A Historical Film Review by Andrew Rose.
Hollywood has created many historical movies and often they are created inaccurately, in the case of "Spartacus" (1960) clearly the director, designers and the writers did their homework.
In the film, Spartacus begins is bought as a slave and transferred to Gladiator school where he leads a group of slaves into revolt to escape and form an army of slaves. Their army gradually began to grow in size as other runaway slaves joined the battle against Rome. In the end, Spartacus led his army of 120 000 men in a final battle against Rome, which resulted in him being crucified along with 35 000 of the other survivors of the battle along the roadside. Historically, Spartacus was originally a soldier in the Roman army, who deserted to become a robber. He was then captured and forced into slavery and sent to a Roman Gladiator school at Capua. He broke out of the school, killing their master with kitchen knives, then leading the slave revolt alongside two Gaul's, Oenomaus and Crixus, ending with Spartacus being stricken on the battlefield, not crucified.
In the movie, soldiers were seen with only one kind of weaponry and one formation with their armory held together with leather straps, using Imperial Gallic helmets made of iron to protect their heads. In fact, there were a variety of formations used by the Roman army, which varied based on size, position and location. Weaponry consisted of various spears, daggers, swords and field equipment consisting of catapults and ballistas (large cross-bow like weapons). Armor was made of chain-mail and scale armor. The armor used in the movie was introduced in the early 1st contrary C.E., after the real events. Lastly, the helmets used at this time were made of bronze, not iron.
This film took place in the battlefields and the country side; therefore, the structures on display were mainly tents and small shacks, and the scenes in which Roman developments were in view were historically correct.