The Agrianians (Ancient Greek: Ἀγρίανες, Agrianes) were a Paeonian-Thracian tribe whose country was centered at Upper Strymon, in present-day westernmost Bulgaria, and also held areas of southeasternmost Serbia, at the time situated south of the Triballi and north of the Maedi. In the times of Philip II, the territory of the Agrianes was administered by Pella. They were crack javelin throwers and an elite unit of Alexander the Great's light infantry, who fought under the command of General Attalus.
They fought light; they carried a bundle of javelins into battle and wore no armor or helmets, perhaps not even shields. Alexander made heavy use of them and every time he dispatched a flying column, the Agrianians were always included. They were expert fighters in mountainous terrain where the phalanx was impracticable and mobile enough to use when speed was essential. Being an elite unit of the light infantry, they often formed up with the hypaspists battalion and the companion cavalry on the right wing of the army.
They are first mentioned regarding the Megabazos' campaign in 511 BC. In 429 BC they were subject to the Odrysian kingdom and later, as early as 352 BC, they became allies of Philip of Macedonia.
At the Battle of Gaugamela, they numbered 1,000 men. They fought under king Langarus with the Macedonians against the Triballians in 335 BC and succeeded in protecting the lands of Alexander and were thus rewarded with the right to govern themselves, a move that led to a long-lasting and most reliable alliance. During the time of the Seleucid Empire, a crack unit of Antiochus' Agrianes was brigaded together with Persians at Raphia. Contingents from the Agrianes and the Penestae, numbering 800 and 2,000 men respectively, were a part of the garrison of Cassandreia at the time of the Third Macedonian War.
The ethnonym is of Indo-European origin (from *agro- "field" (cf. Lat. ager, Gk. ἀγρός agros, Eng. acre)). Nowadays, the tribe is considered extinct, as the last members were assimilated by other peoples, mainly the Slavic populations that settled in the region.
- Wheeler, James Talboys (1854). The Geography of Herodotus ...: Illustrated from Modern Researches and Discoveries.
- Yenne, Bill (2010-04-13). Alexander the Great: Lessons from History's Undefeated General. ISBN 9780230106406. "The Agrianians were a Thracian people from the area that is now southern Serbia"
- Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1988). A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C. p. 39. ISBN 9780198148159.
- Pressfield, Steven (2004). The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great. ISBN 9780385500999.
- Shea, John (1997-01-01). Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation. p. 52. ISBN 9780786402281.
- Herodotus; Macan, Reginald Walter (1908). Herodotus, the Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Books: Pt. I. Introduction. Book VII. (text and commentaries).
- Chatzopoulos, Miltiadēs V; Loukopoulou, Louïza D (1980). Philip of Macedon.
- Darko Gavrovski, “ТЕТОVO ANTIQUITIES - Polog valley from Prehistory to 7th century AD, with special emphasis on the Tetovo region”, Tetovo, 2009. English summary on: http://www.gavro.com.mk/en/index.aspx
- Livy (2007-11-08). Rome's Mediterranean Empire: Books 41-45 and the Periochae. ISBN 9780192833402.