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High Generals of Ancient Macedonian Part I

When taking a look at the high generals that once led the troops of ancient Macedonia, you first need to become familiar with some of the titles they held and significant achievements that have shaped the strategic positioning of the Macedonia and its rulers. In this article, you will learn what it meant to become a Strategos and information concerning Parmenion , the commander of the pharsalian squadron.

The first high general we’ll explore is Parmenion, who was given the title of Strategos. The Greek term translates into “army leader” and is used to refer to as “general.” The term was quite popular during the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires, which also found use in describing a military governor. However, in the modern Hellenic Army, Strategos referred to the highest ranked officer.

Parmenion (400 , 330 BC)

As one of the most trusted of all generals that Macedonian king Philip II relied on, Parmenion also become a loyal supported of Alexander the Great. His story begins as the son of a Macedonian nobleman named Philotas. He would grow into the man that would capture a rather important victory for Philip II , over the Illyrians (which primarily inhabited Southern Italy and the western Balkans in 356 BC.

He is a man of many accomplishments. In 346 BC, he became one of the Macedonian delegates that gained an appointment to wind up the peacefulness with Athens. In 342 BC, he was sent along with his army to make sure that Macedonian influence prevailed in Euboea.

In the past, the Macedonian army had acquired quite a reputation for being tough, disciplined, and professional in their actions. Their tactics were known all over as they undoubtedly conquered many lands and greatly excelled in land warfare. This glory would continue for many centuries to come and most likely ended in 168 BC with the Battle of Pydna, which involved Macedonia and Rome.
When taking a look at the strategy and tactics of Macedon when Philip ruled, major points were to hold the enemy infantry and centralized cavalry units in position, forces would maneuver in a strategic arrangement that allowed them to effectively attack from the flank. The way they fought showcased some of the latest in military ideas at the time. They also perfected the phalanx technique, which used an oblique formation and permitted an army to become a dominating offensive force. With this formation and the help of a new weapon (called the sarissa , a pike measuring 18 feet), created an infantry that ripped through their opponents. It is Parmenion that is given credit for cultivating all of the thoughts and wishes of Philip. His appointment to second in command was well deserved , beating a younger Alexander out for the role.  

Parmenion was the apple of Philip’s eye in the military world, but what will happen when Alexander takes over and a turn of events takes place? What happens to Parmenion? Part II of ” High Generals of Ancient Macedonian” will take a closer look, as well as introduce Attalus , strategos of Philip and early taxiarch of Alexander.