Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Discuss Philip's achievements and Macedonia pre-Alexander

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amyntoros
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Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by amyntoros »

No, that's not my statement (although it is a good subject for debate) but the title of a new book by Richard A. Gabriel.

Here's the link to the BMCR Review. Should be an interesting read and I'd like to see how it compares to Ian Worthington's Philip II of Macedonia.

The most provocative statement in the review is this: "Here Gabriel argues that it was the Persian King who was behind Philip’s murder and rejects the idea that Alexander was behind his father’s death (240-42)." It's not a new argument and I'm not sure how convincing it may be in this book. Am curious to find out.

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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by marcus »

amyntoros wrote:No, that's not my statement (although it is a good subject for debate) but the title of a new book by Richard A. Gabriel.

Here's the link to the BMCR Review. Should be an interesting read and I'd like to see how it compares to Ian Worthington's Philip II of Macedonia.

The most provocative statement in the review is this: "Here Gabriel argues that it was the Persian King who was behind Philip’s murder and rejects the idea that Alexander was behind his father’s death (240-42)." It's not a new argument and I'm not sure how convincing it may be in this book. Am curious to find out.
Thanks for this. It looks interesting. I didn't know about Richard A. Gabriel, but his credentials as a military historian seem to be decent enough.

I worry a little about the accusation that the Persians were involved in Philip's death, feasible though it might be. Yes, I would have to read what he has to say on the matter. I hope he doesn't present it as Persia or Alexander, without any other possibilities considered; that would be far too simplistic and would turn me off (although I'd have read most of the book before I got to that bit, anyway :-)).

Put it on my wish list, anyway - I can't afford it at the moment.

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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

Sounds like the title is a bit of a selling point. I hope there is not too much emphasis on comparing the two. Philip was great enough to not always be eclipsed by the giant shadow cast by Alexander. And comparing the two does that as well. Alexander obviously couldn't have done what he did without Philips foundation. But that's how kingdoms usually work anyway. I don't imagine we would be reading too much about Philip if Alexander didn't do what he did.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by marcus »

spitamenes wrote:Sounds like the title is a bit of a selling point. I hope there is not too much emphasis on comparing the two. Philip was great enough to not always be eclipsed by the giant shadow cast by Alexander. And comparing the two does that as well. Alexander obviously couldn't have done what he did without Philips foundation. But that's how kingdoms usually work anyway. I don't imagine we would be reading too much about Philip if Alexander didn't do what he did.
I would say that the title is most definitely a marketing ploy. One doesn't need to compare the two in order to appreciate Philip, but as he is indeed less well known than Alexander, what better way to sell the books than to suggest that he was greater than Alexander? But comparisons are odious, anyway - they had different approaches, dealing with very different issues. Alexander might have failed to achieve in Greece what Philip did achieve; conversely, Philip might not have been able to achieve what Alexander did ... but neither makes one greater than the other, in my opinion.

I just hope that people will be led to a greater understanding of what Philip *did* achieve, so long as (as you say) there isn't actually too much emphasis on comparison ... which, from the information I've read about the book, there isn't.

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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by marcus »

And, further to this - has anyone read Worthington's book on Demosthenes?

Is it any good?

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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

spitamenes wrote: I don't imagine we would be reading too much about Philip if Alexander didn't do what he did.
And to be fair, I don't imagine we would be reading too much about Alexander if Philip didn't do what he did.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by bessusww »

Greater..

I thinks its relative..Maybe I do appreciate Alexanders greatness,,,But I would way had not Philip been killed I would say he would have got upto and beyond Issus...I think we could argue would Philip have taken Darius offer prior to Gaugamella,,,Maybe so I think Philip less brash and in a rush as Alexander.

As Marcus rightly points out they must both be taken on merrit but in some instances it takes a shift...We could argue were Philip to have lived as long as Parmenio then the scope for Alexander would have been pretty narrow.

