Battle of the Uxian Defile

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Uxian Defile
Part of Wars of Alexander the Great
Uxian Defile.png
Date December, 331 BC
Location East of Susa
Result Macedonian victory, conquest of the Uxians
Greek allies
Commanders and leaders
Alexander the Great Madates
8,000 infantry Unknown
Casualties and losses
Minimal Exact numbers unknown, total destruction of Uxian military capabilities

Coordinates: 32°11′21″N 48°15′28″E / 32.18922°N 48.257785°E / 32.18922; 48.257785el:Πρότυπο:Μάχες του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου ru:Шаблон:Сражения Александра Македонского

The Battle of Uxian Defile was fought by Alexander the Great against the Uxian tribe of the Persian Empire. The battle raged on the mountain range between the key Persian cities of Susa and Persepolis. Persepolis was the ancient capital of the Persian Empire and held a symbolic value among the native Persian population. They believed that if this city were to fall into enemy hands, then, in effect, the whole Persian Empire would fall into the hands of the enemy.


Alexander had recently defeated Darius III Codomannus at the Battle of Gaugamela on the eastern side of the Tigris river, the result of which had been a disaster for Darius and the Persian Empire. Darius had prematurely fled the battle, and his army had dispersed. Thus Alexander had been unable to achieve his goal of capturing Darius during the course of the battle. Instead, Alexander chased Darius and, as a result, captured the important cities of the Persian Empire along the way.

Immediately after the battle, Alexander feared that the Persians would organize the defense of Babylon,[1] which had thick walls. This city's walls covered a vast area, which included huge farm lands, and could therefore hold out almost indefinitely against a siege. However, instead of finding the city closed to him, he found that it was open to him. The Persian satrap Mazaeus decided to capitalize on Alexander's famed generosity and let him into the city. It was as a result of this that Mazaeus was appointed satrap of this city and surrounding region, a lucrative post. It was Alexander's practice to, as much as possible, leave the old governors in their positions - a practice he had learned from Cyrus the Great.[2]

Alexander rested his troops in Babylon for some days, and paid them amply with the treasures that were found there. In addition, he decided to set it up as a secondary base.[3] From here Alexander set out for Susa, the winter capital of the Persian Empire. It took him twenty days to reach this place,[4] from which there was 50,000[4] gold talents received (roughly equal to $538,000,000,000 USD in today's money). It was as a result of this that Alexander was able to send Antipater, the regent of Macedon, 3,000 gold [4] talents (about $32,280,000 USD in today's money) for the war against Sparta.[5] From Susa, Alexander marched towards the mountain defile.

Normally, the tribes in the Persian Empire would pay tribute to the Great King, but the Persians had been unable to subdue the Uxians. As a result, whenever Persian armies wanted to use the pass for logistical purposes, they were required to pay a fee. The Uxians had sent Alexander an embassy to the effect that they expected him to pay the same tribute the Persians were required to. Alexander agreed, saying that on a given day he would follow the main road and pay the agreed upon tribute.[6]


The Uxians had expected him to travel by the main road to pay the tribute before they let him pass. However, on that day, Alexander, with Craterus and his shield bearing guards, and 8,000 other soldiers passed by the northern road, Craterus occupying the high ground where it was assumed the Uxians would retreat as a means of last resort. He then attacked their village. After having done so, by a series of forced marches, he took the defile from the existing Uxians, who then retreated to Craterus' position, who quickly dispatched them.[7]

Meanwhile, after having attacked the village and taken the village, the main force arrived behind the Uxians. At this point the battle was over, the Uxians were entirely surrounded by the Macedonians, who put them to the sword.


The leftover Uxians almost immediately sued for peace. The agreed upon terms were as follows, each year they were to give to the Macedonians: 100 horses, 500 beeves, and 30,000 sheep.[8]


  1. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 388. 
  2. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 390. 
  3. ^ "The ten-horned beast: Alexander". Livius. 
  4. ^ a b c Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 452. 
  5. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 392. 
  6. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 397. 
  7. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 398. 
  8. ^ Arrian, Lucius (1893). Anabasis of Alexander. New York: George Bell and Sons. p. 399.