In the years prior to the battle, Antony had joined forces with Cleopatra VII, the Greek queen of Egypt, who considered that alliance the best option for saving her kingdom. Meanwhile, Octavian had long maintained a partnership with Marcus Agrippa, one of Rome’s most gifted generals, whose tactical skills and loyalty allowed Octavian to triumph against all odds.
The Battle of Actium occurred on Sept. 2, 31 B.C., and involved both naval and land forces. Once it became clear that Octavian and Agrippa would triumph on that day, Antony and Cleopatra broke through the naval blockade with a portion of their fleets. Cleopatra returned directly to Egypt, whereas Antony tried (and failed) to raise more troops before joining her.
Before Octavian came to Egypt in pursuit, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra did the same, but not before she met with Octavian and determined that he was unwilling to negotiate.
With Cleopatra’s death, Egypt fell into Roman hands, bringing to an end three centuries of Greek rule in Egypt.