This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Eunus and uprising in Sicily

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Author: Eannatum | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Eunus was a Roman slave of Syrian origin who was the leader of the first slave uprising in Sicily (135-132 BCE). According to Florus’s message, Eunus swore to the Syrian deity Atargatis (which he compared to Greek Demeter) that he would free slaves from oppression.

Florus mentions:

A certain Syrian named Eunus (the seriousness of our defeats causes his name to be remembered), counterfeiting an inspired frenzy and waving his dishevelled hair in honour of the Syrian goddess, incited the slaves to arms and liberty on the pretence of a command from the gods.

Florus, Epitome of Roman History, II.7

He considered himself a prophet, and even to improve the effect of his statements, he put a nut in his mouth, filled with burning sulfur, to imitate the flame of fire. In this way he wanted to authenticate his anointing by the gods.

At the begining, under Eunus command, was two thousand fugitive slaves. This number, however, increased with next victories to over 60, 000. Eunus certainly established some germ of statehood, as evidenced by the discovery of archaeologists from the city of Enna – a coin with the inscription “King Antiochus”. Eunus was to proclaim his subjects “Syrians.”

Finally, the rebels were defeated by praetor Marcus Perperna. As Florus says:

At last punishment was inflicted upon them under the leadership of Perperna, who, after defeating them and finally besieging them at Enna, reduced them by famine as effectually as by a plague and requited the surviving marauders with fetters, chains and the cross. He was content with an ovation for his victory over them, so that he might not sully the dignity of a triumph by the mention of slaves.

Florus, Epitome of Roman History, II.7

After the victory, Perperna received the right of ovation in Rome.

  • Florus, Epitome of Roman History

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

Your financial help is needed, in order to maintain and develop the website. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server. I believe that I can count on a wide support that will allow me to devote myself more to my work and passion, to maximize the improvement of the website and to present history of ancient Romans in an interesting form.


News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with news and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Roman bookstore

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.

Check out bookstore

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: