With so little in the way of historical evidence, its surprising that even 150 pages could be written about him. And really, if wasn't for the great movie made about him, he would be another obscure figure (there have been no movies made of Mithridates (south east of the Black Sea), Catiline (North Africa), or Sertorius (Iberian Peninsula (though Sertorius is account for by Plutarch)). Much of the discussion is given over to assertions of the changes to the social conditions in the Italian Peninsula in the course of Sparticus' life, and how that gave the apt conditions for the uprising; the author takes pains to dismiss attempts to impute modern notions like class, class consciousness, bourgeois, and others as hermeneutic devices. Its clear, readable, and never lags.
This was an insightful source of literature concerning a slave rebellion. It does mention how certain accounts may not be credible and only speculation was made. But, with the rivalry between Crassus and Pompey being well-known during the final battle perhaps did not help matters as to who can claim the victory, nor is it well-known what the circumstances are surrounding the death of Spartacus. After all, his body was never found. This book also questions as to what was going through Spartacus' mind when he was facing a disciplined Roman legion, and it also puts forth knowledge of how Crassus and Spartacus dealt with each other, along with the harsh aftermath of the survivors of Spartacus' army of rebel slaves.
Terrific read. Sets out the political and economic environment of Italy and Northern Greece in the First Century B.C. in an interesting way. The author lays out in a persuasive way how a slave could bring freemen to fight in his army.
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