Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Villains of History – Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla

The past century provides us with three of the greatest villains of all time based on the number of human beings killed. Mao, Stalin, and Hitler used modern technology to murder millions and protect their positions of power. Hitler was probably the oddest case as he used racial purification to justify murder using a corruption of  the theory of Eugenics. It is estimated that Mao is responsible for 40-70 million deaths, Stalin 50 million, and Hitler 12 million.

The Roman Empire had its share of villains also. We have seen psychotics like Caligula, Nero, Domitian, and Commodus, sprinkled throughout its history, but with Septimius Severus and his son we reach a new definition of evil and villainy. Here are the father and son.

As Gibbon puts it:

The unforgiving temper of Severus, stimulated by avarice, indulged a spirit of revenge where there was no room for apprehension..

And so his cruelty became a mask for misrule as he allowed the army to take on a new form which would threaten the future of the empire.

Severus possessed a considerable share of vigor and ability; but the daring soul of the first Caesar, or the deep policy of Augustus, were scarcely equal to the task of curbing the insolence of the victorious legions. By gratitude, by misguided policy, by seeming necessity, Severus was reduced to relax the nerves of discipline.

Elated by success, the army became enervated by luxury, and felt themselves raised above their subjects by their dangerous privileges, so that they became incapable of military fatigue, oppressive to the country, and impatient of a just subordination.

As Severus ruled Rome as his possession and the army became a threat, he was also faced with the conflict between his two sons Caracalla and Geta, who despised each other.

Severus foretold that the weaker of his two sons would fall a sacrifice to the stronger; who would in his turn, be ruined by his own vices.

Severus died in York, England after a foolish expedition north of the Antonine Wall, outliving Caracalla’s attempts to create a mutiny designed to murder him. With Severus’ death, and by his recommendation, the army named Caracalla and Geta co-emperors in 211 A.D. For a while the brothers tried to make their relationship work, dividing the imperial palace into two parts and putting up walls to separate them. Later, they sought to divide the empire in two: one brother in the east and the other in the west. Before this plan was implemented, however, Caracalla had Geta murdered in front of their mother.

Caracalla rushed to the praetorian camp and lay prostrate on the ground begging the guard to understand he killed his brother in self-defense. One of his first acts as sole emperor was to kill 20,000 persons who were guilty of association with Geta. The reason given for this atrocity was that he might encounter them on the street and be reminded of his brother! Even some who uttered Geta’s name in public were struck down.

A year after Geta's death Caracalla left Rome never to return. He traveled throughout the eastern provinces overseeing the murder of thousands.  In Alexandria, for example, he ordered a general massacre killing several thousand for no reason. And so the empire under Caracalla degraded further as Gibbon tells us:

The liberality of the father has been restrained by prudence, and his indulgence to the troops was tempered by firmness and authority. The careless profusion of the son was the policy of one reign, and the inevitable ruin both of the army and  the empire. The vigor of the soldiers, instead of being confirmed by the severe discipline of camps, melted away in the luxury of cities.

But Caracalla would come to his end soon enough. Hearing a prophesy that the Praetorian Prefect Macrinius would become emperor, members of Caracalla’s contingent sent warning letters to the emperor. Caracalla, in the midst of watching a chariot race when he received them, gave the dispatches to Macrinius unopened and asked him to see if they contained anything important. Upon reading the dispatches, Macrinius realized his life was in danger and had the emperor assassinated.

The next 67 years would see 23 emperor rise and fall. The empire had become a military dictatorship with the choice of emperor dictated by the capriciousness of the army.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Edward Gibbon on The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Most people exposed to Roman history have heard Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire mentioned. This work has long been considered essential reading for those interested in the Roman Empire, but I never got around to it for some reason. Maybe I thought it would be too big to tackle – six volumes – or maybe I thought I knew why Rome fell. It is the purpose of this blog, however, to educate and enlighten so we need to include the contribution of Gibbon.

Edward Gibbon’s dates were 1737-1794. Born in Surrey, he received a rigorous formal education and served in the English militia during the Seven Years War. After discharge in 1762, Gibbon embarked on a grand tour of Europe, which included a stay in Rome. Seeing the ruins of the Forum captured his imagination and from that moment on he dedicated himself to writing the history of the fall of the Roman Empire. Back in England Gibbon spent time managing his father’s estate and serving in parliament while writing his history. The first volume was published in 1776, volumes three and four by 1781, and the final two volumes appeared in 1787. Interesting to note the coincidence with important American dates. The Decline was immensely popular in its day with the first two volumes selling out three editions.

