The Death of Spartacus by artist Hermann Vogel

Spartacus, The Grecian Slave Warrior Who Threatened Rome

By Kenneth P. Czech
April 1994 • Military History Magazine

Tod des Spartacus by Hermann Vogel
Tod des Spartacus by Hermann Vogel

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109 BC


71 BC





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Spartacus summary: Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator. Little is known about his life before he became one of the slave leaders in the Third Servile War, the slave uprising war against the Roman Republic. Spartacus may have served in the Roman Army. It is generally believed he deserted, and some sources say he led bandit raids. What is known is that he was captured and sold into slavery.

In 73 BC (BCE), he escaped from a gladiatorial training school at Capua along with some 70 other gladiators. Other runaway slaves soon joined them. Taking refuge on Mount Vesuvius, the gladiators trained the others in at least rudimentary combat skills. Spartacus is believed to have been the leader of the gladiators’ revolt, and he shared leadership of the slave army with two Gauls, Crixus and Oenamus.

Initially, Rome did not regard the slave army as a serious force and did not send first-line troops against it; Spartacus’ army outmaneuvered and defeated the first four forces it confronted. More slaves joined; at its peak, the army is believed to have been 90,000–120,000 strong.

Spartacus advocated crossing the Alps to put distance between the army and Rome and find freedom. One of his co-commanders, Crixus, wanted to attack Rome itself, where large numbers of slaves would likely swell their ranks even more. Crixus broke off from the main force, taking 30,000 men with him and began raiding the countryside until he was defeated and killed.

Spartacus won three more engagements and then, for unknown reasons, turned south instead of crossing the Alps, throwing Rome into panic. A new Roman military force, under a competent commander named Marcus Crassus, was sent to deal with the rebellious slave army. After a long period of pursuit and a few engagements, the slave army was defeated near the headwaters of the Siler River in southern Italy. Spartacus was killed, but his body was never found. Some 6,000 rebellious slaves were crucified as a warning to others.

The story of Spartacus has served as inspiration for books, movies and a television series. He has often been made into a symbol for oppressed people rebelling to overturn their society, but in point of fact he tried to lead his army to safety and freedom for themselves outside Rome’s reach and never attempted to overthrow Roman society.


Featured Article About Spartacus From HistoryNet Magazines

Ancient History: Spartacus and the Slave Rebellion

Rome trembled at the grave rumors in 73 BC that the city was about to be attacked by a rabble army of gladiators and rebelling slaves. The vaunted Roman legions had been defeated, their noble standards captured. News of atrocities against slaveholding landowners dominated conversation in Rome’s marketplaces and public buildings. The very name of the slave rebellion’s leader, Spartacus, generated terror.

Slave insurrections were not really new to Rome. Extreme cruelty to slaves had sparked a revolt on the island of Sicily in 135 BC. More than 70,000 slaves had taken up arms and effectively battled local militia until a Roman army triumphed over the rebels two years later. A second servile war erupted on the island in 104 BC, when 40,000 slaves rampaged through its farmlands. After four years of bloody fighting, the last remnants of that rebel horde were captured by Roman consul Manius Aquillius and shipped to Rome to fight wild beasts in the arena.

But those revolts had been in far-off Sicily. The new insurrection threatened Rome itself, a city where a great percentage of the inhabitants were slaves. To make matters worse, several legions had already been demolished by the slave army.

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Forming the nucleus of the threat were gladiators—prisoners of war, convicts and slaves specially trained to fight and kill one another as entertainment for crowds packing amphitheaters throughout Latin lands. Notoriously tough and highly skilled, the gladiators surging toward Rome had little to lose. Facing death in the arena on an almost daily basis, these warrior-slaves felt their only key to freedom lay in crushing Rome itself.

Combats between trained warriors had first surfaced to commemorate funerals during the First Punic War in 264 BC. In 174 BC, 74 gladiators fought each other during a three-day span as part of special funeral ceremonies for wealthy Romans. The first officially sponsored gladiatorial games were held nearly 70 years later, and they were an instant success with the public. As the Roman appetite for blood sports grew, thousands of prisoners captured in Rome’s numerous wars of conquest were trundled off to specially constructed training centers, or schools, to prepare them for the games.

The gladiators took their name from the Latin word gladius, the short sword favored by many of the combatants. Early gladiators were outfitted with an ornately wrought visored helmet, a shield and an armored sleeve worn on the right arm, after the fashion of Samnite warriors defeated by Rome in the late 3rd century BC.

Samnite-style gladiators relied on their swords. Other gladiator styles evolved from the national themes of the lands conquered by Rome. Thracian-style gladiators, for instance, carried a sica—a curved, short-bladed scimitar—and a round buckler. Gaul-style gladiators wielded long swords and rectangular or oval shields. Another gladiator type, more exotically accoutered and called retiarius, fought with a trident, a dagger and a fishing net strung to the wrist by a thong and designed to ensnare an opponent and draw him into harpooning range.

Pairing the warriors was done by drawing lots. Mercy was rarely offered in the arena, with crowds often controlling the immediate fortunes of a wounded gladiator by signaling or calling for life or death. While several noted Roman writers applauded the games as invigorating spectacles, the writer-philosopher Seneca abhorred them, commenting: “I come home more greedy, more cruel and inhuman, because I have been among human beings….Man, a sacred thing to man, is killed for sport and merriment.”

A number of gladiator training schools sprang up throughout Italy, concentrated near the town of Capua, north of present-day Naples. At such schools, gladiators received training in a variety of weapons, though they usually specialized in one. Diets were carefully observed, and a strict exercise regimen was maintained. Discipline and punishment were harsh.

It may have been pure brutality that convinced 78 gladiators to rebel at the school of Lentulus Batiatus, near Capua, in 73 bc. The gladiators, who had been severely mistreated, sallied from their quarters and overpowered their guards with cleavers and spits seized from some kitchen, reported Roman historian Plutarch. After scrambling over the school’s walls, the slaves were fortunate to find a wagon transporting gladiators’ weapons to another city. Armed with these familiar–if not military-issue–weapons, the little band had suddenly become a dangerous fighting force.

Masterminding the revolt, according to the sources, was Spartacus, a Thracian by birth who may even have once served as an auxiliary in the Roman army before being sold into slavery. Sharing command were two Gauls: Crixus and Oenamus. The triumvirate raided the countryside, terrorizing landowners in the lush Campania farming district. Field hands and house slaves, many armed with farm tools and kitchen utensils, declared their own freedom by joining the gladiators.

As word of the insurrection spread, Spartacus led his force up the slopes of the dormant volcano Vesuvius. Close on his heels was a hastily assembled army of 3,000 militia under the command of Clodius Glaber. Poorly trained and untested, the militia was usually sent to control riots or outbreaks of brigandage, while the solid legions of the regular army were used primarily in foreign conquests.

Glaber deployed his troops at the base of Vesuvius and blocked the sole road leading to its crest. In his mind, the gladiators were effectively cut off from the plains and could be starved into submission. Not about to be besieged, however, Spartacus ordered his men to hack the abundant vines growing near the crest and fashion them into crude ladders. After sunset, the slaves descended on their ladders and fell upon the few sentries Glaber had bothered to post. In minutes, the gladiators were slashing their way through the slumbering Roman camp, routing the militia and seizing valuable stocks of military arms and armor.

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Two legions of militia under the command of the praetor Publius Varinius then were dispatched from Rome to track the insurgents and bring them to justice. Unknown to the Romans, the gladiators’ army had swollen to nearly 40,000, including bands of shepherds who were familiar with the countryside and acted as scouts. Lacking knowledge of the terrain, Varinius was further hampered by disease brought on by damp autumn weather, as well as an outbreak of insubordination among his own troops. Perhaps even worse was his own refusal to consider the slaves a serious fighting force.

Spartacus was determined to crush the Romans. Near Vesuvius, he surprised an advance column of 2,000 men under Varinius’ lieutenant Furius and annihilated it. Using his scouts to good advantage, the gladiator discovered another party of Romans under Cossinius at a camp and bath near Herculaneum. In a swirling battle, Spartacus nearly captured Cossinius, then pursued him as he fled. The Roman and the remnants of his column were brought to bay and slaughtered.

Slipping southward, Spartacus’ army continued to grow. Varinius trailed him into Lucania, where he suddenly found the rebels deployed in battle formation. The insubordination that had plagued Varinius earlier now flared up once more. Some soldiers refused to advance, while others fled. The Roman praetor (a magistrate next below the rank of consul) continued his attack but was badly mauled. Varinius escaped, though his horse and his official standards and insignia were seized, adding to the Roman humiliation. Captured legionaries were forced to fight each other as gladiators or were crucified, just as some Romans crucified captured slaves.

