The Spartacus War

Strauss’ The Spartacus War tells the real story of the gladiator and rebel slave who was as much an insurgent, nationalist, and religious figure as he was a liberator.

In the summer of 73 BC, Rome faced a revolt unlike any it had ever known or would experience again: a slave revolt 60,000 men strong, led by a Thracian gladiator and ex-soldier named Spartacus. The legend has lasted two millennia and inspired countless novels and films, but the true story of Spartacus nearly defies belief. In THE SPARTACUS WAR, historian Barry Strauss tells the captivating story of a charismatic gladiator who built an army from only 74 gladiators that would eventually control all of Southern Italy. Spartacus’s slave army managed to defeat nine different Roman armies and kept the greatest military power at bay for two years before going down in defeat.

Named one of the favorite books of 2009 by Books & Culture

“A swift-moving, accessible chronicle of the insurgency against ancient Rome led by the charismatic slave leader Spartacus…Strauss colorfully illustrates the making of the durable Spartacus myth. Graphic, adrenaline-pumping history.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“No one presents the military history of the ancient world with greater insight and panache than Strauss…[A] brisk, engrossing account.”
—Publishers Weekly

“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

“With his trademarks of extensive knowledge, insights and great story-telling ability, Barry Strauss brings us as close as we can get to the enigmatic Spartacus, the slave who defied the Roman Republic.”
—Adrian Goldsworthy, author of Caesar: Life of a Colossus

“The great slave revolt of the gladiator Spartacus shook the Roman world of the first-century BC as much as it fascinates us still two millennia later. The classicist and stylist Barry Strauss explains why all that is so in a narrative that is as engaging to read as it is thoroughly researched.”
—Victor Davis Hanson, Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, Classics/Military History, the Hoover Institution

“The long track of history—especially ancient history—is marred by potholes and chasms of the unknown and unknowable. No contemporary historian bridges these gaps better than Barry Strauss. He does not leap across them so much as build elegant spans of logic, of the likely and the possible. His raw materials are an immense knowledge base, wit and humor, and a welcome sense for brevity. Spartacus comes alive.”
—David L. Robbins, author of War of the Rats and The Assassins Gallery

Audiobook available on audible.com

Translations: French, Italian, Korean, Spanish