MACEDONIA-REIGN OF PHILIP.
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