This image is the cover for the book Rome's Sicilian Slave Wars

Rome's Sicilian Slave Wars

A study of the two Late Republic slave revolts, exploring their social context, the nature of slavery at the time, and the causes of the conflicts.

In 136 BC, in Sicily (which was then a Roman province), some four hundred slaves of Syrian origin rebelled against their masters and seized the city of Henna with much bloodshed. Their leader, a fortune-teller named Eunus, was declared king (taking the Syrian royal name Antiochus), and tens of thousands of runaway slaves as well as poor native Sicilians soon flocked to join his fledgling kingdom. Antiochus’ ambition was to drive the Romans from the whole of Sicily. The Romans responded with characteristic unwillingness and relentlessness, leading to years of brutal warfare and suppression. Antiochus’ “Kingdom of the Western Syrians” was extinguished by 132, but his agenda was revived in 105 BC when rebelling slaves proclaimed Salvius as King Tryphon, with similarly bitter and bloody results.

Natale Barca narrates and analyses these events in unprecedented detail, with thorough research into the surviving ancient sources. The author also reveals the long-term legacy of the slaves’ defiance, contributing to the crises that led to the seismic Social War and setting a precedent for the more-famous rebellion of Spartacus in 73–71 BC.

Praise for Rome’s Sicilian Slave Wars

“An interesting read, and a good account of these large scale and very significant slave uprisings, giving us an idea of what the rebels were attempting to achieve, the methods they chose, and each revolt managed to survive for so long before being crushed.” —History of War

Natale Barca

Natale Barca has a degree in Political Science. He was a Visiting Research Scholar at the prestigious University of California Department of Classics in Berkley and an Academic Visitor at the Institute of Classical Studies (ICS), School of Advanced Studies, University of London. He has previously published eight books in Italian and one e-book in English on Egyptology, Ancient Near East History and Archaeology, and Roman History. He lives in Trieste, Italy.

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