As the warrior slept, a snake coiled around his face.
Instead of a threat, his wife saw an omen–
a fearsome power that would lead her husband to either glory or doom.
For now, however, he was only a slave –
one of millions taken from the territories
conquered by Rome to work the mines,
till the fields, or fight for the crowd’s entertainment.
A nomadic Thracian fromwhat is now Bulgaria,
he had served in the Roman Army but was imprisoned for desertion.
His name was Spartacus.
巴蒂亚图斯 一名角斗士老板 或是角斗士训练员
Spartacus had been brought to Capuaby Batiatus, a lanista,
or trainer of gladiators.
And life at the ludus, or gladiatorschool, was unforgiving.
New recruits were forced to swear an oath
“被烧死 被捆绑 被打败
“ to be burned, to be bound, to be beaten,
and to be killed by the sword, ”
and to obey their master’s willwithout question.
But even harsh discipline couldn’tbreak Spartacus’s spirit.
In 73 BCE, Spartacus led 73 other slaves
to seize knives and skewers
from the kitchen and fight their way out,
hijacking a wagon of gladiator equipmentalong the way.
They were done fighting for others– now, they fought for their freedom.
When the news reached Rome,
the Senate was too busy with wars
in Spain and the Pontic Empire
to worry about some unruly slaves.
Unconcerned,praetor Claudius Glaber took an army of three thousand men
to the rebel’s refuge at Mount Vesuvius,
and blocked off the only passageup the mountain.
All that remained was to wait andstarve them out–
or so he thought.
In the dead of night,
the rebels lowered themselves down the cliffside
on ropes made from vines,
and flanked Glaber’s unguarded camp.
Thus began the legend of Rome’sdefiant gladiator.
As news of the rebellion spread,
its ranks swelled with escaped slaves,
deserting soldiers, and hungry peasants.
Many were untrained, but Spartacus’s clever tacticstransformed them
into an effective guerrilla force.
A second Roman expedition led by praetorVarinius,
was ambushed while the officer bathed.
To elude the remaining Roman forces,
the rebels used their enemy’s corpses asdecoy guards,
stealing Varinius’s own horseto aid their escape.
Thanks to his inspiring victoriesand policy of distributing spoils equally,
Spartacus continued attracting followers,
and gained control of villages where new weapons could be forged.
The Romans soon realized they wereno longer facing ragtag fugitives,
and in the spring of 72 BCE,
the Senate retaliated withthe full force of two legions.
The rebels left victorious,
but many lives were lost in the battle,
including Spartacus’ lieutenant Crixus.
To honor him,Spartacus held funeral games,
forcing his Roman prisoners to play the role his fellow rebels had once endured.
By the end of 72 BCE,
Spartacus’ army was a massive force ofroughly 120,000 members.
But those numbers proveddifficult to manage.
With the path to the Alps clear,
Spartacus wanted to march beyond Rome’s borders,
where his followers would be free.
But his vast army had grown brash.
Many wanted to continue pillaging,
while others dreamed ofmarching on Rome itself.
In the end, the rebel army turned south–
forgoing what would be theirlast chance at freedom. Meanwhile,
Marcus Licinius Crassushad assumed control of the war.
As Rome’s wealthiest citizen,
he pursued Spartacuswith eight new legions,
eventually trapping the rebelsin the toe of Italy.
After failed attempts to build rafts,
and a stinging betrayal by local pirates,
the rebels made a desperate runto break through Crassus’s lines–
but it was no use.
Roman reinforcements were returningfrom the Pontic wars,
and the rebels’ ranks andspirits were broken.
In 71 BCE, they made their last stand.
Spartacus nearly managed to reach Crassus before being cut down by centurions.
His army was destroyed,
and 6000 captives were crucified along the Appian Way–
a haunting demonstrationof Roman authority.
Crassus won the war,
but it is not his legacy which echoes through the centuries.
Thousands of years later,
the name of the slave who
made the world’s mightiest empire tremble
has become synonymous with freedom–
and the courage to fight for it.