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Last of the naval triumphs: revisiting some key Actian honours

  • Frederik Juliaan Vervaet (a1) and Christopher J. Dart (a1)

Extract

In 29 B.C., after his victories over Marcus Antonius (cos. 44, 34) and Cleopatra at Actium and in Egypt, Caesar Octavi(an)us, or Imperator Caesar Divi f., as he then wanted to be known, returned to Rome as the uncontested master of the Roman world. He did so in a carefully managed pageant that culminated with his triple triumph on 13, 14 and 15 Sextilis (the month later renamed Augustus in his honour) and the opening of the Temple of Divus Iulius in the Forum Romanum shortly thereafter, on the 18th. These ceremonies marked the culmination of his claim — a pompous declaration already made in the autumn of 36 in the aftermath of Naulochus — that he had put an end to war on “land and sea” throughout the world. While the relevant entries in the Fasti Triumphales are lost, Cassius Dio produces a fairly accurate précis of Octavian's triple triumph. The first day was the triumph over the Pannonians and the Dalmatians, the Iapydes and their neighbours, and some German and Gallic tribes; the second day commemorated the naval victory at Actium, the ; the third and final triumph, the most costly and magnificent of them all, was over Egypt. Dio clarifies that the Egyptian spoils proved so rich and bountiful that they covered the expense and lustre of all three triumphal processions.

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Last of the naval triumphs: revisiting some key Actian honours

  • Frederik Juliaan Vervaet (a1) and Christopher J. Dart (a1)

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