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Love and naval battles at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation

February 18, 2009

The naval Battle of Actium took place in the Ionian Sea (between Greece and Italy) on 2 September, 31 BC, between the fleet of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and that of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, his lover and ally in the war against Rome.

The best and most beautiful representation of this historic battle can currently be seen at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation exhibition entitled “ The Recovery of Classical Antiquity in Andalusia”, which runs until 28 February. In fact this piece has never been shown in public and has always been kept in the private collections of Andalusian families.

This magnificent relief in white marble dates from the 1st Century BC. It measures two metres high by one metre long and, in the words of Professor José Beltrán, one of the curators of the exhibition, “documents the techniques of naval combat from antiquity in an exceptional way”.

The Battle of Actium had important consequences for both sides: Octavian Augustus, the victor, became absolute commander of the government, bestowing himself powers that exceeded even those of Julius Caesar, definitively sealing the fate of the Republic and launching a new period in Rome’s history – the Empire. Meanwhile, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra returned defeated to Alexandria and, as told in the chronicles of Plutarch, Mark Anthony spent the days of the journey “speaking to no one with his head in his hands”. Egypt awaited the arrival of Octavian with his victor’s laurels but Mark Anthony was unable to bear the defeat and killed himself, followed by Cleopatra who also committed suicide with the bite of an asp.

“ The Recovery of Classical Antiquity in Andalusia” exhibition brings together more than 150 pieces in Seville including sculptures, mosaics, portraits, maps and furniture. Other master pieces such as the “ Venus of Ancient Italy” or the “" Efebo de Antequera” are also on display in addition to the “ Relief of the Battle of Actium”.


“The Recovery of Classical Antiquity in Andalusia”

Focus-Abengoa Foundation

Hospital de los Venerables, Plaza de los Venerables s/n. Seville.

Opening hours: Every day from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00. Until 28 February.

Prices: General: €4.75 Reduced: €2.40

Visitor information line: 95 456 26 96

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