READING HALL "THIRD MILLENNIUM LIBRARY"

 

 

ROME AND THE MEDITERRANEAN. 218-133 BC

 

CHAPTER X

THE ROMANS IN SPAIN

I

THE PROVINCES IN SPAIN AND THEIR ORGANIZATION

 

BY the year 206 bc Rome already possessed the most important part of Spain: the lower portion of the valley of the Ebro as far as Osca and Saragossa, the east coast and the valley of the Baetis; the extent of her possessions being mainly due to the bold conceptions, the military skill and the political address of Scipio Africanus. With this year the provincial Era begins. In 205 bc there appear for the first time governors of the two provinces, Nearer and Further Spain (Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior), The founding of the Colony of Italica, the first Roman town in Spain, marks the completion of the conquest. The governorships were held in the earlier years by private persons with proconsular power; from 197 onwards by praetors also of proconsular rank. From this year, too, a fixed boundary existed between the two provinces; Nearer Spain included the valley of the Ebro and the east coast, down to just north of Baria (Vera); Further Spain embraced the Baetis region south of the Saltus Castulonensis (Sierra Morena) which, north of Baria, approaches the coast, and here forms a well-defined natural boundary. New Carthage belonged to the nearer, Baria to the further province. The establishment of two provinces was due to military necessity, for owing to the narrowness of the coastal strip, communications between the two could easily be cut, so that each province must be independent of the other. Co-operation between the two armies was of course not excluded, and, indeed, frequently occurred, as for instance in 195 and 150 bc.

The conquest of the Carthaginian province in Spain had been a necessary step in the war against Hannibal, for Spain was the arsenal of the Carthaginians. In fact, with the capture in 209 bc of New Carthage, which was the great mining centre and store­house of supplies, the resistance of the Carthaginians began to weaken. It is true that Rome might have contented herself with this acquisition, as Carthage had contented herself with the possession of the south and east. But such a limitation was not in accordance with the character of Rome, whose habit it was to complete what she began. Moreover the highlands, too, were rich in metals and therefore tempting to Roman greed and worth a strenuous effort. The safety of the Roman province was not seriously jeopardized by the occasional forays of the mountain tribes, especially the Lusitanians. Carthage, after all, had lived at peace with them for more than 250 years (500—230), for Hannibal had been the first to attack them, and he had done so, not in order to conquer them but to reduce them to quiescence before the outbreak of war with Rome. But Rome was determined to exploit the Spanish provinces (as she had exploited her earlier provinces, Sicily and the islands of Sardinia and Corsica), partly, that is to say, by the imposition of taxes, but also, in view of the notable military qualities of the Iberians, by raising levies of auxiliary troops. They had hitherto been recruited voluntarily, and for pay, but military service was now no doubt made obligatory.

We have no detailed information regarding the conditions under which the Iberian communes entered the Roman confederation, but, generally speaking, the expulsion of the Carthaginians simply meant that they became subjects of Rome. Special treaties would be made only with the larger tribal units, and to some of these the better conditions of the foedus would be granted, as was done to Gades and no doubt to the other Phoenician towns. In the internal affairs of the communes Rome intervened only so far as was necessary in her own interests, as, for example, in bringing together the inhabitants of the small and often petty strongholds (castella, turret) into towns. In Nearer Spain, out of 293 communes, there were still in the time of Augustus 114 rural communes, gentilitates, i.e. communes without an urban centre, especially among the Astures and Cantabri, but there were none in the rest of the peninsula. The coins which Rome caused to be minted name only towns, not kings or tribes. Moreover larger tribes (gentes) such as we find in Gaul scarcely existed as political entities. The chiefs (reguli, principes) were no doubt mostly done away with. When we find the Turdetanian chief Culchas in the year 206 ruling over 28 towns, but in 197 only over 179, it would seem that some of his towns had been taken from him, and that was probably a reason for his defection. In the same way a small community Lascuta, which had been subject to Hasta, was taken from it and made independent. The only form of political organization which Rome as a rule recognized in the communes was the Council of Elders, the primeval form of government among Iberians and Berbers. It is spoken of as the senatus. Any concentration of power in the hands of chiefs was unwelcome to Rome, while, on the other hand, the looser form of government by the Elders was convenient, if only because it was a guarantee of separatism. Generally speaking, both tribute and auxiliaries would be demanded; and the Iberians no doubt accommodated themselves to these conditions with characteristic indifference. But it was not to be expected that the governors would content themselves merely with the legal imposts either in the interests of the State or of themselves; they were likely to proceed to further exactions, and herein they had to reckon upon an obstinate resistance. Besides, some of the Iberian communities made the Carthaginian cause their own, and from the first fought with determination for Carthage, or rather for their own autonomy. This was the case with two important towns of Hispania Ulterior, Ilurci (Lorca) and Astapa (Estepa); Ilurci was only taken after a desperate resistance, while the citizens of Astapa ended by flinging themselves into the flames which were devouring their possessions (206 bc).

