Spartacus and the slave revolt that shook the Roman Empire: A speech by Chris Harman

Research output: Book/ReportBook - edited

Abstract

Our rulers today in an age of permanent inter-imperialist war still glorify the ‘civilisation’ of the Roman Empire. It is therefore timely to remember the greatest ever challenge to that empire from below, the mass slave revolt led by the Thracian gladiator Spartacus from 73-71 BCE. Chris Harman (1942-2009), a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party and its forerunner organization, the International Socialists, in Britain for many decades from the early 1960s, had written about Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and the Spartakist League in his 1982 classic work, The Lost Revolution: Germany, 1918-1923. During the 1990s, Chris was working on his magisterial A People’s History of the World (1999), and the year before this work was published, he gave a talk on Spartacus at Marxism festival in London in 1998. The speech, published for the first time here with additional original notes by Chris included, includes not only a vivid account of one of the most tragic but heroic class struggles in history, but also a fascinating historical and materialist discussion on the interrelationship between slavery, the impoverishment of the Roman peasant, and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRedwords
ISBN (Print)9781917020107
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

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