Time having ripened his plans, Spartacus turned to his fellow-slaves. Calling them together, he asked them whether they wished to be free men or to "wait, like oxen, for the butcher's knife."
this was an entirely new idea, for not one of those slaves had ever imagined that they might be doing something more useful than slaughtering one another for the entertainment of the seigneurs and grand dames. To this new heresy they listened at first with hostile reluctance, but they were reassured and won over by the redoubtable Spartacus. His challenge: "I am stronger than any of you. Yes, come out and fight me--all of you. I am not afraid!" eliciting no response he cried: "Then fight with me!" From that moment he drew them after him irresistibly.
Thus, in the year B.C. 73, the gladiator slaves--who were only 74 in number and armed simply with clubs--under the leadership of Spartacus, insurrected, and after a struggle in which they killed all their guards, took refuge on Mount Vesuvius.
"The Romans will follow us," warned Spartacus. "We must prepare for a great fight. Better to die here fighting for our lives than butcher each other for our release in the arena."
Three thousand soldiers, under C. Claudius Pulcher, hunted down and completely surrounded the fugitive slaves. Their starvation being imminent, Spartacus again appealed to them, arguing that, rather than die like dogs, why not rush down the precipice into the ranks of the Romans and die the death of men?
Thrilled by the unbending courage of their leader, the handful of slaves hurled themselves against the Romans and, breaking through their lines, completely defeated them. Spartacus and his men had learned how to wield weapons, and they now began giving the hated Romans a taste of their own medicine. The name of Spartacus sped from on corner of the country to the other. Everywhere slaves raised their heads to a new hope. The small band of Spartacus rapidly swelled into a huge army. Everywhere slaves dashed off their manacles and followed Spartacus and helped him disseminate and actively illustrate the doctrine of resistance to tyranny.
In a very short space of time Spartacus controlled practically the whole of souther Italy. Large forces were sent against him from Rome, only to suffer defeat after defeat.
Then there arose a critical proposition. If Spartacus and his men wished to be sure of lasting security and freedom, it would be necessary to break through towards the north and reach the Alps. Spartacus was fully aware of his necessity, but was compelled to use all his persuasive powers in order to convince his men. But hey, in their short-sightedness, demanded of him why they should go north into strange lands when they were already in control of their present locality. Spartacus, knowing