Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley Essay

Pages: 7 (2126 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

When Spartacus finally fought his way out of the toe of Italy, he could not march to Brundisium and take ship to the east because of the presence of Lucullus" (McManus).

The following year, 71 BC, found Spartacus near the end of his rope. Spartacus again attempted to head north and again the Gauls refused to go -- leading to their almost defeat at the hands of Crassus (until Spartacus pulled them out of the fight). Spartacus and his men "gained one more minor victory against part of Crassus' forces

But they were finally wiped out by Crassus' legions in a major battle in southern Italy, near the headwaters of the Siler River. It is believed that Spartacus died in this battle; there were so many corpses that his body was never found. The historian Appian reports that 6000 slaves were taken prisoner by Crassus and crucified along the Appian Way from Capua to Rome. (McManus)

This is where the crucifixion theme comes from in the film -- but whether Spartacus had any part in it is unlikely.

Some of the remaining slaves attempted to head north again but were blocked by the approach of Pompey. Ironically, Pompey would go on to receive a triumph -- a parade in his honor -- for his victories in Spain. Crassus received no such honor (despite the fact that he personally had put down the rebellion so close to home). Both men were made consuls, and Pompey would go on to order Caesar to disband his standing army -- which of course would lead to a climactic struggle.

Other Historical Inaccuracies in the Film

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The kind of gladiator represented in the film did not actually exist until the first century after Christ. This was the Retiarii gladiator -- a type whose weapons consisted of those of a fisherman: a net, a trident, and a pugio -- blade. He had almost no armor, but had to find against the well-protected opponent.

Essay on Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley Assignment

Also, in 71 BC, there existed no Praetorian Guard -- that came with Augustus a few decades later. Likewise, as has already been stated, Crassus was never actually made dictator of Rome -- only Imperium of Rome's armies. The film plays up his political ambitions -- which actually belonged more to Pompey and Caesar.


In conclusion, Kubrick's 1960 Spartacus is a grand, sweeping affair, that was meant to rival Charlton Heston's Ben-Hur and the other great Roman epics of the time (like Cleopatra). It was also meant to espouse the kind of political doctrine at the forefront of the 60s social environment. Spartacus, therefore, became a vehicle for Douglas (as an actor) and Trumbo (as a writer) to re-establish their places of prominence in Hollywood. Historical accuracy had little to do with their mission -- as the true events of Spartacus' leading of the slave revolt reveal. While Douglas' Spartacus is portrayed as a Christ-like, poet-warrior, martyred for the cause of 1960s freedom, the actual Spartacus was most likely no such man of nobility -- a leader from Greece, who wanted nothing to do with the Roman army, and who also had no such ideas as (expressed by Douglas) the rising up of slaves from the ashes to overthrow Rome.

Reference List

Ebert, R. (1991). Spartacus. Retrieved from

Fitzgerald, J. (2009). Historical Accuracy Need Not Apply. Amog. Retrieved from

Haaren, J.H. (1904). Famous Men of Rome. New York, NY: American Book


Mast, G. (2006). A Short History of the Movies. New York, NY: Pearson/Longman.

McManus, B. (n.d.). The Real Spartacus. History in Film. Retrieved from

Wogon, J. (n.d.). Spartacus. History in Film. Retrieved from [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley.  (2011, May 18).  Retrieved April 1, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley."  18 May 2011.  Web.  1 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Spartacus an Analysis of Stanley."  May 18, 2011.  Accessed April 1, 2020.