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Old January 3rd, 2018, 07:06 AM   #701

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The first action that really made Philip II was when Macedonia was considered a backwoods, unstable kingdom (if it could have been called that). Philip II's oldest brothers, Alexander II and Perdiccas II both failed to alter the situation the country was in. Perdiccas III lead an army into a portion of Macedonia that was held by the Illyrians and was utterly crushed (4,000 troops killed including Perdiccas III).

This happened in 359 BC. Philip II became king of Macedonia at the age of 21 (originally he should have been regent to Perdiccas III son, Amyntas, but Philip II took the kingdom for himself). His country was at an economic collapse, threatened by serveral neighbors and had people in his own country claiming the throne (whom were backed by his neighboring enemies).

He gave money to the Thracian king to kill off one of his pretenders and defeated another pretending supported by Athens (this prompted the wraith of Athens, but they were soothed when Philip II gave them the city, Amphipolis).

With the exception of the battle against the pretender supported by Athens, this is all masterfully diplomatic maneuvers of a young 20-something year old with a unstable crown on his head.

The very next year, in 358 BC. One year after the Macedonian army was demolished by the Illyrians, he leads his re-structured army into the Illyrian-held Macedonia and defeated a 10,000 strong army (7,000 Illyrians killed).

Within just two years, Philip II stabilized the economy, solidified the nation under one crown, exacted revenge against the Illyrians and able to double the size of his army after annexing the northwest region of Macedonia.
1. The Macedonian kingdom was so unstable and consisted of numerous independent barons that it took someone of Philip's caliber to actually fully assert the dominance and absolute power of the king, as well as tap into vast reserves of manpower. The estimated population of Macedonia during this time is about 500,000.

2. Macedonia was certainly financially strained. Coinage found during the reign of Philip's brother Perdiccas II are minted in bronze, not silver, indicating that the Macedonians did not have access to the lucrative mines to the north and east, also indicating that they had a weak economy.

3. Philip's army had not finished its famous reforms when Philip met Bardylis on the field. Philip also innovated the hammer and anvil tactics that would become the staple of the Macedonian way of war in this battle.

Just some points to consider concerning what you have said
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 02:36 PM   #702

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mariusj,

To expand on the surgeon corps that I discussed in my response to you, take a look at this statement and relevant footnote that accompanied it:

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The ancient sources also hint that Philip included a medical corps to treat his wounded soldiers on campaign [294].

--cf. Philips, Philip II and the Construction of the Macedonian State.
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Note 294. The Elder Pliny reports in his Natural History (HN 7.37.124) that Philip had the doctor, Kritoboulos, on staff with him at Methone when Philip was wounded in the eye by an arrow. According to Pliny, Kritoboulos’ skill not only saved Philip, but prevented facial deformity: extracta Philippi regis oculo sagitta, et citra deformitatem oris curata orbitate luminis. The reference is from Pliny, Natural History, Books 3-7, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge: 1942), 588-589. See also J.H. Prag, “Reconstructing King Philip: The Nice Version,” AJA 94, no. 2 (1990): 239-240. Other suggestions of a medical component to the Macedonian army during and after Philip’s reign are found in Arr. An.1.16.52-53, where Alexander is said to have visited each of the wounded while they were convalescing after the Battle of Granicus River; and also in Arr. An. 2.12.28, where Alexander makes visits to the wounded, presumably in a mobile hospital after the Battle at Issus.


As you can see, there's enough evidence both from Philip and Alexander's reigns to at least consider the proposition. I chose to take from this source as it sums up all the relevant sources quite nicely.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 02:43 PM   #703

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I'm pretty sure that Sargon of Akkad created first professional army in world or Assyrians of Tiglath Pilesser III.
Although I don't know much about both, I do not believe Sargon initiated any reforms that culminated in the first professional army. As for Tiglath, it appears that he did reform the military to create a "standing army", whatever that means. The sources for this go back to a book on Assyrian history, according to Wikipedia. Do you by any chance have access to ancient source material that gives more details?
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 02:47 PM   #704

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What Phillip's decisive battlefield tactics, where and when? There was no such thing and his son does not count.
His first would be against Bardylis during the end of the first year of his reign at the Battle of Lyncus Plain (358). During this battle, one of Philip's first pitched battles, he used echelon tactics, concentrated force at the enemy weak spot, flanking and tactical pursuit. I can go into more detail if you want more info as to how these can be considered decisive battlefield tactics. This was the birth of the Alexandrian/Macedonian hammer and anvil tactics. The echelon and concentration on the enemy weak point can famously be found at Alexander's most famous battle, Gaugamela. The concepts of these were translated into almost all of Alexander's battles.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 06:51 PM   #705

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Been reading up on Lucius Cornelius Sulla to find a possible understandable comparision between him and Philip II. He gets a little credit for capturing Jugurtha ending the Jugurthine War, but I don't think its much. There were no particular battles of note or any overall strategies that worked.

And he gets little mention in the Cimbrian War as well, simply being noted as helping Quintus Lutatius Catulus. I also notice basic sources saying that Sulla is credited with the victory at Vercellae, but yet, Gaius Marius and Quintus Lutatius Catulus were ultimately co-commanders (with Sulla being a legatus. I've read the description of the battle and did not note anything particular that Sulla did in that action.

