Soldier, gladiator, revolutionary and general, Spartacus was Greece’s answer to Steve Jobs, mounting his own rebellion against Rome, the only true super power of the day.
Unlike Jobs, his weaknesses were in discipline, diplomacy and what’s now defined as ‘image management.’ Projecting this historic figure into the modern era where self-promotion is an exercise in deliberate, conscious manipulation and control, the Spartacus legend is an amalgam of disparate stories cobbled together from various texts.
If battlefield heroics defined him he clearly, Spartacus had no gift for diplomacy, as every alliance he made either crumbled or betrayed him – perhaps he could have benefitted from some breakfast briefings to strengthen his network.
Ultimately, the lack of discipline among his own ranks cost him dearly at the hands of the Roman war machine. Perhaps if there is a lesson for the modern leader it is to employ skilled lieutenants in specialist areas like PR, internal communications and managing relations with external partners, for if Spartacus had deployed a dedicated ‘purchasing’ force to properly secure the acquisition of a fleet of ships, he might have managed to flee to Sicily, saving himself and his entire force from their premature and brutal deaths, or at least allowing them to fight another day.
Darren Hawkins, Gratterpalm Advertising Agency
Poor old Spartacus had a right old communications challenge on his hands during the Third Servile War. The mighty Roman army weren’t keen on letting their slaves get together to hatch escape plans in secret powwows. When the battle was eventually won, it was long and bloody.
@Spartacus could approach the problem differently. The Thracian nomad could spread a new virus amongst the enslaved. No, not scurvy, but the Twitter hashtag #whattheRomanshaven’tdoneforus. The 140 character form would make the rousing propaganda quick and easy to read (...on an iPhone concealed within the swaddling of the subservient).
Tweets of ‘Forced 2B a Gladiator’, ‘cell not as advertised in brochure’ and ‘I heard they built aqueducts in Rome’ would unite the slaves in no time. New communication methods could have helped Spartacus and his crew wriggle from the clutches of their oppressors in half the time with half the bloodshed.
Daniel Tyte, Working Word
Since war with Rome was dangerous, Spartacus no doubt had to demonstrate that doing nothing was more dangerous still. Once the slaves had revolted, their lives were worth nothing. “The one chance you have – slim though it may be – is to fight. Otherwise you will surely die at the hands of Romans: in their galleys, their arenas or their brothels.”
Having them join the slave army immediately would give Spartacus certainty and bind the slaves to his cause, so “if we don’t join together now, we will be destroyed when the Romans come. You have no time to lose; we must form an army now if you are to defend yourselves.”
Finally, in a superstitious time, Spartacus would have gone beyond having a vision of a better future; he would have sought to harness the slaves’ many and different gods to his cause; portraying his goal as a righteous one.
Mike Clayton, author of 'The Handling Resistance Pocketbook and