Where could Spartacus' rebels have fled to?

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,090
Lose the arrogance Mr Magnus. Your explanation is not required by anyone, but the existence of a large horde that remains contiguous implies a temporary structure at least. In the case of Spartacus, we know that existed. He was one of three leaders in a bandit group that grew in size as their defiance of Roman law became more and more a cause for people to opt for. If you need an explanation on the circumstances, read the Roman sources that deal with Spartacus. They reveal quite a lot.
 
Oct 2018
2
Ireland
Moving a large body of people to a piece of land to settle relies on the feasibility of transporting them to said land. There are really two options, overland route north or by fleet. If you are moving by fleet then you can only really go across to the Balkans or Sicily or perhaps Africa.

Clearly they thought that Sicily was the best option but were betrayed by Pirates. Could they have settled in Sicily, perhaps. But Romans were vindictive and persistent and Sicily was well within their reach. Moving North out of the peninsular was probably the least popular due to the climate and the formidable obstacle of the Alps especially if they were carrying women and children.

I am not clear on the timing but were they looking at an Alpine crossing late in the year perhaps? I think in the long run the fact that the rebellion/movement/success of Spartacus and the size of the horde probably meant that there was little opportunity for reaching safety, neither big enough (like the large scale Germanic tribes 400(ish) years later to take over nor small enough to be subsumed into a tribe/federation of tribes.
 
Where could Spartacus' rebels have fled to?

Many places: to Gaul, across the Alps to Germany, to Illyria and onwards to Dacia.
It seems they either wanted to go to Sicily or other places south/south east by using ships.
Most got caught in the South before they could.

I guess that earlier a group or groups did escape to Gaul and other places north of Italy.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,090
The decision to move to Sicily was largely pragmatic. The island had already hosted slave rebellions and was not interdicted by Roman forces, so the crossing of the straits was the only barrier. It did mean however gaining ships to make that crossing. Spartacus negotiated with pirates for that service and in the event he was conned well and truly. The wiley pirates sailed off with his loot and not a single rebel on board. The same sort of decision might be said of the Alps. Originally that had been the destination simply because it meant staying ahead of Roman retaliation, albeit there might have been some frontier defences to get past but as we know, in that case the rebellion took a decision to turn south and continue looting. One decision that would seal their fate. After these two strategies were no longer viable Spartacus was reduced to retreat from Roman forces who in the event surrounded his column and closed in for the final battle.

It must be clear that Spartacus did not have clear overall strategies but rather decisions were made as a reaction to his situation and circumstance. The increasing Roman threat made Vesuvius unviable as a base. His successes made his band over-confident. The entrapment in southern Italy forged a desperate need for escape. Some like to say that Spartacus was a great general, merely by reputation and an earlier record of confounding his opponents. The truth is that as good a guerrilla leader as he was, as a general he was out of his depth, barely in control of a rebel group consisting of escaped or freed slaves and other malcontents who considered a bandit gang a good alternative to Roman society. His strategies and options were limited by ptractical concerns and indeed, limited ideas about what to do now that Rome was beginning to counter his runaway success as a bandit.
 

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