The first impression made on the reader is a prose style which is stylish and easy to read, unlike most history. Example:

“The principal conquests of the Romans were achieved under the republic; and the emperors, for the most part, were satisfied with preserving those dominions which had been acquired by the policy of the senate, the active emulations of the consuls, and the martial enthusiasm of the people. The seven first centuries were filled with a rapid succession of triumphs; but it was reserved for Augustus to relinquish the ambitious design of subduing the whole earth, and to introduce a spirit of moderation into the public councils.”

Gibbon’s writing style was praised by contemporary writers including the philosopher David Hume, Adam Smith, and Horace Walpole. His scholarship is very thorough, setting a standard for the time. Gibbon utilized all the available resources available to him and incorporated extensive footnotes and references into his volumes. There are mistakes, of course: some because of his lack of information or assumptions he made. There are also some biases, particularly with respect to religion, but these blemishes do not detract from the overall quality of this important work.

Gibbon begins volume one with a summary of the period from Augustus to Domitian, gets down to detail with Trajan, and moves forward through the life of the Caesars until the empire is no more. Here and in future posts I will identify and discuss the factors he cites as the causes of the collapse of the empire.

The first of these appears in volume one chapter 5 where he writes:

“The Praetorian bands, whose licentious fury was the first symptom and cause of the decline of the Roman empire, scarcely amounted to nine or ten thousand. They derived their institution from Augustus.  That crafty tyrant, sensible that laws might color, but that arms alone could maintain his usurped dominion, had gradually formed this powerful body of guards, in constant readiness to protect his person, to awe the senate, and either to prevent or to crush the first motions of rebellion.”

The Praetorian Guard was the unique personal army of the Caesar designed to protect his person against threats from any quarter. Originally named because they were used to protect military praetors during war, the name was co-opted by Augustus to apply to a new kind of personal bodyguard. Augustus’ original contingent of nine cohorts of 500 men was soon raised to cohorts of 1000, carefully rotated to keep them separated and less dangerous. Nevertheless, danger would become a reality thirty three years later when Sejanus, praetorian prefect of Tiberius, attempted to overthrow his master, before he was exposed and executed.

The guard acted a kingmakers for the first time when they found Claudius hiding behind a curtain after the assassination of Caligula, and proclaimed him Caesar. I mentioned in previous posts the guard’s sinister role in the year of four emperors and the auctioning of the Empire. Gibbon comments specifically on the danger of a private army:

Such formidable servants are always necessary, but often fatal to the throne of despotism.  By thus introducing the Praetorian guards as it were into the palace and the senate, the emperors taught them to perceive their own strength, and the weakness of the civil government; to view the vices of their masters with familiar contempt, and to lay aside that reverential awe, which distance only, and mystery, can preserve towards an imaginary power. In the luxurious idleness of an opulent city, their pride was nourished by the sense of their irresistible weight; nor was it possible to conceal from them, that the person of the sovereign, the authority of the senate, the public treasure, and the seat of empire, were all in their hands.  To divert the Praetorian bands from these dangerous reflections, the firmest and best established princes were obliged to mix blandishments with commands, rewards with punishments, to flatter their pride, indulge their pleasures, connive at their irregularities, and to purchase their precarious faith by a liberal donative; which, since the elevation of Claudius, was enacted as a legal claim, on the accession of every new emperor.

In the previous post I described what must be considered the worst excess of the guard – the auctioning of the empire -- but there are other abuses to add to the list of infamous acts:

Emperor Caraculla murdered in a plot by the Praetorian Prefect in 218 A.D.
Emperor Elagabalus murdered by the guard in 222 A.D.
Emperor Balbinus murdered by the guard in 238 A.D.
Emperor Pupienus murdered by the guard in 238 A.D.
Emperor Gordian III murdered by the Praetorian Prefect in 244 A.D.

By 284 A.D. Diocletian had removed the Praetorians from the palace and substituted his own version of a protection force. Finally, in 312, Constantine defeated a guard force supporting the usurper Maxentius, disbanded the guard, and demolished its camp in Rome.

So we have described the first of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire according to Edward Gibbon. We’ve seen that when you create a private army to protect yourself from the public army, you lose the separation that maintains the mystique of the supreme leader. When the private army is able to observe the leader’s humanness close up, they may decide he’s no better than them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Day the Roman Empire was Auctioned - March 28, 193 A.D.

