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View Poll Results: Do you think Philip II could have conquered Persia?
Yes 36 53.73%
No 17 25.37%
Maybe 14 20.90%
Voters: 67. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 5th, 2015, 12:48 PM   #1
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Could Philip II of Macedon have conquered Persia?


Could Philip have conquered Persia as Alexander did and do you think he could have kept the empire together if he had?
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Old September 5th, 2015, 01:02 PM   #2

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Of course. Alexander simply used the army that Philip had already prepared. The campaign would have been planned by Philip's generals, not Alexander, and during the battles Alexander renounced any ability to control his army by leading from the front. He won because of the discipline and training of Philip's army and the tactical abilities of his commanders, not because of him. Alexander's main success was his ability to keep his army together long enough to push through to India. Philip was a far better political strategist than Alexander and so would have had a better chance of keeping the empire together.

Last edited by Dan Howard; September 5th, 2015 at 01:08 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2015, 01:07 PM   #3

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Yes.
And I think he was astute enough politically to make a much better job of controlling his gains than his son ever did.
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Old September 5th, 2015, 11:55 PM   #4

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I can't see why he couldn't. The campaign was already set up before hand, the generals were the same. The only area I can see a problem is whether Philip would have been as receptive to accepting the locals that would defect or if he would outright refuse them. Philip's policy towards the conquered people's might be different than Alexander's but he might have the same political approach as Alexander. Too hard to know.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 12:12 AM   #5
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No, I don't think so. First of all because Philip never appears to have planned for total conquest the way Alexander did but furthermore because a lot of people make assumptions regarding his skill vis--vis Alexander that are quite baseless. Not only did Philip show considerable difficulty conquering Byzantium and Perinthus (in fact he failed at both) which should serve to put his skill at sieges at doubt, but he also never proved himself on the battlefield the way Alexander did (his main pitched battle at Chaeronea might have been a masterpiece but it was one battle against a foe he knew - by contrast Alexander kept winning even when he faced entirely new enemies like the Scythians and the Indians) so ascribing to him the abilities of his son is unfounded. Yes he was a good, perhaps even great, commander but hardly on par with his son. Furthermore he would be unlikely to play the propaganda-game the way his son did - the latter allowed himself to be adopted by a local queen, married Stateira and Roxanne to legitimize himself, used the lion-skin to his Greek subjects but dropped it in front of his Persians and even became pharaoh of Egypt. Would Philip have been willing to do any of that?

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Originally Posted by Dan Howard View Post
Of course. Alexander simply used the army that Philip had already prepared. The campaign would have been planned by Philip's generals, not Alexander, and during the battles Alexander renounced any ability to control his army by leading from the front.
This is false. Alexander had already prepared battles such as Gaugamela on his own beforehand and instructed his commanders to follow said orders - their only job was seeing them through not planning the battles. Second of all he positioned himself with his companions, not "at the front", so as to have full control over when to deliver the decisive charge.


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He won because of the discipline and training of Philip's army and the tactical abilities of his commanders, not because of him.
Ridiculous. Alexander kept on winning even after he had separated himself from Parmenion and other commanders and his battlefield tactics were entirely his own. I don't know where you are getting this from since there is not a single source claiming that it was Alexanders generals who came up with his brilliant maneuvers at Gaugamela, Tyre, Gaza, Jaxartes or Hydaspes.

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Alexander's main success was his ability to keep his army together long enough to push through to India. Philip was a far better political strategist than Alexander and so would have had a better chance of keeping the empire together.
Was he? How so? Because Alexander died at the age of 32 and as such we all assume he sucked at the political game? Look at his propaganda campaign throughout the war (including taking Arrhidaeus with him so as to prevent anyone using him for their own purposes), look at his efforts to include Persians in his army and administration, his strategic founding of cities, the encouragment of nomadic peoples to settle down, the way he opened up the major rivers in Mesopotamia to aid transport and trade, his mapping of every area he went to including the coastline from India to Arabia, his institution of a royal mint to battle inflation. None of that suggests Alexander was a bad statesman and faulting him for dying young only goes to prove that you have no other critique to muster. People think Philip was this brilliant politican when he made his own mistakes, such as marrying Eurydice and alienating Alexander who was by all rights his most talented heir. What was his plan there?

Last edited by Bares; September 6th, 2015 at 12:18 AM.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 01:14 AM   #6
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his institution of a royal mint to battle inflation.
OK I have to ask. I know for a fact that the Romans did not know that minting would create inflation. They probably have an idea of debasement would create problems, but they certainly did not understand the rotten effects of inflation, as we can see that government following Gallienus utterly fail at dealing with the near complete collapse of the fiat economy, and return to almost bartering economy.

