Sicilian Slave Revolts. 1st and 2nd Servile War, 135-132 BC and 104-103 BC

Before the more famous revolt of Spartacus (Third Servile War, 73-70 BC) two major slaves uprisings known as the First and the Second Servile Wars took place in Sicily

The First Servile War was led by a Syrian slave called Eunus, an illusionist and magician. Saying that he was under divine inspiration, Eunus brought together a first group of 400 fellows with improvised weapons, conquered the city of Enna and massacred his masters and all the free citizens except for those that were able to manufacture weapons. Soon he was able to put together an army of thousands (sources says that there were from 60,000 to 200,000 at the end, but this number, if real, must take into account a predominant number of non-combatants). He proclamed himself as the "King of Slaves" with the resounding name of "Antiochus" and a bodyguard of 1,000 properly armed men while the others had only axes, sickles, fire hardened stakes, kitchen spits and slings. Another ex-slave leader, Cleones, joined Eunus' forces and as Eunus' subordinate general. Eunus and Cleones engaged in some battles with the Romans and were victorious due to their overwhelming numbers, until Rupilius, a Roman commander, conquered the town of Tauromenium, where he massacred a large number of ex-slaves, and then Enna, where Rupilius ended the revolt by killing Cleon and Eunus.

The Second Servile War was led by another Asian slave called Salvius, a flute player. In a similar way to that of Eunus, he brought together an army of 20.000, with 2.000 cavalry, and self-proclaimed himself "King of Slaves" with the name of Tryphon. He routed a Roman army of 10,000 men and doubled his forces. Then another ex-slave leader, Athenion, joined his forces to those of Salvius. At this point the Roman Senate sent an army of 17,000 commanded by Lucius Licinius Lucullus. Salvius accepted the advice of Athenion to give battle in the open, and was defeated and killed. Athenion, even if wounded, managed to escape and continued the revolt, but was finally defeated and killed by the consul Aquilius. The captive slaves who surrendered decided to commit suicide rather than ending as gladiators in the arena.

For a collection of all sources about the 1st and 2nd Servile Wars (mainly Diodorus Siculus) and the 3rd Servile War, see

Era: Age of Empires   Sicilian Slave Revolts
135-132 BC and 104-103 BC
CR: H: 1 L: 6   BP: 2 Init: 4
Number Type   Description Key FV PROT Weapon Cost
7 LHI Ex-slaves X 4(1)2 +1 Various* 6
4 LI Looters X 3(1)2 +1 Various* 4
4 SI     3(1)2 +2 Slings 2
12 LHI Ex-slaves X 4(1)2 +1 Various* 6
4 LI Looters X 3(1)2 +1 Various* 4
4 SI     3(1)2 +2 Slings 2
1 FT King's Bodyguard X 6(1)1 +1 Various 8
4 LC Ex-slaves X 2(0)0 +1 Javelins/various 7


Core: 1 RG

Bonus: (Max: 5 ) 5 GR, 4 SH, 2 RG, 1 W


Core: 96 Bonus: 132

The weapons class "various" is not a missile class for LI or for LHI hence there is no charge for it unlike javelins.

Ordo Link: Oddly enough, discussion on this list is found within the Late Republican Legions list. Information (as usual) can also be found within the New Army Submissions Thread.

Last Edited: 14 May 2005: Added 3 SI to Bonus.

List Author: Polemicus a/k/a Daniele Varelli