First appearance Book 1: Swords and Ashes
Last appearance Book 1: Swords and Ashes
Profession Gladiator
Race Galatian
Relationships Batiatus (Dominus, Deceased)
Status Deceased (Killed by an Unnamed Gladiator)

Cycnus is a Galatian gladiator in The House of Batiatus.

Character OutlineEdit

A large, hairy man, Cycnus is strong but stubborn and not too bright. Spartacus described him as swarthy.

Swords and AshesEdit

Cycnus is one of the five gladiators selected by Batiatus to attend the funeral games of Marcus Pelorus, along with Barca, Spartacus, Varro and Bebryx.

He and his fellows take part in the opening fight, ostensibly a demonstration fight. Before the battle, Spartacus observes that the costume helmets they are required to wear feature prominent horns that may be grabbed by an opponent and used against them. He therefore partially cuts through his own chin strap, so that the helmet can be pulled free if need be, and advises his fellow gladiators to do the same. Cycnus and the others scoff at the idea.

Shortly after the opening fight begins, an opposing gladiator does exactly what Spartacus feared, grabbing Cycnus by his helmet and wrestling him to the ground. Cycnus grudgingly gives missio, but without even waiting for the editor's response, the unnamed gladiator stabs him through the neck, killing him instantly. His head was sawed off and tossed into the funeral pyre by this unnamed gladiator.

In the pulvinus, Batiatus and Lucretia are shocked at the unexpected loss of their gladiator, since the match was supposed to be a demonstration only.

Spurred by this raise in stakes, Varro and Spartacus proceed to slay their opponents in return, casualties including Cycnus' killer.


  • Cycnus appears only in the novel Spartacus: Swords and Ashes.
  • Since his only fight - the opening of the Funeral Games of Marcus Pelorus - is a thematic one (in costume), we may never find out what gladiator style he favored.
  • The Galatians were a Celtic tribal confederation,divided into three tribes called the Trocmi, Tolistobogii and the Tectosages. They were initially part of a larger Celtic migration known to history as the Delphi Expedition, which took place between 281-79 BCE, which involved the invasions by the Celts of Macedonia, Thessaly and Greece. One notable event of the invasion was the sacking of the famous temple of the Oracle of Delphi before finally suffering defeat by a coaltion of Greek states. One branch of this Celtic Boii-Volcae alliance would later be hired by the Bithynian king Nicomedes I as mercenaries to combat rivals in Anatolia (Asian Turkey). This group of about 10,000 migrants, roughly half that number being warriors, would establish themselves in the highlands of  Phrygia in central Anatolia. The Galatians were well-regarded as soldiers by many of the Diadochi Hellenistic kingdoms of the day. The bodyguards of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, King Herod of Judea, and King Mithridates VI Megas of Pontus were known to have been composed of Galatians. 

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