Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

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Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:00 pm

Demosthenes, the Athenian statesman best known for his oratorial attacks on Philip of Macedon, is acknowledged by all but his harshest critics to have been motivated by a sincere patriotism. Demosthenes was relentless in calling for war against the man whose growing power threatened to eclipse that of Athens and the other Greek states. But it was the accomplishments of Philip, and those of his more famous heir, which ended up spreading Hellenic civilization across the world.

Please give your views on this apparent paradox; on Philip (e.g. his skills at nation-building, his innovations as a military tactician); or on anything else that interests you about this period.
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Re: Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

Unread postby agga » Wed Dec 08, 2010 4:13 pm

why is it a paradox?

i only have a superficial knowledge of this business. was Demosthenes' idea of Athens also expansionist, or was he mainly interested in the maintenance of Athenian independence?
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Re: Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

Unread postby Tigger of Kai » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:49 pm

Oh I'm no expert either, I just found an old history by John Bagnell Bury and have been unable to put it down. I mean to highlight the historical irony of the situation: had Demosthenes bested Philip, he might have preserved Athens' strong position among the states of Greece. But unknowingly he might well also have prevented Persia, Egypt, and half the population of Asia from being converted to Greek culture — a culture that his own city had done more than any other to shape.

Just off the top of my head, Athens' empire at the time encompassed Euboea and parts of Chalcidice, some colonies on the Black Sea that served as her breadbasket, and many important islands in the Aegean and elsewhere. She also held pretensions toward Thrace, especially the city of Amphipolis — pretensions which Philip exploited to help secure Thrace for himself and deal Athens a severe blow.
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Re: Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

Unread postby Jebusrocks » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:46 am

Tigger of Kai wrote:Oh I'm no expert either, I just found an old history by John Bagnell Bury and have been unable to put it down. I mean to highlight the historical irony of the situation: had Demosthenes bested Philip, he might have preserved Athens' strong position among the states of Greece. But unknowingly he might well also have prevented Persia, Egypt, and half the population of Asia from being converted to Greek culture — a culture that his own city had done more than any other to shape.

Just off the top of my head, Athens' empire at the time encompassed Euboea and parts of Chalcidice, some colonies on the Black Sea that served as her breadbasket, and many important islands in the Aegean and elsewhere. She also held pretensions toward Thrace, especially the city of Amphipolis — pretensions which Philip exploited to help secure Thrace for himself and deal Athens a severe blow.


Are you sure... I thought Athens lost most of its overseas possessions after the Spartans took over, and even after they were liberated by Thebes, they only had a few decades before chaeronea.... I thought Athens was weak and forced to seek alliances with other Greek city-states against Macedon

I do agree though that had Philip not been able to defeat the Greeks, Hellenization would most likely not have occurred, and it is moreso ironic because Demo had wanted to preserve Greek culture, resisting Macedonian invasion, who actually helped spread it
It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat.
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Re: Philip of Macedon and Patriotism

Unread postby Duncan » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:38 pm

Good topic.

I suppose the paradox only exists if you see Macedon as part of classical Greece. Philip certainly did, but Domesthenes was rather more sniffy about the smelly northerners and their archaic monarchy.

If Philip had failed to dominate his Greek neighbours, what might have happened to the troubled Persian Empire? Would it have united under a new expansionist monarch, or imploded completely leaving an even bigger power vacuum? If the former, might Europe have become Persian speaking and Zoroastrian? If the latter, was a Hellenistic conquest even possible under any other leadership?
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