Under King Philip II’s 25-year rule, the kingdom of Macedonia (359–336 BCE) moved from the periphery of the Greek world to centre stage. Philip used diplomatic and marriage alliances, as well as his formidable army, to consolidate his political position. On ascending the throne of Macedonia, Philip’s first priority was to conduct a series of wars with marauding Illyrians and Thracians to his west and north respectively. Between 356 and 340 BCE Philip conquered much of Thrace, founding new cities such as Philippopolis (Plovdiv). Having secured his northern border, he now turned his attention to the powerful city-state of Athens and her allies. His involvement in the Third Sacred War (356–346 BCE) brought him to the brink of a direct attack on Athens, which was averted by the Peace of Philocrates. However, the peace did not last. When the Athenian statesman Demosthenes incited the Athenians to oppose Philip II, a Greek coalition led by Athens and Thebes was defeated at the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BCE). Following this defeat a federation of Greek states, the League of Corinth, was established, which entered into an alliance with Macedonia, with Philip as its archon (head). The Greek allies were poised for an invasion of Achaemenid Persia when Philip was murdered, apparently by a Macedonian noble with a grievance against him, and his son Alexander the Great inherited his command and his ambitions.
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