Who was spartacus?

Spartacus (Spartacus,113-71 a.C. ) It is a historical figure in an American film was based on 1960 (based in turn on the homonymous historical novel by Howard Fast) and directed by Stanley Kubrick, Kirk Douglas as a major player, what does Spartacus do in the movie. Certainly the Spartacus movie is based on real events and tells the story of Spartacus since it was made a slave, but in We wanted to know more, Who was really Spartacus?, Where was he born?, Did family?, are issues that the film does not explain and we have attempted to document.

película de espartaco

Movie “Spartacus” from 1960.


Origin of Spartacus.

The first was to know their origin, Spartacus history begins in Thrace (current territory of Bulgaria), where was he born in the year 113 a.C. Thrace it was a powerful nation that existed as such since around the year 4.000 a.C. until the 700 a.C. although some dates its origins even further back, at 6.000 a.C. based on the oldest treasure of gold pieces found in the world dating back to that time and that was in Thrace, specifically near the Black Sea coast belonging to the current Bulgaria. After the 700 a.C. the nation was divided, but the Thracians continued to occupy these lands but separated into different tribes and clans.

The Thracians lived in the territory that is now Bulgaria, and parts of current Greece, Romania, Macedonia and Turkey. After surviving invasions from the Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Visigoths and Celts, finally they were conquered by Rome in the year 46 d.C. and after the romanization of the region they lose track. They are considered one of the first civilizations of Europe and most culturally advanced and socially from the time, in a future article we delve into this unjustly unknown civilization but has been influential in the development of Europe, Asia and even North Africa…


Espartaco history, his hidden life before being gladiator

Thracian treasure (s. IV a.C.) from 6,164 kilos of pure gold, found in Bulgaria. National Museum of History in Sofia.


historia de espartaco

Statue of Spartacus in Sandanski (Bulgaria)

three Traciae.

Thrace consisted of different tribes (until 40 different) in different territories of that geographical area, Espartaco specifically she born in the Thracian tribe of the “Maedi” who lived along the banks of the Struma and Mesta rivers, Southwest of the current Bulgaria, near the present Bulgarian towns of Sandanski and Gotse Delchev , although other documents place him within the tribe “Iron” occupied territory in the Rhodope Mountains, a little further east of the previous. The name of “Spartacus” It was not a common name at the time, It was used only by the nobility of several Thracian dynasties, in fact there 5 Thracian kings by that name among the 480 and he 180 a.C. Nowadays, Names can be used indiscriminately, but in ancient times it was not so, certain antropónimos were reserved only for the noble class. Such is the case with the name of Spartacus. possibly he was the son of the king of the tribe, or at least one parent.

Espartaco history, his hidden life before being gladiator

Thracian warrior



Espartaco history, his hidden life before being gladiator

Thrace and its area of ​​influence.








A further indication that Spartacus belonged to a royal family is his ability as a strategist. He managed to make slaves and peasants an army to successfully oppose the Roman legions for three years in his native Thrace, before being captured. Being a member of the royal family could be trained in warfare since childhood, therefore his training as a gladiator was only a supplement to learn the weapons and dynamics of the show because he was already before an experienced and intelligent warrior.

Proof that Spartacus was already a warrior before being made a slave, is that as leader of his tribe, he fought with the Thracian king Mithridates VI and his exploits brought them to the East, to conquer the Kingdom of the Bosphorus, Asia Minor (current Turkish Anatolia) and Colchis (actual Georgia).

His arrival in Rome.

So, back to their Rhodope Mountains faced with the Roman invasion formed by a 100.000 soldiers to protect the capital Bessi Besapara (located somewhere between the current Bulgarian towns of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv) and the Temple in honor of Dionysus (The wine god they worshiped the Thracians and was later taken by Greek mythology, the Romans call “Baco”). But he was unsuccessful, the city was razed, the demolished temple and Spartacus himself captured. Spartacus's wife was a priestess in this temple, when Spartacus was captured by the Romans, He tried paying the ransom to release all the riches of the family, but the Romans did not fulfill the deal, they stayed with riches without releasing Spartacus who was sent to Rome and even also captured his wife and her sister. All known sources, very fragmentary, agree in describing Spartacus as an educated man. From Plutarch's writings we know that his wife was the prophetess of his people,Normally the oracle positions were typical of the upper social strata, another sign of the high social position of his wife and Spartacus own.

After quelling the riots of the Thracians, the leader of the Roman soldiers in Thrace, Lucullus, He ordered cut the right hand of all the Thracians who had resisted the Roman occupation and many women, the elderly and children fled to live in caves in the Rhodope Mountains to the end of his days, We found skeletal remains of them in these caves. Many other Thracians of this tribe were forced to migrate north.


Espartaco history, his hidden life before being gladiator

Mosaic representing the God of Wine, Dionisio.

historia de espartaco

ancient Capua, with its amphitheater for gladiatorial combat









Another theory of his arrival in Rome.

