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Crixus was a leader of the slave rebellion
Slave rebellion
A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by slaves. Slave rebellions have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery, and are amongst the most feared events for slaveholders...

 in the Third Servile War
Third Servile War
The Third Servile War , also called the Gladiator War and the War of Spartacus by Plutarch, was the last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions against the Roman Republic, known collectively as the Roman Servile Wars...

, along with Spartacus
Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

 and Oenomaus
Oenomaus (rebel slave)
Oenomaus was a gladiator from Gaul, who escaped from the gladiatorial school of Lentulus Batiatus in Capua. Together with the Thracian Spartacus and a fellow Gaul, Crixus, he became one of the leaders of rebellious slaves during the Third Servile War , but died early in the war.Oenomaus was...


He was a Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 (his name means "one with curly hair" in Gaulish), and had been a slave for several years before the revolt. Crixus had fought for the Allobroges
The Allobroges were a Celtic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and the Lake of Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais. Their cities were in the areas of modern-day Annecy, Chambéry and Grenoble, the modern of Isère, and modern Switzerland...

 against the Romans and had been captured. Like his companions, Crixus had trained as a gladiator
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the...

 in Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

. In several early engagements, his company of Celtic gladiators changed the tide of battle by attacking weak points exposed by the slave army.

Initially the slave army proved very successful, defeating the forces the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 sent to put down the insurrection.
However, Crixus separated from Spartacus towards the end of the year. Spartacus wanted to return to the slaves' homelands in Gaul and the Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, but Crixus is said to have set his heart on plunder, and stayed on in southern Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


In the spring of 72 BC one of the two Roman consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

s sent to quash the rebellion, Lucius Gellius Publicola
Lucius Gellius Publicola
Lucius Gellius Publicola was a Roman politician and general who was one of two Consuls of the Republic in 72 BC along with Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Clodianus...

, caught up with Crixus and his forces, composed of Celts and Germanic tribesmen, in the region of Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

. In the ensuing battle at Mount Garganus Crixus used his Germanic infantry to soften up the Romans before committing his elite Celtic gladiators; however his Germanic fighters were routed and Crixus was forced to fight a losing defensive action. Crixus was killed and his 30,000 strong army defeated.

In the manner of Roman aristocrats, Spartacus honored the memory of the ex-gladiator Crixus with funeral games at which 300 Roman prisoners-of-war were forced to fight to the death like gladiators.

In popular culture

  • Crixus was portrayed by Jon Ireland
    John Ireland (actor)
    John Benjamin Ireland was an actor and film director.-Biography:Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he was raised in New York City from the age of 18. He started out in minor stage roles on Broadway...

     in the 1960 film Spartacus.
  • Crixus appears as a character in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus
    Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus
    Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of Spartacus was a 1992 concept album by Jeff Wayne and others, telling the story of Roman gladiator, Spartacus....

  • Crixus is portrayed by Paul Kynman in the 2004 TV movie Spartacus
    Spartacus (2004 film)
    Spartacus is a 2004 North American Movie directed by Robert Dornhelm and produced by Ted Kurdyla from a teleplay by Robert Schenkkan. It stars Goran Visjnic, Alan Bates, Angus Macfadyen, Rhona Mitra, Ian McNeice, Ross Kemp and Ben Cross. It is based on the novel of the same name by Howard Fast...

  • Crixus is played by Manu Bennett
    Manu Bennett
    Manu Bennett is an actor from New Zealand who has appeared in television series and movies.- Early life :Born in New Zealand, Bennett's mother was an Australian bikini model, his father a New Zealand singer. The family moved to Australia when Bennett was a few months old...

     in the Starz television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand
    Spartacus: Blood and Sand
    Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a Starz television series that premiered on January 22, 2010. The series is inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus , a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BC led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Executive producers Steven S...

    and the prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
    Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
    Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is a Starz television mini-series and prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which premiered January 21, 2011. The series follows the character Gannicus , the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua representing Lentulus Batiatus...