Thurs. 24th November: “I’m Spartacus!” Sorry, I meant to say “I’m going to write Spartacus.”

Hoooraaayyyy! I’m absolutely delighted. Over the moon. Ecstatic. Shame it’s only 11.30 am, or I’d crack open a beer…

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  1. Posted 25 November 2010 at 13:32 | Permalink

    I have just been reading it in Bookseller, while having my lunch…Great news Ben, a really great story to look forward to.
    I did chuckle at the phase: for a “very significant sum”.

    Which must be the cherry of the cake for you…its good to be appreciated…better to be paid well at the same time…LOL

    anyway…really happy for you and looking forward to it.

  2. benkane
    Posted 25 November 2010 at 13:46 | Permalink

    Cheers, Parmenion. It is nice to be appreciated, and to know that I can pay the mortgage and the bills for the next year… 🙂

  3. leslieianjones
    Posted 25 November 2010 at 15:24 | Permalink

    The ‘true’ story of Spartacus as opposed to the film version I hope? The truth is so much better!

  4. benkane
    Posted 25 November 2010 at 16:07 | Permalink

    Hi Les! Only 4000 words from ancient texts survives about Spartacus, so there are more holes than facts. Rest assured, however, that I will do my very best to write as ‘authentic’ an account as I can. There’ll be no avoiding the main battles, and certainly no ‘I am Spartacus’ moments!

  5. leslieianjones
    Posted 25 November 2010 at 17:21 | Permalink

    Well I’m always available for research purposes? You have my email address somewhere on your system.

  6. Posted 25 November 2010 at 18:12 | Permalink

    Cool. There’s finally hope for a Spartacus who’s not a Braveheart clone. 🙂

    OK, Colleen McCullough’s version doesn’t turn him into an American freedom fighter, but his story is just a small episode in her vast epic, and designed to let the young Caesar shine. A bit short on the battles, too.

    So definitely looking forward to your version.

  7. benkane
    Posted 26 November 2010 at 09:59 | Permalink

    @Les – I do, and thank you for your kind offer. I may take you up on it…

  8. benkane
    Posted 26 November 2010 at 10:01 | Permalink

    @Gabriele: I’ll do my best. Already I feel intimidated about how people will react to my take on the man…
    So Colleen McC. featured him too? (As did Conn Iggulden.) I guess the temptation is too great not to!

  9. leslieianjones
    Posted 26 November 2010 at 14:32 | Permalink

    Tell you what I’ll do Ben. As I love wandering off finding information on the web I shall start researching Spartacus. I’ll get back to you after Christmas. I expect much of it will be what you have already, but I will try to think outside the box and come up with something new(ish)

  10. benkane
    Posted 26 November 2010 at 14:45 | Permalink

    @Les – thanks! I possess just about every text on Spartacus that I’ve seen named (apart from some rare ones on Crassus, which I aim to read in Bristol uni library), and have the ancient texts too, but if you can come up with some new material, I’ll read it. Good luck!

  11. leslieianjones
    Posted 26 November 2010 at 15:01 | Permalink

    “Come up with some new material” That is a task and a half!! Still if it was easy there would be no fun in trying.

  12. Posted 27 November 2010 at 17:42 | Permalink

    Ben, the Spartacus chapters are in Fortune’s Favorites, if I remember correctly.

  13. leslieianjones
    Posted 27 November 2010 at 17:48 | Permalink

    It would appear that much of the facts about Spartacus are well known once the slave revolt started. It’s his early life that is of interest. Most sources follow the path of maybe being a freeborn provincial from Thrace who joined the Auxiliaries, deserted and became a robber who once caught was sold to be a gladiator. But even being an auxil wouldn’t explain the success he had. There must be more. Maybe the Legion he was attached to had a very good commander. Maybe he was just a natural tactical genius. Might be a clue from in the Maedi tribe he is supposed to come from. Did he actually die in the battle against Crassus? One path leads to another….

  14. leslieianjones
    Posted 28 November 2010 at 04:41 | Permalink

    I’ve saved three articles to my favourites which give a lot of background about slave revolts and how the romans might have viewed Spartacus. It is clear that fighting and losing a slave war was horrifying to the elite classes. They couldn’t just be fighting a slave so they built up a possible ‘respectable’ background for him….that I will look into further.

  15. benkane
    Posted 28 November 2010 at 10:20 | Permalink

    @Les: re new material, I was hoping that you might find some of the lost books from the library in Alexandria, including a whole volume on the life of Spartacus… 😉

  16. benkane
    Posted 28 November 2010 at 10:21 | Permalink

    @Gabriele – thanks. Sometime, I’ll look it up, but after I’ve written my story. I don’t want my head cluttered with other people’s takes on the man.
    Plot bunnies?! 🙂

  17. benkane
    Posted 28 November 2010 at 10:23 | Permalink

    @Les: No, the Romans didn’t like the fact that Spartacus was a slave, and that he nearly took down their Republic. But the man must have been an able tactician as well as a great leader. Otherwise he simply wouldn’t have beaten so many full size Roman armies. I mean, both consular armies on their own, and then combined?! What a dude!

  18. leslieianjones
    Posted 28 November 2010 at 14:07 | Permalink

    The Alexandrian books was on my things to do after Christmas!!! Fully agree about him being a able tactician, but he must have learnt this from somewhere. The obvious answer is when he was in the legions…then again that is too obvious! In addition to being a great leader he also had a logistics skills of moving around a vast army in the field. I think the reason he beat so many Roman armies was over confidence in their own abilities by the Roman commanders. I agree, though…what a dude!

  19. Posted 28 November 2010 at 15:16 | Permalink

    Heh, I want the lost books by Pliny the Older about the wars in Germania. That blasted Tacitus guy only used some excerpts. 😉

    I think Spartacus must have learned some things about the Roman army to fight it so effectively, even if we assume he had a natural talent for tactics and leadership. If he wasn’t in the auxiliary himself, he must have met someone – a fellow gladiator most likely – who was in the army and who a military mind himself to understand and explain it. We know even less about Spartacus’ friends, so the question will remain unsolved.

    It’s easier for ‘my’ Arminius; we do know he was an auxiliary praefect and most likely fought in the Pannonian war. I think he may have been a member of Tiberius’s staff there, no matter how much Velleius Paterculus tries to write loops around that little detail. 😉 Some of Rome’s most formidable enemies got their military education in the Roman army: Arminius, Civilis, Alaric ….

    Ben, I suppose the question about plot bunnies refers to my comment to the other post (which for some reason is still awaiting moderation). I came across the word some years ago when I joined the Forward Motion Writer Chat; several memebers used the word to describe ideas that won’t leave you in peace, that love to attack you when you have a deadline or some other reason not to deal with them, they breed and persist until you’ve written at least some notes … in short, they are cute looking bunnies that turn out to be some sort of pest writers love to hate. 😀 It’s more fun to say, ‘a big fluffy plot bunny pounced me yesterday and I’m afraid it brought friends’, than ‘I got an idea for another novel.’

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