World roundup: October 23 2023
Stories from the Philippines, Sweden, Argentina, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
October 23, 42 BCE: A Roman army jointly led by Triumvirs Marc Antony and Octavian defeats Brutus’s Republican army in the second phase of the Battle of Philippi. Brutus committed suicide after the battle. As his co-commander, Cassius, had already killed himself following the first phase of the battle, on October 3, this left the Republican army leaderless and it unsurprisingly fell apart. Although there were other Republican leaders still in the field, like Sextus Pompey in Sicily, the defeat at Philippi marked the end of serious Republican resistance. The way was clear for the “Second Triumvirate” of Antony, Octavian, and the almost forgotten Marcus Lepidus to seize uncontested control of the Roman Republic.
October 23, 1798: An Ottoman-Albanian army under Ali Pasha of Ioannina defeats a French Revolutionary army in what became known as the Battle of Nicopolis since it was fought near the ruins of that city. The battle was fought over territory France had inherited the previous year when Napoleon and the Habsburgs had collaborated on the dissolution of the Republic of Venice. Ali wanted some of that territory, and when the Ottomans declared war against France in July he had the excuse he needed to go get it. Ali’s victory here allowed his forces to enter the nearby town of Preveza, one of those territories he wanted, at which point they fired the town and massacred many of its inhabitants. Ali contested control of Preveza with the Ottoman authorities until they took it decisively in 1820. The town is part of Greece today.
On some level it feels like everything about Gaza is in a holding pattern until the Israeli military goes ahead with the ground invasion that still seems like it’s coming. But there are of course still many things happening, most especially an ongoing pulverization of Gaza from the air that no longer seems to have any objective beyond a) collective punishment and b) killing time until whenever the next thing starts. With that said, let’s get into it:
Gazan health officials said on Monday that the death toll after 16-plus days of bombing has risen past 5000. If my math is right it means some 400 people were either killed or had their bodies discovered over a roughly 24 hour period. Israeli forces conducted ground raids into Gaza overnight again, while Hamas fighters said they conducted drone strikes on two Israeli military outposts on Monday. There’s no indication either strike was successful.
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