Alexander's Campaign > Battle of Mount Haemus

Battle of Mount Haemus

Battle of Mount Haemus

Part of the Balkan Campaign

Alexander the Great - Pannonia and Illyria: Abraham Ortelius (1608)

Pannonia & Illyria - Abraham Ortelius (1608)

Date: Spring, 335 BC

Location: Haemus Mons

Coordinates: 42.7000°N 25.0000°E

Aftermath: Macedonian victory

Territorial Changes:

Next Battle: Siege of Pelium

Previous Battle: N/A


The Battle of Mount Haemus was a battle during the Balkan Campaign of Alexander III the Great against Thrace. Prior to crossing into Asia Minor to begin his Persian campaign, Alexander wanted to fortify the northern borders of Macedon and quash the rebellions occurring in Thrace by the Illyrians and the Triballi. The Macedonians were joined in this engagement by the Agrianes who were a Thracian tribe under the military command of Langarus.

As the Macedonian military and their Thracian allies marched into the Haemus Mons they soon encountered another Thracian garrison that was guarding the heights. The garrison had collected a number of carts and wagons that they intended to launch upon the passing army.

In response to this, Alexander ordered his heavy infantry to march in loose formation and when the carts were unleashed they were to lay flat on the ground with their shields covering them. The Macedonian archers were ordered to open fire and eventually the infantry reached the top of the mountain and forced the Thracians into a hasty retreat.

However, as all of this was going on the massive Triballian army led by king Syrmus approached the Macedonian army from behind. Eventually Alexander's light infantry drew out the Triballians after they retreated into a gorge and crushed them on the open ground. The eventual death toll for this encounter was over 3,000 dead.

Following this Alexander and the Macedonians marched up the Danube River where they encountered the Getae tribe who had amassed on the opposite shore. The Macedonian navy had failed to successfully enter the Danube so instead Alexander and the army decided to make boats out of leather tents instead. Leading a force of 4,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry over the river, the Getae outnumbered the Macedonians with around 14,000 soldiers.

However, numbers did not matter for the Macedonian army and the Getae retreated after the first cavalry engagement, forfeiting their town to Alexander. Following this, Alexander and his army would move to siege the city of Pelium and finalize his conquest and hegemony over the Thracian and Illyrian tribes that resided on the northern borders of Macedon.

Alexander the GreatSyrmus
Military Forces
4,000 Infantry15,000
1,500 Cavalry


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