While we count down the days to Gods of the Arena premiere in January (well for those in the US and Canada), there's a doco that might be worth checking out tonight for Aussie fans:
Warriors — Spartacus
SBS One, Sunday 9.30pm
ONE OF the most famous people from ancient Rome was not a real Roman. He was Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who challenged the military might of Rome.
Hollywood depicted him as a chiselled freedom fighter and even gave him a love interest in his best-known manifestation the 1960 film Spartacus. But apart from being born in Thrace — a Roman province in what is today Bulgaria and Turkey — not much is known about him, his career in the Roman army, his family, nor his personal reasons for his two-year rebellion against Rome. Despite this, he has long been seen as a role model for the oppressed fighting against the might of the state, with all kinds of supposed modern motives for his struggle for freedom. This BBC documentary looks at some recent research on Spartacus’s slave revolt, with Andy Flanagan (pictured) in the title role.
But rather than giving us a dry documentary, it has tried to re-create the historical drama as it unfolded, exploring Spartacus’s tactics and his possible motivations. While some of it is pure speculation and there are some minor inaccuracies relating to depictions of ancient Rome, most of it accords with what we know about Spartacus in accounts such as Barry Strauss’s excellent The Spartacus War.