Siege of Medion

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Siege of Medion
Part of the Illyrian Conquests
Date June - September 231 BC[1][2][3][4]
Location Medion, Acarnania[1][3][4](modern day Greece)
Result Aetolian defeat; Illyrians lift the siege[1][3]
Kingdom of Illyria[1]
Aetolian League[1]
Commanders and leaders
King Agron[1][3][4]
Illyrian relief force of 100 lembi and 5,000 men[3][5]
Casualties and losses
'A great number' of Aetolians killed
'A still greater number' captured[5]

The Siege of Medion was a siege carried out by Aetolian League in 231 BC against the Ancient Greek city of Medion.


Earlier in 231 BC, the League had requested Medion to join the League, but it had refused. The Aetolians decided instead to take Medion by force, beginning the siege in June. Demetrius of Macedon, a rival of the Aetolian League, requested Agron of Illyria to lift the siege and defeat the Aetolians.[3] Agron accepted, and sent a fleet of 100 lembi and 5,000 men to Medion. This was the largest force any Illyrian king had ever conjured. The Illyrians arrived off the coast of Medion in September. They initially blockaded the Aetolian besiegers and later attacked them. The Illyrians and Macedonia were not necessarily allied, but the former was instead hired to assault the Aetolians at Medion as mercenaries for Macedon.[1][2][4] A later historian, Gruen, says that the fact that Demetrius of Macedon had to call the Illyrians to relieve Medion shows that he was incapable of doing so himself.[2] This is enforced by another historian, Grainger, who says that Demetrius was preoccupied in northern Macedonia in a war against Dardania. As the Illyrians were also at war against the Dardanians, Grainger states it made Agron and Demetrius 'allies'. Polybius, on the other hand, who wrote a contemporry report, simply states that Agron was bribed by Macedon to attack the Aetolians. Polybius possibly wrote this to enforce his previous and later statements that the Illyrians were pirates.


The Aetolians quickly reacted to the Illyrian landings, and their cavalry took higher ground, but a single Illyrian charge, using their close formation and numbers to their advantage, forced the cavalry to retire with the Aetolian Hoplites. The Illyrians then took higher ground, and charged downwards on the combined Aetolian army, quickly routing them. The Medion army inside the city then charged at the Aetolian forces. The Aetolians were defeated and lost many men.


After taking many prisoners and much booty, the Illyrians left Medion and sailed to Illyria. Upon their arrival, they reported their victory over the Aetolians to King Agron, in late 231 BC. He is said to have died shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by his wife, Queen Teuta, the same year.[5][a] It is assumed that after the Illyrians defeated the Aetolians at the siege, Medion and the rest of Acarnania allied with Illyria against the Aetolian League to protect the region from future attacks. This is evident as in the naval battle of Paxos, two years later, the Illyrian navy was enforced by ships from Acarnania.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Polybius. Histories, Plb. 2.2. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Erich S. Gruen. The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome, Volume 1. p. 366. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Erich S. Gruen. The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome, Volume 1. p. 363. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Craige Brian Champion. Cultural Politics in Polybius's Histories. p. 112. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Polybius. Histories, Plb. 2.3. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Erich S. Gruen. The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome, Volume 1. p. 360. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Appian. Illyrian Wars, App. Ill. 2.7. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Polybius. Histories, Plb. 2.8. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 


  1. ^ Appian wrote a vaguer report than Polybius regarding the Illyrians, and wrote it four centuries later,[6] and so seems less reliable. He states that Agron died in 228 BC and was succeeded by Teuta that same year.[7] On the other hand, Polybius states that Agron had died in 231 BC after his victory at Medion and Teuta succeeded him that year.[8]