Alternate History

Battle of Haliacmon (Athenian Legacy)

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Battle of Haliacmon (Athenian Legacy)
Date May 8th, 335 BCE
Location Haliacmon River, Macedonia
Result Decisive Athenian Victory
Destruction of Kingdom of Macedon;

Final Annexation of Macedonian Lands to Athens

Kingdom of Athens Kingdom of Macedonia
Commanders and leaders
King Alexander I King Amyntas IV
25,000 Hoplites/Heavy Infantry

13,000 Peltasts

3000 Cavalry

20,000 Hoplites

9000 Peltasts

4000 Thracian Mercenaries

2000 Heavy Infantry/Mercenaries

4000 Cavalry

Casualties and losses
3000 15,000

The Battle of Haliacmon was the final battle of the Macedonian War, bringing total Athenian dominance over all of the southern Balkans, ending the seemingly futile resistance against the Athenian War machine.


As Alexander stormed toward Macedonia in the warm winter of 336-335 BCE, Amyntas rushed home to prepare his final army and repel the Athenian invasion. Though facing slightly smaller numbers, Amyntas believed he could achieve a decisive victory on his own terms, taking up arms near the crossing of the Haliacmon river, which would give a direct road toward the capital of Macedonia, Edessa. Alexander's army arrived on the opposite side of the river late on the 7th of March, giving battle immediately after his arrival. 


While many of his generals suggested marching upstream and attacking the following morning, but Alexander was relentless and saw greater benefit in attacking immediately. The sudden motion caught Amyntas off guard, who had suspected the Athenians would hold off until dawn. As the Macedonians prepared, they organized themselves as usual, with the Hoplites in the front, and cavalry on both sides. Alexander positioned himself with his elite cavalry on the Athenian right flank, where Amyntas expected the main assault to be launched from, reinforcing their own position corresponding to the Athenian elite cavalry.

The battle, however, ignited on the left flank, with a Macedonian attack of light infantry and cavalry. However, Amyntas had heavily reinforced that side, and the skirmish attack was quickly repulsed. But as the Macedonians had become distracted, Alexander led his elite cavalry in a wedge charge down the Macedonian center, across the river. The Macedonians attempted to rally a counter attack, sending well trained nobles down the center, many of which were run down by the sudden attack. The Greek cavalry then motioned left and rolled down the Macedonian lines, while the Athenian Infantry launched an attack on the same side. From this attack, a large gaping hole was left in the Macedonian line, of which Alexander attacked with his heavy infantry and hoplites, causing the Macedonian cavalry into full retreat. As Amyntas army crumbled before his eyes, he reportedly dismounted himself and ordered a fellow soldier to execute him. Amyntas was stabbed through the neck, confused and stunned at his defeat.

Many Historians attribute Alexander's victory with his sudden attack, giving extremely little time for Amyntas to respond with any tactic. Thousands of soldiers were cut down in the Macedonian rout, while the rest disbanded along the countryside.


Victory at Haliacmon for Alexander brought around his second victory in a year, at concluded the Macedonian War. With the Macedonian forces shattered, Alexander freely marched to Edessa, sacking it as an example to the remaining dissenters within his Empire.

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