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Exploring the True Story of Spartacus and the Roman Slaves Revolt

Dec 18, 2022 | 0 comments

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Dec 18, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments


Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) was a rebellious slave that had been promptly purchased by a school owner for the gladiators, Lentulus Batiatus. Because there were corrupt senators of Roma who had elected themselves into the public offices, Batiatus’ gladiators and Marcus Licinius Crassus, were to entertain the senators by staging a fight to the death. However, according to Douglas& Clooney (2012), the night before the event, the enslaved trainees were given a companionship by female counterparts. The companion for Spartacus on that evening was Varinia who was a slave from Brittania. However, when Spartacus learned that Varinia had been sold to Crassus, he decided to lead his fellow 78 gladiators into a rebellion.

In truth, the revolt word spread like wildfire and soon after, the army of Spartacus had reached their hundreds. Douglas, Olivier, Simmons, & Nabokov (2011), observed that Spartacus escaped to join Varinia who had fallen in love with him and some other Crassus’ house slaves, who was a sensitive Antoninus. Soon after, the revolt became the cog principle in the struggle of the political wheel between a more temperate senator, Gracchus, and the Crassus. Anthony Mann originally directed the Spartacus and thereafter replaced by Stanley Kubrick who is observed to have led Douglas to Paths of Glory. The film was awarded the best supporting actor for Ustinov along other three academy awards.

The Historical Background of Spartacus

Six hundred and eighty one years after the city of Rome had been found, 74 BC, Nicomedes IV King of the republic of Bithynia, Asia died while donating his country to Rome. Two Roman Aurelius Cotta and Lucius Licinius Lucullus went to Asia to take his inheritance. However, Mithridates who had earlier been born of about thirty years became apprehensive about the increasing presence of Roma in his vicinity. Therefore, he attacked Bithynia, a place where Cotta was stationed while the Lucullus decided to reject the supply of Mithridates and became victorious without battle. While Lucullus maintained power in the East, only one competent military leader was left in Rome.

The Slaves Revolt

Spartacus was born in Thrace and trained with the Roman army before becoming a slave. He was sold to supplement the services of Lentulus Batiates, a fellow who was a teacher for gladiators, about 20 miles from Mt. Vesuvius in the city of Campania. In the same year, two Gallic gladiator and Spartacus successfully, led a riot at school. This made about 80 gladiator slaves escape using kitchen weapons. They jumped into the streets where they found the gladiatorial wagons loaded with weapons and confiscated them and latter defeated the gladiatorial soldiers. They then set for Mt. Vesuvius picking other rural slaves on their way.

The Praetors Fail

With little knowledge of the animation the Spartacus had, praetors made an insufficient attempt to stop the revolt. The road to the mountain was steep, slippery and single and the Spartacus used ropes climb down in surprise of the Romans hijacking the camp of the Romans. The slaves gathered of around 70,000 and headed to Ample vines. At this time, Spartacus had a strong force with remarkable skills for defeating the Roman legions.


Crassus was elected praetor and worked to stop Spartacan slave revolt and prepared to block the movement. He engaged the slaves in battle and was defeated. Spartacus routed the Mummius and his other legions and they suffered the loss of military men in war while others had amputations (Douglas, Olivier, Simmons, & Nabokov, 2011). When they returned to Crassus, they were punished while others were killed. Moreover, Spartacus turned and headed to Sicily to use the pirate ships to escape but they had sailed off. Contrastingly, Crassus built a wall to prevent Spartacus from escaping. When the slaves tried to escape, Roman soldiers fought back killing 12,000 slaves and losing seven members.

Slaves Versus the Roman Army

When Spartacus learned that Crassus troops and the Roman army united together, he fled with his troops to the north. However, a third Roman force, Macedonia, blocked his route at Brundisium and Spartacus had to fight Crassus’ army killing a thousand Romans. Some slaves escaped to the mountain and were later captured and crucified by Pompey troops on the Appian Way (Douglas, 2011).

Spartacus’ body was not found.

Pompey performed mopping operations by were not credited for suppressing the revolt. This is because there were no honors in winning a war with slaves. Finally, competition and jealousy among the two powerful and rich Roman leaders changed the structure of power in Rome.

Historically Accurate Parts

The film got some elements accurate. For example, the gladiator characters used accurate armor and weaponry. The film pays attention to weaponry discoveries since the emergence of the gladiators in 2000 BC. Additionally, the movie depicts the war part of the movie and freedom fighting by the slaves against the empire of Rome. Significantly is the black gladiator Debra character who fights review of Spartacus. His role is small but crucial to the story.

Historically Inaccurate Parts

The events in the film, I am Spartacus might be inaccurate and may never have taken place because Spartacus is widely speculated to have died in the battle, though is body was not found. In the film, Spartacus was crucified. Furthermore, Julius Caesar could not have commanded the Rome garrison since it was non-existence by then. Vidali (2005), shows that the movie, Spartacus was born in a slavery life, however, the real Spartacus is believed to have worked in the Roman military as an auxiliary soldier who left and was later captured and sold for punishment and slavery. There is no clear evidence that he worked in Libya mines. These facts were managed in the film to portray the heroic nature of Spartacus.

The character by name Gracchus in the film is depicted as part of the senate and opposed to Crassus. The significant Sempronius Gracchus and Tiberius Gracchus were revolutionary political leaders powerful from 163 -121 BC. However, the Gracchus in the film is depicted as an amalgam of two popular figures in history though Crassus was never a Rome dictator.


The depiction of the fights of the gladiators has numerous touches such as the neck branding of the losing fighter. In the movie, thumb down means the losing side to die, however, in the real sense it means to let the loser live (Vidali, 2005). There is also the signal of the losing side to have a chance to plead for mercy. However, the edited Spartacus film is very fluidly and audience can watch the whole film without pauses. The film makes a splendid DVD since it has an excellent photography, detailed costumes, good casting and acting and finally an amazing story line. There are the 1960 version and the edited version of the Spartacus’s film, the 1960 version is superb and accounts for my recommendations. The film has terrific performances featuring and epic education and is a true classic for entertainment (Nostro, Heston, Davis, & Rizzo, 1980). The inner strength of the movie is highlighted with the numerous memorable human detail scenes and classic for consumption.


Spartacus’s film is more than a good standard movie with evil drama. The movie mentions the hero’s to persevere in undertaking ideal in order to lead to his demise. In reality, many decades later, it is still recognized as one of the most stirring and intelligent historical epics products of Hollywood (Esguerra, 2005). The movie serves a significant role filmmakers’ future generations.


Douglas, K., Douglas, M., & Clooney, G. (2012). I am Spartacus!: Making a film, breaking the blacklist. Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance Audio.

Douglas, K., Olivier, L., Simmons, J., Nabokov, V. V., Fast, H., Mason, J., Winters, S., … Warner Home Video (Firm). (2011). Stanley Kubrick, limited edition collection. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video.

Esguerra, C. M. (2005). The appropriateness of historic costuming of male protagonists in historic epic movies.

Nostro, N., Vadis, D., Liné, H., Heston, J., Warrell, J., Davis, U., Rizzo, G., … Films Copernic. (1980). Spartacus and the ten gladiators. Scarborough, Ont: ABM Group.

Vidali, G. E., Pasquali, E. M., Albertini, L., Bracci, E., Gandini, M., Altschuler, M., Giovagnoli, R., … Elusive DVD (Firm). (2009). Spartacus. United States: Elusive DVD.

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