The Fall of Olynthus (348 BC)
After his march through Thrace in 351 BC, Philip had given the Olynthians a serious warning, avoiding a direct attack, maybe because they had granted asylum to his half-brothers, Menelaus and Arrhidaeus, and to Machatas, the exiled brother of Phila, Philip’s first wife. But now it seems that even ten years after being crowned king of Macedonia, Philip still felt the need to eliminate possible pretenders to the throne when Olynthus, at the head of a league of about 32 cities, refused bluntly to surrender the possible pretenders to the throne and a full-scale Macedonian invasion was launched in the summer of 349 BC.
It is interesting to see how the sack of Olynthus by Philip because of their sheltering pretenders to the throne can be compared to Alexander when razing Thebes to the ground about a decade later for the same reason since they harbored Amyntas, the legal heir in 359 BC – as suggested by some inscriptional evidence. Alexander has walked further in his father’s footsteps than we may think at first sight.
This meant the end of the Chalcidian League and with it Athens’ chances to recover Amphipolis. Philip now had full control over the peninsula’s rich timber and minerals (gold and silver), and he replaced the local coins by Macedonian coinage, especially the silver tetradrachme and later the gold staters that eventually circulated all over the ancient world.