He was sold as a gladiator to be trained at the school in Capua. Around 130 BC there had been a huge, sustained uprising in Sicily, and smaller conflagrations were frequent. What began as a mere quest to become free men suddenly turned into a gathering of volunteer soldiers. The film won four Oscars and starred a who’s who of leading men, with Kirk Douglas in the titular role and Laurence Olivier as his arch-nemesis, Crassus. And, of course, as with any major Hollywood film produced in the old studio system, a love triangle was wedged into the plot. Nearly everything that we know about the life of Spartacus comes from Roman histories. Throughout Spartacus was facing a dilemma – escape home over the alps or continue attacking the Romans. Spartacus is written into history as a significant enemy who posed a very real treat to Rome. Or, is it simply historical fiction? Spartacus's struggle has been inspirational to revolutionaries, politicians and writers since the 19th century. Spartacus, based on a true story, focuses on a gladiator who led a slaves’ rebellion against the Roman empire. Dennis Foyatier’s marble statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Historians are unsure as to why, but some have claimed that Spartacus may have served in the Roman army.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'historyhit_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_0',143,'0','0'])); In 73 BC Spartacus escaped from the gladiatorial barracks with around 70 comrades, armed with kitchen implements and a few scattered weapons. 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. Crassus stationed most of his men on the outskirts of Picenum and sent his lieutenant, Mummius, and two legions to follow Spartacus. In the end, Spartacus led the biggest slave revolt in ancient Rome — one that we remember to this day. Spartacus was indeed a slave who led the Spartacus Revolt, which began in 73 BC. 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. … The Spartacist League was a revolutionary socialist group, formed in … … The rebels were surrounded by “sheer precipitous cliffs,” according to Plutarch. Spartacus (Greek: Σπάρτακος Spártakos; Latin: Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian gladiator who, along with Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus, was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. In reality, there’s no evidence that Spartacus and Glaber encountered each other at all until Glaber was sent to the Bay of Naples to quell the slave uprising. 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. Some historians see Spartacus as a selfish rebel who led his men to annihilation because of his overgrown ego, pillaging Italy in the process. Read about Based on a True Story by Spartacus and see the artwork, lyrics and similar artists. Yes and no. * reply; ThinkAboutIt wrote on 20 … His story or reputation were often shaped according to the author’s genre and motivations. He actually died during the Antonine Plague in 180 AD; In the movie, Marcus Aurelius is … Spartacus was presumably killed — though his body was never found. He appears to have served in a Roman auxiliary unit for a time, deserted and became either a bandit or insurgent against the Romans. 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. If we look deeper, we can see that all the people involved in the creation of this fictional and fabricated movie are from the same *group. In order to do so effectively, keeping his men safe while retaining strength in numbers, he split his army into two groups. Then he made straight for Crassus himself, charging forward through the press of weapons and wounded men, and, though he did not reach Crassus, he cut down two centurions who fell on him together. 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. Some parts are exaggerated but apart from that it is a true story. Spartacus was apparently both competent and humane, although the revolt he led inspired terror throughout Italy. In 1960 Stanley Kubrick directed a historical epic starring Kirk Douglas. Crassus ordered their decimation. Little is known about him beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory. So he stationed his men on the peninsula of Rhegium, in southern Italy, to plot his next move. A statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. When Spartacus and his men were defeated, 6,000 of his followers were crucified and lined up between Capua and Rome as a deterrent to potential rebels. The three-hour epic bends the facts of Spartacus’s life to fit its own hyper-dramatic plot. Fearing Pompey, who was a celebrated military strategist, Spartacus first tried to negotiate with Crassus. Although much of the evidence for Spartacus’ existence is anecdotal, there are some coherent themes that emerge. Wikimedia Commons“Der Tod Des Spartacus” (The Death Of Spartacus) by Hermann Vogel. 15k 23 23 gold badges 82 82 silver badges 140 140 bronze badges. The amphitheater in Capua, where gladiators like Spartacus were forced to train and fight. But we know this … However, in a moment of extraordinary ingenuity, the rebels abseiled down the mountain with ropes created from vines. He continues to embody class struggle in a very clear and resonant way. After the Third Macedonian War in the second century B.C., many Thracians were taken to Italy and sold into slavery. And it’s through their ancient writings that Spartacus’s slave rebellion lives on. 