Spartacus was born a freeman. He joined
the army, but he ran away. When he was caught, he was sold into
slavery to work as a gladiator. Some gladiators were freemen.
But most, like Spartacus, were slaves, who had been sold to a
gladiator school. When these men were not fighting, they were locked
up in the gladiator school, to make sure they did not escape.
One day, in 73 BCE,
Spartacus did just that - he escaped. Around 70 other gladiators
escaped with him. They armed themselves with knives from the cook's
shop. They found a wagon full of gladiator weapons. They stole those,
too. They camped on Mount Vesuvius.
Rome sent an army of
3000 soldiers to capture the runaway slaves. Spartacus attacked from
the rear. The Roman army was defeated. Rome tried again. This time
they sent 6000 men. Spartacus won that battle as well.
When other slaves
first heard that Spartacus had escaped, some ran away and joined
Spartacus. But when Spartacus and his men defeated the Roman army,
many slaves ran away to join him. The people knew Spartacus. He was a
gladiator. He was famous. Rome's slaves felt if they could reach
Spartacus, Spartacus would keep them safe. In a very short amount of
time, Spartacus and his followers had swelled from 70 to over 100,000
The Roman way of life
for the wealthy was dependant upon slaves. The use of slave labor was
one of the main reasons so many poor Roman citizens were out of work.
Slave labor was free. About 1/3 of the people in the Roman Empire were
slaves. Wealthy citizens could not allow this revolt to succeed, not
if they wanted to keep their lifestyle.
was not easy. Spartacus and his followers spent their first winter
with plenty of good food that they stole from the surrounding
countryside. They prepared for battle. They made weapons. They
drilled. The gladiators taught others how to fight like a gladiator.
Spartacus and his
followers were hunted for two years. They defeated every effort to
capture them. When Rome finally caught up with him, they killed
Spartacus and everyone with him.
Real Story of Spartacus