Spartacus and the Slave Revolt against the Roman Republic
October 10, 2017
There have been many attempts to overthrow a power through out history. Many notable instances come from Europe. The influence of one person or a select few can often shape history as we know it. The story of Spartacus and his revolt against the Roman empire is no exception. Due to the severity of slave treatment and the use of them as mere entertainment, one of Rome’s own, Spartacus decided to lead a movement against the empire. This piece of history was not covered well for some time. Appian, however, was the first historian to show clearly what transpired during the revolt. Without him, this nugget of history would imaginably never have been accurately depicted. Moreover, it allows us a very interesting account of the vast Roman empire. By Spartacus contributing a dominant role in the Slave revolt of 73B.C.E, Rome manifested into a state of hostility and distress which in effect marked a new era of insurgency.
In an ancient Roman culture, a lavish lifestyle fueled by wealth and power was only enjoyed by the select minority. As far as the rest of the Roman public, life was harsh, especially for slaves and gladiators. Many of the slaves in Rome were prisoners of war, offenders of Roman law, and/or men who own debt. The Romans did not view slaves as any significance to society. Often times masters and owners were legally permitted to treat their slaves as they wish. Owners of slaves had the capability of determining a slave’s punishment which may include “flogging for a minor offense, or crucifixion for a major offense” (Dunkle, p. 17). Latifundia was a common slave based farm on a large estate. Many of these agricultural slaves working on a latifundia estate upheld numerous skills and trades such as cultivating grains, olives, and vines. At night the slaves were forced into constricted barracks, where many were chained to prevent any chance of escape or defiant behavior. In addition, slaves also undertook the responsibility of herding cattle, goats, and sheep. These type of slaves stood a constant threat to the Roman republic, due to that fact that they were not able to be restrained because of the continual migration of the herds. The reasons behind the cruel punishment towards the “slaves may have stem from the three slave revolts that have taken place in 135- 132B.C.E, 104-101B.C.E, and 73-71B.C.E” (Dunkle, p. 17).
Around the second century B.C.E, entertainment began to play an important role in Roman civilization (L. Adkins, and R. Adkins, p. 347). Generally, these entertainment acts would take place in an amphitheater or otherwise commonly known as an arena. Chariot games, and public executions are only some of the acts done in these arenas. The most notable entertainment performances included men battling each other or fighting wild animals to the death in the arena. This action filled combat is called the gladiatorial games. A...