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. Though in the film, Spartacus makes it his goal from the outset to flee on Sicilian pirate ships to his homeland. The emperors. However, all sources agree that he was a former gladiator and an accomplished military leader. Unsettled by the turn of events and hoping to avoid an embarrassing defeat, Rome sent the general Pompey to help Crassus. He only changed his plans after the Roman army blocked his way north. But there’s no documented evidence that Varinia existed; no ancient historian mentions anyone with that name while describing Spartacus’s life. Spartacus trains as a gladiator in Capua, where he trains under Lentulus Batiatus, portrayed by Peter Ustinov. The slave rebellion, stemming from the gladiator school’s kitchen, also includes some accurate details. Whether he realistically threatened Rome is debatable, but he certainly won a number of sensational victories and was thus written into the history books. When the slaves turned on the Romans with great success, they were filled with over-confidence. 1881. Spartacus then switched gears and marched his men toward Sicily. Around here is where the two main authorities on Spartacus — Appian and Plutarch — diverge in their storytelling. Spartacus did have a wife, whose name we’ve never known and who was sold into slavery with him, but there’s not even a hint of proof that she was then purchased by any Roman general. 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. Everything we know about Spartacus comes from seco asked Jun 16 '12 at 21:21. The film — as with most modern retellings of the Spartacus story — also assumes that Spartacus’s motivation was completely noble. After graduating from Emory University, top student and … After overcoming their guards and escaping to the Italian countryside, the men encountered a caravan of wagons. Spartacus and his troops were fending off the Roman army as best they could, but it was all for naught. Some parts are exaggerated but apart from that it is a true story. Director: Dragan Bjelogrlic | Stars: Milos Bikovic, Petar Strugar, Nina Jankovic, Danina Jeftic. Lessons Discover video-based lessons ... material is that there was not a unified approach to Spartacus. So instead of trying to charge at the Roman army, the former slaves got crafty: Using vines and tree branches, they made ladders that could reach the plains below. “The Death Of Caesar” by Jean-Léon Gérôme. But there’s no indication that Spartacus ever planned on a social revolution with an altruistic foundation; he didn’t necessarily want to free all the slaves in Rome or end the institution of slavery, he merely accepted anyone willing to fight for him to join and wanted to get home safely. “We’ll free every slave in every town and village!” he screams in the early stages of his revolt. And while historians aren’t completely confident on all of the slave leader’s biography, since what we know about his life comes from contradictory histories penned decades after the Third Servile War, there are some things that the film most definitely gets wrong. 1867. The recent Starz series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand> also takes some liberties with the main character’s biography. While both of them were elected as consuls in 70 B.C. This was a remarkable achievement, even given that he had a massive force at his disposal. His story had clear ties and relevance to the anti-slavery movement. The Greek biographer and historian Plutarch, as depicted in the 1492. Rome, meanwhile, didn’t seem to think that a rag-tag bunch of slaves presented any serious threat. Without Glaber and his men noticing, they all made it down safely, ran around to the other side of the Romans, and defeated them in a surprise attack. Spartacus took his own men up into the mountains, all the while being pursued by Crassus’s officers. 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. Still, his motivations remain up for debate. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historyhit_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_4',193,'0','0']));Indeed, slave rebellions were not uncommon. TwitterA movie poster for Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 epic Spartacus. Italy had unprecedented wealth, including over 1 million slaves. Instead, Glaber conscripted men en route. The rebellion, and the arduous attempt to travel back home, had come to an end. He deserted the army, was outlawed, captured, sold into slavery, and trained at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua. Julius Caesar, for instance, introduced a series of laws to prevent such uprisings once he became dictator. When his offer was refused, he made a risky move, charging toward Brundisium with Crassus in pursuit. In the film, a slave girl named Varinia, played by Jean Simmons, is in love with Spartacus but bought by Crassus, giving the slave even more motivation to defeat his rival. Karl Marx credited Spartacus as one of his heroes for rising up and enabling the masses to breathe free, calling him “the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history,” and a “real representative of the ancient proletariat.” Spartacus soccer. Sparticus was an educated slave of Rome who led a revolt and general uprising against Rome, nearly winning. Was he a rebel hero — as modern legend holds — a reckless rabble-rouser, or both? Thus, he resigned himself to one goal: getting home. Today, let’s look at a cinema classic - the 1960 film 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. While it is obvious that an impressive amount of historical and scholarly research was undertaken by the filmmakers, much of the plot is fiction. 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. In the end they stayed, and roamed up and down Italy. They then went on to defeat another praetor, Publius Varinius, and his army of 2,000. Plutarch may have been using Spartacus … “Der Tod Des Spartacus” (The Death Of Spartacus) by Hermann Vogel. A dream that allows them to become true stars and living legends. 