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Konstantinos Zachos, “Excavations at the Victory Monument of Octavian Augustus at Nikopolis, Epiros: A Monument that Marks the Turning Point in the History of the Ancient World”
On September 2, 31 BC, Octavian’s forces defeat those of Mark Antony and the queen of Egypt Cleopatra off the western coast of Greece. The battle is known as the Battle of Actium, after the name of the peninsula at the entrance of the Ambracian Gulf, where an ancient sanctuary to Apollo existed. Few episodes of ancient history have been commented on more and more often as the Battle of Actium. Admittedly, it was the beginning of a new world and, above all, the beginning of Octavian’s “monarchy,” while historians since antiquity have been attributing to the battle the dimensions of a symbol.
After the victory, Octavian, who is known in history as Augustus, undertook a series of actions aimed at the economic and social reorganization of northwestern Greece, while incorporating elements of political and religious propaganda. Specifically, he founded a city which he named Nikopolis, i.e. Victory City, renovated the sanctuary of Apollo at Actium, and on a hill sacred to Apollo at the outskirts of the new city, where he had encamped, erected a Victory Monument. Excavations at this imposing, extravagant monument over the past few decades, have revealed a wealth of finds, some of astonishing artistic rendering, which represent the victor’s earliest surviving statement regarding the Actian War.
Konstantinos Zachos is an archaeologist interested in various aspects of Aegean Prehistory and Roman archaeology, as well as of the archaeology of Epiros. He holds a B.A. from the University of Thessaloniki and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University. During his graduate studies in Boston, he attended seminars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. After his graduate studies, he entered the Greek Archaeological Service, worked in several Ephorates of Antiquities and was promoted to Ephor of Antiquities. He conducted post graduate research as a Privat “Dozent” at the Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte of the University of Heidelberg.
He has excavated widely in Epiros, Peloponnesos, the Cyclades, and in Albania. He was the director of the systematic excavation at the Zas Cave in Naxos, which contributed significantly to the prehistory of Cyclades.
This lecture is co-sponsored by the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.
This lecture will be offered by ZOOM.