Jump to content

Spartacus -


observer
 Share

Recommended Posts

There was a TV film on in the very early hours this week (I taped it); starring Alan Bates amongst others, who must have died soon after making it, as he had a dedication in the titles. Presumably, it was more historically accurate than the original Hollywood classic; but entertaining never the less. :?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A historian in Duluth, Minnesota wrote a review of that TV program which I've edited here:

 

What we believe we know about the real Spartacus is that he was born free in Thrace and may have served as an auxiliary in the Roman army in Macedonia. However, he deserted, lived as an outlaw, was captured, sold into slavery, and ended up being trained at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua. In 73 B.C.E.

 

Spartacus escaped with 70-80 other gladiators and camped on Vesuvius, where they were joined by other slaves who ran away from their masters and began plundering and pillaging the region. Spartacus wanted to escape Italy by crossing the Alpus, but the slaves from Gaul and Germany wanted to stay in southern Italy and continuing the plundering and pillaging. That first year Spartacus and his men defeated a force of 3,000 raw recruits led by Cladius Glaber and then two forces of legionary cohorts.

 

In 72 B.C.E. Spartacus had an army of approximately 70,000 slaves and the Roman Senate sent two consuls, Publicola and Lentulus, with two legions each against the rebels. Publicola defeated the Gauls and Germans, and Crixus was killed. At Picenum in central Italy, Spartacus then defeated first Lentulus and then Publicola, having 300 prisoners from the battles fight in pairs to the death. The slave army then moved north and defeated the proconsul of Cisalpine Gual at Mutina. With the Alps open as a way out of Italy, the Gauls and Germans refused to go, and Spartacus returned to southern Italy intended to try and cross to Sicily.

 

At the height of the revolt Spartacus had about 120,000 followers and the Senate sent Marcus Licinius Crassus with six new legions in addition to the four consular legions to defeat Spartacus in 71 B.C.E. Exactly how Spartacus died is not known, although it is believed he died in the battle near the headwaters of the Siler River. Six thousand of the slaves that were taken prisoner by Crassus were crucified along the Appian Way from Capua, where the gladiators had been trained, to Rome. Another five thousand slaves escaped and fled north, but they were captured by Pompey's army and the following year Pompey and Crassus were elected consuls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

V,G, Jezz - and almost exactly the storyline in the film. Interesting that Crassus, one of the richest men in Rome, and the owner of Rome's first Fire Brigade formed by the huge number slaves he owned and used to ransom their services to unfortunate victims; a wheeler dealer of the first order and a particularly hatefull figure: finally got his come upance when he lead an expedition against the Parthians in Syria. He was captured and executed, and 10,000 of his soldiers sold into slavery, and eight Legionary Eagles lost. So perhaps there is such a thing as divine justice?! :?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, that's one story - in line with his noted greed, the Parthian King made him swallow molten gold. The other, is that, on being surrounded, and hearing of his son's death, he "played the Roman fool" and fell on his sword. There's some interesting fictional speculation that the 10,000 or so captured legionaries were posted to remote frontier forts on the Parthian eastern borders, and some may have eventually reached China long before Marco Polo! :shock:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting to think about some Roman soldiers ending up in Asia. I once read a story about some province in what is now Northern Italy where there are many red-haired people with Scottish family names -- because there was a regiment of Scots there for some political reason, when Scotland converted from Catholicism to Protestant -- they decided en masse not to return to Britannia, but to become Italians. Not all history is recorded but now that we have DNA testing....

 

For that matter there was a colony of English settlers on Roanoke Island off the coast of Virginia (I think) that completely disappeared suddenly -- their homes and furnishings were intact, as if they had flown off in a saucer. But now, certain indigenous tribes on the East Coast are showing signs of English type ancestry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Scots have always been noted, along with the Irish, for their travels abroad: French Kings had a unit of Scottish archers in the m/ages, and an Irish Regiment (the Wild Geese) in the 18C. Watched an interesting prog once, about the Viking settlement of Greenland, where climate change wiped out the Viking farmers dependent on agriculture and domestic live stock; whilst the indigenous Inuit Indians survived on hunting and gathering. Maybe the same kind of thing happened to the early Viking and English settlements in America? :?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...