The West from the Peace of Hannibal to the Close of the Third Period

Subjugation of the Valley of the Po

The war waged by Hannibal had interrupted Rome in the extension of her dominion to the Alps or to the boundary of Italy, as was even now the Roman phrase, and in the organization and colonizing of the