Alexander's Balkan Campaign of 335 BCE Open Access

Van Ginkel, Michael (2016)

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Alexander's Balkan campaign, initiated in the Spring of 335 BCE, reveals Alexander's military potential and aptitude for command. While the subjugation of the tribes involved in the Balkan uprising remained Alexander's foremost objective, the campaign proved instrumental in establishing lasting supremacy in his European territories, cementing his military reputation, and ensuring the martial competence of his armed forces. A successful conclusion to the campaign allowed Alexander to leave for his Persian expedition knowing his kingdom and supply lines remained secure from rebellion. Alexander additionally increased the stamina and toughness of his inexperienced troops and field commanders through the unforgiving mountains of modern Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania. The detailed reconstruction and analysis of Alexander's Thracian campaign reveals the important role Alexander's Balkan expedition played in his later successes. For instance, the tactics used against the rolling carts at Mount Haemus are seen against Darius' chariots at the battle of Gaugamela, the maneuvering of armies before the battle of Lyginus River at the prelude to the battle of Issus, and the use of leather tents filled with hay to cross the Ister at the crossing of the Oxus River. The lessons Alexander, his new cadre of commanders, and the Macedonian army at large learned during the hard fought Balkan campaign prepared them for difficulties ahead. The minimal textual evidence on the campaign necessitated a reliance on different fields of inquiry to substantiate otherwise tenuous claims. Through engaging the topic of military history from more numerous angles researchers can acquire information from several different perspectives. Multiple viewpoints allow researchers to verify solitary evidence, circumvent biased material, and fill textual or material lacunae. I therefore incorporate a historical, archaeological, and digital approach to my project.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Chapter 1: Interpretations of Alexander's Balkan Campaign.5

Chapter 2: The Thracian Campaign. 20

Conclusion. 49

Bibliography. 52

Appendix. 58

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