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Spartacus And The Third Slave Revolt Of Ancient Rome.

1610 words - 6 pages

Throughout history, there have been many key figures that will inspire others for decades and even centuries to come. The ancient Romans set many precedents for our modern-day entertainment with their gladiatorial games and the Coliseum, while the ancient Greeks set precedents for the ancient Romans with the Olympic games. One of the most influential figures in the time of the ancient Romans was Spartacus, a man who stood up for himself and others like him while he was enslaved and forced to fight in the gladiatorial games. For Karl Marx, one of, if not the most influential socialist thinker to emerge in the 19th century, Spartacus was 'the most splendid fellow that all ancient history has to show; great general, noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat' (Shaw 2001). For Grassic Gibbon, a lifelong follower of Marx and a successful historian of early civilizations, Spartacus allowed him to focus on his fiercely held beliefs in the nature of society, the freedom of the individual, and the inevitable collapse of 'civilization'. Originally published in 1951 and then republished in 2000, Howard Fast's novel, Spartacus, was a popular fictionalization of the Slave Revolt led by Spartacus. The novel later inspired the 1960 movie, Spartacus, starring Kirk Douglas and Lawrence Oliver. In 73 B.C., in the heart of Italy, at the very center of Rome's Mediterranean empire, Spartacus led a breakout from the prison like conditions in which gladiators like him were trained for the murderous and popular entertainment staged for avid spectators. He ignited one of the most violent episodes of slave resistance known in the history of the Roman Empire - indeed, in the world annals of slavery (Shaw, 2001).Gladiators, the famous actors of Rome, were not so very different from those of today, and even the top charioteers in their fast and dangerous four-horse chariots equate quite well with our Formula One racing-car drivers, but Roman gladiators have no modern counterpart: feted, loved and rewarded with huge sums of money, they differed from our top sports stars in one crucial respect - they fought, quite literally, for their life at every appearance. Some were professionals, some were slaves, many were captives or prisoners-of-war, but together in combat in the amphitheatre they were symbols of Rome's control over the ancient world. In the conquest of life and death, their fate was determined by a gesture of the emperor's hand, which might be influenced by the verdict of the crowd (Kohne & Ewigleben, 2000). The spectators expected and applauded a close-fought, exciting battle, which demonstrated warlike spirit and courage, for bravery was the foremost virtue of the Romans, who valued military service above the athletic achievements so beloved by the Greeks. Gladiatorial combat in the arena focused public attention on the ultimate expression of bravery (Köhne et al, 2000).By far, the most famous of all gladiators was Spartacus. Thought to...

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