Wikimedia CommonsThe Greek biographer and historian Plutarch, as depicted in the 1492 Nuremberg Chronicles. The fiction series was inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BC led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic departing from Capua.Executive producers Steven S. … IS RIDLEY SCOTT’S FILM GLADIATOR A TRUE STORY? And, of course, as with any major Hollywood film produced in the old studio system, a love triangle was wedged into the plot. The slave rebellion, stemming from the gladiator school’s kitchen, also includes some accurate details. 73 BCE: Spartacus escaped with 70-80 gladiators, seizing the knives in the cook's shop and a wagon full of weapons. 1867. Slaves and free folk they encountered, from shepherds to herdsmen, joined Spartacus and his men to defend themselves against any tyrannical entity desperate for subjects. “We’ll free every slave in every town and village!” he screams in the early stages of his revolt. However, all sources agree that he was a former gladiator and an accomplished military leader. Spartacus then switched gears and marched his men toward Sicily. Today, let’s look at a cinema classic - the 1960 film Spartacus. historical-accuracy spartacus-tv Share. Conditions were ripe for a massive slave revolt. Yes and no. According to Plutarch: “[Spartacus] marched his army toward the Alps, intending, when he had passed them, that every man should go to his home, so Thrace, some to Gaul. Understanding the true history behind the movie without nitpicking the tiny details can help us appreciate the roots of the film even more. According to the surviving sources, Spartacus was from Thrace, an area in southeast Europe that the Romans were often trying to subjugate during the first century B.C.. While both of them were elected as consuls in 70 B.C. In Saxo's version, King Rorik of the Danes places his trust in two brothers, Orvendil and Fengi. The True Story Of Spartacus, The Gladiator Who Led Ancient History’s Biggest Slave Revolt, The iconic ‘I’m Spartacus!’ scene from Stanley Kubrick’s. When he discovered another Roman army was blocking his path, he and his men did all they could do: turn around and battle Crassus head-on. In the end, Spartacus led the biggest slave revolt in ancient Rome — one that we remember to this day. The Romans camped at the bottom of the mountain, trying to starve out the rebels. They’d struck gold: the wagons were filled with weapons. Around here is where the two main authorities on Spartacus — Appian and Plutarch — diverge in their storytelling. The novel Freedom Road is based on a true story and was made into a miniseries of the same name starring Muhammad Ali, who, in a rare acting role, played Gideon Jackson, an ex-slave in 1870s South Carolina who is elected to the U.S. House and battles the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations to keep the land that they had tended all their lives. According to Appian, Crassus and the Romans walled the slaves in with ditches and dirt. Crassus stationed most of his men on the outskirts of Picenum and sent his lieutenant, Mummius, and two legions to follow Spartacus. But then, when he grew short on supplies, he managed to get a third of his army over the earthen walls. The real Spartacus was a tribal warrior from the ancient region of Thrace, which is now part of Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. LL/Roger Viollet/Getty ImagesDennis Foyatier’s marble statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Lessons Discover video-based lessons ... material is that there was not a unified approach to Spartacus. A true-story movie about one man’s spiritual journey through the natural world, Into the Wild reflects the many conflicts and problems that trouble those uneasy with a materialistic life. In the end they stayed, and roamed up and down Italy. Spartacus trains as a gladiator in Capua, where he trains under Lentulus Batiatus, portrayed by Peter Ustinov. Rome, meanwhile, didn’t seem to think that a rag-tag bunch of slaves presented any serious threat. The rest, mainly Thracians, followed Spartacus. He traveled to Picenum, a region on the Adriatic coast where he knew Spartacus was stationed, with 10 legions. The legend of Spartacus has inspired so many fanciful retellings, it's easy to lose track of what actually happened back in 73 BC. And though Crassus obliterated Spartacus and his followers, his glory was overshadowed by Pompey, who had returned from Spain in time to defeat 5,000 rebels. In the movie, Kirk Douglas character is also a Thracian. Spartacus was just one of the many who made the trek into Italy It is possible that they needed to stay on the move to sustain resources, or to corral more support.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'historyhit_com-banner-1','ezslot_6',161,'0','0'])); In his 2 years of revolt, Spartacus won at least 9 major victories against Roman forces. Kirk Douglas's characte… Since we no nothing of Spartacus prior to his escape, the story written by Howard Fast is entirely fictional. Nearly everything that we know about the life of Spartacus comes from Roman histories. He returned to the popular consciousness of Europe during the 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti. In 75 A.D., nearly 150 years after Spartacus’s death, the Roman historian Plutarch wrote that Spartacus stood out long before his slave rebellion: They say that when he was first taken to Rome to be sold, a snake was seen coiled round his head while he was asleep and his wife, who came from the same tribe and was a prophetess subject to possession by the frenzy of [the god of ecstasy] Dionysus, declared that this sign meant that he would have a great and terrible power which would end in misfortune. Spartacus originated from Thrace (largely modern day Bulgaria). In fact, the slave revolt which created the modern country of Haiti was based upon the stories of Spartacus. Contribution to … He planned to escape to Sicily on a fleet of pirate ships, but the pirates sailed off with his gifts in tow before the rebels boarded the boats. They were cornered and swiftly defeated. Then he deserted the army, was captured, was brought to Rome, and then was sold into slavery. His story had clear ties and relevance to the anti-slavery movement. Its economy was reliant on slave labour, and its diffuse political structure (which didn’t yet have a single leader) was profoundly unstable. The men seized both arms and transport and headed to the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, plundering villages, splitting the spoils, and amassing more men along the way. Despite Crassus having cornered Spartacus’ forces in the toe of Italy, they managed to escape.