La morte di Spartaco, Hermann Vogel


In 73 BC Spartacus , a Roman slave born in Thrace in 109 BC , was rebelled and he and his companions stood up for three years to the Roman legions who sought to stifle and It was called “revolt of the slaves” ; He died in 71 BC during the battle of Caposele, where his men were finally defeated by the legions of Pompey .

Spartacus was born son of shepherd in Thrace, other sources say that he was the son of a landowner in Campania; He went to the misery he enlisted in the Roman army. In the army he failed to integrate also because of racism between the militias, therefore defected.

He was captured and, as was customary in the Roman legions against deserters, it was sold as slave. Around 75 BC, given his athleticism, he was destined to be a gladiator in the amphitheater of the city of Capua, where he fought against lions and other gladiators.

Tired of the abuse and the hard life that was in 73 BC He fled from the arena of Capua with other 70 gladiators and took refuge on the slopes of Vesuvius, in ravines difficult to reach. There Spartacus and his men clashed with the Roman army who had the task to catch them.

The fugitives were armed with clubs, spears, forks and other tools to farmers, but prevailed on the Roman soldiers, seized their weapons and elected to as leader Spartacus with Oenomaus and Crixus, two gladiators of Gallic origin. From this moment began the revolt of the slaves, the more important “slave war” fought by the Romans.

In this first group of rebels, refugees around Mount Vesuvius, joined as other fugitive slaves that Spartacus was provided to train in preparation for future battles.

The Roman Senate sent two quaestors to eradicate the insurgency, Gaius Claudius Glaber and Publius Varinius, who along the way picked up a little army-together and trained about 3,000 men.

They arrived at the foot of Vesuvius surrounded the camp of the rebels. At night, silently Spartacists got around the Roman positions. Just day, the Roman army was surrounded and suffered a serious defeat in what was remembered as the Battle of Vesuvius. Many soldiers were killed and the rest of the troops fled.

This victory did run a large number of slaves and commoners in aid of Spartacus, who with his strategic prowess defeated the Roman legions in Campania in command of Publius Varinius; weapons and horses were subtracted to the defeated, as he was able to arm conveniently his army. Publius Varinius sent the commissioner Gaius Toranio to report to the Senate and ask for reinforcements.

Spartacus camped at Cuma where wintered (73 and 72 BC) without further attacks by the Romans. He was able to reorganize his army training men and building weapons for the troops.

Began contrasts between the rebel troops, the Gallic and Germans headed Crixus and Oenomaus wanted to continue with the battles against the Romans while Spartacus decided to invade Calabria and Lucania to strengthen her positions, fearing the reaction of the Romans and aware of the strength of the best legions more trained than those who had met. There the rebels gave themselves roosters and ducks in fierce raids; Spartacus could do nothing to stop them.

The Senate of Rome, became aware of the violence the citizens of Calabria and Basilicata were suffering, finally it decided to tackle the revolt using the best legions of the army under the command of the consuls Lucius Gellius Publicola and Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Clodianus.

In the summer of 72 BC, in the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Clodiano was defeated by Spartacus, who then defeated Varus, who was head of an army of 10,000 militiamen, nearby Modena.

While Spartacus and the rebels were heading towards Lucania to regroup and rearm, the Roman Senate ordered that the proconsul Marcus Licinius Crassus in command of eight legions moved against the rebel slaves.

Learned of the military expedition of Crassus, the former gladiator headed for Sicily, where there had been peasant revolts, to join the insurgents strengthening its army. Messina Strait arrived where they had made arrangements with the Cilicius pirates for crossing the strait, the pirates betrayed them and warned the governor of Sicily Verres.

The rebel army was stalled near Aspromonte, since Crassus erected a wall with range from sea to sea across the isthmus of Catanzaro, which is the narrowest part of Calabria. Spartacus, realizing the trap, got over the wall in a stormy night, on the one hand where he had managed to neutralize the Roman soldiers.

Spartacus and his army made the way to the Adriatic Sea, with the intention to cross it to get to Thrace, but was attacked from behind by the forces of Crassus around the village of Petilia. Although he won the fight, he was forced to flee to Brindisi because his men were tired because of the flight; then changed direction and headed Metaponto in Basilicata.

Meanwhile, Pompey and his legions had joined Crassus in the hunt for rebels, in the vicinity of the Sele river Spartacus clashed with the army of Crassus. Spartacus in 71 BC was defeated and killed by the Romans along with 60,000 of his men, some 6,000 rebels were captured.

The prisoners were all crucified along the Appian Way between Capua and Rome as the army of Crassus was victorious return. Another 5,000 rebels who had managed to flee, they were pursued and achieved by the legions of Pompey and ended all slaughtered.

The body of Spartacus was never found, perhaps because he was unrecognizable by many sword and spear received. However, accredited also from literature and films, the legend says that he was taken prisoner and crucified on the Appian Way and his fellow sufferers.

Spartacus, in the collective memory, is remembered as a hero nice and kind, the first of the plebeian leaders; he was the hero of many novels and many movies that told his exploits. In 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht founded the Spartacus League and therefore were called Spartacists. In Moscow football team took the name Spartak Moscow (Russian Spartacus becomes Spartak).

(Picture at the top: La morte di Spartaco, Hermann Vogel)