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Spartacus and his contribution to the fall of the Roman Repu
Transcript of Spartacus and his contribution to the fall of the Roman Repu
The Problems with Slavery
A logical assumption is that all slaves led poor lives, as mentioned previously with the miners. This was not the case, in fact a good master looked after a skillful and useful slave as it was very hard to find an equal replacement or it was extremely expensive.
One of the beneficial and positive aspects of the slave system was how the slaves were treated. Many slaves were given comforts and privileges that 'free Romans' would not have. Some may argue that generally they lived a better life than the 'poorer Romans' who did not serve a master.
Although the slave system had its benefits it would also contribute to the eventual fall of the Roman republic.
Who was Spartacus?
Little is known about Spartacus. It is believed that he was born in Thrace (modern day Bulgaria) in around 100BC. Again little is known about his childhood however it is believed that he served in the Roman Army. Following his time in the army it is unclear what happened, it is possible that he deserted the army and was forced to become a gladiator after being captured in 73BC.
Slaves in Italy were often branded and shackled. At night they were locked in barracks with no privacy or dignity.
Slaves that showed courage,strength and fighting skills ended up as gladiators. Spartacus was one of these slaves and was taken to a Gladiator school in Capua.
The slave revolt
In 73BC Spartacus along with eighty slaves escaped from the training school taking with them gladiatorial weapons and armour they headed south recruiting more slaves along the way.
They reached Mount Vesuvius and decided it was a defensible position. It was at this point that three leaders were chosen: Spartacus, Crixus and Oenomaus.
When the Roman leaders heard about the uprising they sent fresh men and and ill-experienced general to annihilate Spartacus and his small army seeing him as no match. Both the expeditions to kill Spartacus failed, they planned to starve the army by camping at the foot of the Mountain however Spartacus ordered his army to quietly scale down the the side of the Mountain killing their leader and many men. Their failure allowed him to acquire more supplies for their army.
This was the start of the rebellion. This became known as The Third Servile War.
The collapse of the Roman Empire
The exploitation of slaves showed the hypocracy within the Roman Republic which was supposed to be about liberty and freedom.
Many factors including military, social, economic, political and the Roman dependency combined, resulted in the fall of the Roman civilization.
The Problems with Slavery
Slavery was commonly practiced throughout ancient History however, the largest number of slaves belonged to the Romans who were highly dependent on them. Some Slaves were soldiers who had been captured in wars, others were children of slave parents. The slaves were bought and sold at the slave markets.
Slavery was accepted as part of the lifestyle in ancient Rome by both the slaves and the society. There were many different types of slaves which could be put into five categories. These included: household or domestic, imperial or public, urban, crafts and services, agriculture and mining.
It is not known how many slaves there were in total however it is thought that roughly 25% of the population in Rome were slaves.
Slaves that worked in the coal mines were usually treated badly as they were easy and cheap enough to replace.
A rich man might have owned as many as 500 slaves and an emperor usually had more than 20,000.
The Saturnalia was a lot like modern day Christmas where gifts were exchanged. To reward slaves roles were reversed and the slave would wear the finest garments and sit at the head of the table.
Seneca a Roman writer said
“The result is that slaves who cannot talk before his (the master) face talk about him behind his back. It is this sort of treatment which makes people say, “You’ve as many enemies as you’ve slaves.” They are not our enemies when we get them; we make them so.”
"I am Spartacus"
Capua was a large city under the rule of Rome, 15 miles from Naples.
Map of Capua
It was at this Gladiator school that Spartacus trained to fight viciously.
He learnt the skills needed to please the audience in the coliseum.
Although he was learning to kill he also befriended many warriors.
This is where he met Crixus and planned to escape
The Ludus of Capua
Crixus was a Gallic gladiator and was also a military leader in the Third Servile War. Crixus was born in Gaul and was enslaved by Romans, again in unknown circumstances.
He trained hard to become a gladiator and met Spartacus at the Ludus of Capua.
"Spartacus not only possessed great spirit and bodily strength but he was more intelligent and nobler than his fate."
The Slave Revolt Part Two
The Death of Spartacus
Karl Marx was an admirer of Spartacus describing him as the "finest fellow antiquity had to offer."
Marx admired Spartacus
Howard Fast wrote a famous novel about the rising.
The film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas was based on the novel.
Recently there has also been a television series based on Spartacus.
The legacy of Spartacus
The strength of Spartacus was precisely the fact that in his person he embodied the hopes and aspirations of the mass of slaves yearning for freedom.
But this glorious page in history will never be forgotten as long as men and women are motivated by the love of truth and justice.
The echoes of this titanic uprising occur down the centuries and are still a source of inspiration to all those today who are continuing the fight for a better world.
The question left unanswered is: Was Spartacus really beaten? The answer to this is open to debate although he lost the war itself, he is still yet to lose the influence he marked on his enemies, friends and successors.
Many slaves in Rome heard about the Victories of Spartacus and fled Rome to join the slave army. It is estimated to have reached roughly 100,000 men. At the beginning of the revolt Crixus, the leiutenant of the slave army, helped Spartacus to win many of the battles against Rome. Spartacus decided to move North across the Alps, hoping to eventually reach their homes. The victories made some of the army too bold to follow Spartacus' route. The army split in two Spartacus led med one way and Crixus the other way.
Rome sent two experienced armies after Crixus and Spartacus. Crixus was easily defeated however, the two armies could not defeat Spartacus.
Crassus a rich aristocrat volunteered for the job of putting a stop to Spartacus and his army.
By 71BC the slave army had failed to reach Siciliy and Crassus was heading straight towards them. The slaves were tired of running from Rome and decided to confront Crassus and his army face to face. Spartacus did not like the idea that they would be playing to Romes advantage however, he had no other choice.
The battle was brutal and Spartacus along with many of the slaves were killed.
Crasssus took the survivors of the slave army and crucified them along Romes ancient highway. Crassus did not receive any credit for his accomplishment, in fact another powerful aristocrat, Pompey had taken the glory of killing Spartacus for himself.
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