We have no information about the amount of the tribute imposed on the Iberian communities. It did not consist, as in Sicily and later in Asia, of a percentage of the harvest, varying according to the yield (decuma), but of a fixed impost (stipendium), and, in accordance with this, the Spanish communes were called ‘civitates stipendiariae’. We may infer from the statements about the amounts of the precious metals brought home by the governors as plunder that it was made up of payments in silver and gold, partly in bullion and partly in coined money. A confirmation of this is the identity of design in the various coins bearing Iberian legends, which, coupled with the fact that the Iberians of earlier days had no coinage, shows that these coins were struck at the instance of Rome, her purpose being first the payment of tribute in coin and second the provision of a convenient medium of exchange for commerce within Spain. As the uniform design of the coins can only have been prescribed by Rome, so the monetary standard too is Roman, for the Iberian silver pieces have the weight of the denarius, and the copper coins bear the symbols of the as and its parts (e.g. two dots for the sextans, four for the triens). The earlier coins are struck on the uncial standard, the later on the semiuncial. Further evidence for the Roman origin of the coinage is found in the facts that, on coins of Hispania Citerior we sometimes meet, alongside of the Iberian, a Latin superscription (on coins of Celsa and Osicerda) or a Roman word is written in Iberian form (as at Meduinum) and all the towns of Baetica, with the exception of the Phoenician towns and a few others, have legends on their coins in Latin letters. About 100 towns of Nearer Spain show Iberian writing and about 40 of Further Spain Latin. Lusitania minted no coins, which is an indication of its poverty and inferior civilization; it had no silver, nor did it need a medium of exchange for its trade.

The minting of Iberian coins begins soon after the first con­quests. The earliest coins with Iberian legends seem to be those of Saguntum, Emporium and Ilerda. The design common to all Iberian coins—head on the obverse and a horseman with lance in rest on the reverse—is derived from the coins of Hiero II of Syracuse who died in 215 bc. The tribute coins are often called argentum Oscense, money of Osca. This commune in the Ebro valley must therefore have had an important mint. To it have been attributed the most numerous of all Iberian coins, which bear the inscription k l s t h n, although this name has nothing to do with that of Osca. No fewer than 1300 silver coins with this inscription have been found in a hoard near Soria. Although the subjects of Rome were elsewhere only permitted to strike copper coins, the Iberian towns also minted a great deal of silver. This is to be explained, not by their having enjoyed a specially privi­leged position, but by the abundance of the silver, and the fact that tribute had to be paid in it.

In addition to precious metals the Iberian communes had also to deliver other natural products, especially corn and perhaps oil. To collect the tribute praefecti were sent to the communes, a practice against which the Spaniards petitioned in the year 171 bc. Apart from the fixed tribute a vigesima, or five per cent, tax, was levied on corn, in connection with which it was customary for the Roman officials to settle the price, but in 171 the Spaniards protested against this procedure with success.

More burdensome than the high tribute were the extortions of the governors. In the history of provincial administration Spain marks an epoch, since it was the extortions practised there which caused the establishment and development of courts for trying claims for redress (repetundae). In the year 171, in consequence of complaints from both provinces, the first such court was set up, and in the year 149, after the outrages perpetrated by Lucullus and Galba, this court was made permanent. Livy relates the highly significant fact that a governor, who in the stress of war had vowed games and a temple, wrung from the Iberians the means to perform his vow. Equally oppressive was the levying of troops, the scale of which is shown by the credible statement in ancient writers that the small tribes of the Belli and Titti in eastern Celtiberia had to provide 5000 fighting men, and that Scipio before Numantia had some 40,000 auxiliaries. If the Romans were at first welcomed as deliverers from the Carthaginian yoke, the Spaniards soon saw that they had only exchanged one master for another, and that the change was for the worse. A recent historian writes with justice ‘What the pages of the history of Rome in Spain down to the year 133 have to tell us, whether explicitly or implicitly, takes its place among the most shameful records in the whole of that history’.

The few communities to which Rome had granted a foedus were, however, in a slightly better position. The Greek city of Emporium, which had long had an alliance with Rome, was allowed to continue to strike its own coinage, with Greek legends, upon its own monetary standard, and a similar privilege was granted to the Phoenician towns newly admitted to alliance, like Gades and Ebusus, which continued to use Phoenician legends. The Romans had every reason to treat the inhabitants of Emporium well, for it had constantly served the conquerors as à point d’appui. Here the Scipios had landed in 218; here, too, Cato in 195 when the whole of Nearer Spain was as good as lost. The only town with Roman citizenship was the colony of Italica founded by Scipio Africanus. In the year 171 the Latin colony of Carteia, for the sons of soldiers who had taken native wives, was founded, or rather planted in the existing town. The colony is further described as libertinorum, from which it appears that these people of mixed Roman and Iberian race did not become peregrini but freedmen. There was no conubium between Romans and Iberians.