Another theory of the story of Spartacus on his arrival in the peninsula is that Spartacus being the son of King of the Medes, called Tipas, who ruled between 119-90 a.C. he offered friendship of his tribe to Rome, so, it would be quite natural that under the contract concluded with the Romans had given his son hostage and guarantee compliance with the agreement, something that was done in those days, having to live Spartacus one of the cities of the Roman Empire. That would explain why while staying at the gladiator school in Capua, Spartacus was accompanied by his wife, which itself is a proven fact that do not reflect the movies or series this character. Such a privilege would be unthinkable for an ordinary slave. But over the years the relations between Rome and the Maedi tribe clouding, Espartaco then can no longer move freely and is made a slave and gladiador…


Espartaco history, his hidden life before being gladiator

Glacial lakes of the Pirin mountains (Bulgaria).

The Spartacus family.

In any case the true story of Spartacus shows that arrived at the peninsula from Thrace, did not go through Lebanon before as reflected in the movie Spartacus , although certainly he gathered in the school of gladiators in Capua. There we find new evidence of his noble origin, some of his fellow gladiators left records of what he told them, told them that their land, Thrace. He was the leader of his tribe, He had a big house, sheep, oxen, horses, He was rich and happy with his family, She rode their horses enjoying the freedom of the Pirin Mountains (National park in Bulgaria today). he had a wife, a son and a sister, Maritsa call which was later a famous composer and singer, known as “Rodopeya”. By the way Maritsa is the current name of the longest river that crosses Bulgaria passing through the city of Plovdiv and flows into the Aegean Sea..

Not only sister Spartacus had talent for music, Spartacus himself could be a singer… During the uprising against Rome between AD 74 Y 71 d.C. he created a band of gladiators who gave birth to the hymn of the gladiators. It espartaco after being captured never again know about the fate of her son. Sister Spartacus, He also participated in the rebellion, even he fell in love with a gladiator, called Artoriks, who led a section of the rebel army, when he died in battle, Spartacus's sister killed herself for love, but that's another forgotten story…

The hero's legacy.

This whole story of Spartacus makes us understand better why got support from other gladiators and slaves of Rome to rebel and escape the Romans. Espartaco as mentioned above, It was not a mere slave; in his homeland, Thrace, before being captured, he was a leader of his tribe and had extensive war experience, against the Romans themselves and against other armies. His leadership and experience was what enabled him to emerge victorious in 100 fighting against other gladiators in shows that organized the Romans and then lead the rebellion. It was not a coincidence if we understand its noble origin… The rest of the story is known to everyone: after rebelling against Rome and form an army of up to 70.000 men who came to threaten the supremacy of Rome. He became a legend, inspiration for poets, artists, musicians extolled his figure as the liberator of slaves was.

Did he really die at the hands of the Romans?

In the Senate, a senator of Rome came to utter these words: “Our land is in jeopardy, Spartacus is at the gates of Rome”. But nevertheless, He was finally defeated and died heroically as showing movies, or maybe not, perhaps he escaped, but that theory will reveal in a future article about the stage of his life since he became gladiator, so there are still many more hidden truths of history to discover Spartacus…


historia de espartaco

Representation of Espartaco fighting against the Romans

If you want to know more about Spartacus by stepping on the same territory that he trod on, don't miss our trip with a Spanish-speaking guide “Looking for Spartacus in Thrace“.

Discover also the origin of another great mythical hero in the article “Achilles and the Trojan War: the truth about the origin of a myth”.


  1. Fran Reply at

    Great article about Spartacus, when he thought he knew all about, in Bulgarian culture echoes other knowledge are I do not know how far it is credible or part of the popular legend since modern writers and scholars make no mention of this part of the life of Spartacus,Anyway I loved reading… live Espartaco!!

  2. Annia Reply at

    Muy interesante esta versión de la historia, al menos más comprensible desde el punto de vista humano. Siempre me han aburrido los libros de historia que solapadamente tratan de poner los hechos a favor de la autoridad imperante.

  3. Alhama Domingo Andrés Roig Reply at

    Great story and incredibly shocking. It's curious, so that was probably, also a singer. While the leader of his tribe, which explains everything else. I would like to know or meet and hear the anthem of the gladiators. Thank you. I am also a singer.

  4. yordanka Reply at

    I love the story..

  5. Jose Manuel Reply at

    As a child law a collection of comic about Spartacus. Agree many things…

  6. Luciano Reply at

    Spartacus as gladiator, it is known that he escaped along with 70 ludus men, who enlarged his army, that he won some battles against Roman formations that underestimated him and that in 71 ac. the third servile war ended.
    Supposedly led 120.000 male and female slaves. In 73ac. his legend was created, who knows if he did not die that same year or did not actually perish in the final battery against Crasso and Pompey. The important thing is that his legend inspired millions of people throughout history and made the world as we know it.

  7. Carlos Oscar Yera Ojeda Reply at

    Spartacus is my favorite hero, I grew up from a very young age with his name as an inspiration for freedom, all the youth want to be like Spartacus, his name will never be forgotten.

  8. Paul Zambrana Reply at

    I have seen the series as 10 times and how a man conquers hearts with desire for freedom. Thanks to the rebellion of Spartacus many slaves believed in their freedom.

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