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Chapter 16. Philip of Macedon: Accession, Ambitions, and Self-Presentation

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Chapter Summary

Philip took over the Macedonian kingdom when it was in a critical state. This chapter focuses on Philip and his "new Macedon". Reconstruction of Philip's first year requires a judgement on the value of fragmentary, often late sources. Through traditionalist Thessalians, and then through inept Thebans, Philip was invited south, like no Macedonian king before him, into Central Greece's Sacred War. Philip's lavish gift-giving was decidedly un-Thracian, justifying modern comparisons with Homer's kings. Of course "Homeric kingship" was a combination of differing periods, made for poetic purposes, and no society later realized its every detail. On Philip's coins, struck in 356 BC, he had shown his victorious horse and jockey in the Olympic Games. On the famous gold "Philippic" coins, he showed a two-horse chariot and its driver, also an allusion to an Olympic victory, probably his third, in 348 BC.

Keywords: central Greece's sacred war; Macedonian kingdom; Olympic Games; Philip's lavish gift-giving; Philippic coins

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