King Phillip II of Macedon Underappreciated in the shadow of Alexander the Great

Oct 2017
142
South Australia
I think King Philip II of Macedon is seriously underappreciated because he is overshadowed by his son, Alexander the Great. Philip achieved some pretty impressive things - won the Battle of Chaeronea, conquered most of Greece, and significantly, he reformed the Macedonian army to turn it into the unstoppable war machine which played a major role in Alexander's conquests, in which case I'd argue that he must get some credit for his Alexander's empire - although of course, Alexander was a brilliant commander too.

Thoughts?
 

Duke Valentino

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,332
Australia
Yeah, Philip is greatly underrated. His social and economic reforms to Macedonia arguably outdo his military achievements. He was really a great example of Machiavelli's "lion and the fox"; a man who knew how to mix diplomacy and war. His military career was also successful, campaigning for decades with only one or two serious setbacks to his name. The man was a genius.
 
Jun 2017
2,988
Connecticut
Not as much as Epaminondas. He's the major figure from that era I see constantly fast forwarded over. Remember Philip's importance also is boosted by what Alexander did in the situation he created. Their reputations benefit each other cause they are part of each other's story. Alexander needed the situation he was born into to succeed, Philip likely couldn't have overthrown Persia if he'd lived even if he'd planned to. The later is more likely than the former as you'll probably point out but still unlikely.
 
Sep 2016
1,330
Georgia
Another one of this threads ? Philip II is not underappreciated, just because Alexander's campaigns usually get more attention. Everybody who is at least interested in Ancient history, knows about Philip and his great achievements.

Alexander haters or Philip fanboys usually create such threads to bash on Alexander once more, for some reason.

Hannibal also gets more attention than Philip, despite his ultimate failure.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2018
890
UK
Another one of this threads ? Philip II is not underappreciated, just because Alexander's campaigns usually get more attention. Everybody who is at least interested in Ancient history, knows about Philip and his great achievements.

Alexander haters or Philip fanboys usually create such threads to bash on Alexander once more, for some reason.

Hannibal also gets more attention than Philip, despite his ultimate failure.
Exactly this. Does anyone know what underappreciated means any more? Hint: It doesn't mean that they were good.


I'll actually go further and state that, although very skilled, Philip II is grossly over-appreciated these days. The pendulum has swung too far the other way.
 
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Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,396
here
Yeah, Philip is greatly underrated. His social and economic reforms to Macedonia arguably outdo his military achievements. He was really a great example of Machiavelli's "lion and the fox"; a man who knew how to mix diplomacy and war. His military career was also successful, campaigning for decades with only one or two serious setbacks to his name. The man was a genius.
I suspect that Philip would have dealt with the Argead/Macedonian empire succession much better than Alex did. The story of the Diadochi is much less of a soap opera than it was historically if Philip sticks around longer.
 
Apr 2012
1,041
The Netherlands
I do find that people overlook him a bit too often in favor of his son. Sadly but understandably the man who conquered the known world gets more attention then the guy doing all the legwork and getting tragically assassinated before he could conquer the known world, if he even wanted to do that.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
This is a major strawman argument. Among anyone even vaguely familiar with Ancient Greek/Macedonian history is very well aware of Philip's achievements and how impressive they were. You'd have to be more specific in which group of people you think are not appreciating him enough. Do you mean random people walking down the street, who know nothing about history but just know the name of Alexander the Great? Of course they won't even know about Philip, let alone be able to intentionally overshadow him.

And let's be honest here, as great as Philip's achievements were, they really do pale in comparison to the monumental things his son did. That's just a fact. When you somehow manage to conquer the largest empire in the world in less than ten years, while being vastly outnumbered and thousands of kilometres away from home, you damn well do deserve to get high praise for it. I'm sure Philip himself would agree had he lived (despite his occasional resentment and dislike of Alexander). It is entirely possible for a historical figure to be praised for his achievements, while also acknowledging that his successor surpassed them. Philip is appropriately rated among people with knowledge of the era. I'm sick of some people that have seen a few YouTube videos about Philip (you know what I'm referring to...) and then jumping on the bandwagon of "wahhh Philip is so underrated, he did all the hard work, Alexander just took advantage of it!!" You know what? That applies to almost every single great military commander in history (with the exception of a few genuinely self-made men like Genghis Khan); Hannibal used the great Carthaginian army his father had established; Julius Caesar used the great Roman army that Sulla had established; Napoleon used the great French army the Revolution had established... the list goes on. You are not being enlightening by making pop-history claims like Alexander's achievements weren't that impressive because his dad built the army a few decades before.