Rome's Sicilian Slave Wars (Hardback)
The Revolts of Eunus and Salvius, 136-132 and 105-100 BC
In 136 BC, in Sicily (which was then a Roman province), some four hundred slaves of Syrian origin rebelled against their masters and seized the city of Henna with much bloodshed. Their leader, a fortune-teller named Eunus, was declared king (taking the Syrian royal name Antiochus), and tens of thousands of runaway slaves as well as poor native Sicilians soon flocked to join his fledgling kingdom. Antiochus’ ambition was to drive the Romans from the whole of Sicily. The Romans responded with characteristic intransigence and relentlessness, leading to years of brutal warfare and suppression. Antiochus’ ‘Kingdom of the Western Syrians’ was extinguished by 132 but his agenda was revived in 105 BC when rebelling slaves proclaimed Salvius as King Tryphon, with similarly bitter and bloody results.
Natale Barca narrates and analyses these events in unprecedented detail, with thorough research into the surviving ancient sources. The author also reveals the long-term legacy of the slaves’ defiance, contributing to the crises that led to the seismic Social War and setting a precedent for the more-famous rebellion of Spartacus in 73-71 BC.
The last century of the Roman Republic saw the consensus of the ruling elite shattered by a series of high-profile politicians who proposed political or social reform programmes, many of which culminated in acts of bloodshed on the streets of Rome itself. This began in 133 BC with the military recruitment reforms of Tiberius Gracchus, which saw him and his supporters lynched by a mob of angry Senators. He was followed by a series of radical politicians, each with their'own agenda that challenged the status quo of the Senatorial elite. Each met a violent response from elements of the ruling order,…By Gareth C Sampson
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