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Spartacus

Historical Overview Section


Spartacus was trained at the gladiatorial school (ludus) near Capua, belonging to Lentulus Batiatus. In 73 BC, Spartacus and some seventy followers escaped from the gladiator school of Lentulus Batiatus. Seizing the knives in the cook's shop and a wagon full of weapons, the slaves fled to the caldera of Mount Vesuvius, near modern day Naples. There they were joined by other rural slaves.

The group overran the region, plundering and pillaging. Spartacus's intention was to leave Italy and return home. His chief aides were gladiators from Gaul and Germania, named Crixus, Castus, Gannicus and Oenomaus. The Senate sent an inexperienced praetor, Claudius Glaber against the rebels, with a militia of about 3,000. They besieged the rebels on Vesuvius blocking their escape, but Spartacus had ropes made from vines and with his men climbed down a cliff on the other side of the volcano, to the rear of the Roman soldiers, and staged a surprise attack. Not expecting trouble from a handful of slaves, the Triumverate Roman?s had not fortified their camp or posted adequate sentries. As a result, most of the Roman soldiers were still sleeping and killed in this attack, including Claudius Glaber. After this success many runaway slaves joined Spartacus until the group grew into an army of allegedly 140,000 escaped slaves

Apparently, Spartacus had intended to march his army out of Italy and into Gaul (now Belgium, Switzerland and France) or maybe even to Hispania to join the rebellion of Quintus Sertorius. There are theories that some of the non-fighting followers (some 10,000 or so) did, in fact, cross the Alps and return to their homelands

The rest marched back south, and defeated two more legions under Marcus Licinius Crassus, who at that time was the wealthiest man in Rome. At the end of 72 BC, Spartacus was encamped in Rhegium (Reggio Calabria), near the Strait of Messina. Spartacus's deal with Cilician pirates to get them to Sicily fell through. In the beginning of 71 BC, eight legions of Crassus isolated Spartacus's army in Calabria. With the assassination of Quintus Sertorius, the Roman Senate also recalled Pompey from Hispania; and Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus from Macedonia.

Spartacus managed to break through Crassus's lines and escape towards Brundisium (now Brindisi), but Pompey's forces intercepted them in Lucania, and the slaves were routed in a subsequent battle at the river Silarus, where Spartacus is believed to have fallen. According to Plutarch, "Finally, after his companions had taken to flight, he (Spartacus) stood alone, surrounded by a multitude of foes, and was still defending himself when he was cut down". According to Appian, "Spartacus was wounded in the thigh with a spear and sank upon his knee, holding his shield in front of him and contending in this way against his assailants until he and the great mass of those with him were surrounded and slain"; The body of Spartacus was not found.

After the battle, legionaries found and rescued 3,000 unharmed Roman prisoners in their camp. 6,600 of Spartacus's followers were crucified along the via Appia (or the Appian Way) from Brundisium to Rome. Crassus never gave orders for the bodies to be taken down, thus travelers were forced to see the bodies for years after the final battle. Around 5,000 slaves, however, escaped the capture. They fled north and were later destroyed by Pompey, who was coming back from Roman Iberia. This enabled him also to claim credit for ending this war. Pompey was greeted as a hero in Rome while Crassus received little credit or celebration.

Using the army in ADLG

  • This army must take a strategist, and so with its +3 Command that leaves room for only one competent command and one ordinary, or two ordinary.
  • The list only has the option to take up to 2 medium cavalry units, leaving much to be desired for mobility. No allies means you cannot use other lists to cover this flaw.
  • The army cannot take a fortified camp, which combined with the lack of cavalry means you will need to devote some foot units just to keep Light Cavalry from sacking you camp.

User-contributed links about this army:

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

This list uses included commands to save on points so the army can have tons of units. Gannicus's command will protect the camp, while the other two large commands fight the battle.

200 Points
Spartacus
- 1 Gladiators with Spartacus - Heavy Swordsmen Armor Impact Elite
- 5 Heavy Swordsmen Impetuous
- 5 Medium Swordsmen Mediocre
- 4 Light Infantry Sling

Crixus (Competent)
- 1 Gladiators with Crixus - Heavy Swordsmen Armor Impact Elite
- 5 Heavy Swordsmen Impetuous
- 4 Medium Swordsmen Mediocre

Gannicus (Ordinary & Unreliable)
- 2 Medium Cavalry (Gannicus included)
- 4 Levy Impetuous

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

This is a full listing of all known 15mm manufacturers with Roman-era ranges, which notes those with gladiators (even though it's unlikley that many of the slaves actually used gladiatorial equipment. A full listing of who supplies what can be found in my 15mm Suppliers directory
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery . This blog has a good size comparison of different manufacturers.

Gladiators! Image

28mm Suppliers

Wargames Foundry


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