later AKARNANIAN (Akri) Greece.
A peninsula of Akarnania, which with the Epirote
peninsula of Preveza, forms the mouth of the Ambrakian gulf. Aktion was under the control of Anaktorion (Thuc. 1.29.3
), 40 stades away from the temple
), a Corinthian colony perhaps of the time
of Kypselos. It was famous for the Temple of Apollo
and the games (Aktia) celebrated there biennially. During the Peloponnesian War, Aktion became Akarnanian,
after the latter's sack of Anaktorion (Thuc. 4.49
). According to an inscription of ca. 200 B.C., found at Olympia, the Anaktorians were unable to finance the games after the Social War, and so the temple became a federal
shrine of the Akarnanians.
After the battle of Aktion, the games were moved to
Augustus' new city of Nikopolis, musical and naval
contests were added to the original gymnastic and cavalry games, the contests became quadrennial, and the
Spartans were placed in charge (Strab. 7.7.6
; Dio Cass.
51.1.1-3). Augustus also enlarged the Aktion sanctuary
and one of his great victory votives, a dedication of ten
ships, was near the temple. Strabo says, however, that
by his time the dedication and the docks were burned
Strabo's description of the site as on a hill with a
grove down below is difficult to reconcile with the present flat, sandy appearance of the peninsula. But the
sanctuary must be near the mouth of the Ambrakian
gulf (Thuc. 1.29.3
; Polyb. 4.63.4; Dio Cass. 50.12.7).
The earliest probable evidence for a sanctuary are the
two fragmentary kouroi now in the Louvre, found in
1867. Leake saw Roman ruins, possibly from Augustan
rebuilding (opus reticulatum), Hammond noted blocks
under water, suggesting a rise in sea level, and there is
Byzantine and especially Turkish building on the peninsula. But no full-scale excavation has as yet been
undertaken to determine the exact location of the sanctuary. See also Nikopolis.
W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr
. (1835; repr.
1967) I, ch. 4 & IV, ch. 34; M. Collignon, “Torsoes Archaïques en Marbre Provenant d'Actium,” Gazette Archéologique
(1886) 235-43; E. Oberhummer, Akarnanien
(1887); Hirschfeld, RE
i (1894) 1214-15; J. Gagé, “Actiaca,” Mélanges d'Archéologie
53 (1936) 37-100; C. Habicht, “Eine Urkunde des Akarnanischen Bundes,” Hermes
85 (1957) 86-122; A. Philippson & E. Kirsten, Die Griechischen Landschaften
380-81; N. Hammond, Epirus
(1967) 62-63; C. Edmonson, “Augustus, Actium and Nikopolis,” AJA
235. For the battle see W. Tarn, “Actium,” JRS
(1938) 165-68 with previous bibliography.
E. G. PEMBERTON