The Third Servile War
(73-71 BC), also called the
and The War of
, was the
last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions
against the Roman Republic
collectively as the Roman Servile
. The Third Servile War was the only one to directly
threaten the Roman heartland of Italy
and was doubly alarming to the
Roman people due to the repeated successes of the rapidly growing
band of rebel slaves against the Roman army between 73 and 71 BC.
The rebellion was finally crushed through the concentrated military
effort of a single commander, Marcus Licinius Crassus
the rebellion continued to have indirect effects on Roman politics
for years to come.
Between 73 and 71 BC, a band of escaped slaves—originally a small
of about 78 escaped gladiators
which grew into a band of over 120,000
men, women and children—wandered throughout and raided Italy with
relative impunity under the guidance of several leaders, including
the famous gladiator-general Spartacus
The able-bodied adults of this band were a surprisingly effective
armed force that repeatedly showed they could withstand the Roman
military, from the local Campanian
to the Roman militia
, and to trained
command. Plutarch described the actions of
the slaves as an attempt by Roman slaves to escape their masters
and flee through Cisalpine Gaul
depicted the revolt as a civil war in which the slaves waged a
campaign to capture the city of Rome itself.
The Roman Senate
's growing alarm about
the continued military successes of this band, and about their
depredations against Roman towns and the countryside, eventually
led to Rome's fielding of an army of eight legions under the harsh
but effective leadership of Marcus Licinius Crassus
. The war
ended in 71 BC when the armies of Spartacus, after long and bitter
fighting, retreating before the legions of Crassus, and realizing
that the legions of Gnaeus
and Marcus Terentius Varro
were moving in to entrap them, launched their full
strength against Crassus' legions and were utterly destroyed.
The Third Servile War was significant to the broader history of
ancient Rome mostly in its effect on the careers of Pompey and
Crassus. The two generals used their success in putting down the
rebellion to further their political careers, using their public
acclaim and the implied threat of their legions to sway the
consular elections of 70 BC in their favor. Their actions as
Consuls greatly furthered the subversion
of Roman political
institutions and contributed to the eventual transition of the
Roman Republic into the Roman
Slavery in the Roman republic
Through varying degrees throughout Roman
, the existence of a pool of inexpensive labor in the
form of slaves
was an important factor in the
. Slaves were acquired for the Roman
workforce through a variety of means, including purchase from
foreign merchants and the enslavement of foreign populations
through military conquest. With Rome's heavy involvement in wars of
conquest in the second and first centuries BC, tens if not hundreds
of thousands of slaves at a time were imported into the Roman
economy from various European and Mediterranean acquisitions. While
there was limited use for slaves as servants, craftsmen, and
personal attendants, vast numbers of slaves worked in mines and on
the agricultural lands of Sicily
For the most part, slaves were treated harshly and oppressively
during the Roman republican
Under Republican law, a slave was not considered a person, but
property. Owners could abuse, injure or even kill their own slaves
without legal consequence. While there were many grades and types
of slaves, the lowest—and most numerous—grades who worked in the
fields and mines were subject to a life of hard physical
This high concentration and oppressive treatment of the slave
population led to rebellions. In 135 BC and 104 BC, the First
Servile Wars, respectively,
erupted in Sicily, where small bands of rebels found tens of
thousands of willing followers wishing to escape the oppressive
life of a Roman slave. While these were considered serious civil disturbances
by the Roman Senate
, taking years and direct military
intervention to quell, they were never considered a serious threat
to the Republic. The Roman heartland of Italy had never seen a
slave uprising, nor had slaves ever been seen as a potential threat
to the city of Rome.
would all change with the Third Servile War.
The rebellion begins (73 BC)
The Capuan revolt
In the Roman Republic of the first century, gladiatorial
games were one of the more popular
forms of entertainment. In order to supply gladiators for the
contests, several training schools, or ludi
established throughout Italy. In these schools, prisoners of war
and condemned criminals—who were considered slaves
—were taught the skills required
to fight to the death in gladiatorial games. In 73 BC, a group of
some 200 gladiators in the Capuan school owned
by Lentulus Batiatus plotted an
When their plot was betrayed, a force of about 70
men seized kitchen implements, ("choppers and spits"), fought their
way free from the school, and seized several wagons of gladiatorial
weapons and armor.
Once free, the escaped gladiators chose leaders from their number,
selecting two Gallic slaves—Crixus
, who was said either to be a Thracian auxiliary
from the Roman legions
later condemned to slavery, or a
captive taken by the legions. There is some question as to
Spartacus's nationality, however, as a Thraex
) was a type of gladiator in
Rome, so that the title "Thracian" may simply refer to the style of
gladiatorial combat in which he was trained.
escaped slaves were able to defeat a small force of troops sent
after them from Capua, and equip
themselves with captured military equipment as well as their
gladiatorial weapons. Sources are somewhat contradictory on the
order of events immediately following the escape, but they
generally agree that this band of escaped gladiators plundered the region surrounding Capua, recruited
many other slaves into their ranks, and eventually retired to a
more defensible position on Mount Vesuvius.
Defeat of the praetorian armies
Initial movements of Roman and Slave
forces from the Capuan revolt up to and including the winter of
As the revolt and raids were occurring in Campania
—which was a vacation region of the rich
and influential in Rome, and the location of many estates—the
revolt quickly came to the attention of Roman authorities. They
initially viewed the revolt as more a major crime wave
than an armed rebellion.
However, later that year, Rome dispatched military force under
authority to put down the
rebellion. A Roman praetor
, Gaius Claudius Glaber
, gathered a
force of 3,000 men, not as legion
as a militia
"picked up in haste and at
random, for the Romans did not consider this a war yet, but a raid,
something like an attack of robbery." Glaber's forces
besieged the slaves on Mount Vesuvius, blocking the only known way down the
With the slaves thus contained, Glaber was content
to wait until starvation forced the slaves to surrender.
While the slaves lacked military training, Spartacus' forces
displayed ingenuity in their use of available local materials, and
in their use of clever, unorthodox tactics when facing the
disciplined Roman armies. In response to Glaber's siege, Spartacus'
men made ropes and ladders from vines and trees growing on the
slopes of Vesuvius and used them to rappel
down the cliffs on the side of the mountain opposite Glaber's
forces. They moved around the base of Vesuvius, outflanked the
army, and annihilated Glaber's men.
A second expedition, under the praetor
, was then
dispatched against Spartacus. For some reason, Varinius seems to
have split his forces under the command of his subordinates Furius
and Cossinius. Plutarch mentions that Furius commanded some 2,000
men, but neither the strength of the remaining forces, nor whether
the expedition was composed of militia or legions, appears to be
known. These forces were also defeated by the army of escaped
slaves: Cossinius was killed, Varinius was nearly captured, and the
equipment of the armies was seized by the slaves. With these
successes, more and more slaves flocked to the Spartacan forces, as
did "many of the herdsmen
of the region", swelling their ranks to
some 70,000. The rebel slaves spent the winter of 73–72 BC
training, arming and equipping their new recruits, and expanding
their raiding territory to include the towns of Nola, Nuceria, Thurii and Metapontum.
The victories of the rebel slaves did not come without a cost. At
some time during these events, their leader Oenomaus
was lost—presumably in
battle—and is not mentioned further in the histories.
Motivation and leadership of the escaped slaves
By the end of 73 BC, Spartacus and Crixus were in command of a
large group of armed men with a proven ability to withstand Roman
armies. What they intended to do with this force is somewhat
difficult for modern readers to determine. Since the Third Servile
War was ultimately an unsuccessful rebellion, no firsthand account
of the slaves' motives and goals exists, and historians writing
about the war propose contradictory theories.
Many popular modern accounts of the war claim that there was a
factional split in the escaped slaves between those under
Spartacus, who wished to escape over the Alps to freedom, and those
under Crixus, who wished to stay in southern Italy to continue
raiding and plundering. This appears to be an interpretation of
events based on the following: the regions that Florus lists as being raided by the slaves include
Thurii and Metapontum, which are geographically distant from Nola and Nuceria.
indicates the existence of two groups: Lucius Gellius Publicola
attacked Crixus and a group of some 30,000 followers who are
described as being separate from the main group under Spartacus;
describes the desire of some of
the escaped slaves to plunder Italy, rather than escape over the
Alps. While this factional split is not contradicted by classical
sources, there does not seem to be any direct evidence to support
Fictional accounts—such as Stanley
's 1960 film Spartacus
Spartacus as an ancient Roman freedom
, struggling to change a corrupt Roman society and to
end the Roman institution of slavery. Although this is not
contradicted by classical historians, no historical account
mentions that the goal of the rebel slaves was to end slavery in
the Republic, nor do any of Spartacus' actions seem specifically
aimed at ending slavery.