In wealth the two provinces were unequal. Nearer Spain possessed great abundance of silver in the neighbourhood of New Carthage, but, apart from that, was the poorer. Further Spain had from ancient times carried on intensive mining operations for copper (Rio Tinto), silver (Sierra Morena), and gold, while the valley of the Baetis was very rich in wheat, olives and wine. As early as 203 bc great quantities of corn were exported to Rome. It is easy to imagine how greedily both magistrates and private persons flew upon these rich spoils—the sixteenth­century Spaniards in Peru and Mexico offer a parallel. The Roman annals tell us of the vast body of silver and gold which the governors brought to Rome. In the years 206-197 alone the quantities of bullion amounted to 130,000 lb. of silver and 4000 lb. of gold.

The figures cited below show that Further Spain provided much richer spoil than the neighbouring province. Livy expressly states that L. Stertinius, the praetor of Further Spain, made no claim to a triumph, so that he must have obtained these masses of gold and silver not as booty in war but by taxation and extortion. The outbreak in the following year, 197, of a formidable revolt which extended to both provinces needs no further explanation. Nor is it without significance that the revolt broke out among the unwarlike Turdetanians and that the wholly peaceable Phoenician trading towns of Malaca and Sexi took part in it. Indeed the fact that Rome had not spared even these towns, with which it doubtless had an alliance as it had with Gades, is shown by the treatment of Gades itself, which in 199 bc had to complain that, contrary to the treaty, a praefectus had been placed over it.

 

II

CATO AND TIBERIUS SEMPRONIUS GRACCHUS IN SPAIN

 

The revolt was begun by two Turdetanian kings, Culchas and Luxinius. The former, as we have seen, ruled over 17 towns, the latter over the Carmo region. In addition to the two Phoenician towns the country district of Baeturia joined in the revolt, so that the whole western part of Further Spain was up in arms. It was perhaps no accident that the revolt coincided with the Gallic and Macedonian Wars. Fortunately for Rome, however, the latter could be brought to an end promptly, though the struggle with the Italian Gauls had to be continued for some time longer. The revolt soon spread to the other Spanish province, whose warlike inhabitants inflicted on the praetor C. Sempronius Tuditanus a severe defeat. It is true that in thefollowing year, 196, a victory is recorded over two kings of Further Spain, Budares and Besadines, near a town called Turba (for which perhaps we should read Turta, the name by which Cato describes the country of the Turdetani), but in Nearer Spain the outlook was darker, and in 195 bc the Romans found themselves obliged to send out a consul, Cato, with a full consular army, bringing their forces in Spain up to about 50,000 men.

Starting from Emporium Cato succeeded in subduing Nearer Spain, and then marched to the assistance of the governor of the further province in his struggle against the Turdetanians, and the Celtiberians, whom they had enlisted in their cause. Though here he gained no great military successes he succeeded in buying over the Celtiberians to his side. On his way back, as during his advance, he passed through the highland country, that is to say through Celtiberian territory. He laid siege, though without success, to the town of Segontia (Siguenza) on its boundary, and was apparently equally unsuccessful in an attack on Numantia, which lay on his route from Segontia to the Ebro. The Roman camp near Aguilar (13 miles east of Segontia), that near Alpanseque (16 miles north of Segontia), and the oldest of the five camps on the Gran Atalaya (4 miles east of Numantia) seem to date from the time of Cato. It was this campaign which began the war against the Celtiberians, the finest fighters in all Spain, and this war, constantly breaking out afresh, like a forest fire, lasted down to the year 133, when Numantia fell.

After his return Cato had to conduct a campaign against the tribes who inhabited the mountains of Catalonia. Livy expressly states that this resulted in the better exploitation of the mines of that region. That was the main thing. In the following years, 194 to 193, the war continued, and spread to the Lusitanians whose name now appears for the first time among the enemies of Rome. According to the Roman annals, the Lusitanians were the aggressors; but Baeturia, which lies on the frontiers of Lusitania, was in the hands of the Romans as early as 197 BC, so that the encroachment on the neighbouring country was probably the act of Rome. From the further province the Romans now advanced against the highland country, subjugating the Oretani (round Castulo) and the Carpetani (round Toledo). In 190 bc Aemilius Paullus, later the conqueror of Perseus, sustained a severe defeat at the hands of the Lusitanians, which he soon afterwards retrieved by a victory.

An interesting administrative record from this period has come down to us, the earliest Roman inscription from Spain. In it Paullus issues a decree about a small Iberian stronghold which is called ‘Turris Lascutana’ but later becomes known to us as the town of Lascuta and has left behind coins with an unusual form of writing, which is perhaps Tartessian. This place is to be taken from the people of Hasta, and the slaves of the town of Hasta who are in Lascuta are to be free, to enter the service of Rome.

