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Today in History: The Battle of Chaeronea

Posted by Gilbert Stack on August 2, 2018 at 5:05 AM

On this day (August 2) in 338 BC, Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) defeated Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea. Philip had dominated Greece since 346 BC and cities like Athens worried that this would ultimately cost them their precious liberties. They attacked Philip’s territories and panicked when a few months later he began marching his army toward them. They asked Thebes for help and even though Thebes was traditionally hostile to Athens, it agreed to join forces against Philip.


The Macedonian army was comprised of roughly 30,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. Philip commanded his right wing and put his son, Alexander, in command of the left. Athens, Thebes and their allies fielded a larger army. After a hotly contested fight, Alexander and his troops broke the Greek right flank and Philip then crushed the Greek left. It has been described as one of the most decisive victories in history. Resistance to Philip crumbled permitting him to focus on his planned conquest of Persia which would be carried out by his son, Alexander, after Philip was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, possibly because he had abandoned the man for a younger lover.


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