The Anabasis of Alexander/Book I/Chapter V

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CHAPTER V.

Revolt of Clitus and Glaucias.

He then advanced into the land of the Agrianians and Paeonians,[1] where messengers reached him, who reported that Clitus, son of Bardylis,[2] had revolted, and that Glauoias,[3] king of the Taulantians,[4] had gone over to him. They also reported that the Autariatians[5] intended to attack him on his way. He accordingly resolved to commence his march without delay. But Langarus, king of the Agrianians, who, in the lifetime of Philip, had been an open and avowed friend of Alexander, and had gone on an embassy to him in his private capacity, at that time also came to him with the finest and best armed of the shield-bearing troops, which he kept as a body-guard. When this man heard that Alexander was inquiring who the Autariatians were, and what was the number of their men, he said that he need take no account of them, since they were the least warlike of the tribes of that district; and that he would himself make an inroad into their land, so that they might have too much occupation about their own affairs to attack others. Accordingly, at Alexander's order, he made an attack upon them; and not only did he attack them, but he swept their land clean of captives and booty. Thus the Autariatians were indeed occupied with their own affairs. Langarus was rewarded by Alexander with the greatest honours, and received from him the gifts which were considered most valuable in the eyes of the king of the Macedonians. Alexander also promised to give him his sister Cyna[6] in marriage when he arrived at Pella.[7] But Langarus fell ill and died on his return home.

After this, Alexander marched along the river Erigon,[8] and proceeded to the city of Pelium;[9] for Clitus had seized this city, as it was the strongest in the country. When Alexander arrived at this place, and had encamped near the river Eordaicus,[10] he resolved to make an assault upon the wall the next day. But Clitus held the mountains which encircled the city, and commanded it from their height; moreover, they were covered with dense thickets. His intention was to fall upon the Macedonians from all sides, if they assaulted the city. But Glaucias, king of the Taulantians, had not yet joined him. Alexander, however, led his forces towards the city; and the enemy, after sacrificing three boys, an equal number of girls, and three black rams, sallied forth for the purpose of receiving the Macedonians in a hand-to-hand conflict. But as soon as they came to close quarters, they left the positions which they had occupied, strong as they were,[11] in such haste that even their sacrificial victims were captured still lying on the ground.

On this day he shut them up in the city, and encamping near the wall, he resolved to intercept them by a circumvallation; but on the next day Glaucias, king of

the Taulantians, arrived with a great force. Then, indeed, Alexander gave up the hope of capturing the city with his present force, since many warlike troops had fled for refuge into it, and Glaucias with his large army would be likely to follow him up closely if he assailed the wall. But he sent Philotas on a foraging expedition, with the beasts of burden from the camp and a sufficient body of cavalry to serve as a guard. When Glaucias heard of the expedition of Philotas he marched out to meet him, and seized the mountains which surrounded the plain, from which Philotas intended to procure forage. As soon as Alexander was informed that his cavalry and beasts of burden would be in danger if night overtook them, taking the shield-bearing troops,[12] the archers, the Agrianians, and about four hundred cavalry, he went with all speed to their aid. The rest of the army he left behind near the city, to prevent the citizens from hastening forth to form a junction with Glaucias (as they would have done), if all the Macedonian army had withdrawn. Directly Glaucias perceived that Alexander was advancing, he evacuated the mountains, and Philotas and his forces returned to the camp in safety. But Clitus and Glaucias still imagined that they had caught Alexander in a disadvantageous position; for they were occupying the mountains, which commanded the plain by their height, with a large body of cavalry, javelin-throwers, and slingers, besides a considerable number of heavy armed infantry. Moreover, the men who had been beleaguered in the city were expected to pursue the Macedonians closely if they made a retreat. The ground also through which Alexander had to march was evidently narrow and covered with wood; on one side it was hemmed in by a river, and on the other there was a very lofty and craggy mountain, so that there would not be room for the army to pass, even if only four shieldbearers marched abreast.


  1. The Paeonians were a powerful Thracian people, who in early times spread over a great part of Thrace and Macedonia. In historical times they inhabited the country on the northern border of Macedonia. They were long troublesome to Macedonia, but were subdued by Philip the father of Alexander, who, however, allowed them to retain their own chiefs. The Agrianians were the chief tribe of Paeonians, from whom Philip and Alexander formed a valuable body of light-armed troops.
  2. Bardylis was a chieftain of Illyria who carried on frequent wars with the Macedonians, but was at last defeated and slain by Phillip, B.C. 359. Clitus had been subdued by Phillip in 249 B.C.
  3. This Glaucias subsequently afforded asylum to the celebrated Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, when an infant of two years of age. He took the child into his own family and brought him up with his own children. He not only refused to surrender Pyrrhus to Cassander, but marched into Epirus and placed the boy, when twelve years of age, upon the throne, leaving him under the care of guardians, B.C. 307.
  4. The Taulantians were a people of lllyria in the neighbourhood of Epidamnus, now called Durazzo.
  5. These were an Illyrian people in the Dalmatian mountains.
  6. Cyna was the daughter of Philip, by Audata, an Illyrian woman. See Athenœus, p. 557 D. She was given in marriage to her cousin Amyntas, who had a preferable claim to the Macedonian throne as the son of Philip's elder brother, Perdiccas. This Amyntas was put to death by Alexander soon after his accession. Cyna was put to death by Alcetas, at the order of Perdiccas, the regent after Alexander's death. See Diodorus, xix. 52.
  7. The capital of Macedonia. On its site stands the modern village of Neokhori, or Yenikiuy. Philip and Alexander were born here.
  8. A tributary of the Axius, called Agrianus by Herodotus. It is now called Tscherna.
  9. This city was situated south of lake Lychnitis, on the west side of the chain of Scardus and Pindus. The locality is described in Livy, xxxi. 39, 40.
  10. Now called Devol.
  11. The use of καίτοι with a participle instead of the Attic καίπερ is frequent in Arrian and the later writers.
  12. The Hypaspists—shield-bearers, or guards—were a body of infantry organized by Philip, originally few in number, and employed as personal defenders of the king, but afterwards enlarged into several distinct brigades. They were hoplites intended for close combat, but more lightly armed and more fit for rapid evolutions than the phalanx. Like the Greeks, they fought with the one-handed pike and shield. They occupied an intermediate position between the heavy infantry of the phalanx, and the peltasts and other light troops. See Grote's Greece, vol. xi. ch. 92.