Lucius Gellius Publicola was a Roman politician, general and Consul during the Third Servile War. He defeated Crixus and his army in 72 BC at the battle of Mount Garganus and was later defeated by Spartacus and his rebel army.


Early Life

The first member of the Gellii to achieve the consulate, at an early age Publicola was attached to Gaius Papirius Carbo as his contubernalis. He began his climb up the cursus honorum with his election as quaestor around 102 BC followed by aedile around 96 BC. This was followed by his election as Praetor Peregrinus in 92 BC, after which he was posted as propraetor to the province of Asia in the following year.

A major event of his consulship was the slave rebellion led by Spartacus and the eruption of the Third Servile War. Having won a number of victories against the untrained Roman forces, the Senate now recognised Spartacus as a serious threat and sent both the consuls to confront the slave armies at the head of four legions. Initially successful, Publicola defeated Crixus and 20,000 of his 30,000 rebel slaves at Mount Garganus near Apulia, then moved northwards behind Spartacus's forces which were moving north. With Clodianus barring Spartacus in the north, they hoped to catch the rebels between the two armies. Spartacus' slave army destroyed Clodianus' legions, and then turned and defeated the oncoming legions of Publicola. Gathering their shattered forces, both consuls gave chase but were once again defeated at a battle near Picenum.

Humiliated by these defeats, shortly afterward, in early autumn, Publicola and Clodianus were withdrawn as commanders, by the Roman senate, and command of the war given to Marcus Licinius Crassus.

Traits and Skills


Gellius was a skilled commander, and managed to outgeneral Crixus, leading to his defeat,