Of coarse Alexander did over shadow Philip only because Philip came to a premature end...As a reader and apreciative of Alexander as a king ruler and general...I'm maybe in a inority that thinks Alexander complicit in his fathers death,,,common sense says Philip had to die or he Alexander would be historically relegated to A secondary rather flamboyant commander in Philips army
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

bessusww wrote: Of coarse Alexander did over shadow Philip only because Philip came to a premature end...
I don't believe so. I think Alexander overshadows Philip because Alexander was the one who conquered a then unbelievable amount of land, not Philip. Alexander seemed to be extreemely charismatic. And even though it didn't work out as planned in the long run, he had callisthenes there to "document" his deeds. A great forsight if you ask me. Through so much of his story, Alexander seemed to permeate greatness. Was there not a statement that read"Philip is a great general, but Alexander is simply Great"? I think that about sums it up. I'm not taking anything from Philip. But saying the onlyreason he is overshadowed by Alexander is because of his premature death, seems to be a premature statement. Because we don't know what Philip would or would not have been able to accomplish had he lived on.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

I also do not believe Alexander had anything to do with Philips death. I'm not saying its impossible. The motive was there. To find an assassin, you find out who had the most to gain from the assassination. In this case it was obviously Alexander. But at the time, from Persia and Darius' point of view, Philipwas the threat. Therefore, at the time of Philips death, Darius could be looked at as a major benefactor. Until of course, he feels the wrath of our hero! I think ill take the easy way out and stick with what the sources tell us. Simple, but most probable,... imho.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by bessusww »

I think it really silly to conclude Darius was behind the assasination. Darius really was not too bothered by the Greek invasion led by Alexanders so much so it was an ad hock the Persians made at the Granicus attempt...Totally wrong strategically stupid to the point Darius must have thought it was a for gone conclusion....I dont even think the Persians took the threat at Issus to severe...They turned up with the families and there dogs to watch the assumed beating of the Macedonians.

By Gaugamella Darius was a little more serious and desperate and by Gaugamella too late. Alexanders Greatness is Such amd his achievements great,But it needed that Philip be dead
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

I should have been more clear,.. when I said "ill stick with the sources" and "most probable", I was talking about pausanias. I do not believe Darius was behind anything, I was saying it was as likely he was as Alexander.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

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They turned up with they're families and dogs to watch the assumed Macedonian beating... wow. What an arrogant move. When the british invaded Afghanistan (the first time), they were 15,200 soldiers bringing 38,000 servants. Along with brass bands and polo ponies. An officer of one regiment even required two camels just to carry his cigars. And a brigadier needed 60 camels for his personal belongings alone. Needless to say, it all ended in disaster. Oh the fruits of underestimation.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by bessusww »

Spitamenes
Your dead on the Money..Arrogant incompetent generals have plenty to answer.

The Romans arrogance thought they could steam roll Hannibal at Canae where as the Useless Roman Nobles sat at the back pretending to be cavalry.

The British were anhialated at Iskanwana because of an Idiotic General coseyed up by Victoria...The Same Zulu army numbering 4000 that couldnt bring down a small well fortified and commanded garrison at Roarks Drift.

Many as soldier and army has been wasted and sacrificed by a whimsical useless glory chacing Pretender,,,,Custer comes to mind.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by agesilaos »

It would have been an arrogant move had it happened; Darius sent the wives and families etc to Damascus, where they and his treasury were subsequently captured by Parmenion. Darius took his own family, perhaps as a sign to the troops that he was confident of the battle's outcome.

As for our first foray into Afganistan, we went in at the invitation of one warlord and so not on a war footing; the commander was a truly British ass, however and failed to suppress trouble when it started; he famously threw the 48th, I think into square to resist sniping! Go figure. Coupled with the rose-tinted spectacles of the British Resident, who was an expert on local languages and culture but forgot that the local gentlemen were unaware of cricket and notions of honesty being binding the ensuing retreat was a disaster but the Column of Retribution which was properly organised marched back to Kabul with much less trouble. Naturally there was a political fudge to make Peace but there are only two givens in Strategy - Don't attack moscow and no one gets out of Afganistan with a win.

As for 60 camels for cigars, Spitamenes, I believe you are out there, do you know where a chap can get a decent cheroot? Dash it all! how can a man civilise the Fuzzies if he's forced to live like a barbarian?

Seriously, though, Alexander's officers were known for their luxurious trains (Plut Alx 40) too.
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Re: Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander

Post by spitamenes »

Is it that hard to believe that an arrogant General of that time period would have 60 beasts to carry his personal belongings? Well, either way... Everything I have stated about the British in Afghanistan came from Holts book, Into The Land of Bones; Alexander the Great in Afghanistan.(chapter1) I did not quote or relay the source at the time because I was writing from memory. But it was from very recent memory so I do know the numbers are correct. From the quality of Holts book, and the details involved, I believe he did his homework before writing his book. Unless hes "out there" too. :)
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