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. Yes, I do say knowledge: it is based on a real story, the one of an evil emperor and his beloved father. This meant that the 5,000 men were split into 50 groups of 10, and essentially drew straws. With Rome alarmed at the success Spartacus was having in battle, the Senate sent Gen. Marcus Licinius Crassus to deal with the rising threat. It has a great deal of problems historically. In 1960, before Full Metal Jacket and The Shining, legendary Hollywood director Stanley Kubrick helmed Spartacus. Before the rebel leader marched his men up and down Italy and relentlessly crushed the Roman opposition, he was but a boy. Still, his motivations remain up for debate. He returned to the popular consciousness of Europe during the 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti. Kirk Douglas's characte… but repeatedly defeated Rome in battle. The Roman Empire as of 100 B.C., around the time when Spartacus was born. Wikimedia CommonsThe Greek biographer and historian Plutarch, as depicted in the 1492 Nuremberg Chronicles. They camped on … In the movie, Kirk Douglas character is also a Thracian. More broadly, Spartacus became a symbol of the oppressed, and had a formative impact on Karl Marx’s thinking, among others. To start, Marcus Aurelius is presented as a very wise and well-meaning old emperor who had a troubling reign full of war. With around 3,000 Romans in pursuit, the escapees headed for Mount Vesuvius, where heavy forest provided cover. And since ancient times, the man has been thoroughly mythologized by everyone from Stanley Kubrick to Bertolt Brecht. Others disagree, and see him as an inspirational figure who led thousands of commoners against the oppressive Roman Empire and its subjugations. He hoped to take over the island, where slaves had revolted in two different wars in the last 70 years. The real Spartacus was a freeborn provincial from Thrace, who may have served as an auxiliary in the Roman army in Macedonia. When Crassus’s army walled Spartacus in, the rebel slave didn’t mind at first. 73 BCE: Spartacus escaped with 70-80 gladiators, seizing the knives in the cook's shop and a wagon full of weapons. On the other hand, the film’s broader strokes are more on point. In this sense, the film is … In Capua, Spartacus was forced under the torturous tutelage of Lentulus Batiatus, who kept his gladiators jam-packed in close quarters until they had to fight in the ring. 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. But then, when he grew short on supplies, he managed to get a third of his army over the earthen walls. LL/Roger Viollet/Getty Images Dennis Foyatier’s marble statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Charting the journey of a man finding passionate love, his mission and his freedom, the ballet showcases our male dancers at their spirited and athletic best as the slaves who rise against the tyranny of their rulers. He then set out to find Crassus, to fight him one on one, but was eventually surrounded and killed by Roman soldiers. In one encounter, Spartacus set up a camp with fires lit and corpses set up on spikes to give the impression to an outsider that the camp was occupied. It is due to this … However, while the legend of Spartacus is based on true events, much of the legend is still fictional. In his stubborn hubris, however, Mummius attacked — and was soundly defeated. Spartacus is an American television series produced in New Zealand that premiered on Starz on January 22, 2010, and concluded on April 12, 2013. The beginning of the series centers around the rivalry between Spartacus and Claudius Glaber. Conditions were ripe for a massive slave revolt. Then he deserted the army, was captured, was brought to Rome, and then was sold into slavery. They then stormed the Roman camp, overwhelming them and in the process picking up military-grade equipment. Spartacus and his slave revolt caused permanent ripple effects in ancient Rome. 1881. 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. Spartacus’s troops defeated them so badly that when Mummius’s men returned to their commander, punishment awaited. The biggest difference being that Spartacus, instead of being a slave from birth sold into gladiator school, was in fact an ex-soldier (more precisely, an auxiliary, which was a non-citizen soldier in the Roman army) who was sent to a gladiator school as a punishment for … He traveled to Picenum, a region on the Adriatic coast where he knew Spartacus was stationed, with 10 legions. From Catch Me If You Can to Hustlers, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. First of all, the death of Marcus Aurelius has nothing to do with murder. Any non-Greek or non-Roman who had done something special “was said to be more intelligent than other barbarians.”). I would to point out that my question it's not about the historical figure Spartacus and his story, but the roman society and his habits as it was presented in the show. In fact, the slave revolt which created the modern country of Haiti was based upon the stories of Spartacus. Spartacus was just one of the many who made the trek into Italy There were several instances where the director should have stuck to the real historical accounts. By Valentina Valentini. Wikimedia CommonsThe amphitheater in Capua, where gladiators like Spartacus were forced to train and fight. 8 years ago. historical-accuracy spartacus-tv  Share. Another non-Italian. Plutarch’s version of events, meanwhile, presents things a bit differently. Although Russell Crowe’s character never existed, Commodus and Marcus Aurelius are real. As we mentioned earlier, writers and producers were obviously filling in the details with drama and action created from their imaginations, but the overall story was based on historical events. 