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Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, was one of the towering figures of the ancient world: a man of enormous military and diplomatic achievements, and a colourful private life too. Propelled to the throne of Macedon unexpectedly at the tender age of 24 by his brother’s death in battle, he found himself master of a kingdom on the brink of annihilation at the hands of the surrounding tribes. 23 years later he was assassinated as the result of a complex sexual intrigue. But by this point he was master not only of his initial foes, but of most of the Greek mainland and Thrace, and he had established the bridgehead in Asia from which his son was to conquer the greater part of the then known world. How, and by what stages, was he able to do this?
The basic facts of Philip life are compelling enough, but the challenge of pinning down the details more closely, when the sources for it are so contradictory, offers its own fascination. This biography seeks to provide the definitive biography of this fascinating figure, presenting scholarly arguments in an accessible and engaging style. It also, more distinctively, pays attention to matters of sexuality and religion, rather than focussing purely on the political and military aspects of his reign; and it goes beyond ‘source-criticism’ to take an active interest in the developing source-tradition for Philip in antiquity in its own right. Philip II of Macedon is crucial reading for anyone seeking to understand the rise of Macedon in the 4th century, the legacy left to Alexander the Great, and the central role of this engaging character in theformation of one of the world’s largest empires.