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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Philip of Macedon

  • [Philip II., king of Macedonia; born 382 B.C.; succeeded his brother, 359; gained victories over Athens in the Social and subsequent wars, until the battle of Chæronea, 338, made him master of Greece; appointed commander-in-chief of the Greek armies against Persia, but was assassinated while making preparations, 336.]
  • O Fortune, for all these so great kindnesses, do me some small mischief!

  • When news was brought to him of divers and eminent successes in one day.—PLUTARCH: Apothegms.
  • When advised to put garrisons in Greek cities which he conquered, he replied, “I had rather be called merciful a great while, than lord a little while.”—Ibid.
  • Being told that a certain city was impregnable: “Is there not a pathway to it,” he asked, “wide enough for an ass laden with gold?”—Ibid.
  • Men that call a spade a spade.

  • When Lasthenes the Olynthian, and his friends, complained to Philip that some of his retinue called them traitors: “These Macedonians,” replied the king, “are a rude and clownish people, that call a spade a spade.”—Ibid. Philip Melanchthon in a letter to Cranmer, May 1, 1548, said, “In ecclesia rectius scapham, scapham dicere.”
  • Having made a man a judge, on Antipater’s recommendation, and perceiving afterwards that his hair and beard were dyed, he removed him, saying, “I could not think one that was faithless in his hair could be trusty in his deeds.”—Ibid.
  • Aster, an expert marksman, offered his services to Philip during the siege of Methone, asserting that he could shoot birds in their flight. The king declined the offer, saying, “I will take you into my service when I make war upon starlings;” whereupon Aster shot an arrow from the city, inscribed, “To Philip’s right eye,” and put it out. The king sent back the arrow with the message that if he took the city he would hang Aster, which he did. Philip could never thereafter bear to hear the Cyclops, or one-eyed men, mentioned.
  • Philip, remember that thou art mortal.

  • The words he had a servant repeat in the audience-room. Augustus once received a more pointed hint; for, when condemning men in a passion, Mæcenas threw his tablets to him, on which he had written, “Rise, butcher!” (Surge, carnifex!)
  • He complimented his prime minister by saying, when reproached with devoting so many hours to sleep, “I sleep, but Antipater wakes.”—PLUTARCH: Apothegms.
  • When suffering from a wound in the throat, his surgeon daily importuned him with some new request. “Take what thou wilt,” Philip at last exclaimed, “for thou hast me by the throat.”
  • He refused to banish a defamer, preferring “that he speak where we are both known, than both unknown.”
  • I advise you to take a journey to Anticyra.

  • To Menecrates, who had written an arrogant letter to Philip. As hellebore was found there, it was an insinuation that he was mad, for which that herb was a specific. Lord Beaconsfield said, on his return from the Berlin Congress in 1878, in replying to a criticism of Mr. Gladstone, that the convention of Constantinople was an “insane convention:” “I will not say to the right honorable gentleman, what I had occasion to say in the House of Lords this year, Naviget Anticyram; but I would put this issue to an intelligent English jury: Which do you believe most likely to enter into an insane convention, a body of English gentlemen, honored by the favor of their sovereign and the confidence of their fellow-subjects, managing their own affairs for five years, I hope with prudence and not altogether without success, or a sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign his opponents and to glorify himself?”