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Caesar entering the rebel camp.
Season 3
Number Episode 04
Date Aired February 22, 2013
Writer Seamus Kevin Fahey
Director Michael Hurst
Previous Men of Honor
Next Blood Brothers

This article is about the Spartacus episode of this name. For the punishment, see "Decimation (punishment)".

"Decimation" is the fourth episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned. It is the thirty-third episode of the Spartacus series overall.

Plot Outline[]

The infiltration of a Roman spy causes tension to mount amongst the rebels. Crassus resurrects an abandoned form of Roman punishment to teach his soldiers a brutal lesson.


Ever since the victory the pirates and the Rebels shared against the Romans led by Tiberius, the pirates have been delivering grain to Sinuessa to help keep the Rebels alive. While Spartacus feels this is a must, Crixus feels they should be focusing on the preparation of the eventual arrival of Crassus.

As the two arrive to the port to see what Heracleo was able to bring them, he explains that he was unable to gather much food, as the last ship they captured was commanded by a captain who carried mostly wine. He goes on to explain that the Romans are also stocking food for the upcoming winter. As they are discussing this, Lugo accidentally drops a pot of grain. As it shatters, the crowd go wild as they try to grab some food. Spartacus calms them and tells Lugo to give them some and to get them off the docks. While they handle this, Naevia runs up to them and says more escaped slaves are coming to the gates.

Escaped slaves coming to Sinuessa.

On the way to the gates, they pass Laeta giving some bread to the captured Romans. She is asked by one of them if she has seen his sister, Fabia. As they pass, Crixus reminds Spartacus how he feels about the Romans being fed even though they are still fearing hunger themselves. Despite both his and Naevia's feelings, Spartacus reminds them he gave his word to Laeta and he will not go back on it. At the main gate Agron and Nasir are busy trying to keep people calm as they let them in. Agron stands close to the front telling the refuges to relinquish their weapons while Nasir stands in the gate taking the weapons as they enter. Further inside, Gannicus and Saxa ask the slaves to show their brands to prove they are indeed slaves and not "friends of the republic" trying to sneak in. While Nemetes tries to take coin from a refugee, Agron pulls a woman out of the crowd calling for Spartacus. When they find him he explains that the woman has information on Crassus and his army who are half a day's march away and have numbers greater than those of the entire city. As they are discussing why the Romans are so close and yet refuse to advance, the crowd panics as Romans are discovered trying to enter the gates. Spartacus and the rebels quickly calm the crowd and kill most of the Romans. Spartacus then sees they were assisted by one of the refugees who is still stabbing a dead Roman. When Spartacus stops him and thanks him for his help, he removes his hood to reveal that he is Julius Caesar.

"There is no greater glory, then the death of your enemies."

The Rebels, not knowing who he is asks him to show him his brand so they can make sure he was a slave. Caesar tells them that his Dominus liked to place his brand near his slave's genitals, and that when he made his escape he took a knife to the brand and cut it off. Spartacus believes his story and tells him to join the others. Spartacus then puts the Rebels to beheading the dead Romans and sticking their heads on pikes as warning to future attempt while he leaves to have words with Crixus, Gannicus, and Agron. At the Roman camp, Tiberius is talking to Sabinus as his wounds from the battle are being cleaned. Tiberius tells Sabinus that he hasn't seen his

Tiberius, recovering from his injuries.

father since he was brought to camp, and that when he arrived all his father showed him was his disappointment. Sabinus tries to comfort him by saying that his father is busy preparing for the upcoming battle. Tiberius then asks how Caesar is behaving now that he is in higher regards. As Sabinus starts to explains, Crassus interrupts and tells them that Caesar is on a mission. After Sabinus leaves Crassus expands on the information and tells his son that Caesar is posing as an escaped slave inside the city. This was why Caesar was told to not shave, so he would better look the part. Crassus then tells his son to rest and let his wounds heal, and that they will talk of the failed battle and who to blame once he is able to put on his armor. Back at Sinuessa, Spartacus and his commanders discuss the attack and what it means. While Crixus sees it as a stupid attempt to take the city, Spartacus reminds him that Crassus is not like the other Romans they have fought, but is a man of strategy. They begin to consider what problems they risk should a spy have entered the city, and what would happen if one of them killed Spartacus. Crixus and Agron tell Spartacus they need to attack, that they are meant to fight and the Rebels become restless without battle. Spartacus

Spartacus and the other Rebels talking.

