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The Murder of Philip II of Macedonia 336BC. Theme: Leadership and Power By the end of this lesson you will be able to: Describe the context of the murder.

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Presentation on theme: "The Murder of Philip II of Macedonia 336BC. Theme: Leadership and Power By the end of this lesson you will be able to: Describe the context of the murder."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Murder of Philip II of Macedonia 336BC

2 Theme: Leadership and Power By the end of this lesson you will be able to: Describe the context of the murder of Philip II Explain possible motives of the killer Explain in detail reasons why other people may have been involved in the murder of Philip II, and in particular Alexander and Olympias.

3 Sources of information Diodorus (copy distributed in class, make sure you have read the account carefully) Plutarch, Life of Alexander Chapters 9,10

4 The Murder of Philip II When did it happen? Summer of 336 BC Where did it happen? Theatre at Aegae (the old Macedonian capital) What was the occasion? The wedding of Philip’s daughter Cleopatra (daughter of Olympias) to Alexander the King of Epirus (brother of Olympias) During the elaborate games that had been arranged for the following day after the wedding feast. Who was there/involved? Philip II (King of Macedonia) Alexander (Son of Philip and Olympias) Alexander, the King of Epirus (brother to Olympias and now son-in-law to Philip) Pausanias of Orestis (Philip’s bodyguard, lover, and murderer)

5 How did it happen? Philip was making a grand entrance into the theatre accompanied by his son Alexander and new son-in law, Alexander the King of Epirus. His bodyguards were following further behind. Pausanias ran from the crowd and fatally stabbed Philip in the chest and then attempted to escape by running to the gates where horses were waiting. However Pausanias caught his foot in a vine and fell to the ground where he was caught by a group of Philip’s bodyguards and immediately speared to death with Javelins.

6 Who was Pausanias of Orestis and why did he kill King Philip? Pausanias was a Macedonian nobleman and bodyguard of King Philip. He was also Philip’s ex-lover. Why did he do it? Was it a personal grudge or was he acting for someone else?

7 Personal Grudge Pausanias of Orestis was Philip’s lover. Another young man also named Pausanias was attracting the king’s attention. Pausanias of Orestis became jealous and began to insult and harass the other Pausanias. The other Pausanias became very upset from the harassment and committed suicide by placing himself in front of the King during battle against the Illyrians. Before he committed suicide Pausanias confided in his friend Attalus (a senior Macedonian general and father-in-law to Philip) about the harassment. Attalus decided to avenge Pausanias’ death. He invited Pausanias of Orestis to dinner where he got him blind drunk and then handed him over to his grooms to be brutalised. Pausanias complained to Philip demanding justice for his assault, but Philip did nothing because Attalus was too influential as well as his father-in-law. Attalus was also the general in charge of the advance guard to Asia. Philip attempted to appease Pausanias of Orestis anger with gifts and promotions but he was not satisfied and decided to kill Philip.

8 Or was Pausanias put up to it by someone else? There is a concern about dates. The dates of the battle where Pausanias committed suicide and that Pausanias of Orestis was assaulted by Attalus’s men can be placed at the same time as the campaign against the Illyrians 8 years earlier than Philip’s murder. Some argue that this is a long time for Pausanias to hold a grudge. But it is possible. It is also possible that Philip had campaigned against the Illyrians again in early 336BC. But, If it wasn’t due to personal motive… Who put Pausanias up to it?

9 There are several possible suspects… Alexander Olympias Members of the Macedonian nobility Lyncestian Brothers The king of Persia

10 Suspect: Alexander The death of Philip came at such an opportune time for Alexander because his relationship with Philip was rather unstable due to.... The Wedding feast of Philip and Cleopatra Attalus called on guests to pray for “a legitimate son” which insulted Alexander and Olympias Alexander upset that his father did not defend his or his mother’s honour. Alexander’s position as heir was threatened by Philip’s new wife if she gave birth to a son. Cleopatra’s son would be more Macedonian than Alexander Alexander only half Macedonian. (His mother was from Epirus)

11 Suspect: Alexander The Pixodarus Affair Pixodarus was the ruler of Caria and was aligned with Persian King Artaxerxes III After King Artaxerxes died in 338 BC, Pixodarus offered his daughter in a marriage alliance with Philip’s other son Philip Arrihidaeus (the half-witted son of Philip and a Thessalian woman) Alexander found out and thought he was being undermined He secretly offered to marry Pixodarus’ daughter instead which Pixodarus happily accepted Philip found out and was extremely angry because his marriage alliance would have aided Philip’s advance into Asia. The whole deal fell through. Philip banished Alexander’s closest friends.

