Greece and Macedonia (IV century BC)

Geographical conditions of Macedonia.

Macedonia is a country north of Thessaly and west of Thrace, divided into two parts: Upper and Lower. The upper one was a vast inaccessible area, mountainous and wooded, where the bulk of the population lived. The lower one was a small plain near the Aegean Sea. The climate in Macedonia was more severe than in Greece, and the snow never melted on the mountain ranges. The famous Mount Olympus, the hall of the celestials, was located right here, on the border with Thessaly.

Cattle breeding and forestry were developed among the population. The ethnicity of the Macedonians was not entirely clear, since they formed a syncretic community of Illyrians, Thracians and Greeks. In their cultural development, the inhabitants of the northern part of the country lagged significantly behind the population of the heavily Hellenized coastal regions. As we moved away from Hellas, the Greek influence also became smaller.

The military reform of Philip II. By the end of the V century BC

Macedonia was weakly centralized, and the army played a big role in the issue of the royal succession. In the first half of the IV century, the gradual strengthening of the state began, which led to the establishment of close relations with the weakening Greece: Macedonia concluded contracts with individual policies, taking advantage of their internecine strife. As a powerful and centralized power, it took shape under Philip II (359-336), who was well acquainted with Greece, since in his youth he lived as a hostage in Thebes for three years.

The new tsar carried out military reform. The recruitment of the army began to be carried out according to the territorial principle; siege equipment began to be widely used, but the main tactical innovation consisted in the concentration of forces in the direction of the main strike - the legendary Macedonian phalanx appeared, which was a rectangle up to 24 rows deep, built of soldiers armed with swords and rectangular shields. Hoplites of the first six ranks carried spears (sarissas) of different lengths, the longest reaching six meters. The soldiers placed in this way were a terrible striking force. Until the 1st century BC, it was considered impossible to break through the Macedonian formation, although the phalanx had vulnerabilities, since it was practically defenseless without additional cavalry cover from the flanks.

The Holy War (355-346).

Backward in cultural and socio-economic relations, Macedonia was henceforth strong with its military organization, and after its conquest of neighboring Thrace, a clash with Greece became a matter of the near future, for which a good reason arose. A Holy War broke out in Greece (355-346). The Phocidians seized the treasures belonging to the Greek shrine, Delphi, and hired soldiers with this money, that is, they committed both sacrilege and blasphemy at the same time. In the IV century . there were already Greeks who did not consider it shameful to receive a salary from stolen temple money. Phocis was supported by Sparta and Athens, who were afraid of strengthening the Boeotian Union. They were opposed by Thebes and Thessaly. The war was waged with varying success, but in 352 Philip intervened in it, joining the defenders of the all-Greek shrine. The Greeks could not formally reject his support, since Macedonia's intervention was logical and to some extent legitimate. Philip quickly defeated the Phocidians, and soon the whole of Thessaly was in his hands.

Meanwhile, two groups took shape in Athens: pro- and anti-Macedonian. At the head of the pro-Macedonian citizens was a prominent speaker Isocrates. He taught rhetoric, composed eulogies, distinguished by an exquisite high-flown style, and became famous as the founder of solemn eloquence, although he himself had a weak voice and did not speak publicly. Isocrates urged Philip to carry out military hegemony in Greece, and then make a campaign against Persia. He expressed the interests of Athenians focused on a special connection with Macedonia: large owners and the ruling elite. They were opposed by the anti-Macedonian coalition, whose opinion was most clearly expressed by the largest speaker Demosthenes. From a person who spoke publicly, clarity of speech construction, clarity in presentation, special gestures and proper breathing were required. Demosthenes did not differ in any of this from childhood, because he was frail and tongue-tied and his shoulder twitched. Nevertheless, the young man, through long training, was able to reach extraordinary heights in oratory: he filled his mouth with stones and learned to pronounce words clearly; he performed in front of a raging sea, climbing a rock; he hung a sword from the ceiling with the point down and his shoulder, when it twitched, cut against the blade; he shaved half of his head so as not to show himself in public and study in solitude. Demosthenes addressed the Greeks with the so-called "philippics" (this name will become a household name for fiery passionate speeches) directed against Philip, who, in turn, reread them with great interest and pleasure, because he knew how to appreciate literary talents. Demosthenes reflected the interests of patriotic citizens, although the anti-Macedonians also had economic interests, since the hegemony of Macedonia meant the closure of the Black Sea straits for Greek trade, while the reconquest of sovereignty allowed maintaining ties with the Black Sea cities.

