Battle of Issus, 5 November 333 BCE


Map Code: Ax02473

On learning of Alexander’s advance into Syria, Darius III of Persia moved his army of 100,000 – possibly more – men into a position behind the Macedonian line of march near the ancient settlement of Issus, close to the modern city of Iskenderun near the southern border of modern day Turkey. Alexander immediately turned his 30,000 soldiers to back to face the vast Persian host that had taken up a position behind them on the northern bank of the Pinarus River. This was the first face to face meeting on the battlefield with Darius III, King of Kings of Achaemenid Persia, who had taken personal command of the Persian army after Alexander had previously defeated a Persian force at the battle of Granicus in May 334 BCE. The battle of Issus was a major Macedonian victory; the family of Darius was captured as he fled the battlefield, leaving half of his army dead or captured. Alexander’s losses were slight and, after a brief pursuit of the defeated enemy, Alexander continued and completed his plan to secure the eastern Mediterranean coastline as a base for further advance into the Persian Empire.

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