Spartacus and his army marched north, reoccupying Campania and destroying a Roman corps under Gaius Thoranius that had been left there by Varinius to restore order. Spartacus undoubtedly realized that his ragtag force had been lucky so far. It had defeated several Roman forces, but the rebels had not yet faced the rugged veterans of wars in Spain, Gaul and Germany. The Thracian advocated marching his horde to the Alps to escape from Rome’s long reach. Unfortunately for the slaves, another faction, this one led by the Gaul Crixus, was full of confidence after helping to crush the Roman militia and argued that Rome itself should be attacked. Taking as many as 30,000 men, including a contingent of German and Gallic gladiators, Crixus broke with Spartacus to plunder neighboring villages and towns.

No longer considering the gladiator uprising as a mere outbreak of brigandage, the Roman senate decided to send two more armies against the slaves in the spring of 72 bc. Commanded by the consuls Lucius Gellius and Gnaeus Lentulus, four Roman legions took to the field. It was relatively easy to follow the trail left by Crixus and his band as they levied tribute in the Apulia region at the heel of the Italian peninsula. Gellius sent two legions under his praetor Quintus Arrius to hem in the gladiators against the coast. Surprised by the Romans near Mount Garganus, Crixus found himself surrounded. Despite furious fighting, the Gaul and two-thirds of his army were cut down.

Spartacus, meantime, had made good use of his winter respite while camped in the Appenines. His men scoured the area, raiding estates and towns, particularly in search of horses. The slave leader hoped to build and train a cavalry unit to be his eyes as his rabble marched toward the Alps. Towns such as Consentia and Metapontum were stormed, their newly released slaves joining ranks with Spartacus and swelling the army to more than 70,000. Any freed slaves capable of bearing arms received rudimentary training.

In the spring of 72 bc, the gladiator army trekked northward, pursued by the consuls and their legions. In three separate engagements, Spartacus first defeated Lentulus, who had attempted to surround the slaves, and then both Gellius and the praetor Arrius, who had recently slain Crixus and his Gauls. At Mutina in the Cisalpine Gaul region of northern Italy, the governor, Caius Cassius, futilely attempted to stem the slaves’ trek with an army of 10,000 men. Spartacus’ horde collapsed Cassius’ center, slaying many of the legionaries, and Cassius barely escaped with his life. To appease the ghost of Crixus, 300 Romans were sacrificed or forced to fight each other as gladiators.

With Cassius’ army demolished, the path to freedom over the Alps now lay clear. Surprisingly, Spartacus chose to lead his slaves back into Italy. Perhaps a contingent of his gladiators preferred looting the peninsula as Crixus had, and Spartacus may have feared that a further division of his force could be disastrous if Roman legions pursued them and forced them into battle. He may have even entertained the idea of raiding Rome, the source of enslavement of so many peoples. For whatever reasons, the Thracian led his mob southward.

Rome was beside itself with anxiety. The gladiator army was estimated at between 75,000 and 125,000. With the losses of the various legions, the city was short of available troops and able commanders. The most experienced generals, such as Quintus Metellus and Gnaeus Pompey, were stationed with their battle-hardened legions in rebellious Spain, while Lucius Lucullus kept an eye on troublesome Asia Minor. For the moment, only poorly trained local levies remained to defend Rome.

The Roman senate finally gave supreme military command to the praetor Marcus Crassus, the only man who offered to take the post. A multimillionaire, Crassus had built his fortune through astute real estate deals. More important, he had gained valuable experience while serving under the command of the great Roman general Sulla, who died in 78 bc.

Crassus inherited the remnants of the legions of Publius Varinius that had fled the battlefield in their earlier disastrous engagement with the gladiators, in addition to several newly raised legions.

News then reached the Romans that Spartacus was marching through Picenum, along Italy’s central Adriatic coast. Crassus ordered his lieutenant Mummius to lead two of the new legions in a circle behind the slave rabble, but, as Plutarch notes, not to join battle nor even skirmish with them. Unfortunately for Crassus, Mummius unwisely attacked the gladiators from the rear, obviously thinking that he would have the advantage of surprise. In the ensuing melee, many of the legionaries were slain, and hundreds of others broke rank and fled.

Crassus was livid with anger. Assembling the shattered remains of Mummius’ legions, he ordered 500 men accused of cowardice to be divided into 50 groups of 10 each. Lots were drawn in each group, with one unlucky soldier chosen for execution. The entire army was forced to witness the deaths of their comrades as warning to any others who considered disobedience.

With discipline re-established, the new general proceeded to retrain and rearm his troops. Each soldier became proficient in the use of the short-bladed gladius, ideal for either thrusting or slashing. In addition, the Roman levies were drilled in the use of the pilum, an iron-headed spear whose metal neck, extending to a wooden shaft, would snap downward after hitting an object to prevent its being thrown back by an enemy. The legions were also divided into regiments, called cohorts, of 480 men each and were instructed how to maneuver on the field of battle. A complete legion stood ready for action with roughly 5,000 men.

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With eight new legions under his command, Crassus pursued Spartacus the length of Italy, getting the best of him in a running battle in the Lucania region in the south. Stung, the gladiator army limped through Bruttium on the toe of the Italian peninsula, finally reaching the coastal city of Rhegium across the Strait of Messina from Sicily. Spartacus managed to contact Sicilian pirates, paying them handsomely from gold and treasure looted from countless estates to ferry thousands of his men to Sicily, where he hoped to rekindle the slave rebellion that had erupted there barely a generation earlier. The pirates, however, deceived the rebels. They accepted the payment but failed to take their fleet to the approved rendezvous. For the moment, the gladiator army was literally left high and dry on the Bruttium peninsula.

Crassus, in the meantime, realized he had the slaves trapped. Rather than face the cornered gladiators in a pitched battle, he ordered his legions to construct a wall completely across the peninsula to hem in the enemy and starve them into submission. The legionaries excavated a ditch 15 feet deep and wide across the 32-mile distance, then fashioned a wood and stone wall along one edge of the ditch.

Spartacus, for a time, ignored the Roman wall. He desperately searched for some other means to transport his army but could not devise one. With winter setting in and supplies running low, he determined his only recourse was to smash through the barricade across the peninsula. The Thracian waited for a snowy night and a wintery storm, noted Plutarch, when he filled up a small portion of the ditch with earth and timber and the boughs of trees, and battered his way through.

With the freed gladiators once more tramping toward Lucania, Rome panicked. The senate authorized the return of Pompey from Spain and Lucullus from his recent wars with Mithridates to bolster the legions of Crassus. Fearing the glory of subduing the gladiators would be won by those political rivals, Crassus redoubled his efforts.

Fortunately for the Romans, the gladiators were once again weakened by internal squabbling. Two more Gauls, Ganicus and Cestus, broke away from the main army to plunder area villages and estates. Encamped at the Lucanian Lake, this splinter band was surprised by Crassus and his legions. With no retreat possible, the gladiators fought with the desperate fury of cornered men. More than 12,000 rebels fell in the battle before Spartacus arrived to rescue the survivors.

Pursued by the Romans, Spartacus led his army to the mountains of Petelia. Several legions under Crassus’ lieutenants Scrophas and Quintus harassed the slaves by making several daring attacks on their rear. Suddenly Spartacus wheeled his force about and fell on the Romans. In the furious battle that followed, Scrophas was wounded, and his legionaries barely managed to drag him to safety. The defeat became a rout, as Romans streamed away by the score.

News reached the slaves that Pompey and Lucullus had been dispatched with their legions and were at that moment marching to put an end to the insurrection. Spartacus advised his followers to continue their retreat through the Petelian heights, but many of his officers advocated heading south to Apulia to reach the seaport of Brundisium on the heel of the Italian peninsula. There, it was hoped, they could capture merchant ships in a desperate escape attempt.

With the legions of his political rivals rapidly approaching, Crassus was determined to bring Spartacus to a decisive battle. His legions hounded the gladiators as they fled southward. Stragglers were rapidly picked off and executed. When word reached him that Lucullus had landed at Brundisium and was marching inland, Crassus knew he had the Thracian at his mercy.

Spartacus found himself trapped between the two armies, with the legions of Pompey still on their way. Drawing his force up to face Crassus, the weaker of the two opponents. Spartacus commanded that his horse should be brought to him. Drawing his sword, the slave leader stabbed the animal to show his men that there would be no further retreat–only victory or death.

