A Thracian gladiator, who instigated the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising.
Born a Thracian, little is known about Spartacus before the start of the Servile War. He was trained as a gladiator at the a ludus near Capua. He was trained as a heavyweight warrior, a murmillo.
In 73 BCE, he along with two Gallic slaves, Crixus and Oenomaus, led a rebellion. Armed with only kitchen utensils, they fought their way out of the school. The Romans were surprised as Spartacus successfully defeated the praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber and moved his camp to Mount Vesuvius. As time progressed, their ranks swelled to include not only gladiators but also the poor shepherds and herdsmen of the area. In 72 BCE, the rebels attempted to move north, and the Romans sent more men against them, though the slaves were originally successful, the Romans gradually gained the upper hand. Spartacus seems to have made a bargain with some Cilician pirates to be transported to Sicily; however, he was betrayed. Pompey, who had just returned from Spain, began to move to attack them. Crassus, the lead commander of the Roman forces, hastened to finish the war, lest he lose the glory to Pompey.
In 71 BCE, Spartacus was killed in battle, though his body was never found. Six thousand survivors were crucified by Pompey. Their bodies lined the Appian Way from Rome to Capua.