In 181 bc the Romans began to penetrate into the highlands from the north also and to subdue the tribes in the valley of the Jalon (a tributary on the south side of the Ebro) and the Jiloca, the Lusones, Belli and Titti, just as earlier, penetrating it from the south, they had subjugated the Oretani and Carpetani. The conquest of the Lusones with their capital of Contrebia was successfully carried through. In the treaty which Gracchus, the father of the tribunes, made with them in 179, they bound themselves to pay tribute and provide auxiliaries, while Gracchus in return gave them better land. On the other hand, an expedition of Gracchus against the Celtiberians on the upper Douro, in the neighbourhood of Numantia, achieved no more than the con­clusion of a treaty on terms rather favourable to the enemy. It was mainly by these conciliatory treaties, rather than by force of arms, that Gracchus brought to an end the Celtiberian war (181—179), which did not break out again until twenty-five years had elapsed (153 bc). The foundation of two towns, Graccuris and Corduba, the former by Gracchus, the latter by M. Claudius Marcellus in 168 or 151 bc, indicate some attempt at romanization.

Long after the Gracchan treaties had been broken by repeated wars the Iberians still regarded their terms as a political ideal—and when, in the year 137, Mancinus capitulated to them they were unwilling to trust anyone but Tiberius Gracchus, the son of the treaty-maker. It is evident from this that more could be effected with the Iberians by clemency than by force. It was the same policy which the elder Scipio and Hasdrubal had applied; but only a few of the Roman generals had the wisdom to use these milder methods, the majority merely piled war on war through senseless deeds of violence. Though Gracchus in his report to the Senate boasted of having subjugated three hundred Iberian towns, these were for the most part, as Posidonius justly remarks, castles of no great size, some of them very small indeed, such as were found all over Spain, often containing only a clan or sept of fifty to a hundred men.

 

III

THE WARS WITH THE LUSITANIANS: VIRIATHUS

 

Between 179 and 154 there was respite from war, but as we have seen extortion continued. Finally, the Romans had to face new troubles. As on a former occasion, during the Celtiberian revolt of 153 and the following years a parallel revolt was running its course in Lusitania, though it was only occasionally that the military operations came into connection with one another. The Lusitanian War lasted uninterruptedly from 154 to 138, down to the death of Viriathus, the Celtiberian War from 153 to 151 and from 143 to 133. The Lusitanians in 154 bc struck the first blow by making a raid into Roman territory merely for plunder, not for freedom. In the course of this year the Lusitanians under their leader Punicus defeated several praetors, induced the neighbouring Vettones to take part in the war, and penetrated into the Roman province. After the death of Punicus the new leader Kaisaros inflicted on Mummius, the future destroyer of Corinth, a defeat in which nine thousand Romans fell. Kaisaros now sent the captured standards to the Celtiberians, by way of rousing them to take part in the struggle. This they did, but only till 152, when, won over by favourable treaties, they withdrew from the war. The Lusitanians next invaded the district of Algarve, the land of the Conii, and even crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and carried their ravages as far as Ocilis (Arzila), until Mummius drove them back. In 152 a new governor, M. Atilius, gained some successes, so that the Lusitanians made peace, but as soon as he had retired into winter quarters they broke out again. His successor Galba suffered a great defeat in 151, with the loss of 7000 men, and fled to Carmona. Lucullus, from Nearer Spain, where peace had reigned since 152, came to his assistance, and won some success. Galba found a more excellent way. He induced the Lusitanians to submit, promising them land. When they had delivered up their weapons and had allowed themselves, ostensibly with a view to the settlement, to be divided into several bands, he surrounded them, unarmed as they were, and put them to the sword. Few escaped; but among them was the future hero Viriathus. We read that Galba retained most of the booty for himself. It was not for nothing that he had to stand his trial, and suffer the onslaughts of the aged Cato.

Gradually some 10,000 Lusitanians collected together again and invaded the province. But the praetor Vetilius surrounded them and they were once more on the point of surrendering, when Viriathus dissuaded them, and became their leader. He succeeded in breaking through, and when the Romans pressed the pursuit, he cut them off in a defile of the Sierra Ronda, slaying four thousand of them along with their general (147 bc). Viriathus now marched through the fertile land of the Carpetani (La Mancha, which is still rich in wine and oil), defeated Plautius, killing 4000 men, and established himself on the ‘Hill of Venus’ (Sierra S. Vincente), and from that fastness laid waste the whole surrounding country (146 BC). He even ventured to cross the Guadarrama and advanced as far as Segovia. One praetor after another met with disaster, so that in 145 the Romans had once more to send a consular army of two legions, under the consul Fabius Maximus, the brother of Scipio Aemilianus. In that year and the next Fabius had some successes, but in the years 143 and 142 one Roman defeat followed another, until the Celtiberians also were encouraged to renew the war.