Sweeping forward in a wave of humanity, the slaves sought to overwhelm the Romans by sheer numbers. Seeing Crassus through the confusion, Spartacus fought to reach the Roman general. With weapons flying around him, the Thracian nearly reached his goal, slaying two centurions in individual combat before being surrounded by the enemy. Ancient Roman sources agree that although he was severely wounded, he continued to wield his spear and shield until the Romans swarmed over him and a small contingent of bodyguards.

The Roman victory was complete. Almost the entire gladiator army was annihilated, its remnants scattering to the nearby hills. Although Crassus was accorded the victory, his own decimated legions were unable to track down all the fugitives. That dubious honor was left to Pompey, who had recently arrived on the scene. Rebel slaves were hunted without mercy throughout southern Italy, many of them fighting until they were cut down by the legions. More than 6,000 captured slaves, according to Appian, were crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome.

The Spartacus rebellion was the last of the major slave insurrections that Rome would experience. The fear engendered by the revolt, however, would haunt the Roman psyche for centuries to come. During the reign of Nero (54-68 ad), panic erupted when gladiators at Praeneste attempted a breakout. Their army guards overpowered them before the revolt could spread, according to one historian, but the Roman public, as always terrified or fascinated by revolution, were already talking of ancient calamities such as the rising of Spartacus.

Gladiator games, in spite of the dangers posed by strong-willed warriors such as Spartacus, continued to grow in popularity. The Roman public became so thirsty for the spectacle that politicians often sponsored elaborate games to win votes. During the Emperor Trajan’s rule, 4,941 pairs of gladiators saw combat through 117 days of festivities. By the time the games peaked in the 4th century ad, 175 days a year were devoted to the sport.

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Societal changes and the influx of barbarian peoples into the Roman Empire ultimately ended the popularity of the gladiator contests. About 404 ad, the Emperor Honorius banned the games.

This article was written by Kenneth P. Czech and originally appeared in the April 1994 issue of Military History magazine.


173 Responses to Spartacus, The Grecian Slave Warrior Who Threatened Rome

  1. Steve Ingle says:

    Great article. I commend the author for a very concise, informative article done in a clear, crisp style.

  2. Hal says:

    A great soldier Spartacus was. Pity we dont have any like him today, we need them. The way America is going I dont doubt an insurrection coming.

    • Hugh Jardon says:

      Oh my goodness, listen to yourself. “I don’t doubt an insurrection is coming.” How is America coming, pray tell? What is happening that necessitates this “insurrection”? And tell me, how could having another Spartacus be good for us? Massive death, multitudinous death, societal breakdown? Are you mad, ignorant, or simply stupid?

      • Mark says:


        You are another low information voter. How about the have-nots now outnumbering the haves for the first time in American history. How about unsecured borders so that now we have 11 million undocuments (illegal) aliens. How about we have such a massive debt that we can never repay the 16 plus trillion we owe. How about the federal government is working overtime to disarm the population…you know, much like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and other wonderful leaders responsbile for the death of 25 million people. How about the Federal government carving up the American population over race and pitting one against the other. Put down your bong and stop watching MSNBC.

      • Artorius Caliburn says:

        I actually agree with Hugh. Sure the media shows us all the horrid bits of modern culture, but I cannot see how any rational person could think an insurection could bring anything but death. Not only would many die, could the insurgents do a better job than the current government? It’s about people like mark start thinking.

      • Dylan Duff says:

        Why do we need to make every historic event directly linked to modern politics it is almost like saying i watched harry potter thats got every thing to do with politics Voldamort is this guy and Harry Potter is this guy. JUST STOP THIS IS HISTORY PAY RESPECT DONT MAKE IT ABOUT AMERICAN POLITICS!!!

      • Scotty2Hotty says:

        Agreed….How would you know there’s 11million undocumented immigrants In this country if well, they were never documented….Yea sure, a few make it through and the media will flip that and say “Large numbers” made it through. Makes you feel a bit different when you get the exaggerated truth. Yea sure we owe money….i’ve yet to see this effect the working man. Here it is 2 years later and whatta ya know, i still have my guns. And as for hitler, stalin, and pol pot. Those were run by a different form of rule entirely enforced by their military. But here you are in America speaking freely and doing as you well please.
        And the government, even if they were to pit races against eachother, they wouldn’t have to because your way of thinking will do it for them. The way the News works is like how i said earlier, they make their money by telling you an exaggerated truth to spark drama! You know why? Because this country feeds off drama! If you don’t believe me, read your paragraph real slow…….

      • aj says:

        that is what a revolution is. a breakdown, people like you are why he made the comment. our country and the entire world is in need of a revolution. a break down of society so that it can be restructured but the good people rarely speak up. good leaders are in high demand and rarely recognized. if you’ve paid attention to whats going on in America or any other part of the world. America is slowly becoming a police state. “Those who give up a little freedom for a little protection will be granted neither” Thomas Jefferson… by the way Thomas Jefferson is one the America’s founding fathers.

    • nettie boyd says:

      O but I need to know for schoole if he had a family and if so what’s there name??

  3. noel m. paglinawan says:

    Yeah!!! freedom for every one, but there should be limit on freedom, there should be a rule to be followed by every one. Too much freedom is not good, it can crate chaos in the future.


    • Dagon says:

      I agree, humans are very strong when united by exceptional thinkers and leaders, and are good people in general, but certain situations arouse a darkness within all of us. A few rotten acts can cripple and kill many, we need control to a degree or we would revert to primal fighting, much like animals, though more savage and vicious. We pride ourselves with our good nature, that our very word for good care and action is “(human)e” and that the latin root for “man” is forever, everlasting.

      • Nathan says:


        You talk as if you know no better. Have you ever lived in true poverty, it can revert good men into what you would call “savage” and do things that you would call “savage”, but your life is all you know and all anyone knows and nobody’s going to go out of there way to teach it to you. Now who’s left to help them the goverment, they but drown us in more debts through fuedilis attempts to please “the people”. Well now “the people” are FORCED to help themselves even if means yours or they’re own life. I personally have lived in their shoes as a younger boy and now reside in middle class whatever that may be and even with very harsh environment I would take to the streets than to be beside greedy, ingrates.

  4. jj says:

    good info

  5. anon says:

    good info. very helpful

  6. tj says:

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! This info will help! Thanks!

  7. Mrs. Davey says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. You have an engaging and exciting writing style and brought the event to life!

  8. Suzairs says:

    Thanks Good Info

  9. mack says:


  10. Jusel says:

    Very good article…Complete!!

  11. phillip says:

    thanks for the info really helped

  12. Kelly says:

    Ha this stuff is really good! Love ya for the information!

  13. erika says:


  14. cbow ya digg says:

    Spartacus was a very prestigious man. He Proved that a small slave group can grow and revolt up against a world power like Rome was. He stood up for what he believed in and people followed him to the death. why cant we have that in America?

    • Artorius Caliburn says:

      Because there would death, bloodshed and anarchy.

      • George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

        Only if we use the same methods he did. A sufficiently organized and disciplined minority can in fact bloodlessly throw the rascals out and replace them (if only w/ other rascals), as the NRA repeatedly proves in the US.

      • Artorius Caliburn says:

        Of course, if the NRA is your example, I must state that they are hardly an example of spartacus. They use propaganda and bribery as their means to gain power.

      • George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

        I cited them for organization and discipline, and said their methods were different–implied, grossly different–didn’t I?

  15. DK says:

    Very informative article and well written.

  16. SPARKEE says:


    • zebra-striped-bunny says:

      I remeber reading somewhere that he had a wife – before he was sold into slavery. But I don’t know if they had any kids, or even what his wife’s name was.

      • Gagongputi says:

        His wife’s name is Sura
        They don’t have a child …
        Sura was also sold as a slave but
        she was sold to other ludus

  17. marie says:

    no info on pub baths

  18. darwin says:

    better than wiki!

  19. Stone Heart says:

    Spartacus was a brilliant man, a better general, and an even better warrior if he hadn’t been swarmed he would have cleaved Crassus’s head off I wish my people had warlords as good as he maybe then we wouldn’t be drawing nearer to extinction every day

  20. bianna says:

    how to know spartacus

  21. OMH says:


  22. Johnathan says:

    omg awesomeeeee

  23. Heng says:

    Omgggg Hotttt

  24. […] ny spartacus. Vill ni läsa mer historiskt så kan jag rekommendera wikipedia (bättre version), och ja, ni kan väl googla? Annars rekommenderar jag att hålla ögonen öppna på historiska […]

  25. cabrinna says:

    help!!!!!! i need some reseach on a project what website do i go on to find stuuff about spartacus

  26. tony says:

    please put the date page was created

  27. lee says:

    yea great writing enjoyed it as i have just watch the sparticus lood and sand series1 and its sounds like series two is goin to be even bettre

  28. Ron says:

    Fine article. We should study the leadership of Spartacus as well as Atilla the Hun. Our soldiers could use it. With a rising dictatorship in the USA one must be prepared.