I haven't finished reading about Sulla, but I am doing research on the Mithridatic War and found that Sulla showed his true skills during this campaign. With battles at Chaeronea and Orchomenus, we see why so many are saying he should be ranked higher.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 07:04 PM   #706

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I am somewhat cautious when it comes to the sources on Sulla. It wouldn't be surprising in the least if Sulla's involvement in the Cimbrian War is exaggerated in order to detract from Marius. Though I don't know what kind of bent the sources take on this matter, whether they are pro-Sulla or not.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 07:34 PM   #707

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I am somewhat cautious when it comes to the sources on Sulla. It wouldn't be surprising in the least if Sulla's involvement in the Cimbrian War is exaggerated in order to detract from Marius. Though I don't know what kind of bent the sources take on this matter, whether they are pro-Sulla or not.
I agree.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 09:23 PM   #708

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Congo,

refer to this thread currently in full swing,

Philip II vs Sulla - Who was the greater leader?

Specifically page 27.

He was good, but not that great.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 07:55 AM   #709
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Greetings all, this is my first post on Historum.

Laziness and caution (to say nothing of ignorance....that phrasing could lead to a play on words...) advise against wading into the Sulla and Phillip II debate in full, here or in the thread comparing them as leaders in the Ancient history subsection. I will however add my two cents regarding the sources on Sulla.

I share Oda's and Congo's suspicion regarding Sulla's role in the battle of Vercellae during the Cimbrian war. A key issue with Sulla is that he wrote memoirs and while these have not survived they were utilized by at least some of our remaining sources. Plutarch for one in his life of Sulla refers to them repeatedly and while he is not above critizising Sulla's version of events he isn't exactly as critical as one would (probably......hopefully) expect a modern scholar to be. This is not to say that the attitude of our sources is uncomplicatedly pro-Sulla, far from it, the man marched on Rome with an army (twice) and set himself up as a despot and ruled through force and fear, Roman soceity wasn't neatly divided into two parties so many who survived the proscriptions lost relatives and freinds to it. Sulla has been seen as a champion of the aristocracy and the senate but his methods may have damaged, frightened and humiliated both more than Marius ever did and they hardly forgot or forgave that.

However here we are discussing Sulla purely as a general rather than his character or accomplishments as politician and statesman and much of what we know of his generalship comes from Appian and Plutarch, Greeks writing under the empire not contemporaries in a position to be critical of Sulla's military record based on more direct sources. This would allow Sulla's memoirs undue influence on military details (especially in Plutarch's case who was not principally concerned with such matters) and makes numbers given for Sulla's mithridatic war as well as his importance as a legate of Catulus especially suspect.

This is not to say that this is only a problem for Sulla, the Greeks aside I don't think Thracian, Illyrian or Scythian versions of thier conflicts with Phillip are likely to have had much influence on our sources.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 11:34 AM   #710
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Personally, Li Jin was also one of the all time great, he commanded the river fleet, also fought in the low land China, and steppe, and the central plains, and achieve victory every terrain, he also fought against organized military unit typical of a Chinese state, nomad raiders, the the Turjue armies.

I mean, if we just pick one general from each major dynasty, I just don't see how Philip would rank above say, Lan Yu of Ming, or Han Shizhong of Song, Li Jin/Li Shiming of Tang, Wei Qin/ Huo Qubing of Han, I mean, as far as list goes, it's more of a popularity/knowledge issue than an actual talent issue.

No one who studies Chinese history will ever tell you, Yue Fei is greater than any of the guys I mentioned, yet he is at 33. Yue Fei as a commander isn't even that impressive. Good, but your typical good commander who was careful, methodical, someone you can emulate. His story is mixed up too deeply in the Chinese psyche and crossing legend / myth / history, but even then I don't think Chinese people would say, Yue Fei is a better commander than Cao Cao, listed at 88 here, or he is better than any of the commander I mentioned. And I am skipping a bunch of people as is.

Which reminds me, Li Shiming, one of the best leader of any country, I would put him in the top 20 at least, one of the best commander of his time, didn't even make the list. The Battle at Hulao is one of the most impressive, and his victory at Hulao directly led to his promotion to Tiance Marshal and the eventual bloody coup at Xuanwu Gate. To put it simply, the victory at Hulao was so great, that it forced the court to not put aside all tradition, and promoted the second son when the eldest was already anointed heir, and not just any promotion, but a position of real power and prestige that is capable of challenging the throne. Of course, the Li family's understanding of power were generally a bit different from your typical Confucian standards, but nevertheless, the court went alone because they know of no other way to reward this deed. We are talking about almost 1000 years of tradition right there. Men was a military genius, and also brave beyond belief, taking fight in multiple battles in the front line, brilliant with the cavalry.

Which is why I think a numeric system is simply bad. If we do tiers, we can always slide in someone without having to say so and so is better than the other guy.
In the OP it looks like Li Shimin is listed as #50 under the name Taizong of Tang. Certainly he probably deserves higher, but he is on the list.
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