The situation was dangerous indeed. Viriathus had in fact succeeded in rousing the whole of the highland country to revolt. He probably aimed at carrying on a concerted war with a common plan, but the undisciplined anarchy of the two peoples brought his schemes to nought. The Iberians were on a much lower level of intelligence and of civilization than the Gauls whom Vercingetorix induced to make common cause in the struggle for freedom. In the year 141 we again find a consular army in the field, and once more under a relative of Scipio, who since 151 had been the moving spirit of the war against the Iberians. Fabius Maximus Servilianus, the adoptive brother of Fabius Maximus, was however repeatedly defeated, and finally surrounded, with his army. Viriathus might have put the whole army to the sword, and thereby ended the war, for the Romans would never have retrieved such a loss; but the incredible happened. Viriathus permitted the army of Servilianus to withdraw in safety—in return for a treaty, the worthlessness of which he must have known. The blame for this piece of folly rests doubtless wholly upon Viriathus’ followers, who had wearied of the war, as happened again and again both with them and with the Celtiberians. Strange to say, the peace was ratified by Rome. But the successor of Servilianus, Servilius Caepio, renewed the war on his own initiative, just as in the same year Pompeius repudiated the peace he had concluded with the Celtiberians.

Caepio was defeated like his predecessors, but found a way to end the war at a single blow. He bribed three friends of Viriathus to murder him (138 bc). That ended the Lusitanian War, though the Celtiberian War went on from defeat to defeat. Viriathus was the greatest leader of their own nation whom the Iberians ever possessed—and obeyed. To maintain his leadership for fully eight years (146—138) was an astonishing feat. Almost always victorious, he was overcome at last only by a treacherous assassination, the fate of Sertorius, whom he so greatly resembles. Like him, Viriathus was able to exercise a kind of fascination over his wild tribesmen. Both in strategy and tactics he surpassed his Roman adversaries, and succeeded again and again in defeating them by a feigned flight or by drawing them into ambuscades, practising the time-honoured stratagems of their kinsmen in Africa. But even he, like other leaders, was robbed of success by the inability of the Iberians to prosecute the war with energy. D. Junius Brutus, Caepio’s successor (137 bc), marched through Lusitania and made war upon the wild Callaici, their northern neighbours. His vigour and occasional clemency were not without effect and he earned his cognomen of Callaicus, but the establishment of a province of Lusitania was as yet far distant. As late as 49 bc it was merely a kind of military annex of Further Spain—much in the same way as under Augustus Germania was an annex of Gallia Belgica.

It has been pointed out earlier that the Iberians of the mountain country were ill-equipped for a war with Rome, for they were split up into a thousand communities of various sizes but all small, and not even those who belonged to the same tribe held together. In addition to this, they lacked that determination which gives staying-power in war, whereas it was just by her tenacity that Rome, in spite of all her defeats, had brought the war with Hannibal to a triumphant close. The highlanders’ best defence was the nature of their country with its arid bare waterless deserts, its mountains and ravines which seemed as though created for the laying of ambushes, its extremes of climate, burning heat in summer and bitter cold in winter. To crown all, there was the great distance which separated Spain from Rome, making the conveyance of troops a long, arduous and costly undertaking.

 

IV

THE CELTIBERIAN WAR

 

The Celtiberian War is one of the best known episodes in the military history of Rome, for Appian has preserved for us the narrative of Polybius, which is based on the reports of the generals, and, for the years 134—133, on his own first-hand observation. Moreover, on the bare surface of the highlands of Castille the Roman camps of that period have been preserved in a remarkable way and supply a continuous commentary on the admirable narrative of Appian. Of the camps of Cato we have already spoken. On the mountain of the Gran Atalaya near Renieblas, 4 miles east of Numantia, lies the camp in which Nobilior passed the winter of 153—152; near Almazan, 20 miles south of Numantia, is a summer camp which marks a stage on the Ocilis (Medinaceli)-Numantia road, by which Nobilior in 153 marched against Numantia; on the hill of Castillejo there are the remains of the camp of Marcellus (151 bc) and of Pompeius (141 bc). Round Numantia lie the seven camps of Scipio, belonging to the years 134—133, two of which, the headquarters on Castillejo in the north, and the camp of Pena Redonda in the south, are well preserved.

These camps are highly instructive, not only for the history and topography of the Celtiberian Wars, but also for the Roman camps of those days in general, the arrangement of which was previously known to us only from the description of Polybius. We see how Nobilior, despite the difficulty of the terrain, was able to maintain the customary arrangement of the camp, with a skill which evokes our admiration, whereas the camps of Scipio, having a primarily defensive purpose, adapt themselves to the terrain and break away from the regular arrangement. We can learn also from these camps many details of the military practices of the time; here can be seen the method of building barracks, the fortification of the camp with a wall 9 to 12 feet thick, the numerous towers for the light and heavy artillery, here too the weapons, especially the pilum, of which more than twenty examples occur, other details of equipment and utensils, and, not least, contemporary silver and copper coins, which supply a valuable extension of our knowledge of the old Roman coinage, for which (from the exactness with which these camps can be dated) we obtain fixed points such as had hitherto been lacking.