Following the death of Marcus Aurelius, his natural son Commodus was elevated to emperor, and the Roman people shared a hope that the Golden Age would continue. As the first natural son of a sitting emperor since Domitian, Commodus would end up proving the theory that prudent adoption beats genetics.

This is the way Dio described what happened, “Our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs for the Romans of that day.”

From the very beginning Commodus cut an odd figure in his behavior; timid and weak in disposition while becoming a slave to his attendants. These traits caused him to delegate the management of the empire to a series of lieutenants. What followed logically, then, were conspiracies, and shortly after, attempts on his life.  In 182 A.D. an assassin employed by Commodus’ sister Lucilla tried to stab him with a dagger and failed. The experience unnerved Commodus and turned him into a paranoid personality. He refused to appear in public and communications with him could only occur through intermediaries. Chiefs of staff rose and fell from power one after the other – most notably Perennis and then Cleander – as their behavior offended the people. Following the death of the latter, Commodus became an unhinged megalomaniac, demanding the Senate deify him and renaming Rome to Colonia Commodiana.

Oddly, it was the palace staff that decided to act against him to save their own lives. The imperial chamberlain, commander of the Praetorian Guard, and Commodus’s favorite concubine plotted his downfall in secret. The concubine, Marcia, poisoned him one evening and when he vomited instead of dying, she engaged a athlete to strangle him. Commodus' body was secretly buried and the Senate informed of his death. The date was New Year's Eve 192 A.D.

The conspirators chose Publius Helvius Pertinax as the new emperor. He was a self-made man who had experienced a meteoric rise from the son of a slave to military commander. Consul in 175 A.D. and governor of Syria in 180, Pertinax won over the Praetorians with a bonus of 12,000 sesterces each. Too idealistic, Pertinax tried to right all of the wrongs of Commodus at once and in doing so alienated all of Rome’s most important constituencies. In early March there was a coup attempted but it was discovered. Then on March 28th, 300 soldiers attacked the emperor’s palace egged on by the Praetorians. Pertinax tried to win over his adversaries with words but they killed him.

Now our story turns to the bizarre. After the assassination of Pertinax, the praetorians returned to their camp and locked the gates. From there they shouted for candidates to come forward and bid for the right to be Caesar. Two men agreed to bid: Titus Flavius Sulpicianus, father of Pertinax’ wife, and Didius Julianus, a rich senator. Didius won the auction because he offered a larger sum and he also convinced the Praetorians that Titus might seek revenge if he were chosen.

This debasing of the Empire caused an immediate reaction among the province commanders. At least three expressed their disgust and declared their intension to assume the position of emperor: Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, and Septimius Severus, governor of Upper Pannonia near the middle Danube. Severus had two advantages over the others and they contributed to his eventual success: he was closest to Rome and more aggressive. While Niger dawdled and Albinus was content with a Severus offer of truce, the latter packed up his army and marched to Rome, making the entire 800 mile journey in 40 days. Julianus’ execution was the first order of business after which Severus turned his attention to the Praetorians. He ordered them to muster in a field outside the city walls without weapons. They were surrounded by the Illyrian army with spears pointed at them.

Severus spoke to them and reproached them for their crimes. The Praetorians were stripped of their authority and told to relocate to points no closer to Rome than 100 miles on fear of death. While the speech was being delivered soldiers from Severus’ army took over the Praetorian camp and secured their weapons to prevent any type of countermeasure.

Now with his ascendancy ratified by the assembly, Severus went on a march to destroy his two competitors. By April of 194 A.D. he had defeated and killed Niger. Turning his attention to Albinus, Severus moved west and engaged him in a decisive battle near Lyon on February 19th 197. Albinus committed suicide after his army was defeated.

Severus ruled for eighteen years while the day Didius Julianus purchased the Roman Empire at auction faded from memory.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Roman Empire -- The Golden Age

In the last post I buried the empire. Now I wish to praise it.

Before doing that we need to review some statistics which will give you a sense of the tenuous nature of the Emperor’s position. There were 58 of them from Augustus to the year 363 A.D, when Jovian died and the empire was split into east and west. Of the 58, 30 were murdered by the army, 4 died of the plague, 2 died in battle, 2 committed suicide, 1 was struck by lightning, and 1 drowned. Great men were rare and weaklings ubiquitous. The army lacked real men – leaders made of the same stuff as them -- so weaklings had to pay them to stay alive. But the army was fickle and might give an emperor the sword because it decided it liked someone else better. My use of the term, army, includes the Praetorian Guard who by their position of honor and proximity to the emperor, played a special role in king making.