tell them they need to stay behind the walls as it gives them the upper-hand in battle. Gannicus points out that if Attius were still alive he could make more weapons, a remark that angers Crixus who accuses him of implying he would rather have a "traitor" still alive and Naevia dead. Spartacus ends the argument by telling Crixus and Gannicus to train the new rebels, and to keep an eye out for those who reveal their true loyalties. As the two leave to do as asked, Agron tells Spartacus that until they risk is removed, that he will shadow Spartacus to make sure nothing happens to him. At the Rebel's training grounds, Nasir and Gannicus spar with the new refugees to

Gannicus and Caesar in the training ground.

test their skills. Both Rebels make little work of their sparring partners while others look on, Donar and Saxa jokingly saying that these are the worst assassins Rome could have sent. Gannicus then points to Caesar and tells him to come forward and prove how he handles himself when facing a prepared foe. As they fight many take notice to his skill with a sword. Naevia questions the point of testing for skill, believing that a Roman would fake ignorance. Crixus disagrees and says a soldiers are like wolfs with their backs to the wall and will bear fangs when cornered. During a pause in the skirmish, Gannicus asks Caesar of his skill, pointing out that he uses the sword as a man who well knows how. Caesar tells him he was a shepherd and they must know the use of a weapon to keep the flock from being stolen. After being defeated by Gannicus, he tells him that he name is Lysiscus, and that he wants a rematch soon.

After the fight, Nemetes confronts Caesar, who is pulling out a busted tooth he received during the spar. As he turns to face him, he sees the sword Crixus took from Tiberius during the battle. He ask Nemetes if the Rebel leaders know that he is taking money from people as they enter the city. When Nemetes gets angry, Caesar tells him that he misunderstood him and that he holds ideas of his own.

Meanwhile, Spartacus goes to Laeta to ask for her help. While talking, he tells her that he is currently fighting Crassus, whom her husband had dealings with in the past. She tells him she has little information about him except that he is always planning and scheming to better his own agendas, even going as far as to send out letters to be intercepted to move his opponents as he desires. Spartacus is reminded of the letter he intercepted that revealed the location of Cossinius and Furius. She tells him that Crassus gained a great opportunity when he was put in charge, that great fame and rewards will go to whoever kills Spartacus. He ends the discussion by telling her that rations have to be cut again, and he goes to leave.

At the Roman base, Tiberius enters his father's tent as he is sending out new orders. When the messenger leaves, Crassus asks Tiberius if he understands the meaning of "My word and my will". When Tiberius says he does, Crassus then reminds him that his first battle in the war will forever be marked as a victory for Spartacus. He goes on to explain that he gave strict orders that Spartacus was not to be engaged until Crassus arrived with his troops. Tiberius defends his actions by telling his father that he felt it would be an insult to not attack Spartacus when he was not behind his walls. Crassus says he is willing to overlook the attack itself as a mistake of youth, he is unable to overlook his troops retreating when ordered to stand ground. Crassus goes on to tell him that the reason they fled was because they feared Spartacus more than their commanders, something that they need to fix.

In Tiberius' tent, he reveals to Sabinus that the chosen punishment for the troops is Decimation, and that five men

"Fifty men, fifty stones. Five stained with the promise of death".

will die after they draw lots. Tiberius hates the idea of Sabinus being at risk of death when it was Sabinus who stood by him and saved his life. Sabinus tells Tiberius that he will stand with the men and draw lots, hoping for the best. Tiberius says that he will talk to his father and try to get him to remove Sabinus from drawing lots. Sabinus tells him that doing so would make him appear worse in his father's eyes and to let him draw lots, that way neither of them will lose any honor. Angry that his friend is willing to face death while cowards have a chance to escape, Tiberius flips the nearby table.

Meanwhile, Spartacus and Agron enter a bar looking for Heracleo. Spartacus asks Castus if he knows where he is. Castus tells him that the last he saw him, Heracleo was with a whore, and that he may be with her on his ship. Castus offers a drink to Spartacus and aid in searching for his captain, yet Agron retorts an insult which amuses the pirate. Spartacus thanks Castus for the gesture and declines. As they are leaving, they pass Nemetes and Caesar, both of whom are drinking in the bar. Nemetes tells Caesar that he has no love or trust for the pirates, and he has no idea why Spartacus is working with them. When Caesar asks if the rumors of Spartacus being held as a god were wrong, Nemetes tells him that Spartacus is like one in battle only. Nemetes goes on to say that when the battle is over he has little respect in how Spartacus handles money and Romans.

