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Nicopolis


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‘victory city’, Alexander 2 the Great's foundation to commemorate the battle of Issus (333 bc), and, more importantly, its imitations in the eastern Mediterranean (with a Greek‐speaking population), built to commemorate the victories of Roman commanders and emperors.

Nicopolis in Epirus was the most successful of these cities, on the isthmus of the peninsula opposite Actium at the entrance to the Ambracian Gulf. Founded by Octavian (see augustus) on the site of his army encampment, Nicopolis was not only a ‘victory city’ honouring his defeat of Antony (Marcus Antonius ) and Cleopatra VII in this region, but was also a synoecism of older cities. It was settled soon after 31 bc, and dedicated, perhaps, in 29. A free city minting its own coinage, Nicopolis served as a regional administrative, economic, and religious centre. Augustus chose the city as the new site for the Actian Games, an ancient festival now celebrated every four years under Spartan stewardship and ranked equal to the major panhellenic agones. Surviving structures include impressive city walls, a theatre, stadium, bath structure, odeum, Actian victory monument, aqueduct, and four early Christian basilicas. It was home to Epictetus.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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