Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life of Spartacus, the gladiator who led a major slave rebellion against the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. He was an accomplished military leader, and the campaign he led contributed significantly to the instability of the Roman state in this period. Spartacus was celebrated by some ancient historians and reviled by others, and became a hero to revolutionaries in 19th-century Europe. Modern perceptions of his character have been influenced by Stanley Kubrick's 1960 film - but ancient sources give a rather more complex picture of Spartacus and the aims of his rebellion.


Mary Beard
Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge

Maria Wyke
Professor of Latin at University College, London

Theresa Urbainczyk
Associate Professor of Classics at University College, Dublin.

Producer: Victoria Brignell.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 6 Mar 2014 21:30

Related topics


Mary Beard at the University of Cambridge


Maria Wyke at University College London


Theresa Urbainczyk at University College Dublin


Spartacus - Wikipedia





Keith Bradley, Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World 140 BC-70 BC (John Wiley & Sons, 1989)


Kirk Douglas, I am Spartacus: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist (Open Road Media E-Riginal, 2012)


Howard Fast, Spartacus (reprinted M.E. Sharpe, 1996)


Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Spartacus (Pegasus Books, reprinted 2012)


Arthur Koestler, The Gladiators (Vintage Classics, reprinted 1999)


Aldo Schiavone (trans. Jeremy Carden), Spartacus (Harvard University Press, 2013)


Brent D. Shaw, Spartacus and the Slave Wars: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford, 2001)


Peter Stothard, On the Spartacus Road: A Spectacular Journey through Ancient Italy (HarperPress, 2011)


Barry Strauss, The Spartacus War (Phoenix, 2010)


M. J. Trow, Spartacus: The Myth and the Man (The History Press Ltd, 2006)


Theresa Urbainczyk, Spartacus (Bristol Classical Press, 2004)


Theresa Urbainczyk, Slave Revolts in Antiquity (Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2008)


Martin M. Winkler, Spartacus: Film and History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006)



Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
ProducerThomas Morris
Interviewed GuestMary Beard
Interviewed GuestMaria Wyke
Interviewed GuestTheresa Urbainczyk

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