Laeta bumping into Sibyl.

Outside, Laeta bumps into Sibyl, and drops a bundle of bread, that she quickly wraps up and asks Sibyl not to speak of it. While talking, they hear a voices growing louder around the corner.

Gannicus and Saxa investigate the noise and find Cassius being beaten by Brictius who says the boy grabbed at him. When he goes to beat the Roman again, Gannicus stops him and throws him to the ground, and warns him to keep his weapon contained or he will defend himself and the Roman. The Roman thanks Gannicus tells him to only thank Spartacus, and that he tends to agree that they have no reason keeping prisoners. The boy pleads with them for information about his sister, saying that she has hair like Saxa's. Gannicus, seeing how sad the man really is, tells him he has not seen her and leaves. As they are walking away, Sibyl runs up to Gannicus and tell him she has seen something worth concern.

Crassus and Kore about to make love.

At the Roman camp, Crassus and Kore are having sex in his tent. After they are done, Kore remarks that never before has she felt so free while they slept together, and thanks him for bringing her with him. He tells her that he would never have her from his side. When she asks him about Spartacus, he tells her that he is nothing more than an annoyance. The conversation then moves to Tiberius, of whom his father now carries little faith that he is able to handle the job given him. Kore defends him by saying that he grows stronger every day under his father. Crassus tells her that he has given up much to earn his respect, but he still only sees his young son instead of a grown man. Kore tells him that Tiberius has bled for Rome like a man and should be treated like any man under Crassus' command.

Back in Sinuessa, Spartacus and Heracleo argue over the amount of food that the pirates are able to bring in. Heracleo tells Spartacus they would have less to worry about if he had fewer mouths to feed, hinting at the Romans they took prisoner. Spartacus tells him that they will not fall so low as to act like Romans and will handle the situation their own way. Heracleo assures Spartacus he will do what he can, but tells him that he will most likely fall short. Before he leaves, Spartacus tells him he wishes to add to their agreement, believing it will benefit them both.

Back at the Bar, Crixus and Naevia arrive, and demand to speak with Nemetes, who tells them he is busy and returns to his drink. Crixus then forcefully takes Nemetes and drags him to the other end of the bar to speak. He asks Nemetes if they can trust Lysiscus (Caesar). Nemetes tells him that his words match his story, but he has one more test to see if he is who he claims to be. Crixus tells him to see to it and leaves. Nemetes returns to his table with Caesar, damning Crixus and those like him. He then tells Caesar it's time to prove himself a brother to Nemetes and takes him to a back room. Inside he is shown a young Roman woman with blond hair tied up in the corner, Nemetes tells him that he and his "brothers" took her since Spartacus took their coin. He tells Caesar to use her as he sees fit, then cut her as they do. When they leave Caesar calms her and tells her who he is, and that the Romans

Fabia's death by Caesar.

are coming to help. Despite this, she asks him to free her by killing her so she doesn't have to live with the memory, or suffer to be raped again. Before killing her he asks her name, she tells him Fabia. He promises to remember her name always, and avenge the actions done to her, then plunges his knife into her. He takes her body out to the bar where Nemetes wants to know why he killed her. Caesar tells him he freed her, as he would free every Roman held by Spartacus. Nemetes, taking this as proof of loyalty, laughs and tells Caesar that they better get to it.

Back at the Roman camp. Crassus is standing before the fifty Romans who retreated. He tells them that it is an honor to die for Rome, and they instead fled from slaves. He goes on to say he will fix this wrongly placed fear and make sure they know that it is him, not Spartacus, they should fear. He signals to his men to place wooden clubs before each column of men. He tells them the survivors will be banished to the follower's camp, to live among slaves and whores until seen as worthy to return to the main camp. When Tiberius asks to have words with his father on the matter, Crassus tells him that he is not his father at this point, but his commanding officer, and must treat him as a man, and no longer as a boy. He then sends his son into the ranks to also draw lots. After drawing lots, Tiberius briefly is relieved to see he drew a black stone, meaning he is allowed to live but is shocked to see that Sabinus has drawn a white stone, condemning him to death.

