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The Spartacus War
The Spartacus War is the extraordinary story of the most famous slave rebellion in the ancient world, the fascinating true story behind a legend that has been the inspiration for novelists, filmmakers, and revolutionaries for 2,000 years. Starting with only seventy-four men, a gladiator named Spartacus incited a rebellion that threatened Rome itself. With his fellow gladiators, Spartacus built an army of 60,000 soldiers and controlled the southern Italian countryside. A charismatic leader, he used religion to win support. An ex-soldier in the Roman army, Spartacus excelled in combat. He defeated nine Roman armies and kept Rome at bay for two years before he was defeated. After his final battle, 6,000 of his followers were captured and crucified along Rome's main southern highway. The Spartacus War is the dramatic and factual account of one of history's great rebellions. Spartacus was beaten by a Roman general, Crassus, who had learned how to defeat an insurgency. But the rebels were partly to blame for their failure. Their army was large and often undisciplined; the many ethnic groups within it frequently quarreled over leadership. No single leader, not even Spartacus, could keep them all in line. And when faced with a choice between escaping to freedom and looting, the rebels chose wealth over liberty, risking an eventual confrontation with Rome's most powerful forces. The result of years of research, The Spartacus War is based not only on written documents but also on archaeological evidence, historical reconstruction, and the author's extensive travels in the Italian countryside that Spartacus once conquered.
A Legend is Given Life
By Richard Masloski
- March 20, 2009
This is a wonderful book. A page-turner. An eye-opener for those whose eyes are filled with the movie 'Spartacus.' In clear, exciting, often times poetic prose, Barry Strauss gives us the true story as best it may be known from the scant historic record. After all, as the quote goes, history is written by the victors. But did Spartacus truly lose in his heroic and daring bid for freedom from his Roman oppressors? His name remains vivid and vital on the lips of men down through the centuries unto our present day. He may have lost the war wherein he and his army of slaves held Rome at bay for two long years - but he most assuredly won the history writ in the heart of man. This book is tangible proof of that immortality.
The book reads as bravely and briskly as Spartacus fought for the freedom all peoples dream of. The only things that would have made the book all-the-better would have been a few maps outlining stategic movements in the gladiator-rebel's numerous... read more
Classical history for the Hoi Poloi
By Richard S. Garber "colonelrick"
- March 23, 2009
Professor Strauss has done it again - producing a serious addition to the historian's bookshelf that is readable and enjoyable by those without a graduate education in classics. This is not to say that Strauss has "dumbed down" his work, but more that his writing style and contemporary analogies make for a remarkable enjoyable read - an enjoyable page-turner.
The author, an historian and scholar of note, is in top form meshing (near) contemporary accounts, his own research, and such illustrative anecdotes as the myth of Scylla and Charybdis to make the ancient story come alive for the modern reader.
This historical example of insurgency - which has become a modern strategic theme of note - is a must read for military professional an amateur historian alike.
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