Non-Book Review: The Battle Of Actium 31 BC

The Battle Of Actium 31 BC:  War For The World, by Lee Fratantuono

On occasion, I end up reviewing a surprising number of books about Roman history [1] from De Re Militari even though that journal generally appeals to audiences interested in medieval military history.  It makes sense, though, that those who want to understand the context of the Middle Ages have at least some interest in Roman history, though.  Since I have a pastor whose love of Roman history and quizzing our congregation about it knows few limits, this is the sort of book that is useful to have in my library both as a read on a decisive battle for control of the Mediterranean, a battle that turned that sea into the Mare Nostrum for centuries and as a resource material to give to others in case it is their turn to answer trivia questions about the battle and about those who were arrayed on the side of both Octavian and Marcus Antonius in the battle and in its preliminaries.  All in all, this looks like it will be a pleasing book to read and review and not an overly demanding one.

In terms of the book’s contents, the book itself only covers about 150 pages or so before the endnotes, which means that this will likely not take very long at all to read.  The contents of the book are divided into five parts.  The first part of the book looks at the Greek historical sources of the battle from Plutarch, Appian, Dio Cassius, Strabo, and Josephus–although it is not clear why Josephus should be considered Greek, given that his evidence involved the Jewish connection.  The second section of the book looks at Roman historical sources, namely the Velleius Paterculus, some lost sources, Octavian, Florus and Eutropius, and Orosius. The third part of the book looks at Actium in verse, including two chapters from Horace’s verse.  The fourth section looks at the evidence presented and analyzes it for the disposition of forces and for a look at what really happened and how the romantic legend of the course of the battle started.  At the end the author reflects on the aftermath and the lack of naval battles for centuries for Rome to learn from what happened at Actium.  All in all, this looks like a solid read.

[1] See, for example:

I also read a lot of books on Roman history on my own, such as:


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Biblical History, Book Reviews, History, Military History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Non-Book Review: The Battle Of Actium 31 BC

  1. Pingback: Non-Book Review: Germanicus | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Ancient Greece | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Collapse And Recovery Of The Roman Empire | Edge Induced Cohesion

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