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Actium (mod. Punta), the ancient name of a promontory in the north of Acarnania (Greece) at the mouth of the Sinus Ambracius (Gulf of Arta ) opposite Nicopolis, built by Augustus on the north side of the strait. On the promontory was an ancient temple of Apollo Actius, which was enlarged by Augustus, who also, in memory of the battle, instituted or renewed the quinquennial games called Actia or Ludi Actiaci. Actiaca Aera was a computation of time from the Battle of Actium. There was on the promontory a small town, or rather village, also called Actium.
Actium belonged originally to the Corinthian colonists of Anactorium, who probably founded the worship of Apollo Actius and the Actia games; in the 3rd century B.C. 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 (2nd of September 31 B.C.). This battle ended a long series of ineffectual operations. The final conflict was provoked by Antony, who is said to have been persuaded by Cleopatra VII to retire to Egypt and give battle to mask his retreat; but lack of provisions and the growing demoralization of his army would sufficiently account for his decision.
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