Slave Revolts in Italy and Sicily before the Great Slave Wars

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


In the second major war that Rome fought with Carthage (218–201 b.c.), the Carthaginian commander Hannibal ravaged Italy south of Rome, while Roman forces devastated the parts of Sicily controlled by the Carthaginians and their allies. After the war, general conditions of peace and prosperity returned to southern Italy and Sicily. The half-century after 200 b.c., however, witnessed several slave rebellions. For information on most of these outbreaks, we are dependent on the year-by-year (annalistic) account of the Roman historian Livy. He reports continuing, though small-scale, episodes of violent slave resistance in southern Italy, which the Roman authorities categorized as “conspiracies.” These uprisings seem to have been linked with the cult of the god Bacchus, also known as Dionysus.


Roman Historian Chief Officer Sacred Ritual General Panic Judicial Inquiry 
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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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