Thursday, February 9, 2012

Annotated Bibliography on Alexander's Balkan Campaigns

This is a rather unexciting post, just listing the references for Alexander's Balkan Campaigns.

Diodorus' Library, book XVII, chapters 1-16 (eprint) discuss the rise of Alexander through the siege of Thebes.

Specifically, Book VII chapter 11 for the battle of Thebes.

Plutarch's Life of Alexander, chapters 11-13 (eprint) discusses the same time period.

Plutarch's writing is very superficial on the Balkans campaigns, covering it in a paragraph or two.

Arrian's Anabasis, chapters 1-10 (eprint) deals with the Thracians, the Balkans campaigns, and the fall of Thebes.

These appear to be the only extant "primary" documents (or, more accurately, "as primary as possible despite being written 400 years later"!) on Alexander's Balkan campaigns.

Now, secondary sources!

JFC Fuller's Military History of the World, vol. 1, pp 91-92. Briefly recounts the Balkan campaigns, and the siege of Thebes.

Cambridge Ancient Histories, vol. 6, discusses the rise of Alexander the Great (pp 791-804). This is probably the most authoritative secondary source to use...

Theodore Dodge's Alexander (Google Books, pp. 201-208) discusses everything quite well.

Dodge investigates the beginning of the Balkans campaign pp. 188-197.

And pp. 201-208 discusses the siege of Pelium in some detail.

Dodge also discusses the Battle of Thebes

I'll have to update this post if I find any other references...

If you are waiting with baited breath for my critical analyses, you might want to wait a week or so. I am currently in the middle of writing up a pedagogical review of Vertex Operator Algebras for mathematicians...but after that, I'll be back on the job.


  1. Makers of Ancient Strategy edited by Victor Davis Hanson has some very good chapters on Alexandrian warfare but does not deal specifically with the Balkans Campaign.

    1. That's a great reference, thanks!

      I was thinking about examining the Balkan campaign as a sort of..."tutorial" for Alexander's military thinking (just as the Italian Campaign was Napoleon's "tutorial").

      But the problem, finding references for Alexander's other campaigns, was weighing on my mind.

      Thanks again for the wonderful reference!

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