Battle of Actium

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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 Roman colony of Actium in Greece. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, while Antony's fleet was supported by the ships of his beloved, Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt.

Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his power over Rome and its dominions. To that end, he adopted the title of Princeps ("first citizen") and as a result of the victory was awarded the title of Augustus by the Roman Senate. As Augustus, he would retain the trappings of a restored Republican leader; however, historians generally view this consolidation of power and the adoption of these honorifics as the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.[1]

Contents

Prelude

The alliance commonly known as the Second Triumvirate, renewed for a five-year term in 38 BC, broke down when Octavian came to perceive Caesarion, the natural son of Julius Caesar[citation needed] and of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, as a major threat to his power.[citation needed] That happened when Mark Antony, the other most influential member of the Triumvirate, abandoned his wife (Octavian's sister Octavia Minor) and moved to Egypt to start a long-term romance with Cleopatra, thus becoming de facto stepfather to Caesarion. Such a love affair was doomed to become a political scandal.[citation needed] Antony was inevitably perceived (by Octavian and the majority of the Roman Senate) as playing the role of the leader of a separatist movement not only in Egypt, but also one that threatened to break the unity of the Roman Republic.[citation needed]

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