chapter  VI
39 Pages

The Reign of the Star

The meaning of a famous episode There are astonishing life-histories of which one should take note. That of Spartacus, whose epic story is known the world over, is not the only example. With eighty of his companions, armed only with spits and kitchen knives, he unexpectedly escaped from the gladiatorial school at Capua before the garrison had time to intervene. On his way he came across a providential arsenal, in the form of a convoy of carts taking weapons to the gladiators of some other town. The defeat of a local contingent, doubtless quite a strong one, provided him with an ample harvest of swords. In a symbolic gesture, they took them instead of the arms of the gladiators, regarded as dishonourable and barbarian, which they had used until then. These were used for arming the slaves who came from all sides to swell the ranks of the victor's small troupe.