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Philip the Great?,
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This review is from: Philip II of Macedonia (Hardcover)
Ian Worthington is well known to many interested in Early Hellenistic and Macedonian History, with an excellent reputation for producing thought provoking and relevant works in the period. It was therefore highly pleasing to learn that Worthington has decided to look at Philip II, often the forgotten man of the period and to whom Alexander owed a debt.
The work is perhaps targeted at a less academic audience than some of Worthington's recent work, and perhaps introduce Philip to a wider lay audience of historians and others with an interest in the period. The result is very positive with the work combining excellent narrative across the military, political, personal and economic history of Philip and his kingdom as well as some shrewd insight into his motivations. In that respect the work is a triumph of recent historiography, given that it handles narrative accounts well and credits the reader without assuming that they know all the detail already.
Readers will be impressed with the shrewd assessment of the Macedonian kingdom and also the principal argument of the book that Philip laid much of the groundwork for Alexander, not just militarily but through shrewd economic and diplomatic policy. Philip is seen as a major acheiver and also a consummate statesman, Worthington is right to highlight his acheivements as worthy of distinction.
That said the argument does seem a little overstated and does not reconcile itself to either the scope of Alexander's acheivements, which were great in their own right and also how little credit it gives to the Macedonian Kings prior to Philip (such as Archelaus referenced in Thucycides 2.100) who had already developed the country's infrastructure and military. However given the number of works devoted to Alexander it is mean perhaps to be grudge Philip his place in modern academic works. Though if any historians are reading an accessible work on pre-Philip Macedonia would be well received!
All in all a good work and worth a place in any classical or hellenistic Greece book collection.