"Phillip II Defeated at
Chaeronea" by Jeff Provine
says: we're very pleased to present the twentieth story from Jeff
Provine's excellent blog
This Day in
Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this post
do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
On August 2nd 338 B.C.,
on this day King Phillip II of Macedon was defeated at Chaeronea.
It would be his final battle of the long Grecian Campaign. Phillip II of
Macedon had led his "barbarian" troops to conquest of many of the Greek
city-states and alliances with many more, building a league that, he
hoped, would be enough to overthrow the powerful Persians to the east and
solidify Greece as a world power with himself as the head. Not all Greeks
agreed with his domination, and a band of Theban, Athenian, and numerous
other allies stood as the final block to his plan (other than the
Spartans, but they would never bow to a foreigner while still alive).
Phillip arranged his 30,000 man army with himself and his powerful cavalry
on the right and his eighteen-year-old son Alexander with his Thessalian
allies on the left. Alexander would face the Thebans, while Phillip
himself would challenge the Athenians. A new story by Jeff ProvineHis plan
was simple and elegant: attack the Athenians, withdraw to the high ground,
and then hit them with Alexander and his cavalry as they were drawn out
and their middle exposed.
Phillip began his attack and then withdrew, but the Athenians held. He
launched a second attack, sortied away, and again the Athenians held.
Their generals, reflecting only that morning on the high ground
effectiveness of the Battle of Marathon, refused to fight uphill.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming numbers of the Thebans and allies pressed
against the Thessalians. As Phillip began his third attack, the Athenians,
still fresh, finally moved forward. However, instead of following Phillip
up the hill, they wheeled and charged Alexander and his cavalry. Seeing
the assault, Phillip charged downhill, but the Athenian formations parted
to avoid his horsemen and regrouped to fight him at their rear.
Now divided, the Macedonian army began to break. Alexander held his men in
constant attack, nearly breaking the Greeks. The young general may very
well have won the battle and conquered the world, but it was not to be. A
lucky Athenian spear found itself lodged into Alexander's side, the prince
fell, and the Macedonians broke. Phillip would cover their retreat, but he
knew his campaign had come to an end. He fell back to Macedon and worked
to secure his throne for a new heir.
Again defending their freedom, the Greeks would rebuild their cities and
return to their daily lives. The Persians, weary of their attempts at
conquest, would remain quiet, and the next few decades would see the wars
of the Mediterranean world shift toward the west with the Romans and the
Carthaginians at each other's throats. In their second war, Greece would
be drawn in by the Siege of Syracuse and split as some city-states favored
Rome and others Carthage. Devastation would come across Greece as
alliances built and fell until the end of the war when Rome would secure
itself as dominant over nearly the whole of the Mediterranean.
Seeing a new superpower on the world, the Persian emperor Artaxerxes VI
moved to a third attempt to conquer Greece while the Romans were still
rebuilding. The Persian Wars (144 to 51 BC) would dwarf the Punic Wars,
especially in the naval combat of the First. Great Romans such as Gaius
Marius, Sulla, Pomey, and Caesar would arise. After only a generation of
peace, civil war would split the Roman world, tearing it into pieces such
as Hispania, Italia, Africa, Achea, Mesopotamia, and Persia. Each small
state would vie for dominance with the others, swallowing the world in a
dark age of sparring warlords.
It would not be until the Germanic Enlightenment (circa AD 450 - 750) that
conquerors from the north would pick up the pieces of the scattered former
empire and build a new order based on trade, peace, and, most importantly,
the idea of banking to fund expeditions. Science (the fatalistic
understanding that laws govern the universe) would follow in revolution
with such technology such as the dampfmaschine (AD 769), telegraf (837),
and glihbirne (879). Gradually, the world powers would move northward with
the Nordic explorers and colonizers achieving dominance as leaders of the
world through the second millennium.
says in reality, Phillip's battle-plan worked. Many of the Athenians
were green troops, overly eager and soon worn out by the charge uphill.
Alexander's charge into their midst would smash the Greek army, and Phillip
would establish his league of allies. However, he would be assassinated
before he could put together his invasion of Persia, leaving Alexander to
create a Hellenistic world in his stead.
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Today in Alternate History web site.
Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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