Nicopolis - Encyclopedia




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NICOPOLIS, or Actia Nicopolis, an ancient city of Epirus, founded 31 B.C. by Octavian (Augustus) in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. The colony, composed of settlers from a great many of the towns of the neighbouring countries (Ambracia, Anactorium, Calydon, Argos Amphilo- .chicum, Leucas, &c.), proved highly successful, and the city was considered the capital of southern Epirus and Acarnania, and obtained the right of sending five representatives to the Amphictyonic council. On the spot where Octavian's own tent had been pitched he erected a sanctuary to Neptune adorned with the beaks of the captured galleys; and in further celebration of his victory he instituted the so-called Actian games in honour of Apollo Actius. The city was restored by the emperor Julian, and again after the Gothic invasion by Justinian; but in the course of the middle ages it was supplanted by the town of Prevesa. The ruins of Nicopolis, now known as Palaeoprevesa (Old Prevesa), lie about 3 m. north of that city, on a small bay of the Gulf of Arta (Sinus Ambracius) at the narrowest part of the isthmus of the peninsula which separates the gulf from the Ionian Sea. Besides the acropolis, the most conspicuous objects are two theatres (the larger with twenty-seven rows of seats) and an aqueduct which brought water to the town from a distance of 27 m.

Nicopolis was also the name of (1) a city in Cappadocia in the valley of the Lycus, founded by Pompey on the spot where he defeated Mithradates; (2) a city in Egypt, founded by Octavian 24 B.C. to commemorate his final victory over Antony; and (3) a city in Thrace (Nikup) at the junction of the Iatrus with the Danube, founded by Trajan in memory of his victory over the Dacians.

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