A map showing the Battle of Actium.

Actium (Greek: Ἄκτιον) was the name of an ancient town on a promontory of western Greece in northwestern Acarnania, at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf). Actium is chiefly famous as the name given to the nearby naval Battle of Actium, in which Octavian won a decisive victory over Mark Antony on September 2, 31 BC.

Actium is situated on the southern side of the strait opposite the later city of Nicopolis built by Octavian.[1]

Since 2002 the peninsular of Actium has been linked with Preveza on the north shore of the Ambracian Gulf by the Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel.


Battle of Actium by Laureys a Castro, 1672. Note anachronisms.

Actium belonged originally to the Corinthian colonists of Anactorium, who probably founded the sanctuary of Apollo Actius.[2] In the 3rd century BC it fell to the Acarnanians, who subsequently held their religious summits there.

On the promontory was the ancient sanctuary of Apollo Actius, which was later enlarged by Augustus, and also the town of Actium.

Octavian also ordered a war monument to be constructed to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC on the site of his campsite prior to the naval engagement, near Nicopolis.[3]

Octavian instituted or renewed the games known as Actia or Ludi Actiaci, named after Actium in Nicopolis (the new city) to memorialise the battle. Actiaca Aera was a computation of time from the battle.


In 1980 the Greek Ministry of Transport and Communications reported that shipwrecks from the Battle of Actium had been located at Actium near the entrance to the Ambracian Gulf.

In summer 2009 archaeologists discovered the ruins of the Temple of Apollo and found two statue heads, one of Apollo, one of Artemis (Diana).[4]

See also

Coordinates: 38°57′11″N 20°46′05″E / 38.953°N 20.768°E / 38.953; 20.768


  2. E. Kristen: "The Origins of the first inhabitants of Nicopolis", Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Nicopolis, 1984
  3. Dio Cassius, Roman history, 51.1.3
  4. Dr. Harry Gouvas:History of Preveza Prefecture, 2009, ISBN 978-960-87328-2-7

External links

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Actium". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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