12 Suspect: Olympias Olympias’ relationship with Philip had never been smooth, but she retained two claims on Philip’s respect – as mother of Alexander, Philip’s only competent son, and as princess of neighbouring Epirus. However, between 337 and 336 BC the situation changed dramatically. Olympias was replaced as Philip’s most favoured wife by his marriage to Cleopatra in 337 BC. She returned to her home in Epirus, where she hoped to persuade her brother, Alexander, King of Epirus, to avenge the slight against her. However, her brother Alexander of Epirus owed his kingdom to Philip’s intrigues five years before. To make matters worse for Olympias, Alexander now had another reason not to annoy Philip. He was to be married to Philip’s daughter Cleopatra; Olympias’ daughter and his own niece.

13 Suspect: Olympias Olympias’ position in the Macedonian court was now under serious threat; she became almost irrelevant to Philip’s politics and private life. Only their son, Alexander, kept her hopes for influence in Macedonia alive. When Philip married Cleopatra, however, even that was threatened. As a princess from Epirus, Olympias had been accepted as a Macedonian, and Alexander had been considered Philip’s legitimate heir since his birth. Cleopatra was a native Macedonian, however, and any children borne to Philip by her would be more legitimate than Alexander.

14 Suspect: Olympias For Olympias the timing of the murder was ideal. Philip was murdered at the wedding designed to complete her removal from the Macedonian political scene, within a week of the birth of Cleopatra’s son. As soon as Philip was dead her son Alexander could take the throne from his rivals and restore her to her former position of influence. Cleopatra, not Olympias, would be made irrelevant. An unattributed source suggests Olympias was behind Pausanias’ crime. “On the same night that she returned to Macedonia, she placed a golden crown on Pausanias’ head, though he was still hanging on his murderer’s stake: a few days later she took down his body and burnt it over the remains of her dead husband. She built a mound there for Pausanias and saw that the people offered yearly sacrifices at it, having drummed them full of superstition. Under her maiden name she dedicated to Apollo the sword with which Philip had been stabbed: all this was done so openly that she seemed to be afraid that the crime might not be agreed to have been her work.”

15 Suspect: The Persian King Philip was planning an invasion of Persia According to Alexander’s letter to Darius in 333BC, the Persians claimed credit for the murder. Suspect(s): Greeks outside Macedonia Angry after their defeat at Chaeronea in 338 BC, and uncomfortable with the Macedonian domination of the League of Corinth, many non-Macedonian Greeks very much disapproved of Philip. Demosthenes of Athens was particularly anti-Philip.

16 Suspect(s): Macedonian nobles Philip had alienated some of the older nobility by expanding the Companions (hetairoi) to include outsiders. Such men owed their status, and therefore their loyalty, to the king alone. They stood apart from the rest of the Macedonian hierarchy and were often resented by them. What about Antipater? He was the first person to acclaim Alexander as the new King. He had also probably advised Alexander in 340 BC when Alexander deputised for Philip. Many Macedonian nobles had also been concerned by Philip’s actions which suggested that he considered himself to have divine status. Philip had built the Philippeum, a circular building with god-like statues of members of his family, at Olympia following his victory at Charonea. On the day of his murder he had a statue of himself carried along with statues of the 12 gods.

17 Suspect(s): The Lyncestian brothers Brothers Arrhabaeus and Heromenes Members of royal family from Lyncestis Their father had been exiled by Philip These brothers were executed by Alexander shortly after he became King A third brother, named Alexander, was spared.

18 So who is guilty? Pausanias certainly killed King Philip. But no real evidence can confirm whether he acted alone or was put up to it. We can only speculate as to who else may have been involved.

19 Final question Complete this mini essay in your own time and submit it for marking Discuss the events surrounding the murder of Philip of Macedon. What possible motives did other people have for wanting him dead, in particular Alexander and Olympias? Do you think the idea that Alexander may have been involved is credible?


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