So does this mean Alexander and the Greeks know about inflation, and the Romans didn't?
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Old September 6th, 2015, 02:04 AM   #7
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OK I have to ask. I know for a fact that the Romans did not know that minting would create inflation. They probably have an idea of debasement would create problems, but they certainly did not understand the rotten effects of inflation, as we can see that government following Gallienus utterly fail at dealing with the near complete collapse of the fiat economy, and return to almost bartering economy.

So does this mean Alexander and the Greeks know about inflation, and the Romans didn't?
Page 186-187 in Hammonds "The genius of Alexander the Great":

"Whereas Persia had made only limited use of coined money, Alexander issued a gold and silver coinage of real value which was valid throught the kingdom of Asia and beyond its eastern frontier. The chief mint was at Babylon, 'the metropolis' as the M on its coin indicated. Alexander was able to stabilize the relationship between gold and silver and to avoid inflation by his control of the output of coinage."

Either he knew about inflation or at least he inadvertedly reduced it by increasing his control over the flow of money which was in itself clever. Its altogether possible that there is plenty that Greeks knew which Romans did not and vice-versa.

Last edited by Bares; September 6th, 2015 at 02:08 AM.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 02:40 AM   #8

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As much as I like Philip and as much as I think (during my many years of arguing with Alexander fanboys) Alexander does get overestimated, in the fact that people think he was invincible and could beat everyone easily, I have to say I do not think Philip could achieve what Alexander did. Philip was more methodical, but Alexander was more dynamic, and I think that it was the quality needed in order to overhaul the Persian empire and the many foes Alexander would later face. Not to mention that the bridgehead that Philip established with the recon force of Parmenio, was defeated and thrown back by Memnon.

I would say that what Philip did achieve (although this is through hindsight and probbly not what he intended at the time) was giving Alexander a bridgehead, by conquering/subduing many parts of Greece, which allowed Alexander to focus mainly on the invasion of Persia.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 03:03 AM   #9
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I would say that what Philip did achieve (although this is through hindsight and probbly not what he intended at the time) was giving Alexander a bridgehead, by conquering/subduing many parts of Greece, which allowed Alexander to focus mainly on the invasion of Persia.
Is that why Alexander had to spend his first years in rule consolidating his position by forcing the Thessalians to join him (again through a maneuver wherein he avoided a battle altogether but I guess this will also be written off as "common sense"), sacking Thebes and fighting Illyrians and Dacians? Philips achievements aside his position was not made quite as secure as some people would like to believe and was conditional on the survival of Philip because the majority of the Athenian/Theban army had survived Chaeronea (as had been Philips plan) so when Alexander took over they simply rebelled because they (like so many people today) underestimated him - a decision they bitterly regretted. And despite all that, when Alexander went to Asia Minor he left Antipater with a sizeable force to deal with Persian counterattacks or anyone else trying to threaten his position (such as the Spartans who did raise an army to attack Macedon but were defeated by Antipater at Megalopolis). This idea that Philip had left a stable kingdom and a single simple objective (attack Persia) is a total myth - Alexander even had to secure his kingship against rivals before he could go on to defeat rebels and opportunists.

Last edited by Bares; September 6th, 2015 at 03:10 AM.
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Old September 6th, 2015, 03:13 AM   #10

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Is that why Alexander had to spend his first years in rule consolidating his position by forcing the Thessalians to join him (again through a maneuver wherein he avoided a battle altogether but I guess this will also be written off as "common sense"), sacking Thebes and fighting Illyrians and Dacians? Philips achievements aside his position was not made quite as secure as some people would like to believe and was conditional on the survival of Philip because the majority of the Athenian/Theban army had survived Chaeronea (as had been Philips plan) so when Alexander took over they simply rebelled because they (like so many people today) underestimated him - a decision they bitterly regretted. And despite all that, when Alexander went to Asia Minor he left Antipater with a sizeable force to deal with Persian counterattacks or anyone else trying to threaten his position (such as the Spartans who did raise an army to attack Macedon but were defeated by Antipater at Megalopolis). This idea that Philip had left a stable kingdom and a single simple objective (attack Persia) is a total myth - Alexander even had to secure his kingship against rivals before he could go on to defeat rebels and opportunists.
I didn't say stable, I said he left him a bridgehead.
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