Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Stacie Raucci




Ancient Rome, gladiator, revolt, slavery


Spartacus, the Thracian gladiator who led the rebels of the Third Servile War, is one of the most widely known figures of Ancient Rome. Despite the lack of ancient sources describing him, Spartacus has become popular in modern society. After being held as a slave in a gladiator training school, Spartacus inspired a revolt in which almost 100,000 slaves stood before several Roman legions and won. Before being subdued by the praetor Marcus Licinius Crassus, the escaped slaves won many battles against the powerful Roman army. Spartacus’ story has been adapted in novels, films, and even ballets. This thesis examines the history behind these adaptations and explores the ways the story has been manipulated to promote certain views and ideologies in modern society. Using Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus and Yuri Grigorovich’s ballet of the same name as case studies, this thesis looks into the motivations and messages behind the modern reception of the classic story.