The Celtiberian War broke out in the year 153 BC. The Belli, a tribe of Nearer Celtiberia which had an alliance with Rome, refused to stop building a great tribal fortress for themselves at Segeda, and the Romans thereupon began hostilities. They now had to face a widespread combination of warlike tribes. How serious the war was may be seen from the fact that from 153 onwards, instead of praetors with smaller armies, consuls with consular armies of two legions were sent to Celtiberia—as had only happened once before, in 195—and that they remained two years, the second year as proconsuls. This continued until the end of the war in 133. The consul Nobilior, who, in order to have longer time for his campaign, entered office on the 1st of January, began by marching up the Jalon valley to attack Segeda. The inhabitants fled, and sought refuge with the Arevaci, who received them, and thus brought Further Celtiberia also into the war. From Ocilis, where he established his base of supplies, Nobilior marched against Numantia by way of Almazan, but while on the march he was caught in a defile and sustained a crushing defeat. The date was the 23rd of August, the Vulcanalia, so that this day became henceforward a dies ater. Of the legionaries alone six thousand, or more than half, fell. As however the Arevaci also had serious losses including Karos their general, they did not take full advantage of their victory, but withdrew into Numantia. It was therefore possible for Nobilior to establish on the mountain Gran Atalaya 4 miles east of Numantia a fortified camp, which is still in existence. In spite of Nobilior’s losses, which amounted to a good 40 per cent, of his force, the camp is laid out for two complete legions, for he could reckon on receiving reinforcements, and moreover the Romans generally constructed their camps according to a fixed scheme. From this base Nobilior made an attack upon the Numantines, but was again defeated. Similar ill-success attended an attempt upon Uxama (Osma) on the Douro. Nobilior then went into winter quarters in the camp on the Gran Atalaya, the horrors of which—cold, snow and privation—were described by Polybius, a description preserved in Appian.

In 152 he was succeeded by an experienced general, Marcellus, who had been consul three years before, so that a special dispensation was necessary to enable the consulship to be again conferred upon him. His first task was the subjugation of the Jalon valley, which was successfully accomplished, since he offered favourable conditions. He promised peace, provided the tribes on the further side, the Arevaci, were willing to come to terms. In the event, the tribes of the Douro as well as of the Jalon sent embassies to Rome. But the negotiations fell through, owing to the arrogant language of the Arevaci, and Marcellus received orders to carry on the war. Instead of obeying, he made peace with Numantia in return for a payment of six hundred talents of silver (three million denarii), an amazingly large sum, which was no doubt raised by contributions from all the tribes.

When the new consul, Lucullus, arrived in 151 he found peace already established. The raising of his army had caused hardship; it had been necessary owing to popular pressure to take the soldiers by lot and to reduce the period of service to six years. Scipio Aemilianus offered to accompany the expedition as a volunteer. Henceforward he dominated the Spanish war, which he made his own personal concern and conducted with the same success as his great ancestor. Lucullus, instead of returning home, attacked the Vaccaei and treacherously gained possession of the town of Cauca, where he ordered an indiscriminate massacre; but he failed in attempts on Intercatia and Pallantia, and so withdrew into Further Spain. Here he came to the assistance of Galba who had been following his example in carrying on the war by means of treachery and breach of treaty. As we have seen, the setting up, in 149, of a permanent court to deal with extortion was a consequence of the shameful actions of Lucullus and Galba.

From 151—143 the war was at a standstill, but then broke out afresh, the Lusitanians again being the aggressors, and lasted ten years. This ten-years war is generally distinguished as the Numantine., though Polybius treats the war of 153—151 and the Numantine war together as a twenty-years war. The conduct of the war was again entrusted to a consul, Metellus, who had dealt successfully with the Macedonian revolt. He remained in Spain two years, and succeeded in bringing the tribes of the Jalon valley into subjection again; but it took him so long to subjugate the Vaccaei, who had aided the Numantines with supplies of corn, that his period of office came to an end before he could attack Numantia. His successor, Pompeius, was a very poor general. He encamped before Numantia on the hill of Castillejo, and made an attempt to take it by storm. The attempt failed, though after the wall which surrounded the upper town had fallen, the city was protected only by hastily constructed palisades and a force of 8000 defenders, whereas Pompeius had at his disposal more than 30,000 men, who had been admirably trained by Metellus. He was equally unsuccessful against Termantia, which lies south of the Douro. Next he attempted to reduce Numantia by surrounding it with siege­works; but that also was a failure. Finally, however, he induced the Numantines to accept terms of peace by which they paid him thirty talents of silver. But when his successor, Popillius Laenas, arrived (139 bc), Pompeius declared the treaty to be void, since the Senate had not ratified it. Needless to say, the silver was not returned. This was the third time in twelve years that a Roman general had played the Iberians false and Pompeius took his place beside Lucullus and Galba.

