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Good and bad polytheists (part 6): Phillip II and Alexander III

PHILLIP II

Philip1[1]The 4th century BCE was an age of such decline and decay for the Greeks, that it became difficult for any notable person, whose name is recorded in history, to be considered truly as a good polytheist, except in comparison with bad ones. The huge Peloponnesian War of the preceding century, which had raged for 20 years between Athens and Sparta, resulted from ambitious greed and moral corruption, causing great destruction throughout Greece. This horrible war and dangerous decay was anticipated by the Second Sacred War, a conflict that broke out between Athens and Sparta in 449 BCE, each striving to control the pre-eminent religious sanctuary in Delphi for its own interests. During the middle of the 5th century also, we also see the rise of philosophy in Greece and its defiance to traditional polytheism, most especially in Athens with such characters as Protogoras, Antiphon the Sophist, Hippias, Diagoras of Melos, and to some degree, Socrates and Euripides, among others. The old conflict between the Greeks and the Persians was now forgotten as the Greek city-states fought amongst one another for domination, especially Athens and Sparta. In 371 BCE, the situation grew more complicated when Thebes entered as a third great player in the game for the domination of Greece, after defeating their Spartan rival in battle and capturing large territories. About this time, when Thebes invaded the northern region of Thessaly, bordering on Macedonia, a young Phillip II of Macedon, the future father of the famous Alexander, was taken as a hostage to be raised up in Thebes, where he received a fine military education.

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