However, Demosthenes' policy was doomed because of his orientation towards Athenian democracy as an ideal state system, which at the end of the IV century. it could no longer help the Greeks, since the Athenian democracy was going through a deep crisis. This found expression in the collapse of the people's militia system, in the change of the civil outlook of people who, in the absence of money in the treasury for necessary state needs (for example, the construction of the fleet), demanded funds for large-scale spectacles; political denunciations flourished, and mainly persons capable of incurring large financial costs were elected to responsible positions. However, distorted and flawed, democracy continued to exist until Roman times. The renewal of society by returning to the old and reviving the old traditions is also a sign of an ideological crisis. In this sense, Demosthenes was the last lonely romantic.

Both parties accused each other of treason, since the pro-Macedonian group received money from the Macedonians, and the anti-Macedonian group received money from the Persians. The struggle eventually ended with the victory of the pro-Macedonian party.

The Holy War ended in 346. An agreement was concluded between Philip and the Greek states (Philocratic Peace): Macedonia joined the Delphic Union (Amphictyonia), which defended the sanctuary of Apollo, taking the place of the defeated Phocidians. Thus, Philip's conquests in the North and his penetration into Middle Greece were legally recorded.

The relations of Philip and the Greek Polis (338-336).

The decisive battle between the anti-Macedonian coalition that had finally formed by that time and Philip took place in 338 at Chaeronea (a place in Boeotia), in Central Greece, when the king inflicted a crushing defeat on the Greek cities. From now on, the political independence of the Greeks was buried, and Greece existed only as part of other powers. This battle became the last symbol of Greek patriotism, when the recent enemies, the Thebans and Athenians, reconciled and stood together against a common enemy. A monument in the form of a stone lion was erected to the "Sacred detachment" of the Thebans who fell on the battlefield, as the Spartans once did at Thermopylae. After the battle, Philip sent a boastful letter to one of the Spartan aristocrats, in which he glorified his victories. The Spartan replied with his usual brevity: "Look around, Philip, and you will see that your shadow has not grown any bigger after this victory."

The Athenians expected a bloody massacre and were preparing for a brutal siege, but Philip, given the authority that Athens enjoyed, put forward relatively easy conditions: the Athenians ceded the policies on Chalkidiki and control over the Black Sea straits (modern Bosporus and Dardanelles), formally preserving independence, as a sign of which Philip returned the prisoners and the bodies of the dead. Then he entered the territory of the Peloponnese and limited the possessions of Sparta, finally narrowing them to the size of the Laconian Valley.

In 337, Philip summoned representatives of the Greek polis to the Corinthian Congress, in which only Sparta did not participate. Under the auspices of Philip, a pan-Hellenic union was established in Corinth, the sovereignty of each Greek city was proclaimed and the cessation of internecine wars was recorded. The management of the union was formally carried out by the representatives of the polis, who gathered in Corinth. The Greek foreign policy was carried out by Philip, who, on behalf of Greece and Macedonia, declared a holy war on Persia, ostensibly in revenge for the damage suffered by the Greeks during the Greco-Persian wars. In fact, the campaign was a continuation of his expansionist policy. Under the same pretext of just revenge, the beginning of the eastern campaign of the young Alexander took place. Philip forbade Greeks to enlist in armies hostile to Macedonia and Greece. His decision was directed against the Greek mercenaries who served in the Persian army.