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Then follows the entrance of the Ambracian Gulf, which is a little more than four stadia in width. The circuit of the gulf is 400 stadia, and the whole has good harbours. On sailing into it, on the right hand are the Acarnanes, who are Greeks; and here near the entrance of the gulf is a temple of Apollo Actius, situated on an eminence; in the plain below is a sacred grove, and a naval station. Here Augustus Cæsar1 dedicated as offerings one-tenth of the vessels taken in war, from vessels of one bank to vessels of ten banks of oars. The vessels, and the buildings destined for their reception, were destroyed, it is said, by fire.

On the left hand are Nicopolis,2 and the Cassopæi, a tribe of the Epirotæ, extending as far as the recess of the gulf at Ambracia. Ambracia3 is situated a little above the recess of the bay, and was founded by Gorgus, (Torgus, Tolgus,) the son of Cypselus. The river Arathus flows beside it, which may be navigated up the stream to the city, a distance of a few stadia. It rises in Mount Tymphe, and the Paroræa. This city was formerly in a very flourishing condition, and hence the gulf received its name from the city. Pyrrhus, however, embellished it more than any other person, and made it a royal residence. In later times,4 the Macedonians and Romans harassed this and other cities by continual wars, caused by the refractory disposition of the inhabitants, so that Augustus, at length perceiving that these cities were entirely deserted, collected their remaining inhabitants into one city, which he called Nicopolis, situated upon the gulf. He called it after the victory which he obtained in front of the gulf, over Antony, and Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who was present in the engagement.

Nicopolis is well peopled, and is improving every day. It has a large territory, and is adorned with the spoils of war. In the suburbs is a sacred enclosure; part of it is a grove, containing a gymnasium and a stadium, intended for the celebration of quinquennial games; the other part, on a rising ground overhanging the grove, is sacred to Apollo. The Olympian game, called the Actia,5 is instituted there in honour of Apollo Actius. It is under the superintendence of the Lacedæmonians. The other surrounding settlements are dependent on Nicopolis. The Actian games6 were formerly celebrated in honour of the god by the neighbouring people; it was a contest in which the victor was crowned; but Cæsar has conferred on it greater honours.

1 Cæsar Augustus (then Cæsar Octavianus) obtained the celebrated victory of Actium over Marcus Antonius, B. C. 31. The latter, after his defeat, fled into Egypt with Cleopatra. The battle would appear to have taken place at the entrance into the Gulf of Arta, and therefore probably off La Punta, opposite Prevesa, and not off the modern town of Azio.

2 In the Austrian map a ground-plan of the ruins of Nicopolis are given, at about one mile to the north of Prevesa.

3 The Gulf of Ambracia, and the rivers which flow into it, are much distorted in D'Anville. According to more modern maps, the Arathus is the most western of the streams which flow into the gulf, and the ancient city was situated at about 15 miles from the mouth. The Loru (the Arathus); the Mauro Potamo or Glykys (the Acheron); the Zagura (the Selleis?) which falls into it; and the Tercino, which falls into the Kalamas, (the Thyamis or Thyamus,) all rise in the mountain ridge Olytkiza, about 10 miles to the west of Ianina.

4 Livy xxxviii. c. 3.

5 Virg. Æn. iii. 280.

6 Virg. Æn. iii. 280.

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