Spartacus (Gibbon novel)
Although Gibbon is mainly known for his trilogy A Scots Quair, this is his best-known full-length work outside that trilogy.
The central character is not Spartacus himself, but Kleon, a fictional Greek educated slave and eunuch who joins the revolt. In the first chapter we are told how he was sold into slavery as a child and sexually abused by an owner.
Another important character is Elpinice, a female slave who helps Spartacus and his fellow gladiators escape from Capua, and who becomes Spartacus's lover. She gives birth to a son, but while Spartacus is fighting elsewhere she is raped and murdered by soldiers, and the child is also killed. The novel touches on Gibbon's views on human history, with Spartacus seen as a survivor of the Golden Age.
However, in spite of various additions and speculations, it does stick fairly closely to the known historical facts about the revolt. Plutarch's life of Crassus is clearly the main source, but it does make use of some other classical sources, including Appian and Sallust.
- Spartacus (Fast novel), the 1951 novel by Howard Fast
- Spartacus (film), the famous Kirk Douglas film based on Fast's novel
- The Gladiators, Arthur Koestler's 1939 novel about Spartacus.
- online copy of the novel with an introduction