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LUDI ACTI´ACI or A´CTIA (Ἄκτια). Games celebrated to the Actian Apollo.

1. At Rome.--Though under this actual name there were not any games celebrated at Rome, still there were games in honour of the Actian Apollo. These were decreed at Actium by Augustus in 31 B.C. after his victory, and first held at Rome in 28 (D. C. 53.1). They consisted of horse-races among the patrician youths and men, gymnastic contests, and sometimes gladiatorial exhibitions. They were held every fourth year (D. C. 51.19), and administered generally by one of the four chief colleges of priests in succession (ib. 53.1), though sometimes by the consuls (Mommsen, Res gestae d. Aug. p. 42). Thus the first exhibition was held by the consuls, or rather by Agrippa alone (D. C. 53.2); but in 16 B.C. we find them celebrated by the Quindecimviri (ib. 54.19). We are to suppose the celebration of 24 B.C. was held by the Pontiffs, that of 20 B.C. by the Augurs, that of 16 B.C. by the Septemviri Epulones, and so on in rotation till 13 A.D., when they were probably held for the last time (Mommsen, l.c.). The last recorded celebration is 9 A.D. (Plin. Nat. 7.158), and we do not hear of them again till 62 A.D., when they had been a considerable time discontinued (Tac. Ann. 15.23). We find these games sometimes alluded to as pro salute (or valetudine) Caesaris (C. I. L. 6.877): cf. ὑτὲρ τῆς ἐμῆς σωτηρίας (Res gest. d. Aug. 5.8-11, Greek) and Plin. l.c.; also ludi pontificates (Suet. Aug. 44), i. e. when they were held by the Pontiffs. That these games were celebrated to the Actian Apollo may be proved from the coin of C. Antistius Vetus of 16 B.C. (Eckhel, 6.104; Mommsen, Röm. Münzwesen, p. 742). On one side is a sacrificing priest, with the inscription pro valetudine Caesaris S. P. Q. R.; on the other, Apollo sacrificing, with the inscription Apollini Actio. In Suet. Tib. 6 Actiaci is a mistake for astici (Mommsen, Res gest. p. 43).

2. At Actium. [See ACTIA]

3. In the Provinces.--Similar quinquennial games seem to have been held in many provincial towns (Suet. Aug. 59): e. g. at Caesarea by Herod (J. AJ 15.11, 16.9; B. J. 1.21, 8); also at Antioch and Alexandria (C. I. G. 5804).


hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 15.11
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 16.9
    • Suetonius, Tiberius, 6
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.23
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 44
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 59
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