Servile Wars, name given in Roman history to three slave uprisings. The agricultural slaves were exploited by their owners, who had extreme powers and were never averse to using them. The first of the Servile Wars was fought in Sicily from 134 to 132 B.C. (or from 135 to 133 B.C.); the second, more serious, also occurred in Sicily from 104 to 101 B.C. (or from 105 to 102 B.C.). The third took place in Campania and was led by the gladiator Spartacus. He and his men gained control over most of S Italy in 73 B.C. and were finally put down with great cruelty by Crassus and Pompey in 71 B.C.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.