According to Shaw in “Spartacus and The Slave Wars”, prisoners of war enslaved at the end of the Second Punic War rebelled in 198 B.C. This slave uprising in central Italy is the first reliable report of one, although it was surely not the first actual slave uprising. There were other slave uprisings in the 180s. These were small; however, there were 3 major slave revolts in Italy between 140 and 70 B.C. These 3 uprisings are called the Servile Wars, since the Latin for 'slave' is servus. However these 3 slave wars did not all end in victory. As a matter of fact, the 3 slave revolts failed, ending in murder of the leaders. The reason why the slaves were defeated in the end was basically due to the fact that there was no ultimate goal. They only knew they wanted to be free but did not conceive a plan to go about doing so. First (Sicilian) Slave Revolt 135-132 B.C.
The first major slave war faced by the Roman Republic erupted in the center of the island of The First Servile War was led by a Syrian slave called Eunus, an illusionist and magician. Saying that he was under divine inspiration, Eunus brought together a first group of 400 fellows with improvised weapons, conquered the city of Enna and massacred his masters and all the free citizens except for those that were able to manufacture weapons. Soon he was able to put together an army of thousands of slaves (p. 95). He proclaimed himself as the "King of Slaves" with the resounding name of "Antiochus" and a bodyguard of 1,000 properly armed men while the others had only axes, sickles, fire hardened stakes, kitchen spits and slings. Another ex-slave leader, Cleone likewise gathered together 70,000 slaves joined Eunus' forces and as Eunus' subordinate general (p. 95). Eunus and Cleones engaged in some battles with the Romans and were victorious due to their overwhelming numbers, until Rupilius, a Roman commander, conquered the town of Tauromenium, where he massacred a large number of ex-slaves, and then Enna,...
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