Even classical historians, who were writing only years after the
events themselves, seem to be divided as to what the motives of
Spartacus were. Appian
write that he intended to march on Rome
itself—although this may have been no more than a reflection of
Roman fears. If Spartacus did intend to march on Rome, it was a
goal he must have later abandoned. Plutarch
writes that Spartacus merely wished to escape northwards into
and disperse his men
back to their homes.
It is not certain that the slaves were a homogeneous group under
the leadership of Spartacus. While this is the unspoken assumption
of the Roman historians, this may be the Romans projecting their
own hierarchical view of military power and responsibility on the
organization of the slaves.
Certainly other slave leaders are mentioned—Crixus, Oenomaus,
Gannicus, and Castus—and we cannot tell from the historical
evidence whether they were aides, subordinates, or even equals
leading groups of their own and traveling in convoy with Spartacus'
Defeat of the consular armies (72 BC)
In the spring of 72 BC, the escaped slaves left their winter
encampments and began to move northwards towards Cisalpine Gaul
The Senate, alarmed by the size of the revolt and the defeat of the
armies of Glaber
, dispatched a pair of consular legions
the command of Lucius Gellius
and Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus
. Initially, the consular armies were successful.
engaged a group of
about 30,000 slaves, under command of Crixus
near Mount Garganus and killed two-thirds of the rebels, including
At this point in the history, there is a divergence in the
classical sources as to the course of events which cannot be
reconciled until the entry of Marcus Licinius Crassus
war. The two most comprehensive (extant) histories of the war by
detail very different events. However, neither account directly
the other, but simply reports different
events, ignoring some events in the other account, and reporting
events that are unique to that account.
to Appian, the battle between Gellius' legions and Crixus' men near
Mount Garganus was the beginning of a long and complex series of
military maneuvers that almost resulted in the Spartacan forces
directly assaulting the city of Rome
After his victory over Crixus, Gellius moved northwards, following
the main group of slaves under Spartacus
who were heading for Cisalpine Gaul
The army of Lentulus
was deployed to
' path, and the consuls hoped
to trap the rebel slaves between them. Spartacus' army met
Lentulus' legion, defeated it, turned, and destroyed Gellius' army,
forcing the Roman legions to retreat in disarray. Appian claims
that Spartacus executed some 300 captured Roman soldiers to avenge
the death of Crixus
, forcing them to fight
each other to the death as gladiators. Following this victory,
Spartacus pushed northwards with his followers (some 120,000) as
fast as he could travel, "having burned all his useless material,
killed all his prisoners, and butchered his pack-animals in order
to expedite his movement".
The defeated consular armies fell back to Rome to regroup while
Spartacus' followers moved northward. The consuls again engaged
Spartacus somewhere in the Picenum
and once again were defeated.
Appian claims that at this point Spartacus changed
intention of marching on Rome—implying this was Spartacus' goal
following the confrontation in Picenum—as "he did not consider
himself ready as yet for that kind of a fight, as his whole force
was not suitably armed, for no city had joined him, but only
slaves, deserters, and riff-raff", and decided to withdraw into
southern Italy once again. They seized the town of Thurii
and the surrounding countryside, arming
themselves, raiding the surrounding territories, trading plunder
with merchants for bronze and iron (with which to manufacture more
arms), and clashing occasionally with Roman forces which were
Plutarch's description of events differs significantly from that of
According to Plutarch, after the battle between Gellius' legion and
Crixus men (whom Plutarch describes as "Germans") near Mount
Garganus, Spartacus' men engaged the legion commanded by Lentulus,
defeated them, seized their supplies and equipment, and pushed
directly into northern Italy. After this defeat, both consuls were
relieved of command of their armies by the Roman Senate
and recalled to Rome. Plutarch
does not mention Spartacus engaging Gellius' legion at all, nor of
Spartacus facing the combined consular legions in Picenum.
Plutarch then goes on to detail a conflict not mentioned in
Appian's history. According to Plutarch, Spartacus' army
continued northwards to the region around Mutina (modern Modena).
