Historically Thinking

Historically Thinking

Episode 256: The War That Made the Roman Empire

March 21, 2022

On the coast of Greece there is an ancient monument that no-one pays very much attention to; and yet it marks one of the most consequential battles in the history of Rome, or really all of Europe. It was ordered to be built by Augustus, first Emperor of Rome, to mark his victory at Actium. At that place a fleet loyal to him defeated one commanded by Mark Antony and Cleopatra. The result determined not simply politics, but society, culture, and possibly even religion for hundreds of years to come

With me to describe Actium, what led to it, and what came from it, is Barry Strauss. He is Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies at Cornell University, and Corliss Dean Page Fellow at the Hoover Institution, as well author of numerous books. This is third appearance on Historically Thinking; he has previously been with us to discuss the death of Caesar, and the historian Thucydides. His most recent book is The War That Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium.

For Further Investigation

Barry Strauss' website
I highly recommend Barry's memoir Rowing Against the Current: On Learning to Scull at Forty. "In the midst of the standard dreary midlife crisis--complete with wine-tasting courses, yoga classes, and a failed attempt at a first novel--a 40-year-old Strauss falls unexpectedly and passionately in love with rowing." You might find yourself wondering where you can start rowing.