Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How the Battle of Actium Changed the World

The latest installment of LiveScience's events that changed the world was issued yesterday, noting the Battle of Actium in 31 BC between the forces of Julius Caesar's nephew Octavian and Casear's friend Mark Antony for supremacy of the Roman world.

"It was the pivotal moment in an ancient soap opera, one marked by intrigue, romance, betrayal and widespread consequence.

The Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. was an epic showdown that pitted Mark Antony and Cleopatra against spurned former ally Octavian. When Octavian eventually reigned supreme in battle, it meant the end of the Roman Republic for good and the beginning of the Roman Empire, whose influences were ultimately felt throughout the world.

Antony's colossal defeat also led to his and Cleopatra's Shakespearean double-suicide, providing plenty of movie fodder 2,000 years later."

Actium was the culmination of a long series of events. The assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC led to a Roman power vaccuum filled by Octavian, who took control of the Roman west and Antony, one of Casear's top lieutenants, taking control of the Roman east. A truce between the two was cemented by Antony engaged to marry Octavain's sister, but then Egyptian Queen Cleopatra intervened, seducing Antony and giving Octavian the excuse to break the truce.

Actium was a naval battle fought off the coast of Greece, with over 1000 warships taking part in the battle, won handily by Octavian. Cleopatra and Antony committed suicide rather than be captured, and Octavian went on the become Rome's first Emperor, changing his name to Augustus.

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