Download e-book for iPad: Spartacus by Howard Fast

By Howard Fast

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There is rock desert and mountain desert and sand desert, and white salt desert and lava desert—and there is also the terrible desert of drifting white powder, where death is the absolute signature. Here, there grows nothing at all. Not the dry, twisted, tough shrubbery of the rock desert; not the lonely tumble-weeds of the sand desert, but nothing at all. Go into this desert then. Plod through the white powder and feel how wave after wave of the dreadful heat beats down upon your back. As hot as it can be and yet allow a man to live, so it is here.

That is why men came to this place, and that is why you are coming here, because the marble is rich and heavy with gold. Go closer and see. It was long ago that the Egyptian Pharaohs discovered this black rock escarpment, and in those days they had only tools of copper and bronze. So they could chip and scratch at the surface, but little more. But after generations of scratching at the surface, the gold gave out and it was necessary to go into the black rock and cut away the white marble. This was made possible because the age of copper was past and the age of iron had come, and now men could work the marble with picks and iron wedges and eighteen-pound sledges.

And if you can't break a man, you must kill him, but you can't work him. He spoils the work. He spoils the others who work. " "Ah—and there you have the question, and if you can't answer that question, you can't work with gladiators. " He touched his head meaningfully. "No one wants to fight to the blood unless he is sick here. No one likes it. The gladiator doesn't like to fight. He fights because you give him a weapon and take off his chains. And when he has that weapon in his hand, he dreams that he is free—and that is what he wants, to have the weapon in his hand and dream that he is free.

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