During the time of the Caesars there were occasional periods of calm. One of these, known as the Golden Age – 98 A.D. to 180 A.D. – is the subject of this article. There are no obvious clues to explain why the empire functioned so well during this period. The four men in charge had very different personalities and they were not equal in ability. Many wars were fought and each man was challenged by instability, yet the empire ran smoothly. Maybe it was luck.

Let’s look at each of these four men in detail so we can understand the threads that drove the empire during this time. For each I have included an image of their silver denarius from my collection. The coins lend a physical reality to the story of the man.
Trajan. The inscription on his coin is IMP CAES NER TRIANO OPTIMO AUG GER DAC which means Imperator (emperor) Caesar Nerva (son of) Trajan Best Augustus Germanicus Dacicus. The coin was struck 114 A.D. 

Trajan reigned from 98-117. Loved by all feared by none, save the enemy. Trajan was considered by many as the greatest Roman emperor after Augustus. A saying went “may you be as lucky as Augustus and as great as Trajan”. The son of the commander of the tenth legion who became consul in 70 A.D, Trajan was the first Roman emperor not born in Italy (Seville).  He was commander of the seventh legion in Spain and found favor with Commodus before the latter’s assassination. Later made governor of upper Germany in 96 A.D. and  adopted by emperor Nerva, Trajan was a born warrior who loved the fight. He suppressed Dacia (modern Romania) in the period 101-106 and the Parthians (Iran) during the years 114-117 before a stroke killed him at Cilia (Southeastern Turkey).

Trajan’s legacy is the great column that sits near the Roman Forum, a one hundred foot chronicle of his conquests. His ashes were buried there after his death.
Hadrian. The inscription on his coin is HADRIANUS AUG COS III PP which means Hadrian Augustus Consul Three times Father of his Country (Pater Patriae) The coin was struck between 134-138 A.D.

Hadrian reigned from 117-138. More a thinker than a fighter. Like Marcus Aurelius in many ways. Son of a cousin of Trajan, taken in as Trajan’s ward to learn discipline, Hadrian later commanded the fifth legion on the Danube. When Nerva died Hadrian was the first to give Trajan the news by outrunning others carrying the message. His succession to emperor was obscure. Trajan never said publicly that he intended Hadrian as his successor and when he died, the message naming Hadrian was signed by the empress who claimed Trajan was too ill to write. She was known to favor Hadrian over other candidates. The new Caesar’s reign began badly when he had four ex-consuls killed for plotting his overthrow. The Roman people never forgave him for this offence. 

Still, he was a more than capable ruler, adopting a foreign policy to abandon the territories taken by Trajan and bring the borders of the empire back to its natural limits at the Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates – a very practical decision. Hadrian traveled extensively (more than half his reign), visiting the provinces, fortifying the borders (e.g. Hadrian’s Wall), and spending time with the army. He loved the Greeks and traveled to Athens twice. While there he sponsored construction projects like others across the empire.

At the end of his life when faced with the succession issue he adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus, but Lucius died of tuberculosis a year later. Now Hadrian executed a twin adoption. As Caesar he named Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antonius who would become Antonius Pius. He also required Antonius to adopt two young men to become his successors: Lucius Ceionius Commodus, son of the emperor designate who had died and Marcus Annius Verus grandson of a close friend of Hadrian.

Hadrian was very ill at the end of his life and had to be prevented from committing suicide on several occasions. He finally succumbed on July 10th, 138 A.D.
Antonius Pius. The inscription on his coin is ANTONIUS AUG PIUS PP TR P XII which means Antonius Augustus Pius Pater Patriae Tribunicia Potentate twelve times. The coin was struck 149 A.D. indicating the twelfth year of his reign.

Antonius Pius reigned from 138-161 A.D. A practical man of sound morals. Hadrian may have used the 51 year old Pius as a reliable place holder until it was time for the 16 year old Marcus Aurelius to reign. Antonius ruled during one of the calmest periods in imperial history. He seldom traveled, choosing to focus on managing the machinery of the empire. He was just and fair to all ensuring that the rule of law was followed. Pius was tall, handsome, and a good orator – traits which supported authority, stability, and calm. He died peacefully after an acute stomach infection on March 7th 161 A.D. His last word to the duty officer was the day’s password “equanimity.”

A quote from Marcus Aurelius on his father:

“Do all things as becometh the disciple of Antonius Pius. Remember his resolute constancy in things that were done by him according to reason, his equitability in all things, his sanctity; the cheerfulness of his countenance, his sweetness, and how free he was from all vainglory.”

