Spendius was a Roman slave from Campania who escaped from his slavery. He was recruited into the Carthaginian Army during the First Punic War. In 241 BC he led a rebel army against Carthage, in what is known as the Mercenary War. He faced death by torture if he were returned to Roman authority.
About Spendius in brief
Spendius was a Roman slave from Campania who escaped from his slavery. He was recruited into the Carthaginian Army during the First Punic War. In 241 BC he led a rebel army against Carthage, in what is known as the Mercenary War. He faced death by torture if he were returned to Roman authority and took a dim view of the increasingly warm relationship between Carthage and Rome. He came to the fore as a member of the army most vocal in resisting Carthage’s efforts to settle the dispute. When the disagreement broke down into a full-scale mutiny he was elected co-general with the African Mathos by his comrades. The rebels then attempted to fight their way out in the Battle of the Saw and were massacred to a man. Later that year the surviving rebels were crushed at the Battle. of Leptis Parva. Spendius’s date of birth is unknown, as are most details of his activities prior to his coming to prominence as a mutineer in 241 BC. The ancient historian Polybius described him as a ‘slave deserter from the Romans’. In 238 BC Spendius led 40,000 men against the Carthagenian general Hamilcar, keeping to the higher and rougher terrain due to the Carthagos’ superiority in cavalry and elephants. His army became trapped in a pass or mountain range known as. the Saw. The Carthaginians attempted to pay their soldiers less than the full amount due to them before demobilising them. It was at this point that a junior officer named Mathos came to prominence. He refused to pay anything less than full payment, including the verbal promises of all verbal promises made to him.
The men grumbled among themselves and refused to do, among other things, anything to do with Carthage’s military discipline and with nothing to do in the long period of military discipline between 241 BC and 238 BC. He and his colleagues were tortured and then nailed to the crosses previously occupied by Spendius and his. colleagues. He anticipated they would be promptly paid the several years’ back pay they were owed and hurried on their way home. In the end, they were all massacred in front of the rebel-held city of Tunis and Spendius’ colleagues were crucified in view of. Carthage. The Romans had defeated a Carthaginia fleet attempting to lift the blockade of its last strongholds on Sicily. With their relief effort repulsed, the Carthageian Senate accepted defeat and ordered their commander on Sicily to negotiate a peace treaty with the Romans, on whatever terms he could obtain. The negotiation of the treaty and the subsequent evacuation of 20,000 soldiers from Sicily was left in the hands of Gisco. Not wishing the freshly idle soldiers to combine for purposes of their own, Gisco split the army into small detachments based on their regions of origin. He sent these back to Carthage one at a time. He anticipated them back to the city of Carthage where the advantages were appreciated to the full after up to eight years under siege.