Alexander's Campaign > Alexander's Balkan Campaign

Alexander's Balkan Campaign


The Balkan campaign of Alexander the Great took place in 335 BC, against a number of rebellious vassals of the Macedonian kingdom. Alexander successfully pacified each in turn, leaving him free to begin the long planned invasion of Persia. In 336 BCE, while attending the wedding of his daughter by Olympias, Cleopatra and Olympias' brother, Alexander I of Epirus at Aegae, Philip II was assassinated by the captain of his bodyguard, Pausanias. Philip's son, and previously designated heir, Alexander was proclaimed king by the Macedonian noblemen and army.[1] News of Philip's death roused many states into revolt including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly and the Thracian tribes to the north of Macedon. When news of the revolt reached Alexander he responded quickly. Though his advisors advised him to use diplomacy, Alexander mustered the Macedonian cavalry of 3,000 men and rode south towards Thessaly, Macedon's immediate neighbor to the south. When he found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, he had the men ride through Mount Ossa and, when the Thessalians awoke, they found Alexander at their rear. The Thessalians surrendered and added their cavalry to Alexander's force as he rode down towards the Peloponnese.[2] Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognised as the leader of the Sacred League before heading south to Corinth. Athens sued for peace and Alexander received the envoy and pardoned anyone involved with the uprising. At Corinth, he was given the title 'Hegemon' of the Greek forces against the Persians. While at Corinth, he heard the news of the Thracian rising to the north.[3]

Battle of Mount Haemus

See Battle of Mount Haemus


Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders and, in the spring of 335 BC, he advanced into Thrace to deal with the revolt, which was led by the Illyrians and Triballi. He was reinforced along the way by the Agriani, a Thracian tribe under the command of Alexander's friend, Langarus. The Macedonian army marched up to Mount Haemus, where they met a Thracian garrison manning the heights. The Thracians had constructed a palisade of carts, which they intended to throw upon the approaching Macedonians. Alexander ordered his heavy infantry to march in loose formation and, when the carts were thrown, to either open the ranks or lay flat on the ground with their shields over them. The Macedonian archers opened fire and when the Macedonian infantry reached the top of the mountain they routed the Thracians.[4] Meanwhile, a large Triballian army led by their king, Syrmus, advanced upon the Macedonian rear. The Triballians retreated to a gorge, where they were drawn out by Alexander's light infantry. On the open ground, they were crushed by Alexander's infantry and cavalry, leaving behind 3,000 dead. The Macedonians marched to the Danube River where they encountered the Getae tribe on the opposite shore. As Alexander's ships failed to enter the river, Alexander's army made rafts out of their leather tents. A force of 4,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry crossed the river, to the amazement of the Getae army of 14,000 men. The Getae army retreated after the first cavalry skirmish, leaving their town to the Macedonian army.[5]

Siege of Pelium

See Siege of Pelium

The Siege of Pelium was a siege engaged by Alexander the Great to conquer the Illyrian tribes of modern day Albania. It was necessary for Alexander to capture this point as it provided easy access to both Illyria and Macedonia and he needed to move quickly to quash the Greece rebellion brewing in Athens and Thebes. The success of this siege would foreshadow much of the later success Alexander would have in his subsequent campaigns. After taking the city of Pelium the Macedonians would march south to quickly bring the rest of the Greek city-states within their control.

Battle of Thebes

See Battle of Thebes


The Battle of Thebes was a battle that took place between Alexander III of Macedon and the Greek city state of Thebes in 335 BC immediately outside of and in the city proper. After having been made Hegemon of the League of Corinth, Alexander had marched to the north to deal with revolts in Illyria and Thrace, which forced him to draw heavily from the troops in Macedonia that was keeping pressure on the Greek city states of the south that was keeping them in subjection. Although Alexander did not desire to destroy the city of Thebes, after sending several embassies requesting their submission on merciful terms, he was eventually forced to destroy the city by force. Aftermath[edit] With the destruction of Thebes, the Macedonian possessions and vassals in Europe were once again quiescent to Alexander's rule. Alexander was now finally free to undertake the Persian campaign which had been planned for so long by his father.

Alexander's Campaign

Balkan Campaign

Balkan Battles

Persian Campaign

Persian Battles

Indian Campaign

Indian Battles


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