Illyrian invasion of Epirus

An Illyrian invasion of Molossians in Epirus occurred in 385 BC. Illyrians, led most likely by king Bardylis, were supported by Dionysius I of Syracuse who was aming to expand his influence in the eastern Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, and by Alcetas I of Epirus who was expelled from his land by the Molossian pro-Spartan party and exiled in Syracuse.[3]

Invasion of Molossia
Date385 BC
  • Illyrian victory over Molossians and Alcetas restoration as King of Molossians[1]
  • Spartan intervention and Illyrian withdrawal from Epirus[2]
Illyrians Molossians
Supported by:
Supported by:
Commanders and leaders
Illyrian king (most likely Bardylis)
Dionysius I
Alcetas I
Pro-Spartan Molossian dynast
Agesilaus II
unknown number of Illyrians
2,000 Syracuse soldiers
Casualties and losses
unknown 15,000 Molossians


In 385 BC, Alcetas of Epirus was a refugee in Syracuse for unknown reasons. Leader of Syracuse, Dionysius, wanted a friendly monarch in Epirus, so he sent 2,000 Greek hoplites and 500 suits of Greek armor to help the Illyrians, who at that time were led by king Bardyllis, to Molossians in Epirus. Attackers killed about 15,000 Molossian warriors. Alcetas was restored to the throne, but Illyrians didn't stop there. They continued pillaging throughout Epirus and Greece. Dionysius joined them in an attempt to plunder the temple of Delphi. Then, Sparta, supported by Thessaly and Macedonians, intervened under Agesilaus, and expelled the Illyrians and Syracuse warriors.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Malkin 1998, p. 247; Howe 2017, p. 103
  2. ^ Malkin 1998, p. 247
  3. ^ Malkin 1998, p. 247; Castiglioni 2007, p. 174; Lane Fox 2011, p. 225; King 2017, p. 57 Howe 2017, p. 103.
  4. ^ Diodorus, Siculus. "Fifteenth book".