Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II by Geoffrey ParkerPhilip II is not only the most famous king in Spanish history, but one of the most famous monarchs in English history: the man who married Mary Tudor and later launched the Spanish Armada against her sister Elizabeth I. This compelling biography of the most powerful European monarch of his day begins with his conception (1526) and ends with his ascent to Paradise (1603), two occurrences surprisingly well documented by contemporaries. Eminent historian Geoffrey Parker draws on four decades of research on Philip as well as a recent, extraordinary archival discovery—a trove of 3,000 documents in the vaults of the Hispanic Society of America in New York City, unread since crossing Philip’s own desk more than four centuries ago. Many of them change significantly what we know about the king.
The book examines Philip’s long apprenticeship; his three principal interests (work, play, and religion); and the major political, military, and personal challenges he faced during his long reign. Parker offers fresh insights into the causes of Philip’s leadership failures: was his empire simply too big to manage, or would a monarch with different talents and temperament have fared better?
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20 Facts About Philip II of Macedon
He was born in Valladolid , and was the only son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his wife to live until he was an adult. He was Catholic. His rule was filled with troubles that caused him to be harsh on his people and other nations. For the first seven years of his life, Philip moved between different castles with his mother. In he moved into a private house in Salamanca to start his schooling. His mother died in and he took her body to Granada , where his great-grandparents Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella were buried.
Philip II B. He suppressed his feudal barons, forged a professional army infused with a national spirit, and developed novel military tactics. Philip cherished his Greek heritage. Some Greeks, especially the hostile Athenian Demosthenes, disclaimed his and the Macedonians' claim to membership in the Greek race and labeled Philip a barbarian or non-Greek. This left him with a marked inferiority complex. Culturally the Macedonians were less advanced than their southern Greek neighbors, had remained rural rather than urban, and retained a strongly Indo-European feudal and tribal sociopolitical structure. As king, Philip would actively work to import Greek culture to Macedon and to increase trade and urbanization.
He was held captive in Thebes as a teenager and it was here where he learned his remarkable military and diplomatic skills. Five years after his return to Macedon, Philip became regent for King Amyntas IV but he was able to secure the crown for himself within a few months. Over the next 23 years, Philip enjoyed some incredible victories and a handful of defeats as he expanded his kingdom. During that period, Philip transformed Macedon from a struggling state with a weak military into one of the strongest kingdoms in Europe. He had planned to expand into Persia by the time of his death in BC but his son, Alexander the Great, took up the mantle and produced the single greatest set of conquests the world had yet seen.
1 – He Was an Exceptional General
Alexander the Great would not be the famous military leader we remember him as today if it had not been for the actions of his father, Philip. Philip had spent much of his adolescence serving as a hostage of foreign powers: first at the court of the Illyrians and then later at Thebes. Greatly weakened, the kingdom in BC faced the threat of invasion from several enemies: the Illyrians, Paeonians and Thracians. Through both diplomatic skill big bribes mainly and military strength, Philip managed to face down these threats. Philip transformed his army from a backward rabble into a disciplined and organised force, centred around the combined use of infantry, cavalry and siege equipment.