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'historyhit_com-leader-1','ezslot_7',162,'0','0'])); However, in his final battle, Spartacus killed his horse so that he can be on the same level as his soldiers. This story of Spartacus is based on a book written by Howard Fast. Everything we know about Spartacus comes from second- or even third-hand sources, ancient historians who were born decades after his death in 71 B.C. With Rome alarmed at the success Spartacus was having in battle, the Senate sent Gen. Marcus Licinius Crassus to deal with the rising threat. Still, his motivations remain up for debate. Wikimedia CommonsA statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. This grassroots army quickly grew to more than 70,000 people. The beginning of the series centers around the rivalry between Spartacus and Claudius Glaber. A story about Serbian football team that decides to follow a dream that takes them on a journey to the First World Football Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930. 8 years ago. The amphitheater in Capua, where gladiators like Spartacus were forced to train and fight. Lv 5. This was a well-established source for slaves, and Spartacus was just one of the many who made the trek into Italy. What began as a mere quest to become free men suddenly turned into a gathering of volunteer soldiers. Some historians see Spartacus as a selfish rebel who led his men to annihilation because of his overgrown ego, pillaging Italy in the process. The Boy Scouts Of America Have A 'Pedophile Epidemic' As 350 Predators Are Identified, Paula Hitler: The Surprisingly Quiet Life Of Adolf's Little Sister, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. Marco Margaritoff is a Staff Writer at All That's Interesting. Italy had unprecedented wealth, including over 1 million slaves. A movie poster for Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic, According to Greek historian Appian of Alexandria, Yasuke, the African slave who rose to become history’s first black samurai. The rebels were surrounded by “sheer precipitous cliffs,” according to Plutarch. Wikimedia Commons“Der Tod Des Spartacus” (The Death Of Spartacus) by Hermann Vogel. When Crassus’s army walled Spartacus in, the rebel slave didn’t mind at first. This meant that the 5,000 men were split into 50 groups of 10, and essentially drew straws. Before the rebel leader marched his men up and down Italy and relentlessly crushed the Roman opposition, he was but a boy. Julius Caesar, for instance, introduced a series of laws to prevent such uprisings once he became dictator. There were several instances where the director should have stuck to the real historical accounts. But they, grown confident in their numbers, and puffed by with their success, would give no obedience to him, but went about and ravaged Italy; so that now the Senate was not only moved at the indignity and baseness, both of the enemy and of the insurrection, but, looking upon it as a matter of alarm and dangerous consequence.”. … At some point he was captured, brought to Rome and sold as a slave to a man referred to at times as “Vatia.” This man owned a gladiator school in Capua, about 120 miles (193 kilome… Spartacus not only led a slave revolt with tens of thousands of soldiers in the first century B.C. Throughout Spartacus was facing a dilemma – escape home over the alps or continue attacking the Romans. Plutarch described the man’s final moments: “First, when his horse was brought to him, he drew his sword and killed it, saying that the enemy had plenty of good horses which would be his if he won, and, if he lost, he would not need a horse at all. The emperors. On the other hand, the film’s broader strokes are more on point. but repeatedly defeated Rome in battle. They camped on … Surprisingly enough, however, much of the TV series holds true to the historical time frame. A statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Whether he realistically threatened Rome is debatable, but he certainly won a number of sensational victories and was thus written into the history books. After the Third Macedonian War in the second century B.C., many Thracians were taken to Italy and sold into slavery. He deserted the army, was outlawed, captured, sold into slavery, and trained at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua. In reality, his forces had sneaked off and were able to orchestrate an ambush..eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'historyhit_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_5',144,'0','0'])); Spartacus was eventually defeated by a much larger, 8-legion army under the leadership of Crassus. In reality, according to Appian and Plutarch, he initially aimed to journey by land up to the Alps, and then hike to Thrace from there. So he stationed his men on the peninsula of Rhegium, in southern Italy, to plot his next move. TwitterA movie poster for Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic Spartacus. Director: Dragan Bjelogrlic | Stars: Milos Bikovic, Petar Strugar, Nina Jankovic, Danina Jeftic. More broadly, Spartacus became a symbol of the oppressed, and had a formative impact on Karl Marx’s thinking, among others. 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