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"Spartacus Army" Topic


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07 Jan 2019 9:17 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 8:31 p.m. PST

"Any society that relies to a great extent on subjugated and enslaved people always fears an uprising, and the Roman world experienced several of those. In 73 BCE slaves, probably prisoners of war, who had been forced to become gladiators, overpowered their guards and escaped from Capua into the countryside, initially camping on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. This group quickly attracted slaves and others with no stake in society, and over the next two years they roamed Italy, meeting and defeating each local militia force sent against them. Internal disputes seem to have weakened them and on at least one occasion a large group split off and went their own way, but eventually all were cornered by legions under the command of Crassus and either killed or captured the captives being crucified publicly as a deterrent to others. Spartacus was at least one of the leaders, and his name has been remembered in history for this serious threat to Roman order from within its own borders.

As recruits flocked to join the rebels they would have worn their ordinary clothing, which in many cases would have been the simply tunica. Knowing they would have to fight to stay at liberty, the need was always for more suitable clothing for a warrior, particularly armour, and such armour as there was came from captured stocks in warehouses, or off the backs of those forces the rebels defeated and captured. Inevitably there was never nearly enough to go round, so most probably remained in civilian clothing the whole time. Some of the figures in this set certainly reflect this, with just a basic garment being worn, and one man wears a cloak too. However half the poses here have acquired some element of armour, which is probably a far higher proportion than in reality. The armour takes many forms, including mail corselet, linen corselet in the Greek style, solid muscle cuirass and small pectoral plate. The mail corselet would have been much the most common of the plunder available to these people, with the remainder being very rare, so this set provides a wide selection of the possible armours and ignores the likely frequency of them being worn. The linen corselet in particular seems very far from home, but none of this can be said to be impossible for the time, and so is appropriate for this subject….#

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