  29. Gina says:

    Great Articile I have been watching the new programme on television called Spartacus Blood and Sand and just wondered if there was any truth behind it and am really suprised by what I have found. I thought your article was very enjoyable to read I have read it twice, that is honestly how much I liked it thks…………

  30. JayTheDonFaystone says:

    Yes! Viva la revolution.
    Blood and Sands 1337 on Rocktropia.

  31. Andrew Rotolo says:

    This will help me with my research paper a lot. This is excelently written.

  32. Mario DeLosa says:

    The article could have been more factual. For example, Crassus resurrected “decimation;” this was the ancient Roman military punishment for “unit” cowardice in the face of the enemy. Decimation literally meant that the soldiers of a cowardly unit were forced to beat every tenth soldier to death with wooden staves as punishment for failure to face the enemy. This was not something that the Roman Army regularly practiced at the time of the Spartacus insurrection, but Crassus was so incensed that he revived the custom; he was probably incensed because he had paid for those legions with his own money. The author also failed to mention that whereas the life of a gladiator was no picnic, nine out of ten lived to retire from the games and they typically did not kill each other in the arena. Gladiators were highly trained martial artists and the troupe owners would not have been able to afford to keep putting fresh fighters in the circus.

    • Michelle says:

      I thought the article was about Spartacus let me go back and read maybe I missed something.

      • George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

        You did miss something, if you read only the first article and not the much longer second one.

  33. Vincent says:

    Great article! I got what I’m looking for, all in here. Thanks!

  34. dum dum says:

    thanks for the info helped me pass social studies

  35. Bryce says:

    thank you yeah

  36. iAmgAy says:

    i think this article is good but lacks spice

  37. amber says:

    After a viewing of sparticus blood and sand the movie upt out by starz i wanted to learn more on the subject. And with a particular intrest in sparticus found this page it was informational and insperational. to the contraty of iamgay i found it verry ecxiteing and am thankful for it being a helpful resource.

  38. Marcus says:

    to bad they lost the war :(

    • The Lawn Ranger says:

      @ Marcus- They didn’t lose the war, just that last battle. There is always an end to everyones life and time. The fight for freedom is endless and will always be fought by freedom fighters of all kinds. Because of Spartagus, Slaves became filled with the passion of freedom in which they would fight and die for the cause.

  39. gueffroy says:

    This article was great. We dont need leaders like oboma and mcain and bush we need leaders like spartacus, who can inspire people to follow them any where. We need a true leader not just a face for people to bitch and cry at

    • General 23 says:

      I too enjoyed the article. We also need followers, as we learned from this article. You can lead a man to freedom but he must free his own mind.

  40. Hi says:

    Thx buddy

  41. Greg says:

    Oooooh perfect info. for my film & history class..thnx who ever made this article(:

  42. Your mom says:

    Well i think these article is very interesting and helpfull i only wanted to know how did these veryt skilled leader as Spartacus was is how did he died or how did he died by who or by what you know when he died is important too and in what year he died because is cool to know the things he did and how they started but is cool too to know how it ended or how he ended after all that hard work. I would like to dsee that part of information here.

    • Dharm says:

      Your attempt at the correct use of the English Grammar is absolutely shite

      • Ishmael says:

        And you are one to judge?
        Here is someone, who might not even think to read something so prestigious such as this article, and you put him down for not using the English Grammar correctly. Wow, that’s a great characteristic.

        “Your Mom”
        He actually died in battle, never to have his body found again. It was the last against the Romans. Spartacus actually want to tread up to Northern Italy but his people/followers wanted to go south to Sicily [a huge island full of revolt]. He didn’t want to leave his people so he went south with them. They were trapped at the bottom of Italy by a wall that the Romans built. They fault to the death but a lot were captured and crucified on the Via Appia. Spartacus was never found and known to have died in battle.

      • zebra-striped-bunny says:

        Why can’t you just answer the question or back off? It’s just a simple question on an amazing article, so why can’t we make peace and enjoy the article?

    • Adrian says:

      His body was never found. So he could’ve lived or died. But I would put my money towards a death in battle, because a man like him would never flee like a coward. Not after saving so many from shackles and all the lives he’d impacted.

  43. Doug Ashcroft says:

    The wheel eventually turned against Crassus. Desiring to equal the military exploits of Julius Ceasar and Pompey he declared war on the Parthians.

    Unfortunately for Crassus the tactics of the numerically inferior Parthians were radically different from the Roman legions. Whilst the legions advanced in massed ranks, the Parthians kept their distance, circled them on horses and released hail after hail of arrows.

    The eventual result was the destruction of the legions of Crassus and finally his own death.

  44. Dharm says:

    Fantastic write up – I love my ancient Rome History since i was a kid.

  45. Doug Ashcroft says:

    Sorry about this Dharm, but your own use of English needs some correction.

    For example ‘I love’ is the past tense of the verb and should, therefore, be rendered either ‘I have loved’ (past perfect) or ‘loved’ (past tense).

    Also ‘Rome history’, in this construction Rome is an adjective NOT a noun and should accordingly have been written, ‘Roman’. I also wonder just how tasteful the use of the word, ‘shite’ was with reference to someone else’s comment.

    Doug Ashcroft BA(Hons), MA.

  46. JHGlass says:

    HMMMMMMMM… I was not going to leave a reply to this article as I believe my fellow posters have pretty much said it all and I have nothing to either add or detract that would contribute to the discussion, other than to add my voice to alI those who really enjoyed the piece!

    But in light of Mr. Ashcroft’s comments to Mr. Dharm in regards to his lack of correct English in his post, I just could not restrain myself. I believe I can speak for the majority of the posters here that we were all far more riveted to the subject of history during our school years than we ever were sitting through English/Grammar classes. I for one never quite really grasped all the RULES — found it all so very tiresome!

    With all due respect Mr. Ashcroft / BA (HONS), MA, it is obvious the “Barbarians” amongst us just want to share their spontaneous impressions to an article they have just overwhelmingly enjoyed without having to be overly concerned with their strict and correct use of the written English language or, find themselves being corrected for their lack thereof by their academic superiors.

    I understood exactly the point and/or reaction that each and every one of these contributors was attempting to express in spite of their misspellings, lack of punctuation or terribly poor grammar (And I’m most certain you will find plenty that can be corrected throughout my post as well). I just find it inspiring that people actually care enough to share their thoughts with passion, insight and sometimes even a little “colorful” flair.

    Thank you for your concern but especially for your contribution regarding the eventual fate of Crassus, which is very fitting to bring this entire episode to a fitting close.

    So now that I have dived into the mix, I would feel remiss if I did not leave our little forum with something of a more practical nature. If there’s anybody here who really enjoys historical fiction, Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series makes for very compelling reading. The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortunes Favorites, Caesar’s Woman, Caesar, The October Horse and Antony and Cleopatra (7 total to date), follow the events and personalities that conspired to bring the Roman Republic to its tragic and inevitable end. From the rise of Gaius Marius to the emergence of Julius Caesar to the doomed allegiance of Antony & Cleopatra. Aside from her rich and absorbing story telling, the series appear to be really well researched and presents a vivd picture of culture, customs, politics, religion, military development, tactics and armed clashes as well as the pride, ambition, lust and greed that came to symbolize the late Republic. All the major players are there including our star figure, Spartacus (3rd volm. FF).

    Another compelling read is that of Robert Graves, I Claudius, and Claudius the God, two novels that cover the early Empire period from Augustus through the rise and reign of Claudius and his “murder” at the hands of his sociopathic step-son Nero and his grasping conspiring mother. For those less inclined to read, the novels were adapted as a marvelous mini-series, I Claudius, produced by the BBC in the 1970’s.

    And while we’re at it, lets not forget Rome, the series produced by HBO just a few years ago.

    I think I have said enough for today, my sincerest regards to all who have shared. Aside from Starz Sparticus, which I have also seen, what other works of lit or the screen are favorites among you?

    James H.L. Glass, BA, Fine Arts

  47. Doug Ashcroft says:

    Thank you Mr Glass for your comment.

    The references you make are all well known and worth following up.

    My comments regarding the use of English by Dharm were intended to stifle his attempt to denigrate the enthusiastic expression by, ‘Your Mum Says.’ If you think the description of someone else’s attempt to express appreciation as ‘shite’ there is something lacking in your own sensitivity.

