Philip II of Macedonia, By Ian Worthington

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Best known as the father of Alexander the Great, Philip merits the same honorific according to his biographer. In the "disunited, weak backwater" of Macedonia, he created the first nation-state and built an empire in two decades that included much of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and former Yugoslavia.

Worthington compares his achievements to Napoleon's. Yet Philip's assassination at the age of 48 is more like The Godfather. A Greek archaeologist claimed to have found his body as recently as 1997.

Worthington weighs the evidence with a judiciousness that characterises this book and concludes that the body with "severe trauma around the eye" (an arrow wound received at the siege of Methone in 355BC) is indeed Philip.

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