Meanwhile, at the Rebel base, Laeta is caught by Gannicus and Saxa giving food to Romans she is hiding under the stables. Sibyl attempts to apologize but is stopped short by Laeta who says she should of never put trust in a "Rebellious Slave!". She is slapped by Saxa, who is only stopped from killing her by Gannicus. Gannicus recognizes one of the Romans, Ulpianus, and points him out as one of the men Attius was killed for helping escape. Laeta tells him that Attius knew nothing of the Romans being hidden and was not involved in any way. Saxa says his friend is dead because of Laeta, before moving to attack her, only for Gannicus to halt her. He then tells Saxa to take the Romans to Spartacus, as they are his concern. He then walks off and Saxa asks him where he's going, to which he replies he's going to make sure Attius' memory is properly honored.

Some of the Rebels killing Romans.

At this point, Crixus is continuing to test the new rebels to make sure none of them are Roman spies. As they are doing so, Nemetes brings out Fabia's body and claims she attempted to kill him by coming out of the shadows, dropping her body in front of her brother. He tells the crowds that if it was not for Caesar, she may have succeeded. Caesar goes along with the story and riles up the crowd by claiming that after all the Rebels have done for them they are treated with attempted murder. Crixus keeps silent, attempting to figure out what to do, Naevia says that more Romans should be struck from this world. At that moment Gannicus comes out yelling at Naevia, asking if she would have them all killed like she killed Attius. When Crixus attempts to defend her, Gannicus angrily tells him the real story, that Laeta, not Attius, was guilty. Naevia tells him it doesn't matter, because in the end he was still a Roman who fell to a deserved fate. Gannicus, enraged over the uncaring nature to the death of his friend, yells at Naevia saying "He was my friend, you mad bitch!" and causing Crixus to attack him. Naevia is pushed out of the way and hurt while the two men attempt to strangle each other. Gannicus is pulled off Crixus before he can kill him by Nemetes, who is unable to restrain the Celt. Nemetes is thrown into a wall and attacked by Cassius, who attempts to strangle him with his shackles.

Meanwhile, Naevia sneaks around the fight and picks up a large rock and goes to the fight between Crixus and Gannicus and hits Gannicus over the head, knocking him unconscious. Caesar saves Nemetes by throwing a dagger into the throat of the Roman, ending with it amongst of the chaos. Crixus attempts to calm things by telling them Spartacus gave clear orders on how they should treat the Romans, but Nemetes and Caesar keep the crowd angry. Naevia tells Crixus that she feels that they owe Spartacus their lives but says he is wrong in this matter. With this, Crixus tells the crowd to go out and take Roman blood as payment for their mistreatment, and to make the city truly theirs.

Back at the Roman Camp, those who drew white stones are stripped of their armor and encircled by the rest of their former comrades. Tiberius is forced into the group preparing to kill Sabinus. Tiberius tells him he won't go through with it, but Sabinus tells him he must do as commanded. No more than this is said, Crassus gives the order to begin, and Sabinus is hit over the back of the head. Sabinus begins to be beaten severely while Tiberius remains unable to beat his oldest friend. Filled with rage and despair, Tiberius begins to strike Sabinus.

Tiberius about to hit Sabinus.

The scene then switches between the rebels beating and torturing the Romans, and the Romans performing decimation, showing the brutality on both sides. At one point Caesar finds Nemetes covered in blood and surrounded by dead Romans. Back at the Roman Camp, Sabinus has been brutally beaten, resulting with his bones and ribs poking out. Bloodied, Sabinus shares looks with Tiberius who first appears sad, before becoming angered and striking Sabinus in his face killing him and causing the white stone to fall out of his grasp. Tiberius goes up to his father and says

Tiberius tells his father Your lesson, well learned.

"Your lesson, well learned, Imperator" before walking off, leaving Crassus with a stunned look upon his face.

Spartacus is meeting with Heracleo, discussing his new plans and asking if it is possible. Heracleo tells him it's possible, but it won't be easy. As they are talking about this, Castus and Nasir come running in telling Spartacus what Crixus and the others are doing. With this, Spartacus and Agron run out to see what's happening and to stop it before leaving Agron tells Nasir to keep watch over the pirates as he seems to "enjoy their company".