There, a Roman army of some 10,000 soldiers, led by the governor of
, Gaius Cassius Longinus
bar Spartacus' progress and were also defeated.
Plutarch makes no further mention of events until the initial
confrontation between Marcus
and Spartacus in the spring of 71 BC, omitting
the march on Rome and the retreat to Thurii described by Appian.
However, as Plutarch describes Crassus forcing Spartacus' followers
to retreat southwards
from Picenum, one might infer that
the rebel slaves approached Picenum from the south in early 71 BC,
implying that they withdrew from Mutina into southern or central
Italy for the winter of 72–71 BC.
Why they might do so, when there was apparently no reason for them
not to escape over the Alps—Spartacus' goal according to
Plutarch—is not explained.
The war under Crassus (71 BC)
Despite the contradictions in the classical sources regarding the
events of 72 BC, there seems to be general agreement that Spartacus
and his followers were in the south of Italy in early 71 BC.
Crassus takes command of the legions
The Senate, now alarmed at the apparently unstoppable rebellion
occurring within Italy, gave the task of putting down the rebellion
to Marcus Licinius Crassus
Crassus was no stranger to Roman politics, or to military command
as he had been a field commander under Lucius Cornelius Sulla
second civil war
Sulla and the Marian faction
in 82 BC,
and had served under Sulla during the following dictatorship.
Crassus was given a praetorship
assigned six new legions in addition to the two formerly consular
legions of Gellius
him an army of some 40,000–50,000 trained Roman soldiers. Crassus
treated his legions with harsh, even brutal, discipline, reviving
the punishment of unit decimation
within his army. Appian
is uncertain whether he decimated the two consular legions for
cowardice when he was appointed their commander
or whether he had his entire
army decimated for a later
defeat (an event in which up to 4,000 legionaries
would have been executed). Plutarch
only mentions the decimation of 50 legionaries of one cohort as
punishment after Mummius' defeat in the first confrontation between
Crassus and Spartacus. Regardless of what actually occurred,
Crassus' treatment of his legions proved that "he was more
dangerous to them than the enemy", and spurred them on to victory
rather than running the risk of displeasing their commander.
Crassus and Spartacus
When the forces of Spartacus moved northwards once again, Crassus
deployed six of his legions on the borders of the region (Plutarch
claims the initial battle between Crassus' legions and Spartacus'
followers occurred near the Picenum
Appian claims it occurred near the Samnium
region), and detached two legions under his legate
, Mummius, to maneuver behind Spartacus, but
gave them orders not to engage the rebels. When an opportunity
presented itself, Mummius disobeyed, attacked the Spartacan forces,
and was subsequently routed. Despite this initial loss, Crassus'
engaged Spartacus and defeated him, killing some 6,000 of the
The tide seemed to have turned in the war. Crassus' legions were
victorious in several engagements, killing thousands of the rebel
slaves, and forcing Spartacus to retreat south through Lucania to the straits near Messina.
According to Plutarch
, Spartacus made a
bargain with Cilician
pirates to transport
him and some 2,000 of his men to Sicily
where he intended to incite a slave revolt and gather
reinforcements. However, he was betrayed by the pirates, who took
payment and then abandoned the rebel slaves. Minor sources mention
that there were some attempts at raft and shipbuilding by the
rebels as a means to escape, but that Crassus took unspecified
measures to ensure the rebels could not cross to Sicily, and their
efforts were abandoned.
Spartacus' forces then retreated towards
Crassus' legions followed and upon arrival built fortifications
across the isthmus at Rhegium, despite harassing raids from the
rebel slaves. The rebels were under siege and cut off from their
Reinforcement legions arrive; the end of the war
At this time, the legions of Pompey
returning to Italy, having put down the rebellion of Quintus Sertorius
Sources disagree on whether Crassus had requested reinforcements,
or whether the Senate simply took advantage of Pompey's return to
Italy, but Pompey was ordered to bypass Rome and head south to aid
Crassus. The Senate also sent reinforcements under the command of
"Lucullus", mistakenly thought by Appian
be Lucius Licinius Lucullus
, commander of
the forces engaged in the Third
at the time, but who appears to have been the
, Marcus Terentius Varro
, the former's younger brother. With Pompey's legions
marching out of the north, and Lucullus' troops landing in Brundisium
, Crassus realized that if he did not
put down the slave revolt quickly, credit for the war would go to
the general who arrived with reinforcements, and thus he spurred
his legions on to end the conflict quickly.
