Spartacus

» Posted by on Nov 5, 2019 in General | Comments Off on Spartacus

Spartacus

Spartacus was born a Thracian in the area to the south-east of present-day Europe. Little is known about his life before he became a gladiator in Rome. The chance are he was taken prisoner when the Thracians and the Romans crossed swords, or he joined the Roman army of his own free will and deserted and was captured and, because of his fighting skills, was sent to a gladiator school. His school was based at Capua with other slave/gladiators where they lived, trained and were held captive, not unlike a prison of today. These men devoted all their time to training and learning how their opponents, who came from all over the known world, fought and weapons and tactics they employed.

In 73BC he escaped with a group of gladiators and, together with the other runaway slave, they based themselves on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius where they all received training from the experienced gladiators. Spartacus was assisted in the leadership by Crixus and Oenamus, two Gauls.

Rome underestimated the strength of the slave army and the first four Roman armies sent to subdue the rebellion, were defeated. Escaped slaves flocked to join Spartacus and his free army. Numbers soon reached over 100 000 and Rome was forced to start taking them seriously. The leaders were divided in their aims. Crixus wanted to invade Rome to recruit more soldiers, but Spartacus wanted to escape over the Alps to live a free life away from Rome. They split up, and Crixus with 30 000 men headed for Rome.

Roman citizens were terrified. An army of gladiators and slaves could cause chaos, together with Roman’s slaves, who were poorly treated by the Romans. Rumours of atrocities perpetrated by the slaves on other slave owners were spreading like wildfire. Their bad treatment was coming back to bite them! Another uprising in Sicily 60 years previously had taken two years to subdue.