Barry Strauss: Spartacus and the Great Books
Thu, March 4, 2010 • 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM • Mezes Hall, Room 3.106
Spartacus was a real historical character, leader of ancient history’s largest slave revolt, but we remember him for his mythic qualities – from Kirk Douglas’s celluloid portrait to Khatchaturian’s ballet. It’s no surprise that a great opponent of slavery and empire like Marx looked up to Spartacus, but so did the ardent imperialist Sallust as well as that connoisseur of great men, Plutarch. What did they all see in the rebel gladiator? To answer the question sheds light on the nature of gallantry, a trait too little appreciated today.
Barry Strauss is professor of history and classics at Cornell University. A
former director of Cornell’s Peace Studies Program, he is currently
director as well as founder of its Program on Freedom and Free Societies.
He is the author of:
The Battle of Salamis <http://www.barrystrauss.com/salamis.htm> ,
named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Washington Post;
The Trojan War: A New History <http://www.barrystrauss.com/troy.htm> , a
main selection of the History Book Club.
His most recent book, The Spartacus War,
<http://www.barrystrauss.com/spartacus.htm> appeared in March, 2009.
He is co-author of two other books, and co-editor of still two others. He
has written many scholarly articles, reviews, and book chapters. He is
Series Editor of the Princeton History of the Ancient World. His newspaper
articles have appeared in the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, and Newsday.
He has written on the history of warfare for MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of
Military History, Naval History, and Parameters: U.S. Army War College
Quarterly. He has been interviewed for A&E, the Discovery Channel, the
History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the BBC and PBS and he
has spoken at many universities, institutes, and war colleges here and
abroad. His fellowships and honors include the Heinrich Schliemann
Fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers,
and Cornell’s Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching.
His personal website is www.barrystrauss.com. A chapter of his book, The
Spartacus War, is available here:
He has a blog too: www.barrystrauss.com/blog.