Download Battle of Actium (Great Battles Through the Ages) by David J. Califf Ph.d. PDF

By David J. Califf Ph.d.

Recounts occasions prime as much as and surrounding the 31 B.C. conflict of Actium in the course of the Roman Civil conflict, in addition to its long-lasting results.

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Sample text

A compromise of sorts was then reached in the Senate: The conspirators would receive amnesty but Caesar would have a state funeral. In addition, all of his decrees would be allowed to stand, and the provisions of his will would be followed. In his will, Caesar named his grandnephew, Gaius Octavius, as his heir. Octavius received three-fourths of Caesar’s estate, but Caesar’s gardens and a substantial sum of money, 300 sesterces apiece, were left to the people of Rome. At Caesar’s funeral, Antony gave an eloquent speech recorded by the ancient historian Plutarch and immortalized by Shakespeare.

Control of Sicily, however, would soon become an issue. , King Pyrrhus of Epirus attacked southern Italy. The Romans sent an army to defeat him and gained control over this Greek-speaking region as a result. Because the culture of southern Italy was based more on seafaring than that of Rome, the Romans soon realized that they would need to take a greater interest in naval security. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians were engaged in a struggle over the fertile farmlands in Sicily. Their opponent, King Hiero of Syracuse, tried to bolster his position on the island by recapturing the important port city of Messana from a band of mercenaries who had once served under the king.

Before dawn the next day, he took half of his fleet to attack the 40 ships of Demochares, Sextus’s lieutenant. When Sextus realized that Agrippa was planning to attack, he hastened to Mylae with 70 ships of his own and sent for reinforcements from Messana — 45 ships under the command of 49 50 BATTLE OF ACTIUM Apollophanes. Agrippa called his remaining ships down from Mylae. Each side enjoyed several advantages over the other. Sextus’s men were better sailors and more experienced, and his short, light ships were quicker and more maneuverable.

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