Spartacus and the Slave Wars Essay

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According to Shaw in “Spartacus and The Slave Wars”, prisoners of war enslaved at the end of the Second Punic War rebelled in 198 B.C. This slave uprising in central Italy is the first reliable report of one, although it was surely not the first actual slave uprising. There were other slave uprisings in the 180s. These were small; however, there were 3 major slave revolts in Italy between 140 and 70 B.C. These 3 uprisings are called the Servile Wars, since the Latin for 'slave' is servus. However these 3 slave wars did not all end in victory. As a matter of fact, the 3 slave revolts failed, ending in murder of the leaders. The reason why the slaves were defeated in the end was basically due to the fact that there was no ultimate goal. They …show more content…
In the spring of 71 BC, Spartacus started north. The slaves were finally wiped out by Crassus' legions in a major battle in southern Italy, near the headwaters of the Siler River. It is believed that Spartacus died in this battle. However, there were so many corpses that his body was never found. About 6000 slaves were taken prisoner by Crassus and crucified along the Appian Way from Capua to Rome. As many as 5000 slaves escaped and fled northward, but they were captured by Pompey's army north of Rome as he was marching back from Spain; Pompey subsequently tried to claim the glory of victory from Crassus, although he had not actually participated in any of the battles (p. 130) The Senate voted Pompey a triumph because of his victory in Spain, but they decreed an ovation (a far less splendid and prestigious parade) for Crassus because his victory had been merely over slaves. Shaw says Spartacus defeated 9 Roman armies before Crassus defeated him. The war lasted for two years and ended only after legionary armies were placed under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus(p. 130). These forces, which had full battle capability and the training needed to deploy elaborate siege and containment works, were finally able to defeat the slaves and to kill their leader, Spartacus.
In conclusion, neither Spartacus nor any of his immediate leaders had any definite goals, other than the desire to return to their homelands. As the slave army grew, it