Hearing of the approach of Pompey, Spartacus attempted to negotiate
with Crassus to bring the conflict to a close before Roman
reinforcements arrived. When Crassus refused, a portion of
Spartacus' forces broke out of confinement and fled toward the
mountains west of Petelia (modern Strongoli) in Bruttium, with Crassus'
legions in pursuit.
The legions managed to catch a portion
of the rebels – under the command of Gannicus and Castus –
separated from the main army, killing 12,300. However, Crassus'
legions also suffered losses, as some of the army of escaping
slaves turned to meet the Roman forces under the command of a
cavalry officer named Lucius
and the quaestor Gnaeus Tremellius Scrofa
them. The rebel slaves were not, however, a professional army, and
had reached their limit. They were unwilling to flee any farther,
and groups of men were breaking away from the main force to
independently attack the oncoming legions of Crassus. With
discipline breaking down, Spartacus turned his forces around and
brought his entire strength to bear on the oncoming legions. In
this last stand, Spartacus' forces were finally routed completely,
with the vast majority of them being killed on the battlefield. The
eventual fate of Spartacus himself is unknown, as his body was
never found, but he is accounted by historians to have perished in
battle along with his men.
The Fall of Spartacus.
The rebellion of the Third Servile War had been annihilated by
Pompey's forces did not directly engage Spartacus' forces at any
time, but his legions moving in from the north were able to capture
some 5,000 rebels fleeing the battle, "all of whom he slew".
Because of this, Pompey sent a dispatch to the Senate, saying that
while Crassus certainly had conquered the slaves in open battle, he
himself had ended the war, thus claiming a large portion of the
credit and earning the enmity of Crassus.
While most of the rebel slaves had been killed on the battlefield,
some 6,000 survivors had been captured by the legions of Crassus.
were crucified along the Appian Way from Rome to Capua.
Pompey and Crassus reaped political benefit for having put down the
rebellion. Both Crassus and Pompey returned to Rome with their
legions and refused to disband them, instead encamping them outside
Rome. Both men stood for the consulship
BC, even though Pompey was ineligible because of his youth, and
lack of service as praetor
. Nonetheless, both men were elected
for 70 BC, partly due to the implied
threat of their armed legions encamped outside the city.
The effects of the Third Servile War on the Roman attitudes towards
slavery, and the institution of slavery in Rome, are harder to
determine. Certainly the revolt had shaken the Roman people, who
"out of sheer fear seem to have begun to treat their slaves less
harshly than before." The wealthy owners of the latifundia
began to reduce the number of
agricultural slaves, opting to employ the large pool of formerly
dispossessed freemen in sharecropping
arrangements. With the end of Julius
's Gallic Wars
in 52 BC, the
major Roman wars of conquest would cease until the reign of emperor
(reigned 98–117 AD), and with them the
supply of plentiful and inexpensive slaves through military
conquest, further promoting the use of freemen laborers in
The legal status and rights of the Roman slave also began to
change. During the time of emperor
(reigned 41–54 AD), a constitution
was enacted which made the killing of an old or infirm slave an act
of murder, and decreed that if such slaves were abandoned by their
owners, they became freedmen. Under Antoninus Pius
(reigned 138–161 AD), the
legal rights of slaves were further extended, holding owners
responsible for the killing of slaves, forcing the sale of slaves
when it could be shown that they were being mistreated, and
providing a (theoretically) neutral third party authority to which
a slave could appeal. While these legal changes occurred much too
late to be direct
results of the Third Servile War, they
represent the legal codification of changes in the Roman attitude
toward slaves which would have been evolving for decades.
It is difficult to determine the extent to which the events of this
war contributed to the changes in the use and legal rights of Roman
slaves. It seems that the end of the Servile Wars coincided with
the end of the period of most prominent use of slaves in Rome, and
the beginning of a new perception of the slave within Roman society
and law. The Third Servile War was the last of the Servile Wars,
and Rome would not see another slave uprising of this type
- Classical works
- Appian, Civil wars, Penguin
Classics; New Ed edition, 1996. ISBN 0-14-044509-9.
