Tale of Spartacus

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Mon Oct 19, 2020

Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator who led a slave revolt with an army of over ten thousand rebels. He supposedly died in the April of 71 BC, towards the end of the third Serville War. Spartacus has been glorified in history and has been the inspiration for various artists and filmmakers, portrayed as the hero of an epic legend, and a warrior for the people. 

He served first in a Roman auxiliary and then became an insurgent against the Roman empire. He was captured and sold to a man known as "Vatia,"  who was the owner of a gladiator school. After being sold as a slave and suppressed, Spartacus led a breakout from the gladiator school with Crixus as his right hand. They helped the gladiators escape with weapons. He married one of the Thracian women he escaped with, who had was not named in any of the books recorded in those times. He woke up with a snake coiled around his head one day, which his wife interpreted as a sign that he was destined for a great but tragic end. 

Spartacus led his escapees to Mount Vesuvius. This escape occurred over a century before Vesuvius exploded, hence the mountain was covered in lush greenery and vines. The information of the rebels camping on Vesuvius was not something that bothered the Roman emperor much and most of his army was engaged in Spain. Praetor Gaius was sent to suppress the slave army with an ad hoc army. His tactic was to block all exits of Vesuvius to starve Spartacus and his slave army instead of launching a direct attack. The slave army made roped out of vines and escaped to attack the Romans and, Gaius' army fled. 

Spartacus's army expanded as he became popular in rural areas, which held a large population of Thracian slaves. He was known to be a benevolent and kind leader as he divided the spoils of war equally. 
By the spring of 72 B.C, Spartacus had 40,000 troops. Crixus was killed as he led a part of the troops south and, Spartacus too was cornered in the north by Lentulus. Spartacus had a strong cavalry as Thracians were skilled horsemen. The rebel army defeated Lentulus and captured their supplies.  

Spartacus led his army back through Rome and across Italy in the hope to cross the Strait of Messina to Sicily. There are no known reasons as to why the rebel army was taken through Rome right after the battle with the Roman generals, ignoring the glaring risk. Upon reaching the strait, he made a deal with Sicilian pirates to help him cross to Sicily. The pirates took his rewards and sailed away, abandoning him and betraying their treaty. 

Again due to a lack of historical recording of reasoning, it is known that Spartacus chose to war with the new leader of the Roman forces, Crassus. It is rumored that this was a choice made by his legion and was against his judgment. His battle was in vain. He was surrounded and killed and his army was defeated soon after his death. 

Despite his rocky attempts at rebellion, Spartacus is still remembered as a hero who stood for helping the common people and as a leader against the quelling monarchy.   

 

 

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2020 - Fall - Issue 6
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