Celtic and other Balkan ‘barbarian’ mercenaries in his army, a fact which led gradually to the transfusion of large amounts of silver and gold coins in the Balkans (and in the central Europe), paid by Philip and later by his successors as soldiers’ wages. That prestigious currency and the growing familiarity with its use led several eastern Celtic tribes to mint, from the late 4th - early 3rd cent. BC onwards, imitative coinages of their own, based on the coin types of Philip II. This influence had far-reaching consequences in the European monetary affairs.

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