Author(s): Barry S. Strauss
Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator who started a prison breakout with 74 men, armed with kitchen knives. It grew into a full scale rebellion against Rome, the most famous slave revolt in history. With an army of gladiators, ex-slaves and other desperadoes, he managed to defeat a succession of Roman armies and bring the Republic to its knees. Today, he is best known from Stanley Kubrick's 1960 feature film, SPARTACUS, starring Kirk Douglas. The real Spartacus certainly had the charisma of the chisel-chinned actor, and he was a star gladiator (he appears on a fresco found at Pompeii). However, Spartacus was a good deal more ruthless than a Hollywood hero. He had one of his Roman prisoners crucified before a battle, to remind his followers what they could expect if they lost! Barry Strauss has explored the areas of Italy where Spartacus fought and died. Professor of History at Cornell University, he is an authority on Ancient Rome, whose popular histories of TROY and THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS have won him worldwide recognition. SALAMIS has been translated into six languages.