The Slave Wars in Italy and Sicily

  • Brent D. Shaw
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


Finding out about Spartacus is more difficult than understanding his role as a modern-day symbol of resistance. To see through the masks of our own modern images of him requires us to discover who Spartacus was in the world in which he and his fellow slaves lived. Most important is for us to understand the new slave economy and society that emerged in the third and second centuries b.c. Once we delve into this historical context, we can begin to learn more about the daily experiences of slaves in Roman society and their limited ability to resist the slave system. By attempting to understand the constraints on large-scale resistance, we can begin to appreciate the rarity of large-scale slave rebellions not just in the Roman Empire but throughout the world.


Slave System Slave Trade Slave Owner Armed Resistance Roman State 
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Copyright information

© Bedford/St. Martin’s 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent D. Shaw
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaUSA

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