Friday, June 16, 2017
Until having viewed the documentary "The Real Spartacus (2001)" my knowledge of the gladiator Spartacus and his rebellion rather sketchy mostly based on the Kirk Douglas cinematic extravaganza from over fifty years ago.
I highly recommend the You Tube documentary without reservation or qualification.
"Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator who, along with the Gauls Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus, was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic."
As gleaned from the documentary the abilities of Spartacus as a leader and combat commander profound almost in the extreme. To include but not limited to:
* Able to organize, sustain, train, plan and personally lead into battle a polyglot army of slaves. An army of combatants accompanied by a large number of non-combat camp-followers, also escaped or liberated slaves.
* Spartacus not only not only in command of a polyglot army but also a coalition. Gauls and Germans in particular not always accepting those command decisions of Spartacus, to the detriment of everyone.
* Waging a war against the Roman Empire using a combination of guerrilla tactics and pitched conventional battles, conventional as understood at the time
* An inspirational combat commander using theatrics as a leadership tool.
Spartacus a practitioner of:
* Grand strategy * Strategy * Tactics * Operational art.
* Defeated a Roman punitive expedition numbering less than a legion in size.
[a legion about 5,000 troops.]
* Defeated two second-rate and inexperienced Roman legions.
* Defeated two first-rate and experienced Roman legions.
* Marched the length of Italy first south-to-north and then north-to-south.
* Able to overcome formidable siege fortifications as constructed by Roman legionary engineers.
Spartacus at least in the same category and league as a Caesar, Hannibal, Genghis, Alexander, Napoleon? Spartacus compares favorably, that talented and intuitive amateur.able to defeat the professionals and do so with apparent aplomb, at his leisure almost.
And within the modern military context: 1. The mountainous terrain of Italy that caused such difficulty for allied commanders during the Italian Campaign of World War Two [WW2] not an impediment to Spartacus and his army. 2. A crossing of the Strait of Messina found to be impossible for the army of Spartacus but not so for the German army in WW2. 3. Elements of the coalition army rebellious and when acting independently defeated by the Roman. A lack of concentrated and focused force detrimental to the cause. Coalition warfare always difficult.