Where could Spartacus' rebels have fled to?

Oct 2015
848
Norway
#1
If Spartacus and the other rebelious slaves had managed to get on board the pirate ships and escaped Italy, where could they have gone to find freedom and relative safety?
 
Apr 2017
665
U.S.A.
#2
They had planed to sail to Sicily and establish a state there, similar to how a massive slave rebellion had done many years earlier. This wouldn't have lasted as Rome would eventually crush them. Spartacus and his followers had their chance when they first escaped, they moved to the alps where many freed Germanic slaves crossed to freedom. Spartacus turned back for plunder and glory, ultimately dooming him.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
4,973
US
#5
I was thinking the North African coast too. I believe Rome controlled the coast, but further into the interior may have been safe, boring but safe.
 
Mar 2017
793
Colorado
#7
Anyplace Romans could get to would be unsafe. A demonstration of the folly of slaves revolting would *HAVE* to be made, no matter what the cost.

That doesn't mean there isn't some place they couldn't find, but logistics are always a problem. How would they eat? Where would they get water? Livestock?

Suppose they went deep into the Congo. They'd have to deal with the cultures already there, but at least they'd have resources. Don't know if they could find an "empty" spot or have to fight for one ... with Romans on their tail.

Someplace on plains or near a coast anywhere wouldn't work. Too accessible to Roman troops.

Afghanistan has always been difficult to conquer (presuming there wasn't someone there to fight off the slaves) ... not sure how they could support themselves. Afghani's do it ... somehow.

Haiti's rebellion was successful because the French just couldn't root them out of tropical mtns with built-in food & water, that supported both defense & guerrilla attacks.

Gaul was under Roman control, Germany had Germans, China was a long way away (and had effective military any way). I don't know what state the pre-Mongols were in.

Cashmir? Tibet, maybe? Somewhere very inaccessible. Maybe just far out towards the Gobi. Lower Siberia? There weren't many people there because it's hard to eke out a living.

Even if that were the case, a culture that depends on slaves might demand their destruction no matter what the cost.

Every time your slaves get together and start muttering, you wonder if they'll give you a dagger in the night. They have role models.
 
Oct 2015
848
Norway
#8
If I interpret the maps correctly Rome didn't have most of Africa's Mediteranian coast other than Carthage (present day Tunisia). Neither did they have most of present day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. This was late Republic Rome and they didn't dominate the Meditarian yet. Some of the other Kingdoms around the Meditarian were perhaps not on friendly terms with Rome, could Spartacus make a deal with one of them?
Perhaps Spartacus could have made a deal like the one Rollo made with the king of France?


Would the kings see welcoming Spartacus' rebels as a a one-fingered salute to their enemy Rome or as an encouragement for their own slaves to rebel?
 
Jan 2015
3,291
Australia
#9
They wouldn't have been able to easily feed themselves once they left the rich lands of Italy, so they can die by the sword or die of starvation, it amounts to the same thing. The idea that Gallic/whatever tribes would have accepted them is laughable; and I doubt the undisciplined slave hordes would have been able to band together in the face of strong local opposition; they had nothing holding them together besides opportunistic pillaging, and even that didn't suffice to prevent fragmentation. Facing starvation, hostile locals (as opposed to soft and rich towns in Italy), and inevitable Roman pursuit, the horde would have broken apart and been killed in no time. Migrating tribes who survived did so because they had a long standing ethnic and tribal identity to hold them together, and even they needed to gang together to make it. Just imagining these guys crossing the alps is a joke. They'd likely have died from exposure in large part, never mind all the other dangers. Migrating tribes had structures in place to manage food provision; such as serfs and peasants who would do manual labour, harvest, etc. Who is going to do that in a slave horde who has never had to create that kind of top down structure, and exists solely because they're pillaging the wealthiest place on earth? Nobody.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2009
1,170
#10
If I interpret the maps correctly Rome didn't have most of Africa's Mediteranian coast other than Carthage (present day Tunisia). Neither did they have most of present day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. This was late Republic Rome and they didn't dominate the Meditarian yet. Some of the other Kingdoms around the Meditarian were perhaps not on friendly terms with Rome, could Spartacus make a deal with one of them?
Perhaps Spartacus could have made a deal like the one Rollo made with the king of France?


Would the kings see welcoming Spartacus' rebels as a a one-fingered salute to their enemy Rome or as an encouragement for their own slaves to rebel?

Rome was by far the dominant power around the Mediterranean. Other states were practically clients by this time, independent in name only, and would have not wished to provoke Rome in any way. Bit farther east, Pontus (already defeated in 71 BC) and Armenia would have been possible, since they were currently fighting against Rome, and would probably have welcomed some additional arrowfodder, even escaped slaves. But Spartacus' slaves would have been trashed by Lucullus' veteran legions. Even had they been successful, Rome would have just keep on sending more legions (as they later did with Pompey anyway). And like other posters have noted, Rome would have extra incentive to make sure that Spartacus' slaves are rooted out.



I doubt that the Cilician pirates would have welcomed such a big bunch of non-sailor foreigners amongst them, either. Probably the best thing they could have done is to scatter, especially heading back to their homelands. While the ring leaders no doubt would be hunted down (unless they managed to die first), the rank and file would no doubt be pretty much anonymous. Of course there is a risk that they would get enslaved again, and language would probably be an issue, if they stayed around Mediterranean. But if some of the slaves would be functional in Greek or Latin, they might be able to make it. A small group of foreign itinerant laborers with accented but understandable Greek in Alexandria would arouse much less comment than an army of thousands escaped slaves.
 

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