Rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire (II)

As we remember from previous episode of “Rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire” Macedonia was chased into corner, but predator is always most dangerous in such situation. 

Around 358 B.C. Paionian king has died. Philip saw this as a chance and took it. He marched into Paionia with his new trained Phalanx and smashed their army. After his victory Philip forced tribe to swear allegiance to the Macedonian throne forever. Facing destruction they agreed, allowing Philip to strengthen his army.

After he successfully fused two armies together, he marched into north-western part of Macedonia, still occupied by Dardanians as a part of their old treaty. Deaf to the words of the diplomats, he refused to restore status quo, instead of breaking arrangements that he proposed previously. Macedonians and Dardanians met in Erigon Valley near Monastyr. More than twenty thousand people were involved in the battle . Dardanians were crushed. They didn’t expect heavy phalanx- so different from previous Macedonia’s formations. Their tactic was helpless against it. After their defeat Dardanians fully withdrew from Macedonia. Philip restored his reign on north-west region of his country, capturing also some terrains of his adversary. Another perk that came from victory was new alliance with tribe of Epirotes- the sworn enemy of Dardania.

At his southern boarder there was the Thessalian League. A country struggling with civil war, being result of ferocious fight for the throne. Aleuadae- one of the most influential family in Thessaly, asked for the help from Philip. His appearance on the politic court, disturbed balance of power allowing Aleuadae to gain upper hand against their rival family- Pherae. But instead allowing one family to take the throne and gain power, Philip took new wives from both of them securing his alliance with all of Thessaly. With this he gained the best cavalry in Hellas, and was able to mine resources in rich in minerals mountain-side country.

Next aim of the Macedonian king was to secure his eastern flank. As we remember previously he withdrew all his claims to the city of Amphipolis as a part of deal that he made with Athens. Now he marched towards it announcing loudly that after he conquer the city, he would hand it over under jurisdiction of Athens. Amphipolis was a strategic point, being able to control few important trade routes, also having access to large forests which had wood perfect for building ships, and also access to mount Pangaion- which contained great deposits of gold and silver. After capturing the city he kept it for himself, thus he still kept saying that it’s just a small delay in transferring the city under Athenian control.

During siege of Amphipolis he established an alliance with Chalkidian League, as part of the treaty offering them city of Potidea- a city on the league border being under control of Athens. After victory he marched on Pytna- yet another Athenian city in Macedonia, capturing it without many effort, due to social war that Athens were currently involved on it’s own territory. Later he kept his promise to Ckalidian League and conquered Potidea handing it over to them. That was the moment when Athens realised how big of a danger Philip is.

Afterwards Philip focused entirely on his northern neighbours- Illyrians and Thracians, which currently were at alliance with Athens. Due to the fact that Athens were still involved in social war, they were unable to send help north. Two armies of Macedonia, one under Philip, other under Parmenion, marched forward, conquering one army after another, and capturing more and more cities. After a year, both Illyrians and Thracians sweared allegiance to the throne of Macedonia.

At last Philip could focus on Methone- the last Athens possession in Macedonia. During long siege Philip lost his eye, hit by an arrow. Eventually, unable to capture it by force, Philip allowed citizen’s to leave their city alive, with only the clothes that they had on them.

5 years after Philip ascension, Macedonia turned from small irrelevant country, that no one cares about, into main political and military force of northern Greece. He re-trained the army, built a fleet that Macedonia never had before, restored it’s economy and reduced Athens influence in the region to zero.

 Stay tuned for next episodes of the “Rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire”.

 -by Blaise L.-