The ancient city of Nicopolis was probably founded by Octavianus Augustus after his victory in the naval battle of Actium over the fleet of Antony and Cleopatra (31 B.C.). It was settled by the inhabitants of the Epirotan and Aetolian-Acarnanian cities, and by Italian colonists; from the beginning though it was purely Greek in character. It occupied a strategic position on the communication and trading route from East to West, and had harbours in the Ionian sea and the Ambracian Gulf, so it soon became the capital of the Roman province of Old Epiros, as well as the see of an archbishop. The city became very prosperous but the economic and political crisis of the 3rd century, in combination with the disastrous earthquakes and the invasions of Goths, seriously damaged its life. It was plundered by Alarichus in A.D. 395 and captured by the Vandals in A.D. 475. Its decline began with the invasion of the Goths of Totila in 551 and it finally ceased to exist at the end of the 9th or the beginning of the 10th century A.D.