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Battlefield: Actium

Downfall of Antony and Cleopatra

Antony’s campaign to become sole ruler of Rome was crumbling. By the summer of 31 BC, his fleet was trapped in the Ambracian Gulf, on the west coast of Greece, by the ships of his enemy, Octavian. He was chronically short of men, and the spot where his army was camped was a mosquito-infested marsh near Actium, on the south shore of the gulf. Their every move was being watched by Octavian’s men from the high ground on the opposite shore. Supplies were running out, malaria and dysentery were decimating his army, and the oarsmen who powered his ships were starting to desert. Antony had to make a move, and soon – if he didn’t, before long he’d have no forces with which to fight.

SMOKE ON THE WATER Octavian’s men rain down fire on Antony’s withering fleet
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - May 2015
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