Ancient Spanish Celtiberian II/39b: 240BC- 20BC

DBA list:
1x Cv (General) Rhetogenes of Numantia
1x 2LH
6x 3Wb
4x 2Ps

Hispania was the name given by the Romans to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula (modern Portugal, Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar) and to two provinces created there in the period of the Roman Republic: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior.The major part of the Punic Wars, fought between the Punic Carthaginians and the Romans, was fought on the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage gave control of the Iberian Peninsula and much of its empire to Rome in 201 BC as part of the peace treaty after its defeat in the Second Punic War, and Rome completed its replacement of Carthage as the dominant power in the Mediterranean area.Iberian resistance was fierce and prolonged, however, and it wasn't until 19 BC that the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC-14 AD) was able to complete the conquest.After the city of Numantia was finally taken and destroyed by Scipio Aemilianus Africanus the younger after a long and brutal siege that ended the Celtic resistance (154 - 133), Roman cultural influences increased; this is the period of the earliest Botorrita inscribed plaque; later plaques, significantly, are inscribed in Latin. The war with Sertorius, 79 - 72, marked the last formal resistance of the Celtiberian cities to Roman domination, which submerged the Celtiberian culture.

Viriathus (known as Viriato in Portuguese and Castilian) (180 BC - 139 BC) was the most important leader of the Lusitanian tribe that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of Western Iberia, where the Roman province of Lusitania would be established (in the areas comprising Portugal, south of the Douro river, and Extremadura in Spain). Viriathus led the Lusitanian guerrilla fighters to several victories over the Romans between 147 BC and 139 BC before he was betrayed to the Romans by some of his own men and killed.

Numantia (Numancia in Spanish) was a town in Hispania (modern-day Spain), which for a long time resisted conquest by Romans in what was known as the "Numantine War." The city was finally taken and destroyed by consul Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus after a long and brutal siege. This signalled the final subjugation of Iberia by the Romans. This was the first notable military endeavour by Gaius Marius.

The site of Numantia is near modern-day Garray in Soria. Plinius counts it as a city of the Pelendones but other authors, like Strabo and Ptolemy, place it among the Arevaci people. The Arevaci were a Celtiberian tribe, formed by the mingling of Iberians and migrating Celts in the 6th century BC, who inhabited an area near Numantia and Uxama.

Before their defeat, the Numantines gained a number of victories. For example, in 137 BC, 20,000 Romans surrendered to the Celtiberians of Numantia (population between 4,000-8,000).

The Numantines attempted one failed sally before their greatest warrior, Rhetogenes, successfully led a small band of men down the river past the blockade. Heading first to the Aravaci, his pleas were ignored. He then went to Lutia, where he was positively received by the youth, but the elders of the tribe warned Scipio, who marched from Numantia and arrested the 400 Lutian youths and cut off their hands. After Scipio's return, Avarus, the Numantine leader, began negotiations.

The final siege of Numantia began in 134 BC. Scipio Aemilianus, who was consul at that time, was in command of an army of 30000 soldiers. His troops constructed a number of fortifications surrounding the city as they prepared for a long siege. The resistance was hopeless but the Numantians refused to surrender and famine quickly spread through the city. After 8 months most of the inhabitants decided to commit suicide rather than becoming slaves. Only a few hundred of exhausted and famished inhabitants surrendered to the victorious Roman legions.

The Hispano-Romans - the romanized Iberian populations and the Iberian-born descendants of Roman soldiers and colonists - had all achieved the status of full Roman citizenship by the end of the 1st century. The emperors Trajan (r. 98-117), Hadrian (r. 117-38), and Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-80) were born in Hispania.


Click here to see the army pictures.