The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss

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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.

About Barry Strauss

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Barry Strauss, professor of history and classics at Cornell University, is a leading expert on ancient military history. He has written or edited several books, including The Battle of Salamis, The Trojan War, and The Spartacus War.
Published March 3, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 288 pages
Genres: History, War, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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At a time when Rome was fighting wars on all fronts—against Mithridates in Greece and Thrace, against the rogue Roman general Sertorius in Spain and against the pirates off the coast of Crete—a gladiator named Spartacus engineered a prison breakout of 74 men in 73 BCE.

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The Wall Street Journal

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What is more, Spartacus, as various ancient sources show, was more than a warrior: He asked his followers to treat each other as equals, and he tried to limit harm to noncombatants— ideas that people of many faiths can endorse Bettmann/Corbis The death of Sparta...

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Spartacus War

The Washington Post


Apr 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spartacus War

Thanks to a popular novel and a more popular movie, a Roman slave who lived and died almost a hundred years before Jesus Christ has become an icon against oppression in our popular culture.

Feb 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Spartacus War

Bookmarks Magazine

A leading authority on classical military history, Barry Strauss has used recent archaeological discoveries, ancient documents, and on-site investigations to create the most accurate and detailed account of the Spartacus rebellion ever written—and it reads like a first-rate novel.

Mar 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spartacus War

Creative Loafing

But Spartacus was called patriotic.” In other words, it was fine to enslave a German, but not a Roman, and certainly not a man like Spartacus who exemplified Roman ideals.

Mar 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Spartacus War

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