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Gracchus knew the reality of it

Reaction to the departure of David Milliband in the media was mixed.  The Guardian/BBC axis treated it like the death of Nelson Mandela, whereas Peter Oborne in the Telegraph described him as a greedy failure.  I suspect the wider populace collectively shrugged, if they noticed at all.  I fancy one or two front benchers in the Labour party maybe secretly very pleased.  Oddly enough, my mind went back to a scene from the 1960 version of Spartacus.

It was the part where Glabarus, the beaten commander of the garrison of Rome is explaining to the Senate how he managed to lose six cohorts fighting slaves.

Gracchus: This is no time for a man of honour to withdraw from public affairs!

Senators: Shame, shame! – Sit down.

Gracchus: This sort of heroic public behaviour is nothing new!  I’ve seen it before– we all have– and I know the meaning of it!

Senator: Crassus acted on a point of honour! – Patrician honour!

Gracchus: No matter how noble this looks from the outside…I don’t like the colour of it.

Senator: Crassus is the only man in Rome…who hasn’t yielded to republican corruption, and never will!

Gracchus: I’ll take some republican corruption along with some republican freedom…but I won’t take is the dictatorship of Crassus and no freedom at all!

That’s what he’s out for and that’s why he’ll be back.

Now I am not suggesting Milliband would like a Roman style military dictatorship of course, neither am I suggesting he is a man of honour like Crassus.  What I mean is, he’ll be back, and I’m not suggesting that would be a good thing either.

Incidentally, when reading the script, I came across this gem.  I think it rather neatly explains socialist politicians these days.

Crassus: For Gracchus, hatred of the patrician class is a profession…and not such a bad one, either.  How else can one become master of the mob and first senator of Rome?


  1. guffaw says:

    Ah, took me back to freshman Western Civ. class. Dr. Smith. Discussing Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, aka The Gracchi Brothers!

    Thanks for the memory!


  2. CountingCats says:


    The Gracchi were well and truly dead by the time of the third servile war. This must be just some dude who also happens to be named Gracchus. Although the sentiment imputed to him fits his namesakes.

  3. CountingCats says:

    Question: Is the Crassus being referred to here meant to be Marcus Licinius Crassus? In which case the comments are probably meant to be prescient.

  4. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    This scene comes in the aftermath of the defeat of Glabarus on Vesuvius. The character Glabarus is Gaius Claudius Glaber who was beaten by Spartacus but not as suggested in the film.

    I thought of Milliband because in the film, Crassus who hadn’t taken the field against Spartacus at the time, was resigning in the hope the situation would become desperate. Thus when Rome did call upon him in desperation, he could name his own terms.

    It was indeed Marcus Licinius Crassus.

    If you’ve not seen the film, I can highly recommend it.

  5. Bunny says:

    Didn’t the Servile War against Spartacus also involve Pompeii and a young Julius Caesar, also Sulla?

  6. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    I wouldn’t swear to it but I think Sulla was dead by then.

  7. CountingCats says:

    Sulla was dead. I think Caesar was one of Crassus officers.

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