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. When the slaves broke through the barriers, the Romans slaughtered nearly 12,000 of them, themselves only suffering three deaths. Spartacus originated from Thrace (largely modern day Bulgaria). Marco Margaritoff is a Staff Writer at All That's Interesting. Glaber and his 3,000 soldiers blocked the only path Spartacus and his men could use to flee their spot on a hill. Contribution to … In Saxo's version, King Rorik of the Danes places his trust in two brothers, Orvendil and Fengi. According to the Roman historian Appian, Spartacus was a Thracian, a war-like group of people that lived in the Balkans. He and his men aimed to hike north through Italy’s Apennine Mountains, cross the Alps, and head back to their native lands in Thrace and Gaul. The real Spartacus was a tribal warrior from the ancient region of Thrace, which is now part of Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The rest, mainly Thracians, followed Spartacus. 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.”. Hamlet is based on a Norse legend composed by Saxo Grammaticus in Latin around 1200 AD. He didn’t want the other generals to get all the credit. Though his plan was to get back home to Thrace as quickly as possible, many of his men had different plans. Was the Roman Army Actually a Cause for Instability? Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The real Spartacus and his rebellion wasn't nearly this idealistic. 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. So, Rome instead would lie, and say Spartacus has a number advantage, and Rome was the superior force due to skill rather than numbers. 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. Wikimedia CommonsA statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Wikimedia CommonsWhen Spartacus and his men were defeated, 6,000 of his followers were crucified and lined up between Capua and Rome as a deterrent to potential rebels. According to Plutarch, the slave rebellion that became the Third Servile War began with 78 people and a few dozen kitchen knives. The movie raises some big questions. By the 1st century BC, Rome had gathered supreme control of the Mediterranean in a series of bloody wars. The fiction does however, appear to be inspired by actual historical events, as will be shown in the appropriate sections below. Every unlucky tenth was killed. They were cornered and swiftly defeated. Then, read about the Roman Empire at its height. Yes, it was a true story, although the movie wasn't historically correct on some points, it was a more of a glorification of the actual event. Was he a rebel hero — as modern legend holds — a reckless rabble-rouser, or both? Wikimedia CommonsThe Roman Empire as of 100 B.C., around the time when Spartacus was born. Read about Based on a True Story by Spartacus and see the artwork, lyrics and similar artists. Pompey’s army intercepted and killed many slaves who were escaping northward, and 6,000 prisoners were crucified by Crassus along the Appian Way. If Rome's records held the truth that, say, Spartacus' army was only 30,000 men, Rome would not be as glorified as a result of winning a battle in which they largely outnumbered their opponents. History Hit brings you the stories that shaped the world through our award winning podcast network and an online history channel. This story of Spartacus is based on a book written by Howard Fast. According to Greek historian Appian of Alexandria, who lived mainly in the second century A.D., Spartacus had once been a Roman soldier but was taken prisoner and sold to a gladiator ring in Capua, near the city of Naples. Understanding the true history behind the movie without nitpicking the tiny details can help us appreciate the roots of the film even more. Surprisingly enough, however, much of the TV series holds true to the historical time frame. 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. The writers could be more concerned about what Spartacus and the revolt revealed about Rome than in telling the ‘truth’ about the gladiator himself. Spartacus not only led a slave revolt with tens of thousands of soldiers in the first century B.C., but repeatedly defeated Rome in battle. LL/Roger Viollet/Getty ImagesDennis Foyatier’s marble statue of Spartacus at the Louvre Museum in Paris. 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.. Improve this question . The Romans camped at the bottom of the mountain, trying to starve out the rebels. After learning about Spartacus, the gladiator who led a slave revolt, learn about Yasuke, the African slave who rose to become history’s first black samurai. In the end, both the film and the series have their qualities but serve more as historical documents of how the film and television industries portray heroes, rather than a biography of Spartacus’s actual life. The True Story Of Spartacus, The Gladiator Who Led Ancient History’s Biggest Slave Revolt Spartacus led the biggest slave rebellion Rome had ever seen — but his motivations may not have been so noble. According to Plutarch, “they refused any longer to avoid battle and would not even obey their officers.” But “this was precisely what Crassus most wanted them to do.” As the Romans dug a trench, the slaves jumped into it and engaged in bloody battle. For starters, in the film, Spartacus was born into slavery, when by all accounts he was actually born free and later sold into slavery. They’d struck gold: the wagons were filled with weapons. Its economy was reliant on slave labour, and its diffuse political structure (which didn’t yet have a single leader) was profoundly unstable. It’s underpinned with a wish to be free and independent, escape the norms of society and discover transcendence in nature. With his remaining men, Spartacus “made sudden and repeated sorties” against the Romans. Let’s explore the Spartacus’s life and mythology, from his Thracian youth to his enslavement as a gladiator to his revenge on the ancient Romans, all the way up to modern-day interpretations of his slave rebellion. 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