There were some forty tribes of Thracians who shared a common language and culture, inhabiting a vast area north of the Greek city-states. They were seen as war-loving, rebellious, rambunctious, bad enemies, and good allies in a fight. Many Greeks dreaded a time when they would be united under a single leader and sweep southwards. Such a turn of events never happened, but Thracians could be found across much of the Greek and Persian world fighting as mercenaries; they often specialised as skirmishers and light troops. At the Battle of Raphia in 217BC there were Thracians in both opposing armies, ready to do bloody work. The forward curving rhomphaia with its razor-sharp blade and long handle could lop off limbs in the hands of a skilled user, and Thracians were certainly skilled. The most famous Thracian 'general' of all never actually fought an action in Thrace or in command of a Thracian army; he was Spartacus, the commander of the last great slave rebellion against Rome in 73-71BC.