Spartacus Wiki
Season 0
Number Episode 3
Date Aired February 4, 2011
Writer Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Director Michael Hurst
Previous Missio
Next Beneath The Mask
This article is about the Spartacus episode of this name. For the title referring to the head of a Roman family, see Paterfamilias (title).

"Paterfamilias" is the third episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. It is the sixteenth episode of the Spartacus series overall.

Plot Outline

Just as his fortunes are on the rise, his future clear before him, Batiatus is stunned by the return of his father which put his attempts to gain rank by exploiting those above his class at risk.


Batiatus announces to the gladiators both the promotion of Oenomaus to Doctore and the placing of Gannicus in Varis' primus. He hands over the whip, which has been passed down from many different Doctores, to Oenomaus. Both Melitta and Gannicus continue to conceal from Oenomaus their "show," which was the true reason behind Varus' decision to put Gannicus in the primus.

Titus returns to his house.

Inside the villa, Quintus, Lucretia and Gaia are celebrating with more wine and sex when his' father, Titus, arrives unexpectedly and stumbles in on the three's activities. Calling Quintus to him, he admonishes his son for the state he has allowed the ludus to fall into. He reveals his knowledge of the' clashes with Tullius from Solonius, and says it is the reason for his swift return. Titus goes about setting things right. When Quintus describes his securing of Gannicus in the primus, his father laughs at him stating that Gannicus is a joke who inspires more laughter than awe.

Meanwhile, Ashur and Dagan are offered food from Barca, who mockingly treats them like brothers. The food has piss in it, and the two Syrians are laughed at by the other gladiators. Despite having received the mark, they are not considered to be part of the brotherhood since they didn't take the Test or recite the oath like the others. Moments later, Titus comes to greet his gladiators, and greets some of them warmly, especially Oenomaus. In contrast, he receives Lucretia and Gaia coldly. Melitta also proves to be a friend of his amongst his slaves. Titus is well-admired.

The next morning, Oenomaus, now Doctore, struggles to keep order amongst the gladiators who are not used to taking orders from him. When he commands Barca to fight Crixus, his order is only obeyed when Titus, watching from above, tells Barca to do so. Barca fights with a spear; unaccustomed to it, Crixus is beaten again and again. Once alone, Gannicus advises him to remove the spear from the wielder so that the wielder is left with only one weapon.

Titus takes Quintus into town where he meets with Tullius and Vettius in an attempt to create better business relations and correct the errors of his son. There, Tullius accuses him for the attack on Vettius days before during Varus' arrival, but Quintus denies it. The meeting goes according to Titus' wishes, and Gannicus is removed from the primus. Peace is made with Tullius and he decides to fight the gladiators in a small arena. Tullius picks the fighters and their opponents: Gnaeus and Barca, Auctus and Crixus.

Lucretia & Gaia relaxing in the villa.

Lucretia and Gaia are relaxing in the villa when Varus and a friend of his, Cossutius, arrive unannounced. Cossutius, having heard of the pleasures that took place within from Varus, wishes to see them for himself. Lucretia tries to explain that Gannicus' performance for Varus had been a special occasion, but Varus threatens to remove them from the primus if she does not do as he wishes. Reluctantly, Lucretia agrees and offers her two slaves, Naevia and Diona, both virgins, to be paired with a gladiator of Cossutius' choosing. The Roman picks Rhaskos and Diona. Dirty from the fights in the ludus, Rhaskos is to represent all that is grotesque in life; Diona is clean and untouched to represent beauty. Cossutius decides to have Diona as well at the same 

Cossutius picking Diona.

time as Rhaskos. Once he is finished. he and Varus immediately leave the ludus. Diona emerges from the room, visibly bruised and distraught.

Ashur and Dagan, tired of having their food soiled, steal and cook Auctus and Barca's pigeons. This incites a fight amongst the gladiators that Oenomaus is unable to stop. Titus and Quintus return to find the ludus in mayhem. Titus breaks it up as he declares that the ludus has fallen and that the gods' favor has been removed. For this, they will not fight in the primus.

