Spartacus (d. 71 B.C.), Roman slave and gladiator, born in Thrace. He was the leader of a band of robbers and was captured and sold to a trainer of gladiators at Capua. In 73 B.C. he escaped with about seventy fol-lowers, composed of runaway gladiators and slaves, and took refuge in the crater of the volcano Yesuvius, where hordes of runaway slaves joined him. As leader of the great insurrection of Roman slaves. known as the Servile War or Gladiators' War, he over-powered a force sent against him from Cap­ua, routed an army of 3000 men under Gaius Claudius Pulcher, and passed from victory to victory; his forces overran s. Italy and sacked many of the cities of Campania, and are said to have numbered ultimately from 70,000 to 90,000. In 71 B.C. Marcus Licinius Crassus forced Spartacus and his fol-lowers into the narrow peninsula of Rhegium (now Reggio Calabria), from which, however, they escaped through the Roman lines. Finding all hope of victory at an end, Spar­tacus made a dash on the port of Brundisium (now Brindisi), hoping lo seize the shipping and cross the Adriatic Sea, but was foiled by Lucius Licinius Lucullus; thereupon he made a heroic stand against Crassus until he was slain. Upon his death the insurrection came to an end, and the captured rebels were crucified. A few who escaped to the north were destroyed by Pompey the Great, who was returning from Spain and who claimed great credit for his share in ending the insur­rection.