    The use of correct English was not the issue rather the attempt by Dharm to stifle someone else’s voice, by the use of ridicule.

    • JHGlass says:

      Mr. Ashcroft, I understand your response to Mr. Dharm in light of his comment to YMS was well intentioned and I applaud your concern. But you attempted this by merely pointing out Mr. Dharm’s own poor use of the language, i.e., playing tit-for-tat, as if that would somehow show him the error of his way and shut him up. On open forums that operate without a filtering or censoring mechanism, attempting to stem the bad behavior of others generally just encourages them to more of the same. YMS is free to stick up for him/her self if truly offended and idiots are best just ignored by the rest of us, otherwise this entire conversation will merely degenerate into bickering over who can out-wit, out-insult or simply just out-post the other. So lets not draw any more attention to anyones bad manners or poor sportsmanship, their own words speak for them themselves.

      Now can we all just get along and talk about the history going forward?

      Good night all!!!

      • zebra-striped-bunny says:

        Not to point any fingers, but can we PLEASE stop responding about grammer and ridicule and other stuff like that. This is just an article on history – next thing we know someone has a response critiquing the article itself…

  48. Dharm says:

    I have managed to obtain the desired effect. I certainly cannot imagine that you would waste your time reacting to comments such as mine.

    You obviously need to find another hobby. The article was well written and very comprehensive, unlike some of the comments made following the publication.

  49. Doug Ashcroft says:


    Good comment, point taken


  50. Ashley says:

    loved it!

  51. joohn swaggister says:

    yes the best

  52. historyfour1one says:

    As a retired history professor and avid enthusiast of the period in question, I found the article well-researched and well written. I especially appreciated the conversational tone of the piece as it made for much lighter reading as opposed to so many articles that try to follow a more formal and dare I say mundane format. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done.

  53. Shane says:

    Very well written. its history people not an English or Grammar Test. Learn it, Live it, Enjoy it……. lol :)

  54. Jason says:

    Damn it! now I know what will happen next season… Should have said spoiler alert!

    Lol just kidding.

  55. Jason says:

    Great article.

  56. Jesus says:

    Nice Article. My only thought is how on earth can anyone think it is okay to use humans as blood sport? I have thought and thought about the idea, and cant grasp. Romans are weirdos in my eyes to ever think it is okay to use people as a blood sport.

    • Jason says:

      Actually we still do it today in many forms. Ever watch a violent movie? A boxing match? UFC? Wrestling? It never really ended it just changed. We still watch each other kill for entertainment.

      • zebra-striped-bunny says:

        I agree that this form of violence is still used, but I don’t believe it is even as close to as bad as in ancient Rome. Wrestlers, boxers, ect. agree to fight. They are also being paid to do so. Gladiators are being forced to fight, and they are recieving no reward what-so-ever.

        But seriously, do the people running the gladiator matches know what horror they are bringing into the world? Do they even stop to think, “Hey, what if I were in these peoples’ shoes? How would I feel?”, or did they not have a conscience? They were probably too much in love with their own reward, that they didn’t even stop to think of how others felt.

      • Jason says:

        I just mean that its part of human nature to watch violence. Your right though i cant immagine forcing someone to do it. But if it were still legal we would do it.

      • Adrian says:

        If a Gladiator fought well, he was rewarded with coin. It took considerable effort, but a gladiator COULD purchase his freedom if he lived long enough.

    • Tony says:

      To use any creature as blood sport is not okay. Anyone who willingly inflicts harm upon another living being, with the only cause being their own selfish pleasures/intentions, is a bad person in my eyes and will be condemned to the underworld when they die.

  57. InsertCommentHere says:

    I just thought I would mention some points that may not be known.

    Not all gladiators were forced to fight, some volunteered-either to pay off debts or because they had nothing better to do.

    Also, they were compensated (even the slaves). Many gladiators made enough coin to retire, and there were slaves who earned their freedom.

    • zebra-striped-bunny says:

      I get your point – some needed to risk their lives in this way to pay off debts, or they would die anyway. But why in the world would someone join the gladiator games because they had nothing better to do?!

      • Kam says:

        I spent 10 years in the Infantry, and I can tell you that there are some people out there who just like to fight. While most of us view it as a duty, some will actually volunteer to deploy, even waiving their down time to spend as much time deployed as possible. It doesn’t make much sense, but there are people out there, even today, that like that sort of thing (I will specify, I joined to serve my country, I am NOT one of those crazies).

      • Adrian says:

        Either to settle a debt or simply For the Glory. During that day and age, The Games in the Arena were the highest base of entertainment. many sought fame and to them nothing was more glorious than the cheer of the crowd.

      • George A. Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

        At least in fiction, there’s also the chance of becoming some rich wife or widow’s boy-toy kept man.

  58. amy gunner says:

    ummmmm well i have a ? after the goths attacked rome how were the slaves treated im doing my homework and this was what i was told to go on and i was wondering cause it really dont understand sorry if i spell something roung i cant spell that well :) thank u

    • Adrian says:

      Those who survived the final battle were nailed to across along the Appian way as a testament to all who would dare raise arms against Rome. Other than that the slaves were treated as they were before the revolt.

  59. Tarun says:

    Watch all the series of spartacus by starz t.v

  60. Sai Sitt Paing says:

    i had a great time with reading this article ….very informative! Gratitude to the writer………..:)

  61. John K says:

    The gladiators are definitely made out nowadays as having being killed by the thousands in the arena, when actually they were far too valuable and their masters would usually ensure their survival (Most of those killed in the arena were criminals or prisoners of war who were forced to fight AGAINST gladiators) Also decimation involved forcing nine out of ten soldiers to beat the tenth one to death, and was not commonly used as a punishment in that time, and some sources disagree as to what actually happened to Spartacus (Probably killed in battle or afterwards but not much recorded info) Other than that great article, I used to read a lot in this area of history but recently forgot a few details and this cut straight to the point :)

  62. noahpeter says:

    umm just thought i would point this out but some of the statics are wrong for example 200 gladiators broke out and 80 survived the outbreak. Gannicus was a general in the army but did not break from spartacus main army as far as we know/ Crixus and his gauls survived the attack by the roman army and forced them to retreated the gauls drunk wine and were slaughtered in their sleep. when spartacus heard of this he forced the captured slaves to be paired up and fight to the death. crassus defeated the army but the remaining 5 thousand slavs that escaped were captured and killed by pompey who made it out that if it was not for him the slave revolt would continue, he recieved a honourable reward while crassus recieved a minor reward. But in a furious rage crassus was determined to make sure rome remembered him he crucified the captured slaves from his previous battles , he cruficied the slaves on either side on the road at 40 meter intivals , this was the main road to rome.

  63. Michelle says:

    I normally don’t read these articles, but because I was so intrigued by Spartacus I had to find out what was published about his life. I enjoyed reading this article and I am excited about seeing the series finale of the show. It has been a journey worth travleing, I think the networks should invest in making more historical series. Our children are learning without realizing they are learning. It has been done with music, now it can be done with film.

  64. girl says:

    1.May i know is this article the real story of spartacus?
    2. What is the differences between the 2010 spartacus and the old one?

  65. […] description of the Slave Rebellion and Spartacus, check out this article that first appeared in Military History magazine. Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tumblr it Tweet about it Buzz […]

  66. Kam says:

    I am a Roman History buff, and I specifically enjoy the period around Spartacus. This is a fantastic article, however I have found there is one strongly argued inaccuracy with the article. While several of the Roman Historians state how Spartacus died, there is no proof he actually died in that battle. His body was never found, which contradicts the Roman statement that he was swarmed by legionairres and killed. If he had been swarmed by legionairres in front of the general’s tent, would they not have known where Spartacus’ body was if he had been killed? Not much is known about all the facts of the incident, but most historians now actually admit that while several Roman accounts are that Spartacus was killed, there is no proof of it (as his body was never recovered), and Spartacus could have survived the battle and fled.

    • Adrian says:

      True, Spartacus could’ve survived the battle and fled. But he was a leader, a man of character who freed thousands of slaves from shackle. Do you really think he would run like a coward for selfish reasons and abandon those who die at his side and for the cause?…. My money is on death. Also, he was outnumbered like 10 to 1, far too many to flee ( if he did) unnoticed.

      • History is written by the victors says:

        If he did survive, and escaped, it would not have been the act of a coward. His army was no longer intact. My impression of Spartacus, from history, is that he was not only courageous and a leader of men, but not one who would willingly die at the hands of his enemies, if another option presented itself.