- Caesar, Julius, Commentarii de Bello
- Cicero, M. Tullius.
The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero,
literally translated by C. D. Yonge, "for Quintius, Sextus Roscius,
Quintus Roscius, against Quintus Caecilius, and against
Verres". London. George Bell & Sons. 1903. OCLC:
- Florus, Publius Annius,
Epitome of Roman History. Harvard University Press, 1984.
- Frontinus, Sextus
Julius, Stratagems, Loeb edition, 1925 by Charles E.
Bennett. ISBN 0-674-99192-3
- Gaius the Jurist, Gai
Institvtionvm Commentarivs Primvs
- Livius, Titus, This History of
- Livius, Titus, Periochae, K.G.
Saur Verlag, 1981. ISBN 3-519-01489-0
- Orosius, Histories.
- Plutarchus, Mestrius , Plutarch's
Lives, "The Life of Crassus" and "The Life of Pompey". Modern
Library, 2001. ISBN 0-375-75677-9.
- Sallust, Histories, P.McGUSHIN
(Oxford,1992/1994) ISBN 0-19-872140-4
- Seneca, De
- Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars:
The Life of
- Modern books
- Bradley, Keith. Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman
World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. ISBN
- Broughton, T. Robert S. Magistrates of the Roman
Republic, vol. 2. Cleveland: Case Western University Press,
- Davis, William Stearns
ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from
the Sources, 2 Vols, Vol. II: Rome and the West.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912–13.
- Matyszak, Philip, The enemies of Rome, Thames &
Hudson, 2004. ISBN 0-500-25124-X.
- Strachan-Davidson, J. L. (ed.), Appian, Civil Wars: Book
I, Oxford University Press, 1902 (repr. 1969).
- Mommsen, Theodor, The History
of Rome, Books I-V, project
Gutenburg electronic edition, 2004. ISBN 0-415-14953-3.
- William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D., A Dictionary of Greek and
Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.
- References to the Mommsen text is based on the Project Gutenburg e-text edition of the books. References are therefore
given in terms of line numbers within
the text file, and not page numbers as would be the case with
- References to "classical works" (Livy, Plutarch, Appian, etc.)
are given in the traditional "Book:verse" format, rather than
edition-specific page numbers.
- Plutarch Life of Crassus 8
- Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
Antiquities, "Servus", p. 1038; details the legal and military
means by which people were enslaved.
- Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Servus", p. 1040; Caesar,
Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 2:33.
Smith refers to the purchase of 10,000 slaves from Cilician pirates, while Caesar
provides an example of the enslavement of 53,000 captive
Aduatuci by a Roman
- Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Servus", p. 1039; Livy,
The History of Rome, 6:12
- Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Servus", pp. 1022–39 summarizes the complex
body of Roman law pertaining to the legal status of slaves.
- Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Gladiatores", p. 574.
- Mommsen, The History of Rome,
- Plutarch, Crassus, 8:1–2; Appian, Civil
Wars, 1:116; Livy,
Periochae, 95:2; Florus,
Epitome, 2.8. Plutarch
claims 78 escaped, Livy claims 74, Appian "about seventy", and
Florus says "thirty or rather more men". "Choppers and spits" is
from Life of Crassus.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:116; Plutarch,
Crassus, 8:2. Note: Spartacus' status as an
auxilia is taken from the Loeb
edition of Appian translated by Horace White, which states "...who
had once served as a soldier with the Romans...". However, the
translation by John Carter in the Penguin Classics version reads:
"...who had once fought against the Romans and after being taken
prisoner and sold...".
- Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Gladiatores", p. 576.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:1.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:116; Florus,
Epitome, 2.8; - Florus
and Appian make the claim that the slaves withdrew to Vesuvius,
while Plutarch only mentions "a hill" in the account of Glaber's
siege of the slave's encampment.
- Note: while there seems to be consensus as to
the general history of the praetorian expeditions, the names of the
commanders and subordinates of these forces varies widely
based on the historical account.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:116.
- Frontinus, Stratagems, Book I, 5:20–22 and Book VII:6.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:1–3; Frontinus,
Stratagems, Book I, 5:20–22; Appian,
Civil Wars, 1:116; Broughton,
Magistrates of the Roman Republic, p. 109. Note: Plutarch
and Frontinus write of expeditions under the command of "Clodius
the praetor" and "Publius Varinus", while Appian writes of
"Varinius Glaber" and "Publius Valerius".
