You have most definitely heard of Alexander the Great, and you are probably even familiar with his greatest achievements. But, do you know his father? King Philip II of Macedon is not very well known, except for being the father of Alexander the Great. To historians, however, King Philip II was much more than just the father of one of the greatest conquerors of all time. In reality, Philip II was one of the greatest tacticians ever and marshalled one of the most brilliant and innovative armies relative to its era ever. Alexander the Great owes all of his accomplishments to his father.
While Philip II was still alive, he managed to consolidate and organize several tribes of Macedonians. He brought them up to their full strength by paying for their armor, enabling the amount of recruiting opportunities to be much higher, and organized them into a real fighting force. He organized the army based off of the pushing tactics of the Greek phalanx, but he sought to improve upon this design in nearly every fashion imaginable. First, he lengthened the pilum, or the spears, of his army so that several rows would be able to reach the enemy lines at the same time. Additionally, with such long spears the Greeks would have a nearly impossible time getting close enough to the Macedonians for their tactics to work. To compensate for the longer and heavier weaponry, Philip II gave his men shields that hung around their necks and lighter armor. Philip II also utilized horses, or the Companion Cavalry. These elite fighters were often able to turn the tide of battle; cavalry was never before used in such an effective fashion. Finally, Philip II ordered engineers to travel around with his army, which enabled him to construct creative and powerful siege weapons which rained destruction down on his enemies.
With all of these innovations and with the training and experience that he and the army had received under Philip II, it would have been difficult for Alexander the Great to fail. However, he still nearly did so, as his army threatened to mutiny at Opis in Mesopotamia. According to the historian Arrian, Alexander’s speech to his soldiers centered around “the contributions of his father Philip II… to Macedon” (Nagle & Burnstein 238). Alexander describes how Philip found the Macedonians poor and struggling, and how Philip “gave you cloaks to wear” and led them down from the mountains into victory against their enemies (238). Even Alexander, in his time of need, admits that it all began with Philip.
One of the most prominent regimes which benefited from the regime before it is President Truman’s White House. Truman benefited greatly from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reign, in which he expertly navigated the most chaotic global turmoil ever in the wake of WWI, throughout the Great Depression, and then through almost all of WWII. FDR implemented the New Deal to battle the Great Depression and proceeded to defeat it, subsequently lighting a fuse under the United States economy before WWII. During WWII, FDR essentially catapulted the United States into a global superpower status in every aspect measurable, all while winning the war on two fronts. Upon FDR’s sudden death and the ascension of Truman’s White House, Truman essentially held to the course that FDR had paved for him and made important decisions cooperatively with people that FDR had established relationships with and had groomed. The United States thrived during, but not because of, Truman’s reign. Like Alexander the Great, Truman merely proved himself to be competent by not messing anything up.
Seth Viani 596