Actium

Actium

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Actium was the ancient name of a promontory
Promontory
Promontory may refer to:*Promontory, a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water*Promontory, Utah, the location where the United States first Transcontinental Railroad was completed...

 of western Greece in northwestern Acarnania
Acarnania
Acarnania is a region of west-central Greece that lies along the Ionian Sea, west of Aetolia, with the Achelous River for a boundary, and north of the gulf of Calydon, which is the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. Today it forms the western part of the prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania. The capital...

, at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius (Gulf of Arta) opposite Nicopolis
Nicopolis
Nicopolis — or Actia Nicopolis — was an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium the previous year. It was later the capital of Epirus Vetus...

, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait.

On the promontory was an ancient temple of Apollo Actius
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, which was enlarged by Augustus, who, to memorialize the Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

, instituted or renewed the quinquennial games known as Actia
Actia
In Ancient Roman religious tradition, Actia was a festival of Apollo, celebrated at Nicopolis in Epirus, with wrestling, musical contests, horse racing, and sea battles...

 or Ludi
Ludi
Ludi were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people . Ludi were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals, and were also presented as part of the cult of state.The earliest ludi were horse races in the circus...

 Actiaci. Actiaca Aera was a computation of time from the battle. There was on the promontory a small town, or rather village, also called Actium.

History



Actium belonged originally to the Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

ian colonists of Anactorium, who probably founded the worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

 of Apollo Actius and the Actia games; in the 3rd century BC it fell to the Acarnanians, who subsequently held their synods there. Actium is chiefly famous as the site of Octavian's decisive victory over Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 (September 2, 31 BC). This battle ended a long series of ineffectual operations. It was the Naval Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

. The final conflict was provoked by Antony, who is said to have been persuaded by his lover, the queen Cleopatra of Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

, to retire to her land and give battle to mask his retreat; but lack of provisions and the growing demoralization of his army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 would eventually account for this decision. An ancient Roman festival, Actia
Actia
In Ancient Roman religious tradition, Actia was a festival of Apollo, celebrated at Nicopolis in Epirus, with wrestling, musical contests, horse racing, and sea battles...

, was named after Actium, in Nicopolis, the new city (today Preveza
Preveza
Preveza is a town in the region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, located at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. It is the capital of the regional unit of Preveza, which is part of the region of Epirus. An immersed tunnel, completed in 2002 which runs between Preveza and Actium, connects the town...

, Greece). Since 2002, Actium is linked with Preveza
Preveza
Preveza is a town in the region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, located at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. It is the capital of the regional unit of Preveza, which is part of the region of Epirus. An immersed tunnel, completed in 2002 which runs between Preveza and Actium, connects the town...

 on the north shore of the Ambracian Gulf
Ambracian Gulf
The Ambracian Gulf, also known as the Gulf of Arta or the Gulf of Actium, and in some official documents as the Amvrakikos Gulf , is a gulf of the Ionian Sea in northwestern Greece. About long and wide, it is one of the largest enclosed gulfs in Greece...

 by the Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel
Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel
The Aktio–Preveza Undersea Tunnel is an undersea road tunnel across the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf in western Greece. It links Epirus and the city of Preveza on the north shore of the gulf with the cape of Aktio in Aetolia-Acarnania, in Central Greece...

, or Aktio-Preveza Immersed Tunnel (traffic labels). Also during Summer of 2009 archaeologists discovered in Actium the ruins of the Temple of Apollo (in Greek Ναός του Ακτίου Απόλλωνος) and founted two statues heads, one of Apollo, one of Artemis (Diana).