Scheming, plots, and bloodshed were an essential part of ancient Roman culture, and that is made quite obvious in the blood-soaked series "Spartacus." Although everyone does their fair share of plotting in this delightfully decadent series about the most decadent of ancient civilizations, several secondary characters in particular show that even the less prominent actors can have a huge impact on the plot.
From day one, Illythia has shown that she has what it takes to wheel and deal her way to power. Although gifted by birth with great looks and the power and prestige that come from being a Senator's daughter, she seems to take a particular pleasure in scheming. Even her friends are not safe from such schemes, as her vexed (and sometimes downright violent) relationship with Lucretia has shown time and again. However, it is important to note that it is her scheming nature that makes her such a deliciously compelling character.
Crippled as the result of an injury in the arena, Ashur's clever (if devious) mind more than makes up for what he lacks in physical strength. His schemes have ended in the death of more than one character in the show, up to and including Barca (and the subsequent death of Pietros). He has shown that he really cares about nothing more than his own gain, and we hardly find him a very likeable character. Like all villains, however, he makes us appreciate the heroes even more.
Finally, we come to Glaber. For all that he takes an often heavy-handed approach to problems (hardly surprising, considering his career as a legatus), he still has enough of his ancestry in him to know how to plot to get what he wants. Furthermore, as his actions have consistently shown, he is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that he comes out on top. Though he does not appear all too often in the first season, from the outset he has made an indelible impression on our imagination, and as we move through the second season we will no doubt get to see much more of this most fascinating and cunning of characters.
Clearly, scheming and political wheeling-and-dealing is an essential part of what makes "Spartacus" such a fascinating and exciting to show to watch. As Spartacus's revolt continues to grow in intensity, we can rest assured that there will be even more of the scheming that we have come to enjoy so much.