The Spartacus War

The Spartacus War

Book - 2010
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An authoritative account from an expert author: The Spartacus War is the first popular history of the revolt in English.

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.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2010, ©2009
Edition: First Simon & Schuster trade paperback edition
ISBN: 9781416532064
Branch Call Number: 937.05 St
Description: xix, 264 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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Feb 20, 2013

This is a great entry-level history book for people whose imagination has been captured by the Spartacus TV series, or the classic Kirk Douglas film, as the author tries to put the reader in situ as much as possible while relying on the admittedly scanty (and woefully one-sided) written record, as well as physically touring and describing important sites in the Italian peninsula. Readers looking for a scholarly work full of footnotes and quotes from the Latin will be disappointed, but those looking to get the basic facts and a bit of amusing speculation will enjoy for sure.

Apr 15, 2010

I recommend that you ignore the Library Journal’s criticisms of this book and read it. You will find that the speculation that the Library Journal’s reviewer finds so problematic does not detract at all from the account of the slave rebellion led by Spartacus. After all, if Mr. Strauss had relied on only what can be fully documented from the historical record, the book might have been very short indeed. A reader who wishes to learn more about Roman society, the institution of slavery in ancient Rome and the slave revolts that resulted may certainly consult other, more scholarly works.


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