Second Servile War
The Second Servile War was an unsuccessful slave uprising against the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 on the island of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. The war lasted from 104 BC
104 BC
Year 104 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Marius and Fimbria...

 until 100 BC
100 BC
Year 100 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Marius and Flaccus...


The Consul Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

 was recruiting for his eventually successful war against the Cimbri
The Cimbri were a tribe from Northern Europe, who, together with the Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. The Cimbri were probably Germanic, though some believe them to be of Celtic origin...

 in Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul, in Latin: Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, also called Gallia Togata, was a Roman province until 41 BC when it was merged into Roman Italy.It bore the name Gallia, because the great body of its inhabitants, after the expulsion of the Etruscans, consisted of Gauls or Celts...

. He requested support from King Nicomedes III of Bithynia
Nicomedes III of Bithynia
Nicomedes III Euergetes was the king of Bithynia, from c. 127 BC to c. 94 BC. He was the son and successor of Nicomedes II of Bithynia by an unnamed woman....

. Additional troops were not supplied due to the claim that contracted Roman tax collectors had enslaved Italians unable to pay their debts. Marius decreed that any allied/friendly Italian should be released if they were in Roman slavery.

Around 800 Italian slaves were released from Sicily, frustrating many non-Italians who thought they would be released as well, and many of these abandoned their masters incorrectly believing to have been freed. A rebellion broke out when they were ordered back to servitude by the Governor. A slave by the name of Salvius
Salvius was a flute player who was proclaimed king by the rebelling slaves of ancient Sicily during the Second Servile War. He assumed the name Tryphon, from Diodotus Tryphon, a Seleucid ruler. For some time, he waged war against the Romans....

 was following in the footsteps of Eunus
Eunus , a slave from Apamea in Syria, became leader of the slave uprising in the First Servile War in Sicily. Eunus rose to prominence in the movement through his reputation as a wonder-worker and prophet...

, fighting for his rights and elected leader of this rebellion. He assumed the name Tryphon, from Diodotus Tryphon
Diodotus Tryphon
Diodotus Tryphon was king of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom. As a general of the army, he promoted the claims of Antiochus VI Dionysus, the infant son of Alexander Balas, in Antioch after Alexander's death, but then in 142 deposed the child and himself seized power in Coele-Syria where Demetrius...

, a Seleucid ruler.

He amassed an army containing thousands of trained and equipped slaves, including 2,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry, and was joined by a Cicilian named Athenion and his men from the west of Sicily. The Roman consul Manius Aquillius
Manius Aquillius (101 BC)
Manius Aquillius , member of the ancient Roman gens Aquillia, was consul in 101 BC.Probably a son of Manius Aquillius consul in 129 BC, he was a loyal follower of Gaius Marius...

 quelled the revolt only after great effort. It was the second of a series of three slave revolts
Roman Servile Wars
The Servile Wars were a series of three slave revolts in the late Roman Republic. See:...

 in the Roman Republic, but fuelled by the same slave abuse in Sicily and Southern Italy.

Second Servile War in Literature

  • F. L. Lucas's short story "The Boar" (Athenaeum
    Athenaeum (magazine)
    The Athenaeum was a literary magazine published in London from 1828 to 1921. It had a reputation for publishing the very best writers of the age....

    , 10 Sept. 1920) is set in Sicily in the aftermath of the Slave War.
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