Early lifeThe Greek essayist Plutarch describes Spartacus as "a Thracian of Nomadic stock", in a possible reference to the Maedi tribe. Appian says he was "a Thracian by birth, who had once served as a soldier with the Romans, but had since been a prisoner and sold for a gladiator". Florus described him as one "who, from a Thracian mercenary, had become a Roman soldier, that had deserted and became enslaved, and afterward, from consideration of his strength, a gladiator". The authors refer to the Thracian tribes, Thracian tribe of the Maedi, which occupied the area on the southwestern fringes of Thrace, along its border with the Macedonia (Roman province), Roman province of Macedonia – present day south-western Bulgaria. Plutarch also writes that Spartacus's wife, a prophetess of the Maedi tribe, was enslaved with him. The name Spartacus is otherwise manifested in the Black Sea region. Five out of twenty Kings of the Thracian Spartocid dynasty of the Bosporan Kingdom, Cimmerian Bosporus and Kingdom of Pontus, Pontus are known to have borne it, and a Thracian "Sparta" "Spardacus" or "Sparadokos", father of Seuthes I of the Odrysian kingdom, Odrysae, is also known.
Enslavement and escapeAccording to the differing sources and their interpretation, Spartacus was a captive taken by the legions. Spartacus was trained at the gladiatorial school (''ludus'') near Capua belonging to Lentulus Batiatus. He was a heavyweight gladiator called a murmillo. These fighters carried a large oblong shield (scutum (shield), scutum), and used a sword with a broad, straight blade (gladius), about 18 inches long. In 73 BC, Spartacus was among a group of gladiators plotting an escape.Plutarch, ''Crassus''
Third Servile WarThe response of the Romans was hampered by the absence of the Roman legions, which were engaged in fighting a Quintus Sertorius, revolt in Hispania and the Third Mithridatic War. Furthermore, the Romans considered the rebellion more of a policing matter than a war. Rome dispatched militia under the command of the praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber, who besieged Spartacus and his camp on Mount Vesuvius, hoping that starvation would force Spartacus to surrender. They were taken by surprise when Spartacus used ropes made from vines to climb down the steep side of the volcano with his men and attacked the unfortified Roman camp in the rear, killing most of the militia.Plutarch, ''Crassus''
ObjectivesClassical historians were divided as to the motives of Spartacus. None of Spartacus's actions overtly suggest that he aimed at reforming Roman society or Abolitionism, abolishing slavery. Plutarch writes that Spartacus wished to escape north into Cisalpine Gaul and disperse his men back to their homes. If escaping the Italian peninsula was indeed his goal, it is not clear why Spartacus turned south after defeating the legions commanded by the consuls Lucius Publicola and Gnaeus Clodianus, which left his force a clear passage over the Alps. Appian and Florus write that he intended to march on Rome itself. Appian also states that he later abandoned that goal, which might have been no more than a reflection of Roman fears. Based on the events in late 73 BC and early 72 BC, which suggest independently operating groups of escaped slaves and a statement by Plutarch, it appears that some of the escaped slaves preferred to plunder Italy, rather than escape over the Alps.Plutarch ''Crassus''
Legacy and recognitionToussaint Louverture, a leader of the slave revolt that led to the independence of Haiti, has been called the "Black Spartacus". Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, often referred to himself as Spartacus within written correspondences.
In communismIn modern times, Spartacus became an icon for communists and socialists. Karl Marx listed Spartacus as one of his heroes and described him as "the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history" and a "great general, noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat". Spartacus has been a great inspiration to left-wing revolutionaries, most notably the German Spartacus League (1915–18), a forerunner of the Communist Party of Germany. A January 1919 uprising by communists in Germany was called the Spartacist uprising. Spartacus Books, one of the longest running collectively-run leftist book stores in North America, is also named in his honour.
In sportsSeveral sports clubs around the world, in particular the former Soviet and the Communist bloc, were named after the Roman gladiator. Spartacus's name was chosen in numerous football sides in Slavic Europe.
In Russia* FC Spartak Moscow, a football club * FC Spartak Kostroma, a football club * PFC Spartak Nalchik, a football club * FC Spartak Vladikavkaz, a football club * HC Spartak Moscow, an ice hockey team * Spartak Saint Petersburg, a basketball team * Spartak Tennis Club, a tennis training facility * WBC Spartak Moscow, a women's basketball team
In Ukraine* FC Spartak Sumy, a football club * Spartak, Yasynuvata Raion, Spartak, a village in Donetsk Oblast * Spartak Ivano-Frankivsk, a football team * Zakarpattia Uzhhorod, a football club, formerly known as Spartak Uzhhorod * Spartak Lviv * Spartak Kyiv * Spartak Odesa, a football team competed in the 1941 Soviet Top League, 1941 Soviet war league * Spartak Kharkiv, a football team competed in the 1941 Soviet Top League, 1941 Soviet war league
In Bulgaria* PFC Spartak 1918, PFC Spartak Varna, a football team * PFC Spartak Pleven, a football team * FC Spartak Plovdiv, a football team * Spartak Sofia, a former football team
In Serbia* FK Spartak Subotica, a football team * FK Radnički (disambiguation), FK Radnički, several teams
In Slovakia* FC Spartak Trnava, a football team * TJ Spartak Myjava, a football team * FK Spartak Vráble, a football team * FK Spartak Bánovce nad Bebravou, a football team
In other countries* Spartak Stadium (disambiguation) * Barnt Green Spartak F.C., an English football team * Spartak (Cape Verde), a Cape Verdean football team * FC Spartak Semey, a Kazakh football team Spartacus's name was also used in athletics in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Spartakiad was a Soviet bloc version of the Olympic games.Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, volume 24 (part 1), p. 286, Moscow, Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya publisher, 1976. This name was also used for the Mass games, mass gymnastics exhibition held every five years in Czechoslovakia. The mascot for the Ottawa Senators, Spartacat, is also named after him.
