Born: c. 110 BC
Died: 71 BC
Location of death: Lucania, Italy
Cause of death: War
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Military, Activist
Nationality: Ancient Rome
Executive summary: Led slave uprising
Beyond the barest basics, almost everything generally believed about Spartacus is legend or supposition. The undisputed facts are impressive, but few: Deemed guilty of some petty crime, he was sentenced to slavery and trained as a gladiator, but used kitchen tools to escape his captors and hid in the hills. Aligning his small band of men with other escaped slaves, the rebels came to number hundreds, then thousands, harassing the Romans with petty robberies and attacks on outlying communities.
The mighty Roman military attempted to put down this army of free men but all attacks were repulsed, and as the dissidents led by Spartacus came to number more than 100,000, their revolt was deemed a serious threat to Rome's survival. Pompey, the so-called "young butcher of Rome", was sent to destroy the slave's uprising, and brutally succeeded, routing the slaves near the Silarus River in Lucania.
Though his body was never found by Romans after the battle, Spartacus was almost certainly among the thousands of captives who were forced to return to slavery, or the thousands more who were crucified, their bodies left to rot for years as a warning to others. In the modern world, Spartacus is known from Howard Fast's stirring self-published novel, Aram Khachaturian's ballet, and Stanley Kubrick's award-winning film starring Kirk Douglas.
Escaped from Slavery
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