Popillius enjoyed no greater success in his attack upon Numantia (139—138). The crowning disgrace however was reached under his successor Mancinus in 137 bc. After a succession of defeats he retreated hastily towards the Ebro, but before he could reach it he was surrounded, in the neighbourhood of Nobilior’s former camp, and surrendered with 20,000 men. Tiberius Gracchus, the future tribune, made himself responsible for the fulfilment of the terms, since the Numantines were prepared to trust his word for his father’s sake. But this treaty, too, the Senate broke, chiefly owing to the influence of Scipio. The capitulation of Mancinus was perhaps the bitterest disgrace in the whole of Roman military history—the surrender of 20,000 men to between 8000 and 4000. The breaking of this treaty and Scipio’s part therein gave rise to lasting enmity between him and his brother-in-law Gracchus.

For the Senate to hand over Mancinus, as it did, was sheer mockery, a fine exchange for the army whose fate the Iberians had held in their hand, but whom they had foolishly let go, like Viriathus four years before. The generals who followed did not venture to attack the Numantines at all, contenting themselves with plundering the Vaccaei. At length, in 135, popular in­sistence secured the sending to Spain of Scipio, the conqueror of Carthage.

 

V

SCIPIO AND THE SIEGE OF NUMANTIA

 

When he arrived in Spain, in the middle of the year 134, Scipio’s first task was to restore to the thoroughly demoralized army some semblance of efficiency and military spirit; but in this he was only partially successful. With such troops it was useless for Scipio to think of attempting to carry Numantia by assault, and he made up his mind from the first to blockade it and reduce it by starvation. After preparing his army by practice in entrenching operations he marched up the valley of the Ebro, but even so did not immediately attack Numantia; he paused first to deal with the Vaccaei, whose corn he seized in order to cut off from the Numantines this source of supply. Then he marched up the Douro to Numantia, before which he arrived about October 134. By the use of stakes prepared beforehand he was able to effect at once a preliminary encirclement with earthworks and a palisade, under the protection of which the circumvallation proper, the building of a stout wall with towers, was carried out. The circle was commanded by seven camps, the sites of all of which have been brought to light by excavation. The chief camp was Castillejo, half-a-mile north of Numantia, where Scipio himself had his headquarters, since this hill commanded the wide plain to the east of Numantia. Altogether Scipio had 60,000 men, but about 40,000 of these were Iberian auxiliaries. The camp at Pena Redonda, south of Numantia, was under the command of his brother Fabius Maximus. Each of them had under him a legion, though not at full strength. The other camps were held partly by men of the Italian allies, partly by Iberians. The intervening sectors were no doubt chiefly occupied by Iberians. A system of signals, apparently suggested by Polybius, who here, as before Carthage, accompanied Scipio as military adviser, enabled an immediate alarm to be sent out to the whole line the moment an attack was begun. It was in vain that the besieged made attempt after attempt to break through the ring, in vain that the chief, Rectugenos, who succeeded in slipping through, endeavoured to rouse the other towns to send help. In the end hunger did its work. After Scipio had repulsed a last attempt of the Numantines to obtain honourable terms, and the besieged had finally been driven even to cannibalism, a great number of them took their own lives, and the rest laid down their arms. Fifty were chosen to adorn their conqueror’s triumph. Thus Numantia, after a heroic resistance, had been overcome, not by the sword but by famine. Without waiting to ask the Senate’s permission, Scipio burnt to the ground the valiant town which, with 4000 men, had defied 60,000. In the following year (132 bc) he celebrated his triumph for the taking of Numantia, and assumed the cognomen of Numantinus.

So ended the last Celtiberian war, after a duration of ten or—if we reckon, like Polybius, from 153—of twenty years, and the loss of enormous numbers of troops. These great losses did much to give an impulse to the reforms of Tiberius Gracchus, who sought by increasing the numbers of the farming class to increase the number of those qualified to serve in the army. But even apart from this, the war bit deep into the life of the Roman state. In particular it was responsible for exceptional laws, as when the ten years interval between consulships had to be dispensed with, as for Marcellus, or the prohibition to re-election to the consulship waived in favour of Scipio. It led, further, to the beginning of the official year with the first of January instead of the first of March (so that the time at which Europe today begins its year may be called a by-product of the Celtiberian War). As we have seen, the establishment of a permanent court to deal with extortion falls within the period of this war and followed the outrages of Lucullus and Galba. The constant ill-success of the ruling oligarchy resulted in an increase of the power of the people who were able to insist on the use of the lot in the raising of levies and the reduction of the period of service to six years. Again, instead of the assignment of the provinces by lot as was usual, Spain was assigned to Scipio in 135 by the decision of the people, and it was the people who insisted on waiving the existing constitutional safeguards in favour of Marcellus and Scipio. On the other hand the war also prepared the way for the coming of the monarchy. The holding of commands for several years and the maintenance of a standing army were all steps towards it. There was something not a little monarchical about the position of Scipio. From 145 onwards most of the generals in Spain were chosen from his family or friends, he surrounded himself with a bodyguard (from which arose the Cohors Praetoria) it was to him personally that the rulers of the east sent reinforcements, and he took it upon himself to destroy Numantia without consulting the Senate at all. If he had been bolder or less scrupulous the monarchy might have come from Spain in 133 instead of from Gaul in 49, for, when Scipio returned to Rome as her deliverer, no element was lacking but his own resolve to be monarch.

