He finally roused the Athenians to the point of arming to meet Philip, when they heard that he was really coming at last to make himself master of Greece. Their allies, the Thebans, joined them; and the two armies met at Chaeronea, in Boeotia, where a terrible battle was fought. Demosthenes had joined the army; but as he was no soldier, and was not very brave, he fled at the very first onset. Dashing through the bushes, he was suddenly stopped by some spiky branches that caught in his cloak and held him fast. The orator was so frightened that he thought the enemy had captured him, and, falling upon his knees, he began to beg that his life might be spared.

While Demosthenes was thus flying madly, his friends and fellow-citizens were bravely meeting the Macedonians; but, in spite of all their courage, they were soon forced to yield to the Macedonian phalanx, and the battlefield was left strewn with their dead. Alexander, Philip’s son, who was then only eighteen years of age, commanded one wing of his father’s army, and had the glory of completely crushing the Sacred Battalion of the Thebans, which had never before been beaten.

This brilliant victory at Chaeronea made Philip really master of all Greece; but he generously refrained from making the Athenians recognize him openly as their lord, although he made their government do whatever he pleased. As Greece was now obedient to him, the ambitious Philip began to plan the conquest of Asia and the downfall of the Persian Empire. To get as large an army as possible, he invited all the Greeks to join him, artfully reminding them of all they had suffered at the hands of the Persians in the past. His preparations were nearly finished, and he was on the point of starting for Asia, when he was murdered by Pausanias, one of his subjects, whom he had treated very unkindly.