Nick E. Tarabay
Antonio Te Maioho
The story begins with an unnamed Thracian’s involvement in the war against the Getae in Roman auxiliary under the command of the legatus, Claudius Glaber. Glaber, persuaded by his wife Ilithyia to seek greater glory, instead decides to confront the forces of Mithradates. The Thracian, feeling betrayed, leads a mutiny against Glaber, and returns to find his village destroyed. The Thracian and his wife Sura are captured by Glaber the next day; the Thracian is condemned to die in the arena for inciting mass desertion of the auxiliary, and Sura is condemned to slavery. The Thracian is sentenced to death, and is forced to fight four gladiators. However, he manages to kill the gladiators, and senator Albinius commutes the prisoner’s punishment to slavery.
Seeing the Thracian’s skill and popularity with the crowd, Lentulus Batiatus purchases him for training in his ludus. Since the prisoner’s true name is unknown, Batiatus names him “Spartacus”, because he fought like the ferocious Thracian king of that name.
Spartacus joins Batiatus’ ludus under the tutelage of Doctore, a former gladiator. He is befriended by Varro, a Roman who sold himself into slavery in order to pay his debts and support his family. However, he is harassed by more senior gladiators, notably by Crixus, an undefeated Gaul, and Barca, a Carthaginian. Soon, Spartacus learns that Sura was sold to a Syrian slave trader. Batiatus, who has been unable to control Spartacus during his first days of training, discovers the instrument of his taming, and persuades Spartacus to fight for his and Sura’s freedom.