Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)

Article

July 3, 2022

The Battle of Chaeronea (August 2, 338 BC) is a battle in Greece near Chaeronea in Boeotia, during which the Macedonian king Philip II defeated the united army of the Greek city-states. The battle took place between comparable forces of opponents. The Greeks had a number of advantages - on the swampy plain, the actions of the Macedonian phalanx and cavalry were difficult. Greek strategists assumed that the outcome of the battle would be decided in a head-on collision. In the event of a defeat, they could retreat through a narrow gorge and save most of their army. Thanks to several maneuvers of Philip II and the decisive actions of his son Alexander, the Macedonians were able to utterly defeat the allied forces of the Greeks. The Battle of Chaeronea was of great importance both for Philip II, his son Alexander, and for all of Greece. After the battle won, Philip was able to subjugate almost all of Greece under his hegemony. The young prince gained a reputation as a successful commander and strengthened his position in Macedonia. The ancient Greek policies lost their independence, which became one of the factors that ended the era of classical Greece.

Background

In 338 B.C. e. Macedonia was at war with Amfissa in Ozolian Locris and Athens. At the beginning of the year, Philip II set out on a campaign. Initially, everything looked in such a way that the Macedonian army was heading towards Amfissa. However, then the Macedonian king suddenly changed direction, turning southeast towards Boeotia. He captured Elatea on the main road that went to Thebes and Athens. From Elatea to Thebes it was only two or three days' journey. Philip II sent his ambassadors to Thebes. The Thebans were required to join the Macedonians in their war with Athens, or at least ensure an unhindered passage for the army of Philip II. For this, the Thebans were promised large military booty in Athens, as well as a significant increase in their influence in Central Greece. Otherwise, Thebes was threatened with war not only with Macedonia, but also with the Delphic Amphictyony. The news that Philip II captured Elatea and was going to go to Athens caused panic among the townspeople. As a matter of urgency, the Popular Assembly instructed Demosthenes to head the embassy to Thebes. When the Athenian embassy