TODAY – September 2, 31 BC: Battle of Actium, the dawn of the Roman Empire

In a decisive conflict during the final phase of the Roman Civil War, the two main claimants of the Second Triad, Octavian Augustus and Mark Antony face each other in western Greece, in a great naval showdown in the Ionian Sea off Actium.

The bloody wars between Romans that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar had ended with the defeat and death of his assassins and the victory of his supporters, his stepson Octavian, his fellow warrior and friend Mark Antony and the general Mark Lepidus. With the reason that had brought the three very different men together now gone, Octavian sought to form new bonds by marrying his younger sister Octavia to Mark Antony.

The latter, however, drifted away from this marriage of convenience by indulging in his affair with the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, who already had an illegitimate son by Julius Caesar. Recognizing Antony and Cleopatra as a threat to him, Octavian gathered a powerful army and with the support of the Roman senate crossed the Adriatic sea with 500 ships and 80,000 men and moved south towards Greece.

The sequel to Military History

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