The Spartacus War

  • by Barry Strauss
  • Narrated by Ray Grover
  • 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Spartacus War is the extraordinary story of the most famous slave rebellion in the ancient world, the fascinating true story behind a legend that has been the inspiration for novelists, filmmakers, and revolutionaries for 2,000 years.
Starting with only 74 men, a gladiator named Spartacus incited a rebellion that threatened Rome itself. With his fellow gladiators, Spartacus built an army of 60,000 soldiers and controlled the southern Italian countryside. A charismatic leader, he used religion to win support. An ex-soldier in the Roman army, Spartacus excelled in combat. He defeated nine Roman armies and kept Rome at bay for two years before he was defeated. After his final battle, 6,000 of his followers were captured and crucified along Rome's main southern highway.
The Spartacus War is the dramatic and factual account of one of history's great rebellions. Spartacus was beaten by a Roman general, Crassus, who had learned how to defeat an insurgency. But the rebels were partly to blame for their failure. Their army was large and often undisciplined; the many ethnic groups within it frequently quarreled over leadership. No single leader, not even Spartacus, could keep them all in line. And when faced with a choice between escaping to freedom and looting, the rebels chose wealth over liberty, risking an eventual confrontation with Rome's most powerful forces. The result of years of research, The Spartacus War is based not only on written documents but also on archaeological evidence, historical reconstruction, and the author's extensive travels in the Italian countryside that Spartacus once conquered.

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What the Critics Say

"Strauss admits the lack of reliable primary sources has forced him to engage in some tricky conjectures regarding the character and motivation of Spartacus. Still, many of his assertions are credible, and his efforts to portray the political and social milieu of Italy during the late Republic are superbly done. Strauss sees Spartacus as a brave and charismatic leader who was limited by some personal shortcomings." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Will the real Spartacus please stand...

This book freely admits that the evidence for the Spartacus war is thin on the ground and often contradictory, so if you only wanted to stick to known facts than you could barely fill a pamphlet. As it turns out 6+ hours is a pretty good length as the author does much to flesh out the facts with a good background of the period and a number of suppositions which may or may not be true but help to keep the story going. I can't vouch for the authenticity, but the book does well in telling the story and describing the world in which it occurred.

I found the American accent of the narrator jarring at first, but he reads well enough. The repeated insertion of modern names for ancient places is quite annoying, particularly when they are little different, but anyone interested in the Republican Roman world will enjoy this book.
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- Dave

Book Details

  • Release Date: 31-12-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios