History Biography Geography Science Games

Ancient Rome

Biography of Spartacus

Biographies >> Ancient Rome


Early Life

Not a lot is known about Spartacus' early life. He was a Thracian who joined the Roman army as a young man. However, things didn't work out. He tried to leave the army. When he was caught leaving, he was sold into slavery as a gladiator.

Life as a Gladiator

Spartacus lived the life of a gladiator. He was basically a slave who was forced to fight for the entertainment of the Romans. He was sent to a gladiator school where he constantly trained to fight. He was then put into the arena to fight animals or other gladiators. Some of the fights were to the death. He must have been both a good fighter and lucky to survive.

His life as a gladiator was difficult. He became tired of risking his life for the entertainment of others. He wanted to escape and go home.


In 73 BC, seventy gladiators, with Spartacus as their leader, escaped from the gladiator school. They were able to steal their weapons and armor and fight their way free. They fled to Mount Vesuvius near the city of Pompeii gathering more slaves to their small army as they went.

Fighting Rome

Rome sent an army of 3,000 men under the leadership of Claudius Glaber. Glaber surrounded the slaves at Mount Vesuvius and decided to wait them out. He figured they would eventually starve.

Spartacus, however, had a different idea. He and the gladiators used the vines from local trees to repel down the side of the mountain and sneak up behind the Roman forces. They killed nearly all 3,000 of the Roman soldiers.

Rome sent another army of around 6,000 soldiers. Spartacus and the slaves again defeated them.

More Slaves Join

As Spartacus continued to have success against the Roman army, more and more slaves began to desert their owners and join up with Spartacus. Soon Spartacus' forces had grown to over 70,000 slaves! The gladiators used their fighting experience to train the slaves how to fight. They also had lots of weapons and armor from defeating the Roman troops.

Over the winter of that year, Spartacus and his 70,000 slaves camped in northern Italy. They raided Roman towns for food and supplies and trained for the battles they knew would come.

Final Battle

The Romans became increasingly scared and worried about this large force of slaves and gladiators moving about the country. They gathered a large army of around 50,000 soldiers under the leadership of Crassus. At the same time Pompey the Great was returning from another war. The two generals defeated the slave revolt and killed Spartacus.

Interesting Facts about Spartacus


  • Listen to a recorded reading of this page:

  • Biographies >> Ancient Rome

    For more about Ancient Rome:

    Overview and History
    Timeline of Ancient Rome
    Early History of Rome
    The Roman Republic
    Republic to Empire
    Wars and Battles
    Roman Empire in England
    Fall of Rome

    Cities and Engineering
    The City of Rome
    City of Pompeii
    The Colosseum
    Roman Baths
    Housing and Homes
    Roman Engineering
    Roman Numerals
    Daily Life
    Daily Life in Ancient Rome
    Life in the City
    Life in the Country
    Food and Cooking
    Family Life
    Slaves and Peasants
    Plebeians and Patricians

    Arts and Religion
    Ancient Roman Art
    Roman Mythology
    Romulus and Remus
    The Arena and Entertainment
    Julius Caesar
    Constantine the Great
    Gaius Marius
    Spartacus the Gladiator
    Emperors of the Roman Empire
    Women of Rome

    Legacy of Rome
    The Roman Senate
    Roman Law
    Roman Army
    Glossary and Terms

    Works Cited

    Back to History for Kids

    Ducksters Footer Gif with Ducks

    About Ducksters Privacy Policy 


    This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2024, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.