Philip V of Macedon

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Philip V
Basileus of Macedon
Didrachme Philippe V.jpg
Didrachm of Philip V of Macedon
Reign 221–179 BC
Greek Φίλιππος Ε΄ (Philippos V)
Born 238 BC
Birthplace Pella, Macedon
Died 179 BC (aged 59)
Place of death Amphipolis, Macedon
Predecessor Antigonus III Doson
Successor Perseus
Wife Polycratia
Issue Perseus
Apame IV
Royal house Antigonid dynasty
Father Demetrius II Aetolicus
Mother Chryseis
Mediterranean at 218 BC

Philip V (Greek: Φίλιππος Ε΄) (238–179 BC) was King of Macedon from 221 to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man. A dashing and courageous warrior, he was inevitably compared to Alexander the Great and was nicknamed the darling of all Greece (Greek: ἐρώμενος ἐγένετο τῶν Ἑλλήνων).[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

The son of Demetrius II and Chryseis, Philip was nine years old at his father's death in 229 BC. He had an elder paternal half sister called Apame.[4] His cousin, Antigonus Doson, administered the kingdom as regent until his death in 221 BC when Philip was seventeen years old.

On his ascent to the throne, Philip quickly showed that while he was young, this did not mean that Macedon was weak. In the first year of his rule, he pushed back the Dardani and other tribes in the north of the country.

The Social War[edit]

In the Social War (220-217 BC), the Hellenic League of Greek states was assembled at Philip V’s instigation in Corinth. He then led the Hellenic League in battles against Aetolia, Sparta and Elis. At the same time he was able to stamp on his own authority amongst his own ministers. His leadership during the Social War made him well-known and respected both within his own kingdom and abroad.

First Macedonian War[edit]

Main article: First Macedonian War

After the Peace of Naupactus in 217 BC, Philip V tried to replace Roman influence along the eastern shore of the Adriatic, forming alliances or lending patronage to certain island and coastal provinces such as Lato on Crete. He first tried to invade Illyria from the sea, but with limited success. His first expedition in 216 BC had to be aborted, while he suffered the loss of his whole fleet in a second expedition in 214 BC. A later expedition by land met with greater success when he captured Lissus in 212 BC.

In 215 BC, he entered into a treaty with Hannibal, the Carthaginian general then in the middle of an invasion of Roman Italy. Their treaty defined spheres of operation and interest, but achieved little of substance or value for either side. Philip became heavily involved in assisting and protecting his allies from attacks from the Spartans, the Romans and their allies.

Rome's alliance with the Aetolian League in 211 BC effectively neutralised Philip's advantage on land. The intervention of Attalus I of Pergamum on the Roman side further exposed Philip's position in Macedonia.

Philip was able to take advantage of the withdrawal of Attalus from the Greek mainland in 207 BC, along with Roman inactivity and the increasing role of Philopoemen, the strategos of the Achaean League. After sacking Thermum, the religious and political centre of Aetolia, Philip was able to force the Aetolians to accept his terms in 206 BC. The following year he was able to conclude the Peace of Phoenice with Rome and its allies.

Expansion in the Aegean[edit]

Following an agreement with the Seleucid king Antiochus III to capture Egyptian held territory from the boy king Ptolemy V, Philip was able to gain control of Egyptian territory in the Aegean Sea and in Anatolia. This expansion of Macedonian influence created alarm in a number of neighbouring states, including Pergamum and Rhodes. Their navies clashed with Philip’s off Chios and Lade (near Miletus) in 201 BC. At around the same time, the Romans were finally the victors over Carthage.

Second Macedonian War[edit]

Main article: Second Macedonian War
Kingdom of Macedon on the eve of the Second Macedonian War, c. 200 BC.

In 200 BC, with Carthage no longer a threat, the Romans declared war on Macedon arguing that they were intervening to protect the freedom of the Greeks. After campaigns in Macedonia in 199 BC and Thessaly in 198 BC, Philip and his Macedonian forces were decisively defeated at the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 BC. The war also proved the superiority of the Roman legion over the Greek phalanx formation.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Alliance with Rome[edit]

Main article: Roman–Syrian War

The resulting peace treaty between Philip V and the Romans confined Philip to Macedonia and required him to pay 1000 talents indemnity, surrender most of its fleet and provide a number of hostages, including his younger son Demetrius. After this, Philip cooperated with the Romans and sent help to them in their fight against the Spartans under King Nabis in 195 BC. Philip also supported the Romans against Antiochus III (192-189 BC).

In return for his help when Roman forces under Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and his brother Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus moved through Macedon and Thrace in 190 BC, the Romans forgave the remaining indemnity that he had to pay and his son Demetrius was freed. Philip then focused on consolidating power within Macedon. He reorganised the country's internal affairs and finances, mines were reopened and a new currency was issued.

Final years[edit]

However, Rome continued to be suspicious of Philip's intentions. Accusations by Macedon's neighboring states, particularly Pergamon, led to constant interference from Rome. Feeling the threat growing that Rome would invade Macedon and remove him as king, he tried to extend his influence in the Balkans by force and diplomacy. However, his efforts were undermined by the pro-Roman policy of his younger son Demetrius, who was encouraged by Rome to consider the possibility of succession ahead of his older brother, Perseus. This eventually led to a quarrel between Perseus and Demetrius which forced Philip to decide reluctantly to execute Demetrius for treason in 180 BC. This decision had a severe impact on Philip's health and he died a year later at Amphipolis.

He was succeeded by his eldest son Perseus, who ruled as the last king of Macedon.


  1. ^ Polybius, 7.12, on Perseus
  2. ^ Polybius, 7.11.8 (Greek text)), on Perseus
  3. ^ Shipley, p. 56.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lawrence Keppie, The Making of the Roman Army from Republic to Empire, Barnes & Noble Inc., 1984. p.41-43
  6. ^ John Warry, Warfare in the Classical World, Barnes & Noble Inc., 1993. p.124-125
  7. ^ Sinnigen & Boak, A History of Rome to A.D. 565, 6th ed., MacMillan Publishing Co. 1977. p.121
  8. ^ Cook & Adcock & Charlesworth, editors, The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. VIII, Cambridge University Press, 1930. p.175
  9. ^ H.M.D. Parker, The Roman Legions, Barnes & Noble Inc., 1993. p.19
  10. ^ Arthur Cotterell, ed., The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, Penguin Group, 1980. p.233
  11. ^ Hammond & Scullard, editors, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 1992. p.809
  12. ^ R. Malcolm Errington, A History of Macedonia, Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1990. p.203
  13. ^ Peter Green, Alexander to Actium, University of California Press, 1993. p.310-311


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • The Oxford Classical Dictionary (1964)
  • The Oxford History of the Classical World (1995)
  • The Oxford Who's Who in the Classical World (2000)
  • Shipley, Graham (2008). "Approaching the Macedonian Peloponnese". Ausonius études (Bordeaux/Paris: Ausonius/De Boccard) 21: 53–68. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 

External links[edit]

  • Philip V entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. Smith

Philip V of Macedon
Born: 238 BC Died: 179 BC
Preceded by
Antigonus III Doson
King of Macedon
221–179 BC
Succeeded by