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:4–5; Livy,
Periochae , 95; Appian, Civil
Wars, 1:116; Sallust,
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:3; Appian, Civil
War, 1:116. Livy identifies the second commander as
"Publius Varenus" with the subordinate "Claudius Pulcher".
- Florus, Epitome, 2.8.
- Orosius, Histories 5.24.2;
Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion,
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:7; Appian, Civil
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:5–6.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:117; Florus,
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:116–117; Plutarch, Crassus 9:6; Sallust, Histories, 3:64–67.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:117; Plutarch,
Crassus 9:7; Livy, Periochae
96. Livy reports that troops under the (former)
praetor Quintus Arrius killed Crixus and 20,000 of his
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:117.
- Appian, Civil war, 1.117; Florus,
Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion, p.121;
Smith, Greek and Roman Antiquities,
"Gladiatores", p.574. - Note that gladiator
contests as part of some funeral rituals in the Roman Republic were
a high honor, according to Smith. This accords with Florus' passage
"He also celebrated the obsequies of his officers who had
fallen in battle with funerals like those of Roman generals, and
ordered his captives to fight at their pyres".
- Appian, Civil war, 1.117; Florus,
Epitome, 2.8. Florus
does not detail when and how Spartacus intended to march on Rome,
but agrees this was Spartacus' ultimate goal.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:7.
- Plutarch, Crassus 10:1;.
- Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion, p.
96; Plutarch, Crassus 9:7; Livy, Periochae
, 96:6. - Bradley identifies Gaius Cassius
Longinus as the governor of Cisalpine Gaul at the time. Livy also
identifies "Caius Cassius" and mentions his co-commander (or
sub-commander?) "Cnaeus Manlius".
- Plutarch, Crassus, 9:5.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 6; Appian, Civil
Wars, 1:76–1:104. Plutarch gives a brief synopsis of
Crassus's involvement in the war, with 6:6–7 showing an example of
Crassus as an effective commander. Appian gives a much more
detailed account of the entire war and subsequent dictatorship, in
which Crassus's actions are mentioned throughout.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:118; Smith, A Dictionary
of Greek and Roman Antiquities, "Exercitus", p.494; Appian details the number of
legions, while Smith discusses the size of the legions throughout
the Roman civilization, stating that late republican legions varied
from 5,000–6,200 men per legion.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:118.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 10:1–3.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:119.
- Florus, Epitome, 2.8; Cicero,
Orations, "For Quintius, Sextus Roscius...", 5.2
- Plutarch, Crassus, 10:4–5.
- Contrast Plutarch, Crassus, 11:2 with Appian, Civil
- Strachan-Davidson on Appian. 1.120;
Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120; Plutarch,
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120; Plutarch,
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120;.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120; Plutarch,
Crassus, 10:6. No mention of the fate of the forces who
did not break out of the siege is mentioned, although it
is possible that these were the slaves under command of Gannicus
and Castus mentioned later.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 11:3; Livy,
Periochae, 97:1. Plutarch gives the figure 12,300 rebels
killed. Livy claims 35,000.
- Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion. p.
97; Plutarch, Crassus, 11:4.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 11:5;.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120; Plutarch,
Crassus, 11:6–7; Livy,
Periochae, 97.1. Livy claims some 60,000 rebel slaves
killed in this final action.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:120; Florus,
- Matyszak, The Enemies of Rome p.133;
Plutarch, Pompey, 21:2, Crassus 11.7.
- Plutarch, Crassus, 11.7.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1.120.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:121.
- Appian, Civil Wars, 1:121; Plutarch,
- Fagan, The History of Ancient Rome;
Appian, Civil Wars, 1:121.
- Davis, Readings in Ancient History,
- Suetonius, Life of Claudius, 25.2
- Gaius, Institvtionvm Commentarivs,
I:52; Seneca, De Beneficiis,
III:22. Gaius details the changes in the right
of the owner to inflict whatever treatment they wished upon the
slave, while Seneca details the slave's right to proper treatment
and the creation of a "slave ombudsman".
- Classical historical works
Works at LacusCurtius
Works at Livius.org
Works at The Internet Classics Archive
- Modern works