In popular culture
Film* The film ''Spartacus (film), Spartacus'' (1960), which was executive-produced by and starred Kirk Douglas, was based on Howard Fast's novel ''Spartacus (Fast novel), Spartacus'' and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The phrase "I'm Spartacus!" from this film has been referenced in a number of other films, television programs, and commercials.
Television* Fast's novel was adapted as a Spartacus (miniseries), 2004 miniseries by the USA Network, with Goran Višnjić in the main role. * One episode of 2007–2008 BBC's docudrama ''Heroes and Villains (TV series), Heroes and Villains'' features Spartacus. * The television series ''Spartacus (TV series), Spartacus'', starring Andy Whitfield and later Liam McIntyre in the title role, aired on the Starz (TV channel), Starz premium cable network from January 2010 to April 2013. * The History Channel's ''Barbarians Rising'' (2016) features the story of Spartacus in its third episode entitled "Rebellion". * The fifth series of sitcom ''Outnumbered (British TV series), Outnumbered'' had Ben Brockmans (Daniel Roche) play Spartacus in a musical called ''Spartacus''. * Spartacus appears in the Legends of Tomorrow (season 6), season 6 premiere of ''DC's Legends of Tomorrow'', portrayed by Shawn Roberts. He is abducted and eaten by an alien.
Literature* Howard Fast wrote the historical novel ''Spartacus (Fast novel), Spartacus'', the basis of the Spartacus (film), 1960 film of the same name. * Arthur Koestler wrote a novel about Spartacus called ''The Gladiators (book), The Gladiators''. * The Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon wrote a novel ''Spartacus (Gibbon novel), Spartacus''. * The Italian writer Raffaello Giovagnoli wrote his historical novel, ''Spartacus'', in 1874. His novel has been subsequently translated and published in many European countries. * The German writer Bertolt Brecht wrote ''Spartacus'', his second play, before 1920. It was later renamed ''Drums in the Night''. * The Latvian writer Andrejs Upīts in 1943 wrote the play ''Spartacus''. * The Polish writer in 1951 wrote a novel ''Uczniowie Spartakusa'' (''Spartacus's disciples''). * The Reverend Elijah Kellogg's ''Spartacus to the Gladiators at Capua'' has been used effectively by school pupils to practice their oratory skills for ages. * Amal Donkol, the Egyptian modern poet wrote "The Last Words of Spartacus". * Max Gallo wrote the novel ''Les Romains.Spartacus. La Revolte des Esclaves'', Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. * In the ''Fate/Apocrypha'' light novel series by Yūichirō Higashide, Spartacus appears as a Berserker-class Servant summoned by the Red faction. In the anime adaptation of the novels, Spartacus is voiced by Satoshi Tsuruoka in Japanese and Josh Tomar in English. This version of Spartacus would also appear in the mobile RPG Fate/Grand Order. *Ben Kane wrote the novels ''Spartacus: The Gladiator'' and ''Spartacus: Rebellion'', in 2012.
Music* The "Spartacus Overture" was written by composer Camille Saint-Saëns in 1863. * "Love Theme From ''Spartacus (film), Spartacus''" was a hit for composer Alex North and has become a jazz standard. * ''Spartacus (ballet), Spartacus'' (1954, first staged in 1956) is a ballet, with a score by Soviet Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian. * In 1975, Triumvirat reached the apex of their commercial success with the release of ''Spartacus (Triumvirat album), Spartacus'', a classic "prog rock" album. * Australian composer Carl Vine wrote a short piano piece entitled "Spartacus", from ''Red Blues''. * Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, Phantom Regiment's show, "Spartacus", was the Drum Corps International World Class Champions, championship show of the 2008 Drum Corps International season. * Jeff Wayne released his musical retelling, ''Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus,'' in 1992.
Video games* In ''Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome'' Expansion IV Enemies of Rome, 3: Spartacus the campaign has the player fighting against Spartacus's army. * In ''Spartacus Legends'', Spartacus appears as an endgame boss.
Places* Spartacus Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands.
See also* Alaric I * Ambiorix * Ardaric * Arminius * Autaritus * Bato (Daesitiate chieftain), Bato * Battle of Baduhenna Wood * Boudica * Fritigern * Gaius Julius Civilis * John of Gothia * List of people who disappeared * Totila * Vercingetorix * Viriathus
Classical authors* Appian. ''Civil Wars''. Translated by J. Carter. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1996) * Florus. ''Epitome of Roman History''. (London: W. Heinemann, 1947) * Paulus Orosius, Orosius. ''The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans''. Translated by Roy J. Deferrari. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1964). * Plutarch. ''Fall of the Roman Republic''. Translated by R. Warner. (London: Penguin Books, 1972), with special emphasis placed on "The Life of Crassus" and "The Life of Pompey". * Sallust. ''Conspiracy of Catiline and the War of Jugurtha''. (London: Constable, 1924)
Modern historiography* Bradley, Keith R. ''Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World, 140 B.C.–70 B.C.'' Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989 (hardcover, ); 1998 (paperback, ). [Chapter V] The Slave War of Spartacus, pp. 83–101. * Rubinsohn, Wolfgang Zeev.