Marzo Pazzarello

Posted by Barry Strauss under on March 2, 2009

“March is a crazy kid,” say the Italians. On a day when snow covers New York City and Washington but nothing worse than a blustery – and dry – wind blows here in the Finger Lakes, I’ll take that proverb. We Upstaters don’t wish bad weather on our neighbors, but we smile at the favors of a topsy-turvy month. After all, from time to time it snows here in May.

Spartacus too experienced the ups and downs of the weather. He once, for example, tried to ferry his men across the Strait of Messina on makeshift rafts in the winter waves: good luck to that. Landlubbers, the rebels would have had their work cut out for them on a summer day.

On the plus side, Spartacus carefully timed an attack on Roman defenses in the mountains for a night of snow and wind. Spartacus, who came from Thrace (roughly, today’s Bulgaria), was no stranger to harsh weather. The Romans, he knew, preferred the Mediterranean sun. Calculating that the enemy would be off-guard, he made his move and broke through the Roman line.

Every storm offers an opportunity if you are tough enough to take it. Or crazy enough.

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