The Greek city of Nikopolis was founded by Octavian (later known as the Emperor Augustus) after his victory in the naval battle of nearby Actium in 31 BC. The city was a result of a so-called "synoecism", i.e., the inhabitants of numerous Greek cities in the region (Epirus, Acharnania and Aetolia) were forced to leave their former dwellings and establish themselves in the newly built city, which became the capital of the coastal region. The most important construction in the city was the Victory Monument erected by Augustus to commemorate his victory in the last major naval battle in antiquity. The monument was well-renowned in its own time, but since antiquity had been forgotten until being found again in 1922, and has only recently in 1995 been thoroughly excavated by Greek archaeologists. Since 1987 a joint Greek-American archaeological and geological Nikopolis project has registered, conservated and restored monuments inside and outside the city and conducted a survey of Southern Epirus aiming at understanding the changing relationship between humans and landscape.
The main issue has been the impact of the new metropolis in the region and to what extent the towns included in the "synoecism" were actually left uninhabited. The book includes articles by archaeologists from the Nikopolis project, as well as articles relating the results of other projects in the region: German projects investigating the cities of Kassope (Epirus) and Stratos (Acarnania); an international team of epigraphical material from ancient Acarnania; and a Danish project in ancient Chalkis (Aetolia) has studied traditions and patterns of placing sanctuaries.