The Battle of Actium: Birth of an Empire

Antony Flees the Scene

It was a short battle given the high stakes. Antony was at a disadvantage from the start because his heavy quinqueremes were built for ramming and lacked maneuverability. Also, his ships were undermanned because a significant proportion of his men succumbed to a malaria outbreak when they were penned in at Ambracia. In contrast, Octavian’s men were fresh and healthy, and the fast and light ships were perfect for an open sea battle.

To add to Antony’s woes, one of his generals, Quintus Dellius, defected to Octavian with his former leader’s battle plans before the conflict. After midday, Antony had to engage in battle and hoped to drive back