From the Archives - Philip of Macedon Captures Prinassus
King Philip V of Macedon (r. 221-179 BC) was a great warrior who sought to emulate the achievements of his predecessor and distant kinsman Alexander the Great.
Like his idol Alexander, Philip started early, campaiging against the Dardani, a barbarian people who had invaded Macedonian territory when he ascended to the throne, thinking the 17 year-old king would be a push-over. He won that war, and the following year led the Hellenic League to defeat Sparta and her allies. When that war was over, in 217 B.C., Philip campaigned in Illyria, subduing many cities. In 215 B.C. he allied himself with Hannibal in his war against Rome, initiating what the Romans called the First Macedonian War (215-206 B.C.). This time Philip did not do well, but at least emerged with his kingdom intact.
To rebuild his fortunes, Philip began to expand his power in the Aegean and Anatolia, picking up stray territory in anticipation of another go at the Romans.
Thus it was that in 201 B.C. Philip campaigned against the city of Prinassus, in Caria, on the southern coast of Anatolia. The tale is told by Polybius of Megalopolis, himself an old soldier, in his History.
. . . Philip, having delivered several assaults which proved futile owing to the strength of the place, again withdrew, sacking the small forts and country residences, and when he had desisted from this, sat down before Prinassus. Having soon prepared penthouses and other materials he began to besiege it by mining. But when this project proved impracticable owing to the rocky nature of the ground he hit on the following device. During the day he produced a noise underground as if the mines were going ahead, and at night he brought soil from elsewhere and heaped it round the mounds of the excavations, so that those in the town judging from the quantity of soil piled up might be alarmed. At first the Prinassians held out valiantly, but when Philip sent to inform them that about two hundred feet of their wall had been underpinned and inquired whether they wished to withdraw under promise of safety or to perish all of them with their town after the underpinning had been fired, they believed what he said and surrendered the town
And so Philip captured Prinassus.
Alas for Philip, however, neither Prinassus not any of his other conquests helped him against Rome. Soon after defeating Hannibal and Carthage in 201 B.C., the Romans undertook the Second Macedonian War (200-197 B.C.) and gave Philip a sound thrashing.
Having learned his lesson, Philip became a faithful ally to the Romans, and continued on his throne until his death.