Actium (mod. Punta), the ancient name of a promontory in the north of Acarnania (Greece) at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius (Gulf of Arta) opposite Nicopolis, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait. On the promontory was an ancient temple of Apollo Actius, which was enlarged by Augustus, who also, in memory of the battle, instituted or renewed the quinquennial games called Actia or Ludi Actiaci. Actiaca Aera was a computation of time from the Battle of Actium. There was on the promontory a small town, or rather village, also called Actium.
Battle of Actium, Cleopatra 1963 Film
Actium belonged originally to the Corinthian colonists of Anactorium, who probably founded the worship of Apollo Actius and the Actia games; in the 3rd century B.C. it fell to the Acarnanians, who subsequently held their synods there. Actium is chiefly famous as the site of Caesar Augustus' decisive victory over Mark Antony ( 2 September 31 B.C.). This battle ended a long series of ineffectual operations. The final conflict was provoked by Antony, who is said to have been persuaded by Cleopatra VII to retire to Egypt and give battle to mask his retreat; but lack of provisions and the growing demoralization of his army would eventually account for this decision.
We learn from a Greek inscription found on the site of Actium, and which is probably prior to the tune of Augustus, that the chief priest of the temple was called "Ierapolos", and that his name was employed in official documents, like that of the first Archon at Athens, to mark the date. Bockh, Corpus Inscript. No. 1793.) Strabo says (p. 325) that the temple was situated on an eminence, and that below was a plain with a grove of trees, and a dock-yard; and in another passage (p. 451) he describes the harbour as situated outside of the gulf. On the opposite coast of Epirus, Augustus founded the city of Nicopolis in honour of his victory.
Actium was properly not a town, though it is sometimes described as such; but after the foundation of Nicopolis, a few buildings sprang up around the temple, and it served as a kind of suburb to Nicopolis.
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