Philip II of Macedonia ruled from 359-336 B.C.E. Without the military and political efforts of Philip, Alexander would never have been as successful as he was. According to Bosworth, Philip's work with the Macedonian army and establishment of alliances with the Balkan peoples gave both himself and Alexander the resources necessary to carry out such conquests.

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.

According to the ancient source Diodorus, Philip was hosting a massive banquet as a going away party before he left for Asia. Leading the procession into the theater on the second day, were thirteen statues, twelve of the Olympian gods and one of Philip. Philip wanted his march into the theater to be triumphant, and so he asked his bodyguards to stand back and out of the way to show to his people that he had nothing to fear. At that very moment, however, a man named Pausanias rushed forward from the crowd and stuck a dagger in Philip's chest. During his escape, Pausanias tripped and...

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