Cultures > Chrysaorian League

Chrysaorian League


The Chrysaorian League (Ancient Greek: σύστημα Χρυσαορικόν, systema Chrysaorikon) was an informal loose federation of several cities in ancient region of Caria, Anatolia that was apparently formed in the early Seleucid period and lasted at least until 203 BC. The League had its primary focus on unified defense, and secondarily on trade, and may have been linked by ethnic bonds (the Chrysaorians).

It had an assembly and financial institutions, and a form of reciprocal citizenship whereby a citizen of a member city was entitled to certain rights and privileges in any other member city. The capital of the League was Chrysaorium where the assembly met. Other member cities included: Alabanda (renamed Antiochia of the Chrysaorians), Alinda, Amyzon, Ceramus, Mylasa, Kaunos, Stratonicea, Thera. For periods of time, some of the member cities were subject to Rhodes as part of the Rhodian Peraea.

The Chrysaorian League was an alliance formed by cities in the region of Lycia and Caria in southwestern Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) during the time of Alexander the Great. Here's an overview of the Chrysaorian League and its interactions with Alexander:


The Chrysaorian League was established in the early 4th century BCE as an alliance of cities in the Lycia and Caria regions. The league was formed in response to the threat posed by the expanding Persian Empire, which had controlled the region prior to Alexander's conquests.

The primary purpose of the Chrysaorian League was to defend the cities of Lycia and Caria against external threats, particularly from the Persian Empire.By forming a defensive alliance, the member cities sought to protect their autonomy and preserve their cultural and political identity.

Interactions with Alexander:

When Alexander the Great launched his campaign against the Persian Empire in the 330s BCE, the cities of the Chrysaorian League initially resisted his advance.However, faced with Alexander's overwhelming military might, many cities of the league eventually submitted to his authority without significant resistance.Alexander respected the autonomy of the cities that surrendered peacefully and allowed them to retain a degree of self-governance under his rule.

Role in Alexander's Empire:

Following the conquest of Lycia and Caria, Alexander incorporated these regions into his expanding empire. The cities of the Chrysaorian League became part of the Hellenistic world, adopting Greek culture, language, and administrative practices. Under Alexander's rule, the league's member cities continued to function as semi-autonomous entities within the broader framework of his empire.


The Chrysaorian League and its member cities played a significant role in the history of southwestern Anatolia during the Hellenistic period. The league's alliance system and its efforts to preserve local autonomy served as a model for other city-states and leagues in the region. Despite the changes brought about by Alexander's conquests, the legacy of the league endured in the cultural and political landscape of Lycia and Caria.

In summary, the Chrysaorian League was an alliance of cities in Lycia and Caria that formed a defensive pact to protect their autonomy against external threats, including the Persian Empire. While initially resistant to Alexander the Great's conquests, many cities of the league eventually submitted to his authority, becoming part of his empire and the broader Hellenistic world.

Hellenistic Cultures


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

J. Ma, Antiochos III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor, (ISBN 0-19-815219-1), p. 175.

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