Philip (II) of Macedon (382–336 B.C.), king of Macedonia, 359–336 B.C. He was the father of Alexander the Great. In his youth Philip spent several years in Thebes, where he learned Greek military tactics and became a fervent admirer of Greek culture. Upon the death of his older brother, King Perdiccas III, Philip deposed the rightful heir to the throne, his infant nephew, and became king.
Philip's ambition was to gain control of Greece and to bring Greek culture to Macedonia. He first seized the gold mines of the coastal mountains, then built a powerful standing army, devised a new tactical formation, the Macedonian phalanx, and started moving southward. He used force only when necessary, preferring negotiation, bribery, and fraud to achieve his purpose.
The Athenian orator Demosthenes urged the Greeks to unite against Philip but little was done until it was too late. Philip defeated Athens and its allies at Chaeronea in 338 B.C. and then subdued the Peloponnesus. He planned next to free the Greek cities of Asia Minor from Persian rule, and in 336 sent advance forces to the Hellespont. Before he could take further action he was assassinated by Pausanias, a member of his court. Both Alexander and his mother, Queen Olympias, have been suspected of involvement in the crime (Philip had recently left Olympias for another woman), but probably without justification.