The next day, Crixus, Auctus, Gnaeus, and Barca arrive in town to fight. Gannicus, who has been the only one to treat Crixus as an equal, bids him farewell. Before his fight, Oenomaus advises Crixus to fight with honor and, if need be, to die the same. Seeing it as a battle between his fathers' achievements and his own (for Auctus was trained by Titus, Crixus by Quintus), Quintus encourages Crixus to win.

Auctus moves in for the kill.

Barca and Gnaeus fight first. They are evenly matched but Barca eventually gains the upper hand and overpowers him. He poises for the kill, his sword at Gnaeus' throat, but Varus decides that the man should live, reminded of all that Batiatus has done for him.

Titus then announces the battle between Crixus and Auctus. The latter wields a spear, which Crixus is still inexperienced against. Auctus is clearly the more talented of the pair, and is a graceful fighter. He draws blood early with a slash to Crixus' stomach and another to his shoulder. Crixus remains steadily on the defensive, only rarely able to strike through Auctus' repeated spear thrusts. When Auctus finally launches into a deathly strike, knocking Crixus' helmet to the floor, Crixus moves his shield into place and the spear pierces through, stopping only inches from his face.

Auctus is slain by Crixus.

Auctus is unable to move it, and Crixus slashes with his sword, breaking the spear and leaving the other man with only his shortsword. Crixus attacks Auctus who is surprised at the outcome as Crixus manages to rid Auctus of both his helmet and, momentarily, his sword. Fighting now as equals, Crixus gains the upper hand. As Auctus moves to strike, Crixus forces his sword into the man's stomach and out his back. With his dying breath, Auctus says that Barca had taught him well. Titus and Quintus are surprised at the result, with Quintus being excited and Titus at not believing his son to be able to train a worthy gladiator. As he lays dying, Auctus shares one last look with Barca.

When they return to the ludus, Crixus recites the sacramentum gladiatorum and receives the mark. He is welcomed into the brotherhood by Gannicus and the other gladiators, even the mourning Barca, who was Auctus' lover.

Later, Titus admits to his son that perhaps he had underestimated him and his hand on the ludus as a recruit could beat one of what he considered to be his best gladiators. Quintus, who wishes to have the ludus again under his control alone, states that Titus will be missed when he leaves. However, Titus says that he has no intention of leaving as the arena stirred up longings long dormant in him; he decides to stay until his dying breath much to Quintus's displeasure.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  1. Batiatus
  2. Oenomaus
  3. Lucretia
  4. Melitta
  5. Gaia
  6. Gannicus
  7. Naevia
  8. Diona
  9. Barca
  10. Auctus
  11. Rhaskos
  12. Gnaeus
  13. Ashur
  14. Cossutius
  15. Dagan
  16. Crixus
  17. Titus
  18. Tullius
  19. Vettius
  20. Solonius
  21. Narto


  • One of the gladiators is Randy Santel, professional eater and bodybuilder that won The Spartacus Challenge and appears in this episode.
  • During the battle with Auctus, if one listens closely, it is possible to hear a lone, loud cheer in the crowd for Crixus. This is the same person in the stands who chants for him when he stages a comeback against Pericles in Blood and Sand, Episode 11, Old Wounds.
  • Paterfamilias means "father of the family". In Roman society, the head of the household had upmost authority above his wife, children and slaves. By custom, even possessing the power of life and death over them.


Oenomaus: "Your will, my hands."

Melitta: (to Oenomaus) "Some acts cannot be avoided when stripped of choice."

Titus: "You never wished for this: the ludus, gladiators, the blood, the sand. Your eyes were always toward the horizon, to glories and triumphs forever out of reach of a common lanista."
Batiatus: "Yet here I stand, a lanista, like my father."
Titus: "Not like him at all."

Gannicus: "There are many things given to us in this life for the wrong reasons. What we do with such blessings, that is the true test of a man."

Titus: "You seek to ply me with honeyed wine? ... You find my weakness, and I would have it exploited!"



Spartacus Gods of the Arena - Ep 3 "Paterfamilias" Preview


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