      • History is written by the victors says:

        If he did survive, and escaped, it would not have been the act of a coward. His army was no longer intact. My impression of Spartacus, from history, is that he was not only courageous and a leader of men, but also not one who would willingly die at the hands of his enemies, if another option presented itself.

  67. Dude says:

    nice all acurate history

  68. Dude says:

    I love history and this helped me a lot with assignment

  69. Prof. B.t.H. says:

    Cilician pirates, not “Sicilian” pirates – this should be corrected.

  70. boswell says:

    great info

  71. Sangos says:

    Surena the Persian general personally beheaded Crassus….Spartacus was avenged in the afterlife

  72. GMB says:

    Great article :) I was suprised to find that unlike in the old movie, Spartacus himself was not crucified. I might suppose that dying on the battlefield in the midst of an all-out effort to personally kill the enemy commander is the sort of ending such a warrior might embrace.
    Surely though I have missed something of great importance in this story.
    It has been popular for 2000 years, made into books and movies.
    I am no Roman scholar ( perhaps that’s the difference) and the various versions of the story do little more than scratch the surface, providing merely what basically happened. The short version is simply:Spartacus led a rebellion and got as far as he did because Rome initially underestimated the threat. Once Rome sat up and took real notice, the rebellion of Spartacus was crushed and the 6000 crucified survivors festooned the Appian Way from Capua to Rome like so many telephone poles…a clear message from the Empire:’This is what happens, so don’t try it again’ History shows that no one ever tried it again.
    Add to that, the historical precedents of the Sicilian rebellion of 135 that did no better and lasted no longer ( 2 years). The next Sicilian rebellion in 104bc seems to have done better ( as it were) lasting twice as long with half as many rebels. Once again, much of that time their successes were due to Rome being slow to take real notice, the rebels dealing with ‘local militia’ for a time. Once Rome herself stepped in, it was over.
    What did they THINK was going to happen?

    The books and movies are good entertainment …I’m just not clear why we even remember this ( one of many) rebellion.

    May vis exsisto vobis


  73. tastephe says:

    Where are the sources for this article? Since the history channel has turned to Aliens and Pawn Stars I am very suspicious about everything with the word History in front of it. I have read an article like this many times, so it sounds correct. However, I would like to read the source material for this article. and everyone who is saying this is great help for their classes must be in 6th grade. this should not fly from high school on.

  74. T:) says:

    I don’t doubt it either. The government is going to end up running us. First, they say the will do everything for you. Citizens will become fat, uneducated robots. Democrats spend our money today and generations (such as myself) now and the ones to come will be stuck in a financial crisis. Is this really how you want to live?

  75. […] out of a gladiators’ camp in 73 B.C.E. and went on to lead a slave army some 100,000 strong up and down the Italian peninsula for two solid years, repeatedly stomping Roman forces sent to suppress […]

  76. Rossi Ross says:

    I loved the article whether its completely correct or not, also liked the comments following. These gladiators were amazing, few can imagine what it must have been like for them. Respect.

  77. HarrySalt says:

    Just like Julian Assange today who has taken up against a super power, USA!

  78. Arthur Grant says:

    I have been watching the Spartacus series on STARZ with the most recent installment titled ‘War of the Damned’ and it has been an amazing experience to watch Spartacus and his glaiators fight against Rome, a very oppressive society based on the history of slavery. I wish that Spartacus had defeated Crasuss and conqured Rome to set all the slaves free. I hate all Romans in history and that are now Italian mafia including the new Pope.
    I was very upset this week with the way Crixus died being stabbed in the back with a spear and not in the front with a sward that showed what cowards the roman soldiers were in this battle. I wish that Spartacus could have escaped his last battle and lived to an old age with his wife instead of dieing in the final battle.

  79. Zppix says:

    you give good info

  80. andrew glover says:

    There was an excellent series a few years ago that dispelled the ‘Roman’ history/propaganda that to a large degree is still taught as fact in schools even now. The Romans if nothing else were masters of PR and most of ‘our’ understanding of ancient times comes from their skewed and self-serving reports of ‘facts’.

    The Romans were the ‘barbarians’ with their self aggrandizing wars and chest beating, a great deal of what we give them credit for was stolen from other countries that had the misfortune to be situated near them.

    The Coliseum ought to be a place of shame not something to be proud of.

  81. Stacey Mobley says:

    My thought as to Spartacus death is that the Romans defeat over the rebels was absolute . Since Spartacus could no longer engage the Romans, he could have escaped . If so, To save face, Cassius concocted a story of Spartacus’s death.


    I AM in 6th grade and this has helped a lot. Who are you to judge who this article may or may not help. To those older kids whom this article helped, it might be offensive. Just sayin’…

  83. […] producer Steven S. DeKnight does not waver on his insistence that the show stay true to the historical version of the Spartacus story, although there are enough gaps in the records to allow for plenty of […]

  84. […] all knew how this would end, yet despite that I liked seeing Spartacus and his rebel army constantly outsmart and […]

  85. Chuck says:

    Hal: Yes we do have a Spartacus in California. Known as Charles Chuck Pineda, Jr. who is a democrat and stands for the common folks and their plight.

    I’ve run seven times for Governor of California but because I’m not a puppet of the super rich and their corporations including their all controlling media I don’t win. However, I can hold my head high knowing full well that I do not sell myself or the common folks aspirations (freedom from tyranny and never ending taxes) for anything. ELA barrio leaders know me and stand with me just as the former slaves stood with Spartacus.

    So, like Spartacus and the apostle Paul I am fighting the good fight and know that eventually we will take our country back to its Constitutional foundations.

    In conclusion, if you want to understand the meaning of life and our obligations read Proverbs 31, verses 8 and 9. I serve the Lord as best as I can so how could I sell myself for material goods, money, glory, and be another tool/puppet of the super rich!

    God Bless you all,
    Charles Chuck Pineda, Jr. of California
    Candidate for Governor 1986-2010; Parole Board Judge (Ret) and designer and first Director of the California Youth Authority’s Gang Violence Reduction Project in East Los Angeles/Maravilla.

  86. charlee says:

    I watched the Spartacus series on Starz for its entire run. I was interested in the article and was pleased that many names in the series were apparently the names of actual romans. Romans were pigs and not any better that the slaves of whom they made gladiators. I believe that one gladiator was the fighting equivalent of several romans. It was sad that the series ended and Spartacus did not get to remove Crassus head with his sword.

  87. Chuck Pineda says:

    What was Spartacus’s real name? Did he have a first and last name as we have today? Or did he have a single family name?

    Any history buffs or professors available to answer the above questions regarding Spartacus’s surname. Would there be old records in Thrace? Maybe in an old church.

    He, Spartacus, must have shared his family name with the Roman who enlisted him into the Roman army. Or if he was a slave his masters would have known him by his real family name. Could he have been a member of the Tracian nobility?

    At the end of the series he states Spartacus is not my real name. And in the series no one today knows his real name.

  88. bdog2025 says:

    thanks this will help me with my home work


    Well THATS offensive. It can help 7th graders and up you know.

  90. George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

    To Chuck Pineda:

    As a slave, he certainly wouldn’t have had a name of the praenomen + nomen + cognomen form free men used in the late Republic. (The last two of those combined are something like a \last name\.)

    I understand from Lindsey Davis that freed Roman slaves might take their former masters’ family &/or clan name or not, as w/ freemen in post-Civil War America. However, Spartacus was never freed; he escaped.

    As to his origins,everybody cites the minimal info in Plutarch gives us. See (or the Wikipedia) for the argument as to whether he was of an unnamed nomadic tribe or of the Thracian tribe of Medi/Maedi/etc. (No, not the same as the Medes over in Persia.)

    I don’t see anywhere that he was ever in the army. Gladiators weren’t, you know.

    • George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

      Whooops! I missed the army citation at the site I just cited. My apologies, sir!

      Nevertheless, I don’t understand WHY he ” must have shared his family name with the Roman who enlisted him into the Roman army.” And in any case, tribesmen didn’t HAVE “real” family names.

      Ancient people of all sorts had names, of course, but while they may have had the sort of thing that centuries later became family names, things just didn’t work then the way they have for the last few centuries in the Western world. See the Wikipedia article, or any other source you like, on “surnames”.


    help! I’m not sure wether Spartacus was cornered and lost the battle, surrounded and lost the battle, or had a wall built around him and lost the battle! All the sites I’ve checked say different things!

    P.S. Sorry about my other comments if they were offensive. I was just testing this out.

