Philip II's ReignEdit
Philip II came to the throne of the minor Macedonian kingdom, located in the north of Greece, in 359 BCE. At the time, Macedon was being overrun by a neighboring group of people known as the illyrians. Outperforming his predecessors, Philip managed to not only kick the illyrians out of his kingdom, but he turned the tide and annexed the illyrian kingdom in a decisive campaign. Philip then resolved to conquer and become the master of Greece in 354 BCE. Having been seriously weakened by the Peloponessian War, not even the maritime power of Athens was able to stop the Macedonian's ambitions. Philip, being a brilliant statesman and general, engineered his army into one of the strongest of the ancient world, applying powerful ranged weapons of the age and the famous Macedonian phalanx. Not being stable or prepared enough, the Greeks lost the Bosphorus to Philip in 351 BCE. Ever so gradually, more and more of Greece was claimed by Philip until tensions climaxed in open war in 340 BCE. In this war, Philip's son, Alexander, had his first professional experience in the Battle of Chaeronea, which ended in a decisive Macedonian victory. By placing fair peace terms, Philip played Greece into misconceiving that they had maintained their autonomy when in reality, they were now puppets of Philip and later his son. Still desiring more power, Philip began to draft a plan to invade the Persian Empire, which was under the rule of Artaxerxes III. This grand plan, however, failed to be realized by Philip himself, having been assassinated in 336 BCE.
Alexander the Great Edit
Philip's assassination remains suspicious to historians to this day, and some still wonder if Alexander any part in it; since Alexander didn't have the strongest claims to the throne, being only half-Macedonian. Regardless of whether this is true or not, Alexander certainly did inherit his father's ambitions, much to Persia's worry. Persia had just finished a civil war that erupted after Artaxerxes death, and his successor came to be a distant family member by the name of Darius III. Seeing the time ripe for invasion, Alexander struck across the border, into Asia Minor. He prevailed over the Persians in a number of skirmishes as he approached the site of where he would engage Darius's real armies for the first time.