The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Barry Strauss: Spartacus and the Great Books

Thu, March 4, 2010 | Mezes Hall, Room 3.106

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Barry Strauss: Spartacus and the Great Books

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 <> ,
 named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the  Washington Post;

 The Trojan War: A New History <> ,  a
main selection of the History Book Club.

 His most recent book, The  Spartacus War,
<>  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 A chapter of his book, The
Spartacus War, is available here:

 He has a blog too:

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