Philip, King of Macedon, as we have seen, had one great fault. He drank; and often his reason was clouded, and his step unsteady. Now, it is impossible to respect a man who is drunk, and everybody used to make fun of Philip when he was in that state.
Even Alexander, his own son, felt great contempt for him when he thus disgraced himself; and once when he saw his father stagger and fall after one of his orgies, he scornfully exclaimed, “See! here is a man who is getting ready to cross from Europe to Asia, and yet he cannot step safely from one couch to another.”
Alexander, we are told, was greatly displeased by his father’s conquests, and once angrily cried that if Philip really beat the Persians, and took possession of Asia, there would be nothing left for him to do.
You may readily imagine, therefore, that he was not very sorry when his father died before the expedition could be undertaken; for he thus became, at twenty, master of an immense army and of great riches, and head of all the Greek cities, which were the finest in the world.
The news of Philip’s death was received with great joy by the Athenians also, who thought they would now be free. Demosthenes, in particular, was so glad to be rid of his hated foe, that he ran all through the city with a crown of flowers on his head, shaking hands with everybody he met, and shouting his congratulations.
His joy was so great, because he and all his fellow-citizens fancied that a mere boy like Alexander would never be able to hold his own, and because they hoped to become again the leading people of Greece.
The Thracians, who also thought that Alexander would not be able to carry out his father’s plans, now revolted, and the young king was obliged to begin his reign by marching against them.