 

VI

ROMAN RULE IN SPAIN

 

After the conclusion of the wars with the Lusitanians and Celtiberians Rome remained in undisturbed possession of the Spanish provinces, and could carry on with still greater thoroughness that exploitation of their resources which had begun earlier. The most valuable accession to the State property was the mines, which passed over from the possession of Carthage to that of Rome. Later, many of the mines were sold, and we have bars of lead dating from as early as the second century bc which bear the stamp of private owners. Only the gold mines seem to have been reserved for the State. In the period of the Empire private mines were again taken over by confiscation, and Tiberius, for example, seized the silver mines of a certain Marius, from whom the Sierra Morena takes its name (Mons Marianus). In the silver mines of New Carthage there were, when Polybius visited them, 40,000 slaves at work. These mines occupied an area of 30 square miles, and brought the State a daily yield of 25,000 denarii. Posidonius paints in sombre colours the sufferings of the slaves who worked in them. Whether these slaves were Iberians or foreigners we do not know, but the probability is that they were Iberians, for the wars must have provided a multitude of slaves.

The collection of the tribute with the extortion which accom­panied it was certainly no less cruel than formerly, when it had constantly led to insurrections. And in fact insurrection broke out again in 98 bc; and again later, when Sertorius became the hero of the oppressed; and yet again, in the Augustan period. If the State and its officials set themselves to suck the provinces dry, private persons were no whit behind them in rapacity. As everywhere, so in Spain, at least in the towns of the south and east, negotiatores must have settled with a view to exploiting the Iberians by usury. It is true that finance was not yet highly developed, but as the communes easily fell into arrears with the taxes, there was an excellent opportunity of making fifty per cent., as happened in Rome’s eastern possessions. How far the Romans themselves at this time engaged in trade and industry in Spain we have no means of knowing.

In general the Roman rule in Spain can only be described as brutal. The Iberians were treated little better than cattle. That was a blunder, and cost the Romans much blood and treasure, which a more statesmanlike understanding of the character of the Iberians would have spared them. Gracchus and Scipio effected more by clemency than their colleagues by the sword—just as recently in Morocco we have seen better results obtained by politic lenity than by force. Iberians and Berbers alike could only be won over by showing them the advantage which accrued from the ending of their unceasing feuds and the introduction of order, while in general respecting their racial characteristics. But Republican Rome did not concern herself with the psychology of barbarian races. Augustus was the first to break with the system followed by the oligarchy, and with him begins an era of colonization and prosperity in the Spanish provinces. It is from the Augustan age that our knowledge of the division of the Spanish communes is derived. There were at this time more than 500 of these communes (civitates), most of which were single towns; it was only among the highlanders of the north that there were any rural communes. This subdivision into an immense number of small communes is also found in Africa, where, also, there were over five hundred of them, whereas in Gaul we find only sixty-four civitate, these civitates being tribes. In Gaul therefore the tribe felt itself to be a united whole; in Spain as in Africa, inhabited by the kindred races of Libyans and Berbers, there was no such feeling of unity. Under Augustus, therefore, these communes are found united into conventus, districts under one jurisdiction. Whether this organization originated with him we do not know. Within the communes the clans or septs (gentilitates) were not interfered with, for they continue to be mentioned in the imperial period, especially in the highland country (e.g. ‘Aper Accaeicum Mauri filius,’ i.e. Aper, son of Maurus, of the clan of Acco).

Of the public works which Rome carried out after the fall of Numantia, the great road, which crossed the Pyrenees from Gaul and ran right down to the Straits of Gibraltar, is known to us from Polybius, who gives its length as about 8000 stadia (= 1000 miles), and says that it was marked with milestones, though this applied perhaps at that time only to the northern part. Since it is mentioned by Polybius, this road must have been in existence as early as 120 bc. It followed the primeval trade route, the ‘Way of Hercules’, and linked up the two provinces. There was of course constant building in those towns which were the main bases of the Roman domination, Tarraco, Saguntum and Carthago Nova. A ‘Porta Popillia’ in Cartagena may have been built by the consul of the year 139 bc. The great walls which have been found under the buildings of the imperial period on the hill of Saguntum are probably to be assigned to the Romans of the Republic, not to the Carthaginians, for the latter were in possession of the city for a few years only (219—212), and we have evidence for the rebuilding of the destroyed town by the Romans. It may indeed be said that characteristic misrule did not prevent the Republic from conferring on Spain characteristic benefits.