[Marxism] Mary Beard - Pinning Down Spartacus

Shane Mage shmage at pipeline.com
Tue Apr 30 20:54:29 MDT 2013

On Apr 30, 2013, at 8:53 PM, Dennis Brasky wrote:
> http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/may/09/pinning-down-spartacus/?page=1

Anyone reading this article should consider this:

Mary Beard obviously thinks "historical fiction" below her.  So she is  
totally ignorant of the interpretation of Spartacus by the great  
Colleen McCullough in the fourth of her eight novels depicting late- 
Republican Rome. The main  chapter is entitled "A Thracian  
(gladiatorial style)who was not a Thracian (national origin)". Her  
account is totally convincing. Spartacus's mastery of Roman military  
tactics showed that her had not been a captured slave but a degraded  
soldier.  Beard is rightly sceptical of the idea that Spartacus was  
banking on lingering resentments from the Social War. But she ignores  
a more crucial civil war: that between the Optimates under Sulla and  
the Populares under first Gaius Marius and then his son together with  
Cinna and Sertorius. The basic strategic situation in which Spartacus  
operated was dominated by a factor Beard totally ignores: the  
Popularis army of Sertorius in Spain which had established a rival  
Senate, defeated Pompey, and held the Roman (Sullan) forces in check  
until after one of his lieutenants was defeated by Metellus Pius and  
he himself was assassinated in hope of a huge bounty promised by  
Pompey. McCullough sees the march of Spartacus to the north of Italy  
as motivated by a plan to continue across Gallia Provincia into Spain  
and unite his forces with Sertorius, then return to Rome and  
reestablish a Popularis regime under Sertorius and himself!  It was a  
plan that made perfect sense, except for the fact that Sertorius had  
been murdered. When that disastrous fact became known to Spartacus he  
marched back along Italy to its southern trip, where he counted on  
paying the Mediterranean pirates to convey his people to Sicily (where  
there had recently been an enormous, bloodily suppressed, slave  
rebellion) or North Africa.  But the pirates swindled him, taking his  
gold and leaving him in the lurch.  Trapped by the superior forces of  
Crassus and Caesar the rebels were crushed, and crucified on the  
Appian Way, but Spartacus and his wife were never captured, their fate  
forever unknown.

Shane Mage

This cosmos did none of gods or men make, but it
  always was and is and shall be: an everlasting fire,
  kindling in measures and going out in measures.

  Herakleitos of Ephesos

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