Marcus Aurelius. The inscription on is coin is M ANTONIUS AUG IMP II which means Marcus Antonius Augustus Imperator II. The coin was struck 162 A.D.

When Marcus Aurelius became Caesar in 161 A.D. he named his brother Lucius Verus as an equal and designated him as co-Caesar and Augustus. As peaceful as the reign of Antonius Pius was, we find the opposite in the reign of Marcus, as if the gods were blocking him from pursuing his life’s calling as a peacemaker. Immediately there were attacks in the east and the north followed by invasions and plague. Verus, showing himself a worthy partner, fought the Parthians from 162-166 A.D. but then his troops brought the plague home with them. The emperors went north to fight the Germans in 168 but Verus died of a stroke in 169. Marcus fought the Germans from 170-175, returned to Rome for three years, and then attacked the Germans again starting in 178 A.D. He died there in 180 A.D. 

Dio said of him, “He did not meet with the good fortune he deserved for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout his reign.” We see in Marcus’ Meditations the stoic spirit of a man reconciled to a life he had not wished for himself:

“Oh wretched I to whom this mischance has happened… I can continue without grief; neither wounded by that which is present, nor in fear of that which is to come. For as for this, it might have happened to any man…”

What of these four men -- the men that reigned in the golden age of the empire? A warrior, a man comfortable with battle, a peaceful man, and a philosopher forced to be a warrior. They represent all that can be good in men along with the faults all men possess. Rome could have used more like them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Year of Four Emperors

I don’t write a lot about the Roman Empire, probably because there is so much to dislike about it. Uneven governance, perpetual wars, and a progressive decay of the political system would be some of my reasons. Still we have to remember that the empire lasted 500 years -- longer than the republic – and there were periods of prosperity and calm. The death of the empire had many causes, one being the corruptive influence of the king making army. But we get ahead of ourselves.

One of our best sources for history of the empire is Tacitus, who lived from 58-117 A.D. He was a well-educated patrician who rose to consul in 97 A.D. and was also famous as an orator. Tacitus was an eye witness to many of the events he wrote about -- rare among Roman historians. Volume one of his histories begins with the year of four emperors – a tug of war between four men who wanted to rule the empire. All four achieved their goal but three got their lives cut short in the bargain. The last of the four, Vespasian, was able to stabilize the empire for twenty three years.

The year 69 A.D. was certainly one of great turmoil in the Roman Empire, starting with Nero’s incompetence, which lost him the support of the army. His death on June 9th 68 A.D. resulted from  the following sequence of events. In March of that year the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gaius Vindex, rebelled against the taxes levied by Nero. The emperor then ordered the governor of Germania Superior, Lucius Rufus, to put down the revolt. Vindex appealed to Servius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to help him. Galba refused and Rufus defeated Vindex in battle. Rufus’ troops proclaimed him emperor but he refused to act against Nero.

Galba’s support had grown under the aid of Sabinus, prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and his march on Rome precipitated the death of Nero. Since Nero represented the final member of the Judio-Claudian line, a new line would have to come out of a power struggle. Galba was old (72), and although seasoned in Roman politics he had a reputation for cruelty. To make matters worse he attempted to stabilize the finances of Rome, offending many influential parties in the process.

On January 1, 69 A.D. two legions of Germania Superior refused to take an oath to Galba. The next day Germania Inferior revolted and proclaimed their governor, Vitellius the next emperor. Galba adopted his protégé Piso to try and create a line of succession but this caused him to appear weak. M. Sulvius Otho, former governor of Lusitania, upset that Piso was adopted instead of him, negotiated a deal with the Praetorian Guard to have himself named emperor. Galba, on the way to meet Otho, was assassinated with Piso following shortly after. It was January 15, 69 A.D.

Otho was a useless, dissipated man who was short on capacity to lead.  He was surprised to read in Galba’s correspondence the depth of the rebellion in Germany and the support Vitellius was receiving there. When Vitellius began a move toward Rome, Otho took his troops north to try and block entrance to Italy but arrived too late. When in haste he decided to attack Vitellius at Bedriacum and was defeated, Otho committed suicide on April 16th 69 A.D.

By July, the legions in the east has declared for Vespasian. Otho’s adherents, looking for a new savior, agreed to support him. Vitellius sought to meet Vespasian in the field but was held back by the Praetorians. After his army was defeated by surrogates of Vespasian, Vitellius was assassinated on December 22, 69 A.D, elevating the fourth man to emperor in a single year.

