The short-lived Spartacus series on Starz was anything but small in its scope. It presented an epic plot of the Roman rebel slave and Gladiator, Spartacus, and his triumphant rise and fall. The show uses a fun blend of history and fiction, and decorates the experience with a rich emotional core, as well as some thrilling action scenes and battles.
You’ve got awesome face-offs in the arena, skirmishes between factions, and even full-fledged battle scenes with cinema-level quality. These fights and battles are all gripping in their own way, and keep the viewer engaged from start to finish. So, let’s lace up our armor and grab our swords as we revisit the 10 greatest fights and battle scenes from the exhilarating Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
10 Crixus Vs Spartacus
Following the premiere episode of Blood and Sand, in which Spartacus single-handedly takes out four men, this battle humanizes our protagonist a bit. We’re meant to look upon Crixus as an unstoppable force, the champion of Capua, and this prestige is reinforced with this manhandling of Spartacus. Similar to the capture of Sura, Spartacus’ wife, this humbling at the hands of Crixus helps motivate Batiatus’ newly acquired gladiator to fight his way to glory.
The action in the scene itself also provides plenty of thrills. The clashing of the heavy armor, along with the view from inside each combatant’s helmet, adds a gritty sense of realism to the fight.
9 Spartacus Vs The Soldiers Of Glaber
This scene, which occurs during the episode “Revelations,” provides some neat foreshadowing into Spartacus’ future clashes with Roman soldiers. During the scene, Batiatus seeks to secure the patronage of Claudius Glaber. To do this, our hero, the same ex-soldier who betrayed Glaber, must fight a band of trained and fully-armored soldiers as he watches.
The fight is merely a demonstration to showcase Spartacus’ hardened training in the arena, but it ends up being one of the highlights of the season. The scenery of the battle is a refreshing change of pace – the interior of the house of Batiatus, complete with a shallow pool as the battleground.
8 Spartacus Vs Ixion
The most interesting fights in Blood and Sand are often the most unorthodox. This is certainly the case with this gritty skirmish, which plays out more like a bloody boxing match than a Gladiator dual. The grimy atmosphere, the rowdiness of the crowd, and the “anything goes” mantra of wielding dirt, spikes, and hooks hanging from the wall make the arena look distinguished by comparison.
Ixion’s epic introduction is both amusing and creepy. We see him sporting the face of Spartacus’ fallen peer, a Gladiator that’s been literally branded “Fugitivus,” and condemned to the pits with him. This brawl of brute force is fun in its own way, as our hero has essentially reached rock bottom at this point.
7 Roman Commander Vs Thracians Reenactment
While this fighting sequence doesn’t offer a ton of drama in terms of visual spectacle, it carries a unique level of emotional weight. Not that it isn’t exciting to watch; especially since our protagonist faces off against six opponents!
During this battle in the arena, Spartacus is forced to take on criminals dressed as his Thracian kinsmen. To add insult to injury, he must dress as a famous Roman officer responsible for slaying several of his people years ago. This is meant to be a celebratory reenactment for the Magistrate, who is looking on in the arena. The conclusion of this fight is also symbolic and significant.
6 Crixus Vs Pericles
Taking its spot as one of the few fights that doesn’t involve Spartacus – who is injured at this time – this battle of the Primus shows why Crixus was once the champion of Capua.
The fight is unique in that it contains more bouts of swiftness and finesse rather than brute force. But more significantly, this scene represents a great redemption arc for Crixus, who was marred by Theokoles and cast aside by Batiatus in favor of Spartacus.
5 Spartacus And Sura Vs The Getae
The pilot episode of Blood and Sand, “The Red Serpent,” is an emphatic way to kick off this Gladiatorial rise to glory with its abundance of awesome action scenes. One of the best comes right on the heels of Spartacus defying his Roman commander, Claudius Glaber. After being informed he’ll get no backup from the Roman forces to save his village from the Getae, Spartacus begins his journey as a one-man army.
His first stop is to save his wife from a group of Getae predators, which he initiates with an awesome shot in which he whips a dagger right past Sura and at the head of an attacker. Sura then joins in, partaking in a neatly choreographed skirmish as the two fend off the group of barbarians closing in on them. This is the only scene that shows Sura kicking some tail, and it’s a great one.
4 Thracians Vs The Getae
The opening battle of Blood and Sand is also one of the most enduring, and it occurs mere minutes into the pilot – ensuring right off the bat that we’re in for a wild ride.
This fight is both epic and unique in that it plays out like a more traditional battle scene, which we never really see again in the series until Vengeance; the second season. Though the show thrives on its thrilling arena showdowns, this scene channels a 300 vibe of grandiose full-fledge ancient battles, in which an armored Thracian platoon clashes with the more ragged Getae.
3 Spartacus And Crixus Vs Theokoles – The Shadow Of Death
There is much to appreciate about this epic face-off between Spartacus/Crixus and the hulking Greek brute, Theokoles. For one, it marks a turning point in which Spartacus and Crixus come together – foreshadowing what’s to come. There’s also a lot at stake for many – the match holds importance for Batiatus, his rival Solonius, and the city of Capua.
Batiatus and Lucretia have much on the line in particular, as they pit their two best gladiators against an opponent who’s never been defeated. The battle turns out to be an entertaining one, with its intense action and awesome choreography. In an inventive twist, the build-up leads to a payoff in which Crixus temporarily blinds the brute with the glare from his helmet.
2 Spartacus Vs Solonius’ Gladiators
Everyone loves a good, inspirational underdog story, right? While Blood and Sand runs with this theme for much of the season, the pilot episode, “The Red Serpent,” is the pinnacle of the classic David vs. Goliath premise.
After he and his fellow Thracians are captured for desertion, Spartacus – who has yet to be branded with that name at this point – is essentially condemned to die in the arena. While his Thracian companions do fall at the hands of Solonius’ fighters, Spartacus refuses to go quietly. Driven by an adrenaline shot of inspiration to save his wife, the ex-soldier is brought to his knees by 4 opponents before swiftly striking back.
1 The Gladiators’ Revolt
Caught off-guard by a plot to ransack the house of Batiatus, there is little resistance when Spartacus, Crixus, and their allies strike. The raw emotion and epic action on display make for a truly awesome scene.
Tensions had been building and grudges had been mounting between Batiatus, the Roman elite who attend his showing, and the slaves of the house – and it all pays off in a big way here. You’ve got Crixus confronting Lucretia and Oenomaus clashing with Ashur. Of course, there’s also the exciting climax of Spartacus confronting Batiatus and avenging his wife. As the viewers, we can’t help but be enthralled by this satisfying (albeit gratuitously violent) display of revenge.
Next: The 5 Best & Worst Episodes Of Spartacus: Blood And Sand, According To IMDB