Spartacus

Aldo Schiavone, trans. from the Italian by Jeremy Carden. Harvard Univ., $19.95 trade paper (190p) ISBN 978-0-674-05778-4
Rather than rely on Kubrick’s classic film, Schiavone, founder and former director of the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, depends on the accounts of ancient scribes, historical time lines, and the author’s own observations to reconstruct the fabled first-century B.C.E. slave revolt and its legendary leader. The author’s goal is to separate the man from the myth and provide a more accurate historical context, and while his account is thorough and interesting, his heavy-handed emphasis on the movements and clashes of armies and the vilifying of the Roman Empire draws the focus away from his subject. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Schiavone (The Invention of the Law in the West) is extremely knowledgeable about Roman history, and he does provide a new take on the Spartacus tale, showing that the revolt was not a spontaneous uprising; it was a deliberate and strategic strike against the Roman Empire. The text moves smoothly between narrative and historical analysis, meaning both the newcomer and the experienced Roman historian will find a wealth of entertainment and information. 3 maps. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 03/01/2013
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Hardcover - 198 pages - 978-0-674-07580-1
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