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Books2Movies Projects > EPICS 01.1 - Spartacus -- Part One

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Zeljka (ztook) | 2804 comments Mod
PART ONE: How Caius Crassus journeyed along the highroad from Rome to Capua, in the month of May.

Part One according to my paperback (that one which cover we are using for the project) is only 35 pages long, and might be read over one weekend. Hopefully.

If it would help discussion, here are my first thoughts based on what I've read so far (first four chapters):

-- Today the saying "All roads lead to Rome." has a bit different meaning, but in those first chapters it is obvious it could definitely be taken in literal sense. What do you think of a nation of so great engineering skills but so decadent lifestyle? On one hand, brilliant art, infrastructure and architecture, on the other hand gladiatorial and other sort of brutal games for masses? How to explain that they could be so sensitive to displays of art and so insensitive to display of blood and death?

-- "Tokens of punishment" -- what do you think of that display of the law enforcement, regardless of the crucified we are talking, proven criminals or slave rebels? Was it any effective as a measure to prevent future crimes? What would you think of such ghastly sights to ornate today's roads?

-- The Roman slavery system was very complicated. Even free citizens could have become slaves, and some slaves might eventually have freed themselves. However, in the very first chapters of this book we see the litter bearers. What do you think of that sort of ancient transportation? These slaves are said to be roadbroken -- imagine that, to say that for people? They even have to plead for a sit break during the stop. Do you feel for them, they weren't literally beaten, they were accustomed to such a miserable life, but even if they were free men paid for such tasks, would it be anyway wrong to treat them like that?

-- I will return and I will be millions. Fairtrax's words on the crucifix. What do they mean to you? Did they had any effect on you when you read them?

Stephanie | 11 comments I will return... Definitely underlined that when I read it. To me it was saying, you can kill me but you can't stop us. Bringing me down will just result in more like me raising up.

Zeljka (ztook) | 2804 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "I will return... Definitely underlined that when I read it. To me it was saying, you can kill me but you can't stop us. Bringing me down will just result in more like me raising up."

Yes, that definitely hit the mark. They did bring him down, but that doesn't change the fact times changed, things won't ever be the same again and the slaves will raise again in revolt.

I was surprised though by the depiction of the relationships between slaves and masters in Antonius Caius house. I never imagined it be that way. I guess because other books (and movies) about Rome didn't offer much insight in that aspect. In Gladiator I mostly remember Cicero as Maximus' servant - was he his slave or not? Haven't thought of that much, if at all. An HBO series, Rome, didn't care to show the life of slaves either. In Caesar, the book I read I think an year ago, the emphasis was on Julius Caesar and his army, so... Not much thought spent on slaves too.

This book is really different, an eye-opener, so to speak. If we are to trust the information in it, of course.

Zeljka (ztook) | 2804 comments Mod
Did you know the Spartacus War was actually a third slave rebellion ?

A few more links that might be handy to check in parallel with the book:

Slavery in ancient Rome

Appian Way and Capua


Ancient Roman villa

Second Servile War and Marcus Licinius Crassus

Marcus Tullius Cicero

The third guest in Antonius Caius's house, Lentelus Gracchus, isn't one of the famous Gracchi brothers, but more likely one of their family relatives or heirs.

Joanne | 22 comments I am going to look up some of the references that Zeljka posted back in 2014. I definitely want to understand some of the historical background of this book as I read it. For now though, I'll give an initial reaction of part one as I fly out the door.

I was pretty horrified by the idea of so many crucifixions lining the road. I want to read about that and see if that is really how it happened. I was also horrified by the reactions of the people in the party. Its really just as if those people who were crucified were animals or items of curiosity. What a gut wrenching discussion about meat waste and sausage! Ugh!

I have gotten partway through Part 2 and forget where that starts in terms of the story. I'll estimate that and post it in another thread.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
I feel like I need a Cliff's Notes summary of the slaves rebellions of those days, so I know my time period context, but I typically find that by the time I'm done with a historical novel like this, I have at least the major players a little better placed in my mind.

I know that using crucifixions in this way was common for quelling revolt in those days, but it's sickening to my mind, especially as callously as the "haves" seem to treat it, even laughing off the "have-nots" (the slaves) losing their lunch over it. The inhuman use of the slave women... shudder. They talk about the slaves as not being human... and they must have had to really believe that in their minds, in order to keep treating fellow humans like this.

Joanne | 22 comments Yes Alana, I quite agree. It is hard to fathom how someone could truly see another human being as an animal. Less than animal really. How could the priveledged be reduced to this?

Alana (alanasbooks) | 730 comments Mod
Maybe that's how they felt powerful and privileged, by constantly crushing down everyone else?

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