Battle of Actium - 434 B.C.

"in relations between states...moral judgements are virtually inapplicable...force [is] the sole ultimate arbiter in international affairs."
Athenian arguments via the historian Thucydides [1]. .

The Corinthians sent out a hearld to Corcyra to declare war, and then promptly sent sail with 75 ships and 2,000 heavy infantry to the city of Epidamnus, that was currently under siege from barbarians, ex-nobles from Epidamnus and Corcyra.

When the fleet reached Actium ( this is also the scene of the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., for that story go to here) the Corcyraeans seemed to have been caught off guard and sent out a hearld as a delaying tactic so that their fleet had enough time to get underway.

Finally, after the hearld returned unsuccessfully, the two cities after so much friction, met in open water.

Both sides formed a line and met each other head on. Once in action it became clear that Corcyra was coming out on top. 15 of the Corinthian ships were destroyed, the Corcyra navy proving too much for the Corinthians to handle. The Corinthians broke off the battle and headed straight for home, leaving Corcyra in charge of the sea in that area.

There doesn't seem to be any military strategy of any importance employed. It seems that ships moved out straight ahead, found a adversary, pulled up next to each other and then both sides using their marines tried to board each other.

In the following period Corcyra hasseled enemy shipping in the area and were a continual threat of raiding Corinthian colonies.

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  • *1 'The Peloponnesain War' by Thucydidies (see arguments at 1.73-77, 2.62-64, 5.89, 5.107)

'The history of the Peloponnesian Wars' by Thucydidies (written c431 B.C),translated by Richard Crawley 1910.


Corinth art work at Actium


Battle of Actium - 434 B.C
Fleet size
75 ships
80 ships
15 ships lost
Outcome: Corcyra are the victors of the day


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