Philip V

(238—179 bc)

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king of Macedon, son of Demetrius II and Phthia (Chryseis) and adopted by Antigonus Doson, whom he succeeded in summer 221. He quickly showed that his youth did not betoken weakness in Macedon, initially against the Dardani and others in the north. The Social War (220–217), in which he led the Hellenic League against Aetolia, Sparta, and Elis, saw him establish his own authority in the face of intrigues amongst his ministers and brought him considerable renown at home and abroad. After the Peace of Naupactus (217), he sought to take advantage of Rome's discomfiture in Italy and to replace Roman with Macedonian influence along the eastern shore of the Adriatic: first by sea with limited success (after an aborted expedition in 216 he lost his fleet in 214) and later by land with considerably more (he captured Lissus on the Adriatic in 213). His treaty with Hannibal (215) defined spheres of operation and interest but led to no useful action. Rome's alliance with the Aetolian League (211) did much to neutralize Philip's advantage on land, and the intervention of Attalus I of Pergamum on the Roman–Aetolian side further distracted him. Remarkable energy and tactical skill were devoted to assisting and protecting his allies, the Achaeans against Sparta and those on the mainland against Roman–Aetolian rapacity. With the withdrawal of Attalus, a biennium of Roman inactivity (207–206), and the development by Philopoemen of a competent military force in Achaea, the balance shifted. After sacking Thermum (the religious and political centre of Aetolia), Philip forced terms on the Aetolians (206), and concluded the temporizing (on the Roman side at least) Peace of Phoenice in 205. Philip then turned eastward: he employed the piratical Dicaearchus to gain resources and from 203/2 sought to gain control of territory in the Aegean and Asia Minor subject to the infant Ptolemy V; the nature and extent of his cooperation with Antiochus III in this venture is disputed. This expansion, along with that achieved by his lieutenants on the mainland, alarmed many, especially Attalus and the Rhodians. Their naval engagements with Philip off Chios and Lade (near Miletus) in 201 were of mixed outcome, but their démarche at Rome late that year came at an opportune juncture: the Romans were victorious over Carthage and already inclined against Philip and towards the east. In 200 they declared war and lost no time in announcing that they had come as protectors of the Greeks; many believed them. After campaigns in Macedonia (199) and Thessaly (198), Philip was defeated at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly in 197. By the subsequent peace settlement the Romans confined him to Macedonia, exacted 1,000 talents indemnity, most of his fleet, and hostages, amongst them his younger son, Demetrius. After securing an alliance with the Romans, Philip co-operated with them, sending help against the Spartan king Nabis (195) and Antiochus and the Aetolians (192–189), and made acquisitions in Thessaly. For facilitating the advance of the Scipios (Scipio Africanus and Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenes through Macedon and Thrace (190) he had the rest of his indemnity remitted and his son restored. He then set about consolidating Macedon: finance was reorganized, populations were transplanted, mines reopened, central and local currencies issued. Accusations by his neighbours (especially Eumenes II of Pergamum) led to constant interference by an already suspicious Rome. Adverse decisions by the senate in 185 convinced him that his destruction was intended and quickened his efforts to extend his influence in the Balkans by force and diplomacy. Meanwhile, the pro-Roman policy of Demetrius (fostered by Flamininus and others who encouraged him to entertain hopes of succession) led to a quarrel with the crown prince Perseus and ultimately to Philip's reluctant decision to execute Demetrius for treason (180). From this Philip never recovered, and in 179, amidst an ambitious scheme for directing the Bastarnae against the Dardani, he died at Amphipolis.


Subjects: Classical Studies.

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