Earlier this week, Simon Loche walked us through the process of crafting the look and feel of Spartacus. He mentioned that there is some fiction behind each character that helps drive design and art. Today, we take a look at a brief summary of the backstory of Spartacus.
Spartacus revels in the glory of battle and the roar of the crowd. A champion of the people, he fights for pride and freedom, delivering victory at the edge of his legendary swords.
“Am I a man?
No. I am more.
I am Spartacus.”
Spartacus, the slave-turned-gladiator-turned-leader of men, built his legend in the killing arenas of ancient Rome.
His weapons were steel and rage and honed aggression.
His strength was his courage and the merciless roar of the blood-hungry crowds.
But there was a time, years prior, when the cheers of the overzealous throngs frightened Spartacus and his courage was nothing but a huddled, nervous thing, cowering beneath his fear.
In those early days, when he had first been enslaved and forced to fight for the pride and gain of his cruel masters, he knew nothing of the power held within the chanting, rabid affections of the masses.
Slowly, as he fought and won – fought and survived – his fear receded.
First, replaced by anger – he was more than meat for the killing floor, he was a man.
Then, pride – he would not die at the hands of lesser men, he would not die for the pleasure of strangers. He was more than a pawn in the arena’s great game of life and death. He was a warrior.
Finally, the fear that had given way to prideful, driving anger became something else, something new.
If his survival was sport, then he would train and fight and play, and he would win. And he would enjoy it. Revel in it.
In the cheers.
In the adrenaline of combat and the thrill of standing over another broken opponent.
And with each victory came confidence.
Followed swiftly by ego.
And with ego, came his name, shouted and cheered as criminals, soldiers and slaves fell to his swords and beast after beast was cut down – sacrifices to the gods of the arena – fleeting entertainment for the distracted people of a corrupt and greedy empire.
As his victories mounted, his fame spread.
The people called him gladiator.
They called him Spartacus, the Brave.
Spartacus, the Fearless.
Spartacus, the Lion-Hearted.
They told of his triumphs and sang of his swords – the cutting edge that spilled blood that the gods and people would be appeased and the other that delivered the mercy of a quick, clean death. For Spartacus was no butcher, he was an honored champion of the arenas.
Yet, his masters still called him slave.
No matter how hard he fought.
No matter how many battles he won.
In the eyes of his “betters,” Spartacus was nothing more than a curiosity – a pawn and tool of a cruel, callous and uncaring ruling class.
In their indifference, Spartacus found his greatest challenge.
If he could not win their respect, he would take it.
And so, Spartacus, the greatest champion the killing arenas had ever known, declared war on Rome. Leading slaves and soldiers, gladiators and common men against the vast might of the Emperor’s legions.
The arenas fell silent and fields ran red.
It was a war of hope – for freedom and pride.
It was a war of anger – against abuse and greed.
A war history says Spartacus lost.
But history knows little of the champion’s true fate.
And, in truth, it is a war he is still fighting.
On a new plane.
In another realm.
That he may one day return home.
That he may one day bring violent retribution to those who dare oppress Rome and claim, so nobly, to be masters of men.