Spartacus 74BC- 71BC

DBA list:
1x 3Cv or 4Bd(General): Spartacus
4x 4Bd
5x 5Wb
2x 2Ps

Spartacus was thought to be a freeborn provincial from Thrace, who may have served as an auxiliary in the Roman army in Macedonia. He was later sold into slavery and trained at the gladiatorial school of Lentulus Batiatus in Capua.

Spartacus escaped with about 70 gladiators. They camped on Mt. Vesuvius and were joined by many slaves, overrunning the region in search of food and loot. A small force of Roman troops under Claudius Glaber were defeated by the slave army. Later, Spartacus had raised about 70,000 slaves, mostly from rural areas. The Senate sent the two consuls (L. Gellius Publicola and Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Clodianus), each with two legions, against the rebels. The Gauls and Germans, separated from Spartacus, were defeated by Publicola, and Crixus (one of Spartacus' lieutenants) was killed. Spartacus defeated Lentulus, and then Publicola. At Picenum in central Italy, Spartacus defeated the remaining consular armies, then pushed north and at Mutina they defeated yet another legion under Gaius Cassius Longinus, the Governor of Cisalpine Gaul. The slave army turned south again, probably in search of loot, now perhaps too confident in their abity to defeat the Romans.

In the autumn of 72BC, when the revolt was at its height and Spartacus had about 120,000 followers, the Senate voted to grant imperium to Marcus Licinius Crassus. Crassus was the wealthiest man in Rome, a noble from an old plebeian family. He was given command of six new legions plus the four consular legions. When Mummius attacked Spartacus with two legions, against orders, Spartacus soundly defeated them. Crassus ordered the punishment of decimation to the most cowardly cohort, then used his combined forces to defeat Spartacus, who retreated to Rhegium. Spartacus tried to cross the straits into Sicily, but the Cilician pirates who were to provide transport betrayed him.

Meanwhile, the Senate recalled Pompey and his legions from Spain, and Marcus Licinius Lucullus landed in Brundisium in the heel of Italy with his legions from Macedonia. When Spartacus finally fought his way out of the toe of Italy, he could not march to Brundisium and take ship to the east because of the presence of Lucullus.

The slaves gained one more minor victory against part of Crassus' forces led by Quintus Marcius Rufus and Gnaeus Tremellius Scrofa, but they were finally wiped out by Crassus' legions in a major battle in southern Italy, near the headwaters of the Silarus river. It is believed that Spartacus died in this battle but there were so many corpses that his body was never found. The historian Appian reports that 6000 slaves were taken prisoner by Crassus and crucified along the Appian Way from Capua to Rome, a distance of 132 miles. This marked the end of the Third Servile War.

From "Spartacus", 1960.


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