Rome is an empire that is full of legends and stories about warriors that changed the course of history. One such hero was Spartacus. He was believed to be a member of the Roman army and was later sold into slavery. It is said that after that he went on to become a heavyweight gladiator. Later in his life, he escaped the slaver’s clutch along with a few other gladiators.
They are believed to be oppressed people that fought against the oligarchy to get their freedom. However, all the records and texts related to him have contradictory mentions and there was never a clear intention of freedom behind their fight.
The Early Life Of Spartacus
There are no records or historical information about his early age but it is widely believed and accepted that he was born in the Thracian tribe of Maedi. Different historians and texts have different explanations of his early life, some say he was a mercenary from the Thracian region who later got into the Roman army while others suggest a humble origin. All the historical records agree over one thing that he was a slave who became a gladiator and then escaped. Some texts even suggest that Spartacus was enslaved with his wife who was a prophetess.
How Was Spartacus Enslaved And His Escape From Slavery?
According to the widely believed theory, he was captured by Legions and then sold off to slavery. Later on, he was trained at a school for Gladiators near Capua. There he became a fearsome heavyweight gladiator (Murmillo) and was famous, to say the least. Heavyweight gladiator used to have a large shield with them called the ‘Scutum’ along with a long and broad sword called the ‘Gladius’. During 73 BC, he became a part of a small group of gladiators, who were planning on escaping the clutches of their slavers.
Around 70 gladiators were the part of the escape plan and it is unclear if Spartacus was the leader. Together, they took utensils from the kitchen and defeated the guards stationed around the place. Later on, they captured some wagons that contained various gladiator weapons and armors. It is said that they defeated a few guards that were sent to capture them, plundered nearby regions and recruited many slaves in their force. Later all of them went to Mount Vesuvius so that they could retire into a more defendable position. The gladiators chose Spartacus along with Crixus and Onemaus as their leaders.
The Roman Counter plan
The response of Romans wasn’t spontaneous as the Legions were already engaged in several wars. The Romans didn’t think of the gladiator rebellion as an act of war and were confident that minor policing will do the job of suppressing them. The roman authorities assigned Praetor Gaius Claudius the job to suppress the revolt. He marched towards their camp with a small militia and surrounded the camp hoping that they would surrender due to starvation. However, this plan backfired as the gladiator force came from behind climbing the mountain and defeated the militia.
Most of the lieutenants of Praetor Gaius were killed but he somehow escaped. The gladiators confiscated the supply of the Roman militia as more people joined them. At their peak, the gladiator army had around 70,000 well-equipped men. They continued to win small battles all around the Roman Empire until Marcus Licinius Crassus eventually defeated him in 71 BC at Senerchia.