Page 0617



the king of Epirus, and mother that was to be of Alexander.

Soon afterwards the prince was called home to enter, under trying

circumstances, upon the duties of the kingdom. For a long time Illyria

had claimed tribute of Macedonia. During the period when Amyntas, and

after him Perdiccas, was supported by the powerful influence of Thebes,

the claim had been refused. But when Pelopidas fell in the struggle with

Alexander of Pherae and Epaminondas was presently killed at the battle

of Mantinea, Macedonia was left to her own resources, and the claims of

the Illyrians were renewed. This pretense, however, was resisted by

Perdiccas, who raised an army and took the field to maintain the

independence of his kingdom. A hard battle was fought with the king of

Illyria, in which the latter was completely victorious. Perdiccas was

killed and four thousand of his troops cut to pieces. Macedonia was thus

to all seeming left to the mercy of the foe.

Now it was, in B. C. 383, that the youthful Philip was hurriedly

recalled from his sojourn in Greece to assume the duties of the

tottering government. It was, however, as regent for the infant son of

Perdiccas, and not in his own right, that he began his public career.

The circumstances were disheartening to the last degree. The Illyrians

were ravaging the country as the sequel of the victory over Perdiccas.

The Paeonians, encouraged by supposed immunity from punishment,

descended from the mountains and plundered as they would. Two claimants

to the throne, Pausanias and Argaeus, came forward in open opposition to

Philip. The Athenians were hostile on account of the alliance of

Macedonia with Thebes, and sent an army to the North to prevent the rise

of Philip to power. The Thracians also availed themselves of the

opportunity to make an invasion of the country.

The prince of Macedon, nothing daunted, soon showed himself equal to the

emergency of his country. His confidence inspired the people. An ancient

oracle had said that Macedonia, under a son of Amyntas, should rise to

the highest pitch of power. Philip was now the only son of Amyntas; and

should the prophetic voice of the gods prove false? Soldiers rallied to

the standard of the prince destined to victory. The Macedonian phalanx,

modeled after that of Thebes as constituted by Epaminondas, was created.

From every side of the huge living mass projected an impenetrable

thicket of spears. With this invincible body of destruction, Philip bore

down upon the Illyrians and Paeonians, and in a short time routed them

from the country.

The work was less serious than that of disposing of the rival claimants.

In the principal Macedonian towns there was a strong party in favor of

Argaeus. A fleet was sent out by Athens to uphold his pretensions. The

squadron anchored before Methone, a city on the Thermaic gulf, and here

a junction was effected between the Macedonian malcontents and the

Athenians. The combined forces then proceeded to lay siege to Edessa,

the capital of the province of Pieria; for it was believed that the

capture of this place would decide the fate of the kingdom. But Philip

was on the alert, and before the arrival of Argaeus before the town, the

defenses were so strengthened that it could not be taken. The pretender

then became alarmed for his safety and sought to retreat to Methone; but

on the way thither he was attacked by Philip and killed. The Macedonians

in the army of the malcontents were kindly treated by the king and

incorporated with his own forces; and with singular liberality the

Athenians under the command of Argaeus, were loaded with favors and sent

home without any mark of contempt or cruelty. It was upon such acts as

these that the future popularity of Philip in Central Greece was laid

upon secure foundations. Generosity in the conduct of war was a new

thing under Grecian skies-a fact which at the first it was difficult to

understand or appreciate.

By this time the Illyrians had rallied from their first chastisement and

gathered in great force on the western frontier. They were led by their

king Bardyllus, now more than ninety years of age. A decisive battle was

fought in which the new tactics and spirit of the Macedonians bore down

all opposition. A signal victory was gained by Philip. Bardyllus was

slain and the shattered powers of his government were unable to offer

further resistance.