Ancient Macedonian kings – Perdiccas II of Macedon

 

The peace of Perdiccas was disturbed for some years by the ambitious designs of his youngest brother, Philip, who
aspired to the throne. In the beginning of his reign, mdeed, Perdiccas found himself surrounded by suspicious friends,
and open foes. The Thraciaris, and other barbarous nations, looked upon his kingdom with an envious eye; the Persians
affected to treat him as their vassal; and the Athenians menaced the safety of his throne by their colonies and allies on
the sea-coast. Perdiccas amused the latter with a show of friendship; but when he found that they treated him as an
inferior, he resolved to check their progress in the vicinity of his dominions.
When a monarch is disposed for war, occasion will seldom be wanted to find some pretext to justify the commencement
of the strife. Thus it was with Perdiccas. The city of Epidamnum, distracted by seditions at home, and threatened by
foreign foes, was in the utmost distress. The weaker party had called the Illyrians to their assistance, by which the government was so reduced, that they sent to the Corcyreans and Corinthians for aid. The Corinthians sent relief to Epidamnum, which the Corcyreans resented, and sent a fleet on the coast of Macedonia, in order to compel the Epidamnians to submit to whatever terms they thought proper to prescribe.
The Athenians took part in these proceedings, and Perdiccas embraced the opportunity of declaring war against that state.  The first measure of Perdiccas was, to persuade the Chalcidians to abandon their sea-ports, and to inhabit and fortify the city of Olynthus. Enraged at such a proceeding, the Athenians determined to revenge themselves on those who had deserted them, and on the instigator of their defection, Perdiccas.
To this end, they sent Agnon with a fleet, and a large army on board, to besiege Potidea, and to reduce the Chalcidians; but the plague infecting his army, he was obliged to return without accomplishing his purpose. He left Potidea as he found it, blocked up by a small army the Athenians had there before, and which eventually proved sufficient for its reduction. By the end of winter, the Potideans were so much reduced, that they stipulated with the Athenian generals, Xenophon, Hestiodorus, and Callimachus, to retire from the city, B. c. 431.
Another cause which tended to widen the breach between the Athenians and Perdiccas was as follows. One of the

The breach between the Athenians and Perdiccas became
wider and wider. On his part, he intrigued not only with
the Chalcidians, but with the Potideans and Bottiseans, subjects
of Athens in his neighbourhood, for the purpose of engaging
them to revolt; while on theirs, they incited the powerful
sovereign of Thrace, Sitalces, to dethrone him, and to
bestow his kingdom on Amyntas, who had been expelled by
Perdiccas his uncle from his inheritance. principalities of Upper Macedonia was the appanage of Philip, younger brother of Perdiccas, and another was the inheritance of Derdas, cousin to the royal family. About the time of the Corcyrean war, Perdiccas proposed to deprive both his brother and his cousin of their territories, and the Athenian administration thought proper to take those princes under its protection, and support them against the intended injury. Perdiccas resented this as a breach of the ancient alliance, and perhaps this was the chief motive .of his inciting the Chalcidians to revolt, and of his hostility to the Athenians. The ruin of Perdiccas seemed inevitable. Sitalces chose the winter for the invasion of Macedonia; at which season he put himself at the head of a large army, and with Amyntas in his train, he directed his march for the inland district of Macedonia, which had been the appanage of Philip, father of Amyntas. Here the young prince still had friends, and the towns of Gortynia and Atalanta opened their gates to his protector. Perdiccas trembled for the event. Weakened by civil war with the princes of his family, he was utterly unequal to meet the Thracian army in battle. He attended upon its motions only with his cavalry, while his people sought refuge in fortified towns, or in the mountains, woods, and marshes.
The first opposition that Sitalces encountered was from the town of Eidomene, which he took by assault. He next attacked Europus ; but unskilled in, and unprovided for «eges, he there failed. The Macedonian horse now made some
charges upon the army, and produced some impression ; but being always in the end overpowered, they soon desisted from their efforts. All the open country was, therefore, at the mercy of the Thracian prince; the provinces of Mygdonia,
Grestonia, Anthemaus, and ^Emathia, were desolated. It had been concerted with the Athenian government, that
an Athenian fleet should co-operate with the Thracians: but it was so little expected that Sitalces would undertake his enterprise in the winter, that this fleet was not sent. As soon, however, as it was known that he had actually entered Macedonia, an embassy was dispatched to make excuses for the omission, with presents for the Thracian monarch. Gratified by this attention, Sitalces now sent a part of his army into Chalcidice, and the ravage of that country was added to the destruction of the internal provinces. The people, however, found security in their towns ; for the whole force of Thrace was of little avail against a Grecian town moderately fortified.
One stroke of refined policy on the part of Perdiccas brought the unhallowed hope of the Athenians to the ground
and saved Macedonia from destruction. The rigour of the season having paralyzed the efforts of the Thracians for a
brief period, Perdiccas embraced the opportunity for negotiation. He found means to communicate with Seuthes, nephew and principal favourite of the Thracian monarch, to whom he offered Stratonice his sister in marriage, with a large portion. The intrigue succeeded. After Macedonia had been trodden under foot by the Thracians for a whole month, and mischief had been done beyond calculation, Sitalces, led his forces home without accomplishing the purpose for which the expedition was undertaken. A treaty of amity followed between the two monarchs, and the Macedonian princess gave her hand to Seuthes.
Delivered from this exigency, in order to be revenged on the Athenians, Perdiccas allied himself with the Spartans in
the first Peloponnesian war, B. c. 429 ; and much of the success of Brasidas was owing to his active co-operation; the
particulars of which belong to the history of the Grecians. The success which the Spartans obtained over the Athenians
was advantageous to Perdiccas. It inclined the Athenians to court his favour, notwithstanding the mutual injuries
they had inflicted upon each other. Perdiccas was disposed to favour their views; he chose, indeed, rather to conclude a
peace with Athens, than to throw himself entirely into the arms of his new allies, B. c. 423.
The fidelity of Perdiccas, however, was soon suspected by the Athenians. They charged him first with treachery in
not having efficiently assisted Nicias in the battle of Amphipoiis, and eventually they ordered a body of horse to be
transported to Methone, from whence they made inroads into Macedonia, and devastated some parts of the country. Nothing more is recorded of the reign of Perdiccas. He died B. c. 413, after reigning twenty-three years, leaving his
kingdom to his son.

History of the Macedonians By Edward Farr

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Ancient Macedonian kings – Perdiccas I of Macedon
  2. Ancient Macedonian kings – Aeropus I of Macedon
  3. Ancient Macedonian kings – Argaeus I of Macedon
  4. Ancient Macedonian kings – Archelaus of Macedon
  5. Ancient Macedonian kings – Philip I of Macedon
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