The Spartacus Road: A Personal Journey Through Ancient Italy

Overview

The name of Spartacus resounds through history. In the final century of the first Roman Republic an army of slaves led by Spartacus rose up in Italy. Its success was something no one before had ever known. The Spartacus Road is the route along which this rebel army outfought the world's finest military forces between 73and 71 BC, bringing both fears and hopes that have never wholly left the modern mind.

Sweepingly erudite and strikingly personal, The Spartacus Road is a book ...

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The Spartacus Road: A Personal Journey Through Ancient Italy

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Overview

The name of Spartacus resounds through history. In the final century of the first Roman Republic an army of slaves led by Spartacus rose up in Italy. Its success was something no one before had ever known. The Spartacus Road is the route along which this rebel army outfought the world's finest military forces between 73and 71 BC, bringing both fears and hopes that have never wholly left the modern mind.

Sweepingly erudite and strikingly personal, The Spartacus Road is a book like none other--at once a journalist's notebook, a reflection on life's fragility, including the author's own fight against cancer; and a classicist's celebration. As he travels along the Spartacus Road and into the classical Italian landscape, Stothard breathes new life into a singular war in antiquity, recounting one of the greatest stories of the ages.

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Editorial Reviews

Barry Strauss
Plutarch offers more detail. But Plutarch lived two centuries later and, as Mr. Stothard writes, he was a Greek "with a passion to interpret the not so distant past." To take the Romans down a peg, Plutarch magnified the achievements of men like Spartacus. (Plutarch called him "rather Greek," though Spartacus was from Thrace, north of Greece.) Another ancient writer, Publius Annius Florus, may have been a hack, says Mr. Stothard, but he was "a good hack." His account of the slave rebellion highlights how humiliating a successful slave revolt was to the Romans. Appian of Alexandria, another important Spartacus chronicler, knew what it was like to be pursued by rebels, since he had to run for his life during the Jewish Revolt in Egypt in the early second century.

Ancient history often comes to us in this form—as a kind of mosaic that we must piece together for ourselves, as Mr. Stothard has done so well here. And it still arouses modern passions. Mr. Stothard's engaging book reminds us that, for all the secrets the story of Spartacus refuses to give up, it still leads us back to the heart of things.
The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590205785
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,363,797
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER STOTHARD is the Editor-in-Chief of the Times Literary Supplement. He was editor of the Times for ten years and writes on modern politics and ancient literature.

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Table of Contents

Prologue xi

I Rome To Ariccia 1

Saxon Suicides

Senator Symmachus Regrets

Finishing Schools

Too Many Foreigners

Riddle of The Number 3

Chemistry With Kirk Douglas

Capuan Carlo's Virgin

II ARICCIA to BENEVENTO 39

Spectacular

Poplios Papinios Statios

Dwarf-Eating Birds

Nazi Revenge

A Cancer Called Nero

How to Die Well

Horace And His Father

Hacksaw Teeth

III CAPUA to ACERRA 75

Spartacus Leaves The Kitchen

Contract Killers

Curious Koreans

Sabbio's Las Vegas

Bush E Sharon Criminali

Florus Of Fleet Street

What Goes Around Comes Around

Mountain Monster

IV VESUVIUS to POMPEII 117

Slaves On A Volcano

Epicurus In Scotland

Death And His Half-Brother Sleep

A Boxer From Thebes

How To Succeed In Selling Plates

What Pain Does To The Brain

V POMPEII to Nuceria 155

Terror, Rape And Revenge

Cesspools In Our Streets

Virtual Herculaneum

A Vicar From Essex

Spartacus Triumphant

Lost Libraries By The Sea

VI EGNAZIA to BOTROMAGNO 191

South For The Winter

Magicians And Castrati

Greeks Vs Trojans

Arthur Koestler's Crucifixions

Early Cases Of Syphilis

Massacre Of The Horse-Builder's Men

Body Scans

The Duties Of Slave Women

VII GARGANO to POGNANA 231

Victory For A Philosophical Consul

In The House Of Archangel Michael

Human Entrails Around Their Waists

Calls Of Crows I Corpses On The Beaches

How Spartacus Lost His Hollywood War

VIII TORNO to PICENINO 261

Ghost-Hunting With The Yogurt-Seller

To Leave Italy Or To Fight Rome

In A Chemo-Fuelled Rose Garden

Solid Gold Piss-Pots

Enter Marcus Licinius Crassus

IX REGGIO CALABRIA to BUCCINO-VOLCIEI 297

Popcorn For Plutarch

Columns In The Press

Betrayed By Pirates

Man A And Man B

At The Bitter-Sweet Lake

When The War Was Over

X SORRENTO to ROME 333

How To Live A Happy Life

Marble Mimics Grass

Things To Do With Defeated Slaves

Crucified In Theory

A Head Full Of Molten Gold And Other Aftermaths

Acknowledgements 347

List of Illustrations 349

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