Born: 382 B.C.
Died: 336 B.C. in Asia Minor
Philip II was the eighteenth king of Macedon. He reigned from 359 to 336 B.C., restoring peace within his land and then gaining control of most of Greece. He was known for his lavish and bohemian lifestyle.
The origins of the Macedonians are not known. They are first mentioned in ancient texts beginning around 700 B.C. and it is thought that they lived around the Haliacmon River. By the fifth century B.C., they had adopted Greek as their principle language.
His father was King Amyntas III. Philip's brothers, Alexander II and Perdiccas III, held power for a brief period after the death of their father, until the invasion by Thebes. Philip was taken hostage by the Greek general Epaminondas between 370-360 B.C. When he was released, he was ready to take power.
Between 359 and 336 B.C., Philip raised his state to a powerful position. During his reign, he proved himself to be a master of war, showing that he could win without naval power. He secured a number of Greek city-states, including Olynthus in 348. He signed a peace accord with Athens in 346, but continued to capture territory in Greece. His principle opponent in Athens was Demosthenes, who forged alliances with other Greek states to ward off Philip.
In 339 B.C., he wrote Philip's Letter to the Athenians, in which he complained about the deterioration of relations between Macedon and Athens. Demosthenes verbally attacked Philip in response. Philip then attacked Greece in 339, forcing Athens to admit defeat.
In 336 B.C., Philip was assassinated by Pausanias, a Macedonian noble whose brother was unfairly imprisoned. It is thought that Pausanias was an agent of Philip's own wife and son, who sought revenge over Philip's "political" marriage to Cleopatra. Philip's son, Alexander III, continued his father's expansion into the Persian Empire and India.