  92. Greatbigt says:

    I loved this article. It’s just complete as we’ll as vague history can be. My question is that all accounts say that Spartacus’ body was never found, yet this says he was finally overtaken by the the Romans. I’m not pretending to know what the truth is but if anybody knows whether Spartacus was definitely killed or if he did disappear, I’d love to know.

  93. Spartacus lives says:

    Much of USA power and wealth was for over 100 years built on the blood and sweat and death of black slaves as well as pit fighting for entertainment for rich people.modern slavery still exists today,prostitution ,child labour and so on. Sadly if they don’t live in lands rich with oil Uncle Sam ain’t coming to free them this give rise to freedom fighters or terrorists depending on who you fight for and who you see as the enemy.empire builders have always used war to make money generate power and elevate position.although we have some freedoms today equality across all people’s is still sadly lacking!

  94. Artorius caliburn says:

    You are Right, you didn’t

  95. girl of gold says:

    I read that there were several laws enacted, regarding the treatment of slaves. Also, penalties were enacted for killing elderly slaves and abandoning slaves, in general.

    According to this article, the Romans worshipped men of violence, so after the uprising, they began viewing slaves differently and in fact, the slave trade gave over to the hiring of agricultural working freemen, instead of the former trend of bringing back so many slaves from conquests.

    It took time for this to happen but if you look at the big picture, Sparticus did in fact, change people’s attitudes and the practice of slavery, in a big way. That’s why I really admire him, so much.

    • George Trosper, aka GeorgeTSLC says:

      Might be helpful to CITE the article you’re referring to, amiga!

  96. ZACH CASADA says:


  97. Spartacus says:

    AVENGE ME , my brothers for I have fallen.

  98. sura says:

    In my honest opinion and it is my opinion I thing that when spartacus killed Clodius Glaber the very monster who have his wife enslaved and killing quintus Lentulus Batiatus for having his wife murdered in cold blood when he got his revenge he should have taken those people somewhere far away from the reach of Rome and I think the he and the other innocent slave would have had a peaceful life. Also I think crixus and his girl neavia cost spartacus the whole entire war because if he didn’t have that big ass ego for power wanting to be in command taking 30,000 of spartacus’s men was foolish. That brought spartacus to a disadvantage but hey it’s just what I was thinking.

  99. JHGlass says:

    WOW, Spartacus… AGAIN!!! The slave rebellion that just keeps on giving and giving. I would never have guessed that when I posted my original reply just over two years ago (#46), that I would still be receiving comments on the topic this far out into the future, and this reply in turn will be #100, that’s if somebody else hasn’t already beat me to the “submit” button (do I get a prize or something?).

    It’s a testament I suppose to the power of the Spartacus legacy, the overthrow of his oppressors, his desperate fight against overwhelming odds, his remarkable successes against his “superiors”, his extraordinary leadership, the tragedy of his ultimate and inevitable defeat, complete with all the hallmarks of high stakes drama, violent engagements, colorful characters and poetic pathos.

    It’s testament also to the superb article written by Ken Czech, published here in July, 2006, and I suppose also in large part to the interest in the subject generated by the success of the STARZ Spartacus cable series driving folks to the net for more historical background. But as I began to consider there being so much interest, so much passionate commentary and response, I began to connect the fact that we are American’s, or, the slave rebellion that succeeded (YES, we were “slaves”, any people who are “subjects”, ARE slaves), and then fought a vicious civil war to secure that liberty for all our people, we relate on a deeper, visceral level to the story of Spartacus and his struggle against Rome. We are AMERICANS, FREE MEN, we are nobody’s subject, nobody’s slave, we bow to NO ONE!!! (OK, forgive me my flare for the dramatic, but hey, we’re talking Spartacus here)

    The parallels between the two are many; an empire that oppresses its people to the point of breaking, a King and parliament determined to bring them to heal, their blind disregard for the adaptability, determination and resiliency of their foe, the ineptitude of their leaders, and their blindness to the power in the ideal of freedom that drove the patriots to accomplish such an extraordinary feat under the very worst of circumstances. And like Spartacus, General George Washington stands as the icon of that struggle, as he, his men and subordinates being rarely paid, inadequately fed and meagerly supplied, fought a desperate struggle against superior odds and often on the ropes, or on a march for their very lives. And then every time the British thought they finally “had them”, the “rabble” would turn, stand, outmaneuver, outwit, give them a bloody nose (The first; Escape From NY — not the Kurt Russell movie — Saratoga, Trenton, Monmouth, Kings Mt., Cowpens, Yorktown), planted fear and doubt in the hearts and minds of King and Country.

    But lets not forget the major contribution France made in bringing our fight for freedom to its ultimate conclusion, there’s no doubting that without their financial, troop and most importantly, navel contributions, the rebellion would have ultimately failed and we’d all be singing ‘God Save the Queen’ to this day. And perhaps, two thousand years from now, a bunch of amateur historians and history buffs like ourselves, would been on a forum somewhere exchanging historical facts and speculation on a failed 18th century “slave” revolt waged heroically against the mighty British Empire. And how a scrappy, determined, resourceful and inspirational leader named George Washington, held together a ragtag band of desperate men yearning for freedom. Who was ultimately defeated my British General Howe upon the fields outside the sleepy colonial village of Yorktown. And those “traitors” not killed in the battle, along with Washington, his generals and the Congress, were all relentlessly hunted down and hung from trees along the roads from Charleston to Boston.

    Perhaps if Spartacus had had the benefit of foreign intervention, say Mithridates, just over the “lake” facing off against Lucullus, got wind. Realized the advantage to himself of a Rome overthrown by its own slaves. So even before the final battle against Crassus, ships laden with arms, horses, food and trained soldiers arrive on the boot toe of Italy to supply and bolster Spartacus’ cause. Imagine how different the history of the world might be today if that had gone down. Perhaps there’s an alternate history novel in there somewhere, I’ll keep my eye on the bookstore shelves for some inspired fool to make that happen.

    My hats off to all my fellow Historian-ites, may the comments continue to flow!!!

    James H.L. Glass,
    BA, Fine Arts

  100. Hahahahajahahah Sparat!!!!! says:

    Hhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahah SPARTA!!!!!!!!!!
    No help at all for my assessment task I need the significance and beliefs of Spartacus.

  101. […]  But gladiatorial combat in the arena continue for almost 500 years.  More on Spartacus here. 41.085991 14.250104 Anfiteatro Campano, 81055 Santa Maria Capua Vetere Caserta, Italy Share […]

  102. kittim says:

    Spartacus was a great man, even today he is remembered in the hearts of men. If he did nothing they would have died eventually but his greatest failure was turning back to avenge Crixus whom in my heart stand a failure and the gap to slaves victory. If only he had stood with Spartacus as Gannucus had, they would have achieved victory against the cruel Romans. But all in all, if the article contains actual facts, Spartacus remains an undefeated hero in my heart because he was able to change the heart of men born into slavery who knew nothing but to able their masters that all that draw breath are equals.

  103. […] One of the first major Slave results, purportedly led by Spartacus, was fought and conquered. About 6000 slaves were crucified as a warning to other slaves who were considering saying no to […]

  104. Tony D says:

    We don’t have real leaders anymore….We have instead Corporate sponsors…..Figure heads…Strawmen…for the real evil that governs us in today’s world…Dark forces..That very evil has become an everyday complacency.

  105. Nels says:

    Guinea- Albeit a simple \please provide citations\ would have sufficed. Tastephe’s comment, in no way, shape, or form passed judgement on those who said they found the information helpful. He/she was highlighting the author’s lack of proper citation(s) to the source(s) of the information presented. Unless they are making monetary gains from their work, sixth graders, and all other pre-high school grade levels, need not be concerned with the practice/necessity of citations, in my opinion. As you progress to high school and beyond, it will and absolutely should be required that you provide references to the source of any information you are presenting (written or orally) which was not you own original thoughts. For example, if you include some details/data/pictures/quotes from this article in a report you are writing about Spartacus, you must say you have done so and list the Internet address ( in your report. Other commonly cited resources are: dictionaries, encyclopedias, text books, magazines, television/radio broadcasts, scientific journal (which is what I cite most often, and many more. There are several reasons that this is done, such as: copyright laws, giving due credit to the originator of the material, to facilitate fact checking, proof that your claims are supported, and many more. When no references are given, as is the case with this web page/article, the material shall be considered the author’s opinion or fiction. The \Reference\ section of most Wikipedia pages is an example of citations (whether or not it is a good and/or proper example is debatable). Which brings up another point: if you want cite info you read on a Wikipedia page, cite the original source, as listed in the reference section, and NOT the Wikipedia URL. In my opinion, extreme caution should be taken when citing Wikipedia or any other \user updated\ web service. Tastephe appears to share my frustration with the current state of affairs. There is an enormous amount of \info\ being disseminated daily, blogs especially, without references, taken to be factual, which I find abhorrent and completely irresponsible behavior by BOTH the authors and the readers.

