The Macedonian-Illyrian Border as the Origin of the “Military Miracle” of Philip II and Alexander the Great
A. A. Kleymeonov
Leo Tolstoy Tula State Pedagogical University
Lenina pr. 125, Tula, 300026, Russia
The first half of the fourth century BC was a time of active military expansion by the Illyrians into Macedonia. It reached its climax in 360/359 BC, when the Illyrian king of Dardania Bardylis defeated the Macedonian King Perdiccas III in battle. This victory gave the Illyrians a portion of Upper Macedonia. Against the backdrop of this event, other neighboring territories also attacked the Argead Kingdom, but its new ruler, Philip II, successfully navigated the country through this crisis due to vigorous military operations and skillful diplomacy. The crucial event was the battle on Lake Lychnitis in which Philip defeated Bardylis’s forces and regained the lost territories. The victory over the Illyrians, who fought in close-ordered formation, was made possible by the creation of a corps of sarissa-bearing phalangites and the combined use of cavalry and infantry at the decisive site of the battle. Philip relied on the tactical ideas of Theban general Epaminondas in this battle. The wartime conditions also spurred him to pay special attention to the mobility of the army, which he increased by means of special training and the liquidation of the supply forces. Together, these factors made possible timely defensive and offensive operations. Moreover, the mobility of the Macedonian forces limited the time that the Illyrians could use to gather the tribal levy. The outstanding features of the forces created to defeat Bardylis, together with Phillip`s generalship, formed the basis for the new Macedonian warfare, which largely determined the future victories of Philip II and his son Alexander in Europe and Asia.
Keywords: Macedonia, fourth century BC, Philip II, Bardylis, Illyrians, tactics, phalanx, sarissa
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