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Phillip II lost none of his vigor as he aged despite walking with a limp and blind in one eye. He dreamed of invading and conquering the Persian Empire and had pressurized the Greek City-States to join his proposed invasion army.<ref>Plutarch, <i>Life of Alexander</i>, 6</ref> However, he did not live long enough to invade Persia. During a procession, Phillip II was assassinated by a former friend and bodyguard. Some have claimed that the assassin of Phillip was motivated by a personal grievance. There have long been suspicions that the wife of Phillip II, had been behind the assassination. She was concerned that Phillip II would disinherit her son Alexander and that another of Phillip’s sons would be made his heir. Phillip II was only 46 when he was killed.<ref>Plutarch, <i>Life of Alexander</i>, 7</ref>
[[File: 512px-Filip II Macedonia.jpg|thumbnail|300px|left|A bust of Phillip II]]
As a young man, Phillip was sent as a hostage to Thebes. It had the most powerful army in Greece, and the Theban army had defeated the once invincible Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra in 373 BCE. Phillip was a shrewd young man, and he spent his time in Thebes studying its army and especially the tactics of the renowned Theban commanders Epaminondas and Pelopidas. He also saw how a phalanx could be utilized to drive an enemy from the battlefield. In particular, he studied the famous ‘Theban wedge,’ which was a mass attack over the open ground by a phalanx at pace.
Phillip learned much from Thebes, but he also introduced his own tactics. He adapted the phalanx, and he made it more flexible. He appointed a commander to every phalanx and established a system for communications. The Macedonian King also adapted the equipment of his army. He abandoned the traditional spear and introduced a very long spear, up to twenty feet in length. It meant that the Macedonian phalanx could reach the enemy before they were within reach of their spears. He also equipped every soldier with a short sword that was ideal for close combat. The army that Phillip II developed was to help him establish an empire. This army allowed him to turn Macedonia from a second-rate power into a major Greek power. It was this army that allowed Alexander to conquer most of the known world<ref>Lewis. p 101</ref>.