Battle of Actium

Leading to the battle of Actium.

The war was foreshadowed in the first moments after Octavian and and Mark Anthony defeated the Republicans after Caesars death in 44BCE. Octavian and Mark Anthony were never very fond of each other from the beginning but they tried to make the best of it. Firstly Octavian married his sister of to Mark Anthony hopping to become friendly with one another. Mark Anthony stayed loyal for awhile but as most Romans men are he could not resist the temptation of more. This included his Oriental mistress Cleopatra VII Philopator, Who just happened to be the queen of Egypt at the time. It wad soon found out though that Anthony was plotting to give Cleopatra Roman land. Doing this was considered a high treason in Rome. This plot by Anthony gave Octavian just the chance he was looking for to declare war. Anthony lead an army containing 230 vessels, 50,000 sailors, 23 legions (115,000 men), and auxiliary troops. Octavian had 100 ships in Dalmatia where he was trying to keep Anthony from getting to Italy but he could muster 24 legions( 120,000 soldiers). Octavian with his powerful army then marched to the Gulf of Abrasia. Octavian sent Agrippa to Peloponnese with 300 galleys to occupy positions to cut of Anthony's lines of communication and so that he could not supply his soldier with the needed supplies. Agrippa then wen and met Octavian back at Patras. In 31BC

Octavian declared war against Cleopatra and thus making Anthony part of the war as well.

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Augustus' top general

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During the Battle

Octavian was to have a distinct advantage before the battle, this was because he had time on his side. Anthony's and Cleopatra's troops without the communication of Peloponnese for a long time were falling victim to hunger. Causing Anthony to have to move to the sea for battle.This was also to Octavian advantage since his friend Agrippa was an excellent admiral, while Anthony himself had never been to good in sea battle. The start of the battle was on the 2 September 31, in the afternoon. Anthony plan was a breakout plan to Italy using the wind to his advantage.Trying to prevent this though Octavian strengthened his wings of the navy to make sure that Anthony did not outflank there troops. Anthony though planned to go through the weakened middle section of Octavian's army which was created by Octavian himself! After some time Anthony's center defeated Octavian's center and was able to break through. Cleopatra's troops with the treasury quickly passed followed by part of Anthony army who were stationed on the right wing of the battlefield. Although Anthony and Cleopatra were able to make it out they still suffered major loses for there miscalculation. Anthony's navy troops that were left behind were demoralized and defeated by Agrippa, Octavian, and Marcius Lurius who was the middle section commander. This significantly hurt Anthony's future.
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The Battle Ends

Augustus had few ships to spare so a small fleet led by Eurycles, whose father had been executed by Anthony, gave chase to Anthony. Eurycles rammed into one of the ships in Anthony’s fleet and captured it. Anthony gave no resistance so Eurycles attacked another ship and stole goods. Having made himself a little richer, Eurycles retreated.

Back at Actium, Anthony’s soldiers were doing poorly. Some fled, but most stayed until they were forced to surrender in late afternoon. Approximately 300 ships were taken and burned by order of Augustus. Anthony’s army on land was led by Publius Canidius, but he was unaware of the defeat at Actium. Augustus’ attempts to bring these soldiers to his side were unsuccessful until Candius fled one night. Cleopatra and Anthony retreated into Greece, however their loss was already assured.

The Result

After hearing about the events at Actium, many of Anthony’s supporters defected to Augustus or refused to help. The couple went to Egypt, their troops and hopes diminished. Augustus and Cornelius Gallus, a general, closed in on Alexandria. Anthony committed suicide and Cleopatra did the same soon after. Caesarion, who Cleopatra claimed Caesar’s child, was killed leaving the path clear for Augustus to ascend to power.

Work Cited

"Actium (31 BCE)." - Livius. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.

"The Battle of Actium." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.

Mark, Joshua J. "The Battle of Actium: Birth of an Empire." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.

"Sea Battle of Actium Map." Octavian Rise to Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.