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Friday, July 01, 2011

Goran Visjnic is Spartacus

This week's movie rental was the 2004 adaptation of Howard Fast's novel, Spartacus, directed by Robert Dornhelm and starring Goran Visjnic, Alan Bates, Angus Macfadyen and Ben Cross.

Here's the trailer for the movie ...

The film really brings to life the utter degradation of being a slave, and it's worth a watch if only to remind us how awful slavery is/was. I know the movie's events take place before the onset of Christianity, but still the movie reminded me of how the Catholic Church -- from Paul to Augustin to Aquinas and up to the Church in the US South -- has signed off on slavery (Catholic Church and slavery) :(

But back to part 1 of the movie (there are two CDs) -- I found the acting fine, the history interesting, and the romance between Spartacus and the slave Varinia seemed gentle and fresh, so I do recommend the movie, though I'm not looking forward to the second part of it in which the slave rebellion fails and Spartacus gets killed.

Here's a little from Wikipedia about the historical Spartacus ....

Spartacus was a Thracian .... an auxiliary from the Roman legions later condemned to slavery .... trained at the gladiatorial school (ludus) near Capua belonging to Lentulus Batiatus. In 73 BC, Spartacus was among a group of gladiators plotting an escape .... the Romans considered the rebellion more of a policing matter than a war. Rome dispatched militia ... which besieged the slaves on the mountain [Vesuvius], hoping that starvation would force the slaves to surrender. They were surprised when Spartacus had ropes made from vines, climbed down the cliff side of the volcano with his men and attacked the unfortified Roman camp in the rear, killing most of them. The slaves also defeated a second expedition, nearly capturing the praetor commander, killing his lieutenants and seizing the military equipment. With these successes, more and more slaves flocked to the Spartacan forces, as did “many of the herdsmen and shepherds of the region”, swelling their ranks to some 70,000.

[T]he Roman Senate, alarmed by the defeat of the praetorian forces, dispatched a pair of consular legions ... [they] were defeated by Spartacus .... Alarmed by the apparently unstoppable rebellion, the Senate charged Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome and the only volunteer for the position, with ending the rebellion .... Spartacus now turned his forces around and brought his entire strength to bear on the legions in a last stand, in which the slaves were routed completely, with the vast majority of them being killed on the battlefield. The eventual fate of Spartacus himself is unknown, as his body was never found, but he is accounted by historians to have perished in battle along with his men. Six thousand survivors of the revolt captured by the legions of Crassus were crucified, lining the Appian Way from Rome to Capua.


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