Sunday, March 25, 2012

Appian - Civil Wars

116 At the same time Spartacus, a Thracian by birth, who had once served as a soldier with the Romans, but had since been a prisoner and sold for a gladiator, and was in the gladiatorial training-school at Capua, persuaded about seventy of his comrades to strike for their own freedom rather than for the amusement of spectators. They overcame the guards and ran away, arming themselves with clubs and daggers that they took from people on the roads, and took refuge on Mount Vesuvius. There many fugitive slaves and even some freemen from the fields joined Spartacus, and he plundered the neighboring country, having for subordinate officers two gladiators named Oenomaus and Crixus. As he divided the plunder impartially he soon had plenty of men. Varinius Glaber was first sent against him and afterwards Publius Valerius, not with regular armies, but with forces picked up in haste and at random, for the Romans did not consider this a war yet, but a raid, something like an attack of robbery. They attacked Spartacus and were beaten. Spartacus even captured the horse of Varinius; so narrowly did the very general of the Romans escape being captured by a gladiator.    
After this still greater numbers flocked to Spartacus till his army numbered 70,000. For these he manufactured weapons and collected equipment, whereas Rome now sent out the consuls with two legions.    
117 One of them overcame Crixus with 30,000 men near Mount Garganus, two-thirds of whom perished together with himself. Spartacus endeavored to make his way through the Apennines to the Alps and the Gallic country, but one of the consuls anticipated him and hindered his flight while the other hung upon his rear. He turned upon them one after the other and beat them in detail. They retreated in confusion in different directions. Spartacus sacrificed 300 Roman prisoners to the shade of Crixus, and marched on Rome with 120,000 foot, having burned all his useless material, killed all his prisoners, and butchered his pack-animals in order to expedite his movement. Many deserters offered themselves to him, but he would not accept them. The consuls again met him in the country of Picenum. Here there was fought another great battle and there was, too, another great defeat for the Romans.    
Spartacus changed his intention of marching on Rome. He did not consider himself ready as yet for that kind of a fight, as his whole force was not suitably armed, for no city had joined him, but only slaves, deserters, and riff-raff. However, he occupied the mountains around Thurii and took the city itself. He prohibited the bringing in of gold or silver by merchants, and would not allow his own men to acquire any, but he bought largely of iron and brass and did not interfere with those who dealt in these articles. Supplied with abundant material from this source his men provided themselves with plenty of arms and made frequent forays for the time being. When they next came to an engagement with the Romans they were again victorious, and returned laden with spoils.    
118 this war, so formidable to the Romans (although ridiculed and despised in the beginning, as being merely the work of gladiators), had now lasted three years. When the election of new praetors came on, fear fell upon all, and nobody offered himself as a candidate until Licinius Crassus, a man distinguished among the Romans for birth and wealth, assumed the praetorship and marched against Spartacus with six new legions. When he arrived at his destination he received also the two legions of the consuls, whom he decimated by lot for their bad conduct in several battles. Some say that Crassus, too, having engaged in battle with his whole army, and having been defeated, decimated the whole army and was not deterred by their numbers, but destroyed about 4000 of them. Whichever way it was, when he had once demonstrated to them that he was more dangerous to them than the enemy, he overcame immediately 10,000 of the Spartacans, who were encamped somewhere in a detached position, and killed two-thirds of them. He then marched boldly against Spartacus himself, vanquished him in a brilliant engagement, and pursued his fleeing forces to the sea, where they tried to pass over to Sicily. He overtook them and enclosed them with a line of circumvallation consisting of ditch, wall, and paling.
119 Spartacus tried to break through and make an incursion into the Samnite country, but Crassus slew about 6000 of his men in the morning and as many more towards evening. Only three of the Roman army were killed and seven wounded, so great was the improvement in their moral inspired by the recent punishment. Spartacus, who was expecting a reinforcement of horse from somewhere, no longer went into battle with his whole army, but harassed the besiegers by frequent sallies here and there. He fell upon them unexpectedly and continually, threw bundles of fagots into the ditch and set them on fire and made their labor difficult. He also crucified a Roman prisoner in the space between the two armies to show his own men what fate awaited them if they did not conquer. But when the Romans in the city heard of the siege they thought it would be disgraceful if this war against gladiators should be prolonged. Believing also that the work still to be done against Spartacus was great and severe they ordered up the army of Pompey, which had just arrived from Spain, as reinforcement.
120 On account of this vote Crassus tried in every way to come to an engagement with Spartacus so that Pompey might not reap the glory of the war. Spartacus himself, thinking to anticipate Pompey, invited Crassus to come to terms with him. When his proposals were rejected with scorn he resolved to risk a battle, and as his cavalry had arrived he made a dash with his whole army through the lines of the besieging force and pushed on to Brundusium with Crassus in pursuit. When Spartacus learned that Lucullus had just arrived in Brundusium from his victory over Mithridates he despaired of everything and brought his forces, which were even then very numerous, to close quarters with Crassus. The battle was long and bloody, as might have been expected with so many thousands of desperate men. Spartacus was wounded in the thigh with a spear and sank upon his knee, holding his shield in front of him and contending in this way against his assailants until he and the great mass of those with him were surrounded and slain. The Roman loss was about 1000. The body of Spartacus was not found. A large number of his men fled from the battle-field to the mountains and Crassus followed them thither. They divided themselves in four parts, and continued to fight until they all perished except 6000, who were captured and crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome.
121 Crassus accomplished his task within six months, whence arose a contention for honours between himself and Pompey. Crassus did not dismiss his army, for Pompey did not dismiss his. Both were candidates for the consulship. Crassus had been praetor as the law of Sulla required. Pompey had been neither praetor nor quaestor, and was only thirty-four years old, but he had promised the tribunes of the people that much of their former power should be restored. When they were chosen consuls they did not even then dismiss their armies, which were stationed near the city. Each one offered an excuse. Pompey said that he was waiting the return of Metellus for his Spanish triumph; Crassus said that Pompey ought to dismiss his army first.    
The people, seeing fresh seditions brewing and fearing two armies encamped round about, besought the consuls, while they were occupying the curule chairs in the forum, to be reconciled to each other; but at first both of them repelled these solicitations. When, however, certain persons, who seemed prophetically inspired, predicted many direful consequences if the consuls did not come to an agreement, the people again implored them with lamentations and the greatest dejection, reminding them of the evils produced by the contentions of Marius and Sulla. Crassus yielded first. He came down from his chair, advanced to Pompey, and offered him his hand in the way of reconciliation. Pompey rose and hastened to meet him. They shook hands amid general acclamations and the people did not leave the assembly until the consuls had given orders in writing to disband their armies. Thus was the well-grounded fear of another great dissension happily dispelled. This was about the sixtieth year in the course of the civil convulsions, reckoning from the death of Tiberius Gracchus.   

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