In this article, we will continue the tale of Spartacus and how it pertains to the ancient Appian Way, as well as become acquainted with a figure in ancient Roman history who has ties to another well known character whose achievements and life will certainly ring a bell.
It seemed that history was slightly repeating itself, when legions were called home from abroad to deal with Spartacus. The Romans set the same sort of trap for Spartacus as they had to wriggle their way out of at Caudium. It is the same fate that Pyrrhus tried very much so to avoid. Upon his defeat, the Romans stated that the slave broke their contracts and had given up their right to live. Crucifixion was the method of punishment they were assigned to and in 71 BC, they were all executed, which was pretty normal during these times. About 6,000 crosses were lined along the Appian Way as a result. They stretched to Capua.
Marcus Licinius Crassus (115 BC , 53 BC) served as a Roman general and politician that was instrumental in squelching the Spartacus slave revolt. Joining this feat, he also played an important role in the victory at Colline gate and became a part of the First Triumvirate with Gaius Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. He was additionally known as one of the richest men of his time. This would ultimately play a part in supporting a young Julius Caesar when he was down and out. Crassus cultivated great financial and political power and influence, which helped forward Caesar’s path into politics as well.
You are probably wondering what Crassus has to do with the Appian Way, but since he failed to give any orders regarding the taking down of the bodies hung on the crosses along the road , travelers were made to view the bodies for years after the dust of the last battle had settled.
The Rest of the Slaves
About 5,000 slaves were known to escape a crucifixion along Appian Way and fled to the north. Sadly, they would later fall at the hands of Pompey, who was returning from Roman Iberia at the time. In the end, Pompey seemed to be at the right place at the right time and was seen as the ‘hero’ who ended the war. When he arrived in Rome, the people clamored at his achievements , overlooking what Crassus had accomplished. He received very little credit or fanfare for his participation.
What Happened to Spartacus?
No one is quite sure what happened to Spartacus. Many believe that he lost his life while in battle, but since there were so many dead that came as a result of the revolt , his body was never found.
Many years later, the order went out for the restoration of the Appian Way. To find out who was instrumental in this decision, as well as some of the significant attractions that one may take pleasure in today , continue onto Part III of “Appian Way , An Infamous Ancient Roman Road.”