    If I hadn’t used the word ‘opinion’ several times in the ramblings above, I have provided no specific citations, so opinion only shall it be.

    The article/story was indeed well written and enjoyable, hope it is also accurate.

  106. Troy says:

    Spartacus is the extreme definition for the saying” IF THERE IS A WILL ,THERE IS A WAY ” no matter how high the odds are against ones cause!!! Whether it be of all fact or mostly a legend, his story or his legacy is one the most impressive ever left by a man and the men/women that followed him. Especially the loyalty of his brother Crixus. I prefer to believe that his life was/is a True Legend

  107. murphy says:

    The fact that his body could not be found takes all credence away from his alleged killing in the last battle. I want to believe that his death was a cock and bull story by the wild, inhumane and bloodthirsty romans to save face. Spartacus was and remains a hero.

  108. David polleck says:

    we all know history repeats itself if you cant see this comming then look at it this way. They romans held ections had congress,mayors,and Excedra. People are out there killing everyday. It might not turn into a areana but its out there. If we don’t take our stand against the romans I mean government you just dont know. They play games with all our lives everyday with all these forien affairs. I hope history dont repeat itself.

  109. Draciron Smith says:

    Want and necessity are totally different things. We now pay far higher percentages of our income in taxation than when we rebelled against the British. Suffer far more indignities and our Constitution is barely a suggestion any more. The Patriot act, Obamacare and the Child Decency act all mocked and repealed entire elements of the Constitution. The scary part is only portions these laws have been overturned despite the clear violations of the Constitution. At this time nearly half the nation lives near or below the poverty line. Historically any nation which loses it’s middle class has become unstable. We have lost Democracy to big business and special interests with both parties selling favors at a rate that makes DC the biggest red light district in history. DC now stands for District of Corruption. We are beset at every turn by idiocy from our government at every turn. We are in debt and selling our future with the use of guest workers, illegals and outsourcing. We are in very serious trouble and it will continue to get worse. Our very food supply is threatened by reliance upon hostile foreign nations for so much of our food. One global pandemic, major war or major natural disaster could bring famine to the US for the first time in over a century. The problems are too numerous to list and neither political party cares the least about the American people. They sit in their ivory towers playing class warfare and destroying the nation while we sit around and debate with fanaticism which of the idiots to elect and steal from us our heritage and future. How can you say that violence of some sort is not inevitable. We cannot vote them out. The elections are no longer honest. The media is owned by the very same companies and wealth that own the political parties and have a vested interest in keeping things the same. There are serious roadblocks against independent parties and so many Americans are fanatical about their party that they wouldn’t even consider somebody not from that party. Identity politics in particular is stripping the US of Democracy. Anytime people vote for something trivial such as skin color, religion, gender, etc they take a torch to all that Democracy is. Democracy is about the good of the nation and people and when nations within the nation compete it is to the detriment of all. If we wanted too we couldn’t vote them out. The politicians know we have to elect one of them no matter how badly they misbehave. So there is no check to their outrageous behavior. The ballot box has become nothing but a rubber stamp used to placate us with the illusion of choice. Take a close look at the economic policies of Obama, Bush and Clinton and find a real difference between them. There isn’t one. All that changes when we elect a new president or change parties is the rhetoric and what sub groups are targeted. Democracy is becoming nothing but a faded memory in this nation and there is only so long before it is gone.

  110. Slayer of Romans says:

    History repeats itself. The 1% steal the wealth from everyone else, in america especially, and divide & conquer the slaves, ( slaves= the remnants of the Middle Class in america ). The conquered cattle cheer for the 1% who stole everything from them, and about 3% are brave and stand against the evil 1%, and the scared who would cheer for the 1%. Yes, history repeats itself over and over.

  111. laura says:

    Thank you to the author of the article and the people who marked their emotions, knowledge and opinions in this blog. I teach history, I read history more than I teach. Guess what? Truth, reality, correct facts are hard to establish in today’s world, imagine how lucky we are to have the knowledge of Spartacus through the formidable walls of two millennia and Roman censorship. Once thing to add here, the people who rose in revolt had the energy and appetite for living. Respect to that. Italy is the land of paradoxes, cruelty and achievements. But let me say a definite NO to slavery in any form: physical, mental, political.
    I had to fast forward many scenes of graphic sex and battles, looking for the thread of historical story and the value of it to me. Do not equate movies with true history.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Great article, lot’s of good info.
    I need someone to reply to this
    Who were the parents of Spartacus if they were known

  113. Scott Morse says:

    Well written piece. Thank you.

  114. piyush says:

    lov it

  115. Grant mac says:

    Guys, let’s face it, the tale of Spartacus is to inspire the idea that a trebling hand, can become a fist, a wounded heart can become a plate of steal, that your ideas and choices shouldn’t be decided but anyone other than u, he fought for freedom of all, not just few, if u look it up, he had no currency for his people to keep it equal, he wasn’t a savage, he was fighter for what he believed in, freeing people from bondage isn’t savage, I’d do it, and I don’t blame him, he believes I freedom and was willing to get as many people to do it as possible to free everyone beneath roman heel. It’s not modern day politics, it’s freedom, the want of all free men, it’s the way we should all live by, all men should love knowing they have their own choices and minds, not ruled by another

    • aj says:

      We all should want for such things. We should be trying less for money and more for living and allowing others to live. the problem is currency, this desire inside us as human beings to be better then another person. (this is in regard to other people who equally pull their own weight but get treated like they’re less then) yes there are some people who are a waste of time but if we look at each other as equals until proven otherwise ( not willing to put forth any effort) we all would survive and thrive through out this planet. God bless.

  116. Chaluchukwu says:

    My hero of all times; spartacus.

  117. Mike Porro says:

    After reading this I have to say the Stars series stayed true for the most part to recorded HX.

    • BrotherPatriot says:

      Yes, they did a good job with it and I watched it on Netflix…Spartacus, Blood & Sand, etc.
      Both actor’s who portrayed Spartacus were spot on. (God Bless, Andy Whitfield)
      Rarely do you get anything so close to what Historically happened, when presented by films.
      P.S…definitely not for children to watch.

      • Mike Porro says:

        If any complaint,the blood splatters were exagerated for effect but all else was excellent.

      • Newton Paul says:

        You read my mind on this, it was indeed a spectacular series that i must say i’m hungry for a reboot especially with the latest technology advancement in the movie sector.
        Each time i watch the series, i get refueled to deal with anything situation that makes me want to give up

  118. BrotherPatriot says:

    I would add a possible theory of why Spartacus may have turned south back into Italy instead of heading over the Alps.
    Perhaps (true or not), he heard rumor of his wife being alive and he went back for her?
    Sometimes fine details are lost to History.

    “With Cassius’ army demolished, the path to freedom over the Alps now lay clear. Surprisingly, Spartacus chose to lead his slaves back into Italy. Perhaps a contingent of his gladiators preferred looting the peninsula as Crixus had, and Spartacus may have feared that a further division of his force could be disastrous if Roman legions pursued them and forced them into battle. He may have even entertained the idea of raiding Rome, the source of enslavement of so many peoples. For whatever reasons, the Thracian led his mob southward.”

    Though doomed…this would be a fitting ending, in a romantic way, to an amazing story.

  119. Joseph L. Celestine says:

    F$*ken Gauls…

    • BrotherPatriot says:


      Still…a very powerful series that gives us glimpse and taste of how life could have been back in Rome’s time.
      With the Historical references mainly in place, you feel like you get a breath and smell of how Rome’s society could have flowed.
      I stand and applaud the whole brutal truth of what the Series brought to us all.

  120. lavoisier says:

    I was rooting for Spartacus. The Romans were savages despite the pretense of a civilization. They seemed to relish torturing people. And how cruel was crucifixion?

    • Newton Paul says:

      Crucifixion was said to be the most painful way to die. The Romans were very good in knowing how to inflict pain and mostly how to kill in such a way that an individual ghost would be in pain.
      And yes the Romans were savages, they had no regard for human life mehn

  121. Brian Sharon Rose says:

    Excellent article! Romans got what they deserved.

  122. bobtanner says:

    As a historian I applaud this series…it was superb on many levels. A fantastic job of directing and acting…special effects and scene sets were outstanding.

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