The Present Philip Compared to his Ancestors
Take again the case of Philip, the founder of the
family splendour, and the first of the race to establish the
greatness of the kingdom. The success which he obtained,
after his victory over the Athenians at Chaeronea
, was not due so much to his superiority
in arms, as to his justice and humanity. His victory in
the field gave him the mastery only over those immediately
engaged against him; while his equity and moderation
secured his hold upon the entire Athenian people and
their city. For he did not allow his measures to be dictated
by vindictive passion; but laid aside his arms and warlike
measures, as soon as he found himself in a position to display
the mildness of his temper and the uprightness of his motives.
With this view he dismissed his Athenian prisoners without
ransom, and took measures for the burial of those who had
fallen, and, by the agency of Antipater, caused their bones to
be conveyed home; and presented most of those whom he
released with suits of clothes. And thus, at small expense, his
prudence gained him a most important advantage. The
pride of the Athenians was not proof against such magnanimity;
and they became his zealous supporters, instead of antagonists,
in all his schemes.
Again in the case of Alexander the Great. He was so
enraged with the Thebans that he sold all the
inhabitants of the town into slavery, and
levelled the city itself with the ground; yet in making
its capture he was careful not to outrage religion, and
took the utmost precautions against even involuntary damage
being done to the temples, or any part of their sacred enclosures. Once more, when he crossed into Asia
avenge on the Persians the impious outrages which they
had inflicted on the Greeks, he did his best to exact the
full penalty from men, but refrained from injuring places
dedicated to the gods; though it was in precisely such that the
injuries of the Persians in Greece
had been most conspicuous.
These were the precedents which Philip should have called to
mind on this occasion; and so have shown himself the
successor and heir of these men,—not so much of their power,
as of their principles and magnanimity.
The subsequent decline in Philip's character.
But throughout his
life he was exceedingly anxious to establish his relationship
to Alexander and Philip, and yet took not the
least pains to imitate them. The result was
that, as he advanced in years, as his conduct differed from theirs, so his general reputation came to
be different also.