Battle of Actium Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
635 words
3 pages
printer Print
essay essay

Category: Bat

Type of paper: Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Hey! We can write a custom essay for you.

All possible types of assignments. Written by academics

GET MY ESSAY
Do Augustan sources portray an accurate picture of the Battle of Actium? (45) Octavians victory at Actium gave him sole and uncontested control of Mare Nostrum (Our Sea, i.e., the Roman Mediterranean) and this victory marked the transition of Rome from Republic to Empire. Octavian was keen to emphasise the Battle of Actium as a foreign war against eastern Queen Cleopatra; because it was inconceivable that Octavian could glorify a civil war against Marc Antony, later Augustan literature provided this glorification for him. This would suggest that the Augustan sources did not provide a wholly accurate account of the Battle of Actium.

Horace emphasises that the Battle of Actium was a foreign war in Epode 9; this is shown on line 21 when he states Can you longer delay the golden chariots and oxen¦, meaning a triumph; a triumph was only ever awarded to a general who had defeated a foreign enemy with casualties exceeding 5,000 men. Horaces emphasis that the Battle of Actium was a foreign war is also shown on line 12 in service to a woman Roman soldiery which highlights the fact that Antony was Cleopatras puppet; this line suggests that the Roman troops assigned to Antony were, in reality, controlled by Cleopatra, playing down Antonys influence and showing Cleopatra as the enemy.

In addition to this, Horace highlights the idea of Eastern effeminacy when he writes about eunuchs (line 14) and a foul and curtained tent on line 15. These lines are referring to the castration of men and the Eastern use of mosquito nets, implying that Romans are not as feminine as the people of the East and so would never dare use such things. In addition to this, Horace also highlights Eastern effeminacy in Odes 1.37 when he writes diseased by vice, herself without restraint (line 10). Horaces emphasis on Eastern effeminacy further stresses that the Battle of Actium was a foreign war. Epode 9 must not, however, be taken at face value as Horace was employed by Octavian to write the poem; this means that Horace was obliged to write in such a way that pleased Octavian and allowed him to be viewed in a good light.

By stating that Roman soldiery was in service to a woman (Epode 9) Horace is presenting the Battle of Actium as a battle against a foreign enemy as opposed to a civil conflict, therefore it was in his interest to portray Antony as a weak fool serving the foreign queen Cleopatra. This line suggests that the Roman troops assigned to Antony were, in reality, controlled by Cleopatra, playing down Antonys influence and showing Cleopatra as the enemy. Propertius supports this idea when referring to an alien Queen (4.6) as well as the woman who brandished Roman spears (4.6).

These attempts to make Antony Cleopatras puppet also served to highlight the divide between East and West, the West being Roman and very masculine, the East being very effeminate. Horace portrayed Antony as being under Cleopatras control as Cleopatra was a foreign enemy, whereas Antony was from Rome and so provides a tenuous link to a foreign war; by making it sound like a war between Octavian and Cleopatra it eliminates any doubts that people may have had that the Battle of Actium was not a foreign war. This all played a role in alienating Roman support for Antony and further emphasised that the Battle of Actium was not a civil war.

However, not all sources make such comparisons. Plutarchs Life of Marc Antony gives a more balanced view; Antony knew he needed Cleopatras 20,000 talents and also her fleet so he could not, therefore, ignore her advice, even when it was bad. Even some Augustan sources give a more sympathetic view of Cleopatra; Horace Odes 1.37 gives a more favourable view of Cleopatra when retelling her suicide.

Warning! This essay is not original. Get 100% unique essay within 45 seconds!

GET UNIQUE ESSAY

We can write your paper just for 11.99$

i want to copy...

This essay has been submitted by a student and contain not unique content

People also read