image from withelwyn.com
“When a free man dies, he loses the pleasure of life--a slave
loses its pain. Death is the only freedom a slave knows--
that’s why he’s not afraid of it--Dalton Trumbo
Many of us know who Spartacus was,
or think we do, having seen the films,
or read his name in history texts.
Yes, he lived, & was the primary leader
of a slave army during the Third Servile Wars
in 72 A.D.
There is a rumor that he had been recruited
in Thrace, in his teens, & had served in the
Roman Army, giving him knowledge of battle
tactics & mindsets--that he deserted, was captured
& sentenced to living death as a slave in the
mines of Libya. But as the fates would have it, he was
recruited yet again, for his ferocity, to be
trained as a gladiator at a school in Capua.
He excelled, & became a Champion
in the bloody sands of Roman arenas;
but like a tethered tiger, like a wing-clipped
eagle he dared to dream of freedom...
One bright dawn, he & his fellows erupted,
killed the guards, sacked & burned the school
& Spartacus escaped, taking 70 lethal gladiators
Their encampment was on Mt. Vesuvius, & within a week they were
joined by a thousand escaped slaves; word spread like a viral pandemic
--”Rise up, break your chains, join Spartacus & be free at last.” Spartacus
shared command with Crixius, the leader of the Gauls; berserk barbarians.
They were underestimated by Rome--We take five years to train a legion-
aire, & this rabble is made up of mere slaves. Spartacus came down from
the mountain, & wiped out the army sent against him. The Slave Army
swelled to 120,000 souls, complete with families; women & elders fought
beside the young men. He moved north, defeating three more legions,
while heading for the Alps.
Crixius was a warrior, not a statesman, & he felt unstoppable
after winning 4 battles, so he took the 30,000 Gauls, broke off
from the main army, & marched on Rome. Spartacus sadly
headed north, toward the mountains. Soon
word got to them that Crixius, a poor tactician,
was caught between two legions & was
Spartacus defeated three more armies sent
to stop him, reaching the foothills of the Alps,
but he was not sure his rag-tag band could
make it over the mountains. Mysteriously, he
turned his followers back to the south,
fighting his way magnificently for the full
length of Italy, bypassing Rome & stopping
in the toe, arranging for ships that his people
could escape on.
The wealthiest Patrician, turned General, Marcus Crassus, pursued
them, pushing their backs to the sea. In late 73 A.D.. near the
headwaters of the Siller River, Spartacus was trapped between
three legions, & his army of freed slaves was finally beaten,
butchered by the tens of thousands, families clinging to each other
and to their hard fought freedom. The body of Spartacus was never
found. 6,000 slaves were crucified along the Appian Way.
“I am Spartacus!”,
a thousand men cried to savetheir hearts from breaking.
Blood flowed, people died,
history repeating as
mockingbirds grow mute.
Posted over at <a href="http://dversepoets.com"> DVerse Poets Pub for Poetics