Spartacus ? - 71 BC
An Inspiration for Political
represented at the moment when he has just
broken his chains.
Marble statue by
Denis Foyatier, 1830.
© Musée du Louvre
/ Thierry Ollivier
Spartacus was from
Originally, Spartacus was a soldier in the Roman army. For some
reason he ended up as a slave. They made Spartacus a gladiator.
In the year 73 B.C., Spartacus and 70 fellow gladiators managed to
run away from gladiator school to
Mount Vesuvius. Naturally, they
took their arms with them. Many fugitives joined the group.
Spartacus soon was surrounded by about 90,000 followers.
What to do with so many people when you're suddenly their leader?
Spartacus' plan was to fight their way out of Italy, then kiss
everyone good-bye and send them off whatever direction they would
prefer. Only problem was, the men had different plans. They quite liked
plundering and pillaging. Hence they wanted to keep rolling together.
This was bad news for Spartacus because he knew the Romans wouldn't allow it.
Finally, Spartacus and his men were stopped by
Marcus Licinius Crassus
and his troops. Spartacus died in battle. The slaves who didn't die
wished that they had.
The War of Spartacus is also
Plutarch reports on this revolt or war.
In history, Spartacus became a symbol of political opportunism. The
artist of the statue above, Foyatier, dated his work July 29, 1830,
to make a point against French
King Charles X, who had been
overthrown on this day. (See
Spartacus League, see
Go here for the
1960 movie Spartacus.