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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

In August 338 BC, Philip II of Macedon (c. 382-336 BC) won a major battle near the central Greek city of Chaeronea against a coalition of city-states. The Latin historian Justin wrote, “This day put an end to the glorious sovereignty and ancient liberty of all Greece.” Though he became master of the region, Philip did not annex it directly into the Macedonian kingdom after spending many years in conflict, especially with Athens, in what logically looked like a grab for the whole of Greece. Instead, Philip simply imposed hegemony. By the spring of 337 he revealed why: the quest to conquer Persia. Evidence suggests, therefore, that Greece’s cooperation and resources were essentially tools he had intended to use all along to accomplish this vastly larger goal. When he won the day at Chaeronea, Philip completed one of the most important steps in a grand strategy that was more than twenty years in the making.

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