Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Battle of Actium

It changed the course of history. (Via LRC)
It's hard to imagine a more movie-worthy showdown than the one between Antony and Cleopatra on one side with a fleet totaling 500 warships, and Octavian on the other with almost 1,000, for control of the entire vast territory of the Roman Republic.

The Battle of Actium was fought in the waters off Greece – a Roman territory, at the time – and ended in the complete obliteration of Antony and Cleopatra's forces. When it was over, the waters were choked with the naval wreckage, historians at the time noted, as well as the bodies of 5,000 sailors.

Antony and Cleopatra did not go down with their navy. Recognizing their impeding defeat, the lovers fled in their separate ships and were chased down by Octavian. They both committed suicide instead of being captured. To seal his victory and eliminate competition, Octavian went to Egypt and executed Cleopatra's children by Antony as well as Julius Caesar's one and only son.


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