AuthorDonaldson, Adam E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the second and first centuries BCE a series of three large-scale slave revolts erupted in Sicily and central Italy, each of which ravaged wide swathes of territory and were suppressed only after serious loss of life. These slave rebellions, which were unprecedented in Roman experience to that point, provoked horrified reactions from most ancient authors. Modern scholars have generally treated the late-Republican uprisings as isolated events, the unexpected consequence of military expansion. A focus on the label "slave," however, instead of on the social and economic roles of the specific rebels, has compartmentalized studies of the slave wars, allowing discussion only within the confines of Roman slavery studies. Since the rebel armies in each war were composed principally of agricultural laborers, a profitable comparison can be drawn from peasant uprisings and other manifestations of collective violence that occurred in throughout the Roman world. This study offers a new context for analyzing the slave wars, which re-integrates them into the broader sweep of Roman history and understands them as one manifestation of a broader pattern of social and cultural transformation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College