Amongst the chaos, Saxa is attempting to escort Laeta, Ulpianus, and the other Romans to Spartacus without running into the Rebels in the streets. They are slowed by Ulpianus' wife, who is slowed due to her pregnancy. They are stopped by Brictius and The Veteran who attempt to pass through Saxa to get to the Romans. She is able to stop them, but Nemetes shows up. Saxa kicks him aside, but Caesar knocks her out and Nemetes charges at the Romans. Ulpianus is stabbed and Laeta is pulled out and placed in the center of the now growing crowd. She is thrown in front of Crixus, who is ready to kill her. He is stopped at the last second by Spartacus, who is outraged at what has happened he tells Crixus to regain sense or die .Crixus tells him it is he who has lost sense and Laeta is the reason for it Naevia comes out and says that Laeta was the one who hid the Romans and smiled at him through lies. They are then joined by Gannicus, who has awoken and is still angry at Naevia for everything she has done he says that it is true and that Attius had no part in helping the Romans to escape and says he didn't deserved the end he met.

Crixus tells Spartacus to kill Laeta to punish her for her betrayal so they may become as one again. Laeta condemns them for judging her for trying to save what few of her people are left, and prepares to accept her death. Spartacus begins to consider it but instead decides not to as he doesn't want his people to become the very thing they fight against. Crixus becomes angry and warns Spartacus that there are many who question him for keeping the Romans alive, Spartacus responds by saying that he questions himself as well, but for putting Crixus in charge, which leads to Crixus attempting to charge, only to be restrained by Donar and Agron which satisfies Gannicus. Spartacus then orders that the Romans who yet live are to be place in his villa and threatens them to follow his command or join those they have struck down this night. After Spartacus and those helping him leave. Crixus stands there hurt at what Spartacus said Naevia says that Spartacus has help both of them more than anyone but she now doubts the path he travels Crixus tells her "Then perhaps it is time we forge our own" the two then leave with Nemetes and their followers. Caesar is left smiling over his successful plan.

Historical Context[]

After Mummius' defeat, Crassus revived the ancient punishment of Decimation, which hadn't been used since 471 BC. Crassus picked out an entire Cohort from one of the returning Legions (around 500 men), and divided them into groups of ten. Following this, each group would draw from a bag of ten painted stones, and whoever drew the one unpainted stone would be beaten to death by the other nine.

The punishment was used for two purposes, to both shame Mummius' returning Legions for deserting, and to also show his other Legions that they had more to fear from him than Spartacus and his rebel army.

Characters in Order of Appearance[]

  1. Heracleo
  2. Castus
  3. Spartacus
  4. Crixus
  5. Lugo
  6. Sanus
  7. Naevia
  8. Laeta
  9. Brictius
  10. Cassius
  11. Laeta
  12. Agron
  13. Nasir
  14. Gannicus
  15. Nemetes
  16. Julius Caesar
  17. Saxa
  18. Tiberius
  19. Sabinus
  20. Ulpianus
  21. Ulpianus' Wife
  22. Marcus Licinius Crassus
  23. Sibyl
  24. Kore
  25. Fabia


  • The episode's title makes a direct reference to the Roman military practice of punishment known as Decimation, which was employed by Marcus Crassus in the episode.
  • Attius' innocence in the crime of hiding the Romans from the Rebels, and Laeta's guilt in the matter, is revealed to Naevia.
  • The reason for Crassus ordering Caesar to keep his beard, and for Caesar to have his slave cut his leg, is so that he would be able to infiltrate Spartacus' Army disguised as a common slave, the cut being where he 'removed' his owners mark.
  • Naevia and Crixus pondering on leaving Spartacus' side and going off on their own foreshadows their eventual split in Separate Paths where they lead their own army against Rome.
  • There is a goof during the fight scene between Crixus and Gannicus. When Crixus charges at Gannicus and picks him up, you can clearly see the stunt doubles face


Crixus: "There stands greater worry then grains delivered to port by Cilician shits."
Spartacus: "What would you have us feast upon, hopes of better days?

"There is no greater glory then the death of your enemy."
-Caesar to Spartacus

"You scale a mountain of "if's", and I would add to peak."
-Gannicus to the rest of the Rebel Generals

"I Have witnessed your skill with knife against the unsuspecting, let us see how you handle a sword against more discerning eye." 
-Gannicus to Caesar

"Crassus is but a day's march he will retake the city and in the act end our suffering"
-Laeta to Ulpanius

"I fear that it has just begun"
-Gannicus to laeta upon discovering the romans hidden

"It holds no matter, Attius was a roman ! Who fell to deserved fate -Naevia to Gannicus upon discovering Attius was not guilty

"He was my friend, you mad bitch !" - Gannicus' response to Naevia's uncaring comment on his friend's death

"Fifty men, fifty stones. Five stained with the promise of death



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