The map above shows the rivals for control of the empire and their movements during 68-70 A.D.

Vespasian was more shrewd than his adversaries: capitalizing on prophesies that a great military man would come out of Judea by advertising them vigorously, traveling to Egypt to secure the Roman gain supply, and using his son, Domitian, along with a colleague Mucianus to administer Rome until he arrived midway through 70 A.D.

Vespasian built the Coliseum in 70, and reigned successfully for ten years. His sons were not so lucky, however. Titus reigned from 79-81 A.D. during the time of the Vesuvius eruption, and died prematurely of fever. Domitian turned out to be a hated tyrant and was assassinated in 96 A.D.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Spartacus and the Slave Revolt of 73-71 B.C.

The story of Spartacus has reached the point of popular culture, most recently realized in the Starz min-series Spartacus Blood and Sand. This series utilizes facts we know to be accurate and weaves them into a story designed to entertain. Here we will take a look what history tells us about the revolt (from Plutarch and others) and put it in the context of the Italian geography.

The slave revolt of 73 B.C. began when a group of gladiators (78 to be exact) broke out of the training camp of one Lentulus Badiates in Capua. Most of these men had been captured, held as slaves, and forced to fight for their lives in the arena. Few were Romans, the majority being Gauls, Germans, and Thracians. The gladiators escaped by breaking into the kitchen and stealing the cook’s knives and spits, which they were able to use as weapons to overpower the guards.

Outside Capua they had to good luck to come upon wagons loaded with weapons meant for gladiators in another city so they were able to arm themselves. Spartacus was elected  the chief of three captains. It’s possible the other two were Crixus and Oenomaus.

After defeating the Romans who were pursuing them out of Capua, the rebels were able to substitute Roman weapons for their gladiator weapons, which they considered dishonorable. First attacked by the praetor Clodius on a mountain (Vesuvius?), Spartacus’ men were able to escape to the other side, circle around, attack, and defeat the Roman force. After this battle, the rebel force grew stronger though the recruitment of sympathetic allies.

The log of attempts to defeat Spartacus and his men follows:

1. The praetor Publius Varinus sent his lieutenant Furius against the rebels with 2,000 men and they are defeated.

2. Cossinius was sent to give advice and counsel to Varinius but he and his men are intercepted while in camp and killed.

Spartacus decides to march his men to the Alps and allow them to go their separate ways – Gauls to the west to their homeland and Thracians to the east. But there arose a disagreement on this because Crixus, the Gaul, did not want to return to his homeland and was content to stay in the Italian peninsula and play the brigand. In the fall of 73 B.C. the rebels returned to the south.

3. The consul Gellius attacks the German rebel faction and soundly defeats them.

4. At the same time Lentulus attacks the rebel force led by Spartacus and sees his officers defeated.

In the spring of 72 B.C. the rebels again move north.

5. The praetor Cassius attacks Spartacus with 10,000 men and is defeated at Mutina(?).

Meanwhile, an angry Senate gives Crassus the job of defeating Spartacus.

6. Stationed at Picenum, Crassus sends his lieutenant Mummius with two legions to observe and not attack the rebels. Spartacus is able to draw Mummius into battle and the Romans are routed.

A furious Crassus proceeds to decimate his army while Spartacus retreats down through Lucania into the toe of Italy. The latter attempts to cross into Sicily with the aid of Cilician pirates but they deceive him and sail away. Spartacus settles his army near Rhegium.

After arriving at the Italian toe, Crassus orders that a wall be build across the isthmus to prevent a rebel escape. The resulting wall is 37 miles long!

The location of the wall on this map is an approximation based on the closest point to Rhegium that a 37 mile line could be placed.

Crassus asks the Senate to recall Lucullus from Thrace and Pompey from Spain to assist him in defeating the rebels. Some deserters from Spartacus’ army breakout and are about to be taken by Crassus when Spartacus comes to their aid. Crassus attacks the deserters a second time and is able to kill 12,000.

Spartacus retires to the mountains of Petelia, where he is pursued by two of Crassus’ officers Quintius and Scrofa.

7. Both are utterly defeated by Spartacus at Petelia.

At this juncture Spartacus men, tired of retreat, demand that the rebel army return and fight the Romans to the death. They engage the armies of Crassus and Pompey and are finally defeated. The body of Spartacus is never found.

The map below shows the movements of Spartacus and his rebel army over the period of the revolt.