Three Roman Slave Rebellions

The First Servile War of 135Ė132 BC was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Romans on the island of Sicily. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming be a prophet, and a Cilician of the name of Cleon, his military general. After some minor battles won by the slaves, a larger Roman army arrived in Sicily and defeated the rebels.

The uprising was mostly caused by great changes of property ensuing upon the final expulsion of the Carthaginians, about the middle of the Second Punic War. Speculators from Italy rushed into the island and, to the general distress of the Sicilians, bought up large tracts of land at a low price, or became the occupiers of estates which had belonged to Sicilians of the Carthaginian party and had been forfeited to Rome after the execution or flight of their owners.

The Sicilians of the Roman party followed the example, and became rich out of the distress of their countrymen. Slaves were to be had cheap and grain was likely to find a sure market whilst Italy was suffering from the ravages of war. Accordingly, Sicily was crowded with slaves, employed to grow grain for the great landed proprietors, whether Sicilian or Italian, and so ill-fed by their masters that they soon began to provide for themselves by robbery. The poorer Sicilians were the sufferers from this evil; and as the masters were well content that their slaves should be maintained at the expense of others, they were at no pains to restrain their outrages. Thus, nominally at peace, full of wealthy proprietors, and exporting grain in larger quantities every year, Sicily was nonetheless teeming with evils. After seventy or eighty years, pressures broke out in the horrible atrocities of the Servile War.

Servile War
The chief of the slaves had at one time two hundred thousand followers, inclusive, probably, of women and children. He was a Syrian of Apamea, named Eunus, and had been a prophet and conjurer among the slaves. To his prophecies and tricks he owed his elevation when the rebellion broke out. According to some accounts, he was rather a cunning than an able man; but it should be recollected that only his enemies have drawn his portrait. The victories he often won over the Roman forces are credited to his lieutenant, a Cilician of the name of Cleon; but he must have been a man of considerable ability to have maintained his position so long, and to have commanded the services of those said to have been his superiors. Cleon's superiority was probably only that of the soldier. He fell in battle, and Eunus was made prisoner, but died before he could be brought to punishment.

The war lasted from 135 BC until 132 BC. It was the first of a series of three slave revolts in the Roman Republic; the last and the most famous was led by Spartacus.

The Second Servile War was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Romans on the island of Sicily. The war lasted from 104 BC until 103 BC. The war broke out when slaves in Sicily under Tryphon(slave leader) and Athenion revolted. The Roman consul M. Aquilas quelled the revolt only after great effort. It was the second of a series of three slave revolts in the Roman Republic.

The Third Servile War was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Romans in Italy, under command of the famous Spartacus. The war lasted from 73 BC until 71 BC, and resulted in Pompey and Crassus being elected consul. It was the last of a series of three slave revolts in the Roman Republic.

The third Servile War, also known as the Spartacus Rebellion, lasted from 73 BC until 71 BC. The war began in approximately 73 BC when Spartacus and 74 of his fellow gladiators stole kitchen knives and other tools from the gladiator school ĎBatiatusí in Capua and killed their masters and guards. They immediately spread out, looting local towns and gaining numbers and when the rebel gang became equipped with tens of thousands of slaves they gained control of Mount Vesuvius. Slow reacting, the Roman Government sent out an small, untrained army to Mount Vesuvius to collect and punish the group, but failed because of the brilliant military tactics the rebels used. By the time another Roman Army was sent out to gain control of the rebels, Spartacus had 70,000 men.

In the year 72 BC, Spartacus decided to lead his group out of Rome so that they could become free, but his subordinate, Crixus, decided to stay in Mount Vesuvius and continue looting because of their success. So the group split, but those who remained with Crixus where hastily rounded up and murdered. With the intention of crossing the Alps, he began moving in that direction until he was trapped by two armies, Lentulus and Gellius. Defeating them both, the rebels continued their journey, moving to the mountain near Thurii with now over 120,000 followers. Fully equipping themselves into a rebel army, they defeated many armies. The Roman Government decided to lead ten legions into battle with the gladiator and slave army, first being defeated, but then they dominated over the slaves. Killing most in war, the remaining 6, 000 rebels were crucified and left to rot on the Via Appia leading into Rome to remind slaves not to rebel. Spartacus's body was never found and it was assumed he fell with his men.

71 BC: The Beginning

Batiatus Gladiators revolt.
Spartacusís rebel group begin.
Rebel gain control of Mount Vesuvius and recruit more rebels.
Spartacusís forces triumph over two Roman armies.
Spartacus and Crixus divide forces
72 BC: The Third Servile War

Spartacusís fight for freedom was known as the III Servile War.
Crixus and his followers were destroyed.
Spartacusís forces defeated two Roman forces.
Spartacusís forces swelled to numbers of over 120, 000 men.
The Rebel Army gained equipment and became a proper army.
10 Legions were dedicated towards destroying the army.
Many times the Rebels were victorious over Roman forces.
71 BC: The defeat of the rebel army

Spartacusís army was defeated.
The remainders of the rebel army (6,000 men) were crucified.
I'll admit, the slave revolts are not my strong point in Roman history, but Spartacus was really close to succeeding. I think if Spartacus and his generals had used different tactics, they could have gotten out of the Republics grasp. I know at one point the slave army was seen as a threat to Rome itself.

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