History : May-Jun 2019
down the slave revolt led by Spartacus in the south of Italy. The revolt had sparked a serious political crisis, and his rebellion defeated even trained Roman legions. Crassus was aware that he had been chosen because Pompey and his forces were unavailable (they were in Hispania), but he was willing to make the most of this opportunity. Commanding 10 legions, Crassus had more men and resources than the previous com- manders sent against Spartacus. Four units were formed by the survivors of previous campaigns against the slaves. In April, 71 b.c., he isolated Spartacus and forced him to fight near the Sele River. He dealt a stunning defeat to the slaves, crucifying 6,000 captives along the Appian Way. But the victory was not complete. At least 5,000 slaves had escaped and were moving toward Gaul. Intercepting them on the way from Hispania were Pompey and his troops. The slaves were duly vanquished, and the remaining survivors also crucified. While Crassus had crippled the revolt, it was Pompey who ended it. Pompey took credit for the victory and received another triumph, much to the chagrin of Crassus, who was given an ovatio (ovation), a lesser celebra- tion with fewer honors. Recipients were given a myrtle crown instead of the laurel awarded to the superior class of victors. The relationship between Pompey and Crassus did not improve. Despite the tensions, both were elected to a joint consulship in 70 b.c., but their personal enmity made it an uneasy partnership. In the following years Pompey continued to accumulate military victories: He rid the Medi- terranean Sea of pirates, a constant nuisance for Roman trade. He defeated Mithradates of Pontus (an empire mostly in modern-day Turkey). He also campaigned against other eastern people, from Armenia to Judaea. While Crassus had crippled the slave revolt, it was Pompey who ended it. BUST OF POMPEY. CA 70 B.C . LOUVRE MUSEUM, PARIS LOREMIPSUM LEEMAGE/PRISMA ARCHIVO FRANCESCO IACOBELLI/AWL-IMAGES WAY OF DEATH The most famous Roman road, the Appian Way connected Rome to the Adriatic Sea. After defeating the forces of Spartacus in 71 b.c., Crassus crucified thousands of captured rebels along sections of the road.