Philip II of Macedon (Greek: Φίλιππος Β' ὁ Μακεδών – φίλος phílos, "friend" + ἵππος híppos, "horse"— transliterated Philippos; 382–336 BC), was a Greek king (basileus) of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.
Among the splendid accompaniments he [Philip] paraded statues of the twelve gods extravagantly fashioned with the most magnificent workmanship and wondrously adorned with the gleam of precious metal. Along with these a thirteenth was carried in procession, a statue fit for a god, one of Philip in person, who was displaying himself as enthroned with the twelve gods.
They moved to Chareronea, and it was not until early August that the final battle was fought there. Philip had 30,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, his opponents perhaps about the same numbers. In the Cephisus valley below the city he was facing south-easy, probably on the right himself with his young son Alexander on the left; his opponents were facing north-west, probably with the Athenians on the left and the Thebans and other Boeotians on the right.
Philip’s so-called League of Corinth, established in 337, was an organization designed to preserve and perpetuate a general peace (koinē eirēnē), inaugurated when the delegates of all the states of Greece (except Sparta) and the islands swore to abide by it and to recognize Philip as president (hēgemōn) for this purpose.
Philip II, the Macedonian "barbarian" was a hostage in Thebes, from 367 to 365, then the greatest power in Greece. During that period he observed the military techniques of Thebes, which will help him later reorganize the Macedonian army on the model of the Theban phalanx. In 364 Philip returned to Macedonia and in 359 he was made regent for his infant nephew Amyntas. Later that year he seized the Macedonian throne.
His military reforms produced the most feared pre-Roman armed force in European history: a professional army with a career ladder, adequate pay, first-class training and equipment, effective new battle tactics, and better weaponry, including the deadly sarissa and the torsion catapult.
In 358, with his strengthened army, he invaded Paeonia. Then he led his army against the Illyrians, killing seven thousand in one battle and reversing the defeat of the year before. That year he transferred Macedonians to his kingdom's northern plain, splitting hostile groups and defining the frontier against the Illyrians. The following year he helped stabilize his western frontier by marrying Olympias, the daughter of king Neoptolemus of Epirus.
Philip was determined to strengthen his realm and to unite it into a nation. He saw that Macedonia could become a great power, and he saw opportunity in the divisions and quarrels among the Greek city-states. He knew that Macedonia had much in natural and human resources.
Philip changed Macedonia forever and made it a superpower of the ancient world. Within a year, he neutralized the four threats facing him at the time of his accession. He began a reform of the army and defeated the Illyrians and Paeonians in battle, absorbing their lands into his kingdom and forcing them to recognize his kingship. He united Upper and Lower Macedonia for the first time, with Pella as the single capital. He exploited the country's natural resources, stimulated its economy, and secured its borders against foreign invasions.
Philip II of Macedon (reigned 359 to 336 B.C.) took a faction-rent, semi-civilized country of quarrelsome landed nobles and boorish peasants, and made it into an invincible military power. The conquests of Alexander the Great would have been impossible without the military power bequeathed him by his almost equally great father. At the very outset of his reign Philip had to confront sore perils in his own family and among the vassals of his decidedly primitive kingdom.
Diodorus credits Philip immediately with an army reform which must have taken some time, in particular organizing an effective infantry phalanx for the first time. These men were more lightly armed than Greek hoplites, but equipped with the sarissa, a spear which at 18 ft. = 5.5 m. was twice as long as Greek hoplites' spears, so that, when Macedonian infantry fought Greek hoplites, the Greeks would be impaled on the Macedonians' spears before the Macedonians came within reach of the Greeks.