Ancient Rome is the inspiration for the latest ‘Underdogs’ entry.
Recorded and Immortalised in the annals of Rome, Spartacus led the most successful Slave revolt in the Roman Empire, a formidable and embarrassing challenge to Roman Power and Prestige.
Spartacus is thought to have been from a region north of Macedonia, which was considered by both Greeks and Romans as uncivilized and barbaric.
However he was captured, and for whatever reasons, his military training and physique made him a perfect candidate for the arena. Spartacus is described by all the ancient sources as tall and exceptionally strong. He was bought by a trainer named Lentulus Batiatus and sent to a gladiatorial school south of Rome in Capua where he trained and eventually fought as a Gladiator in the arena.
In 73 BCE, Spartacus and some other conspirators escaped by raiding the Gladiator School’s kitchen, arming themselves with knives and murdering their instructors, eventually setting up camp on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius where they elected Spartacus as their leader.
Initially, the Roman senate did not treat the rebellion seriously until two Roman expeditions were defeated. It is only then that the Roman senate realized it had seriously underestimated Spartacus.
Spartacus had no intention of marching on Rome, however, and led his army north out of Italy to cross the Apenines and allow his followers to return to their homes.
Two more expeditions were sent against Spartacus and he defeated them both. Eventually, Marcus Licinius Crassus, was called up, and he marched against Spartacus at Bruttium in the far south of Italy.
Spartacus’ plan was to work with the Silician pirates to take over the Roman-occupied island of Sicily and make it a free nation for his followers…It was not to be however as the revolt was crushed by Crassus and Spartacus himself fell, as became a general, fighting bravely in the front rank, although his body was never found.
Spartacus was a Gladiator and a man who sought his own freedom but ended up leading a Slave revolt…Whether he started his revolt in 73 BCE to end slavery in Rome, or to seek his own freedom no longer matters as much as what he has come to symbolize.
His story will continue to inspire people for generations, as he has over the past 200 years come to symbolise the individual fighting for justice and freedom for his people against all odds…In our own time we have paid homage to his legacy in Film and TV, ensuring that his story will continue to inspire future generations.
Check out the ‘Spartacus’ Home Page documentary and keep it locked for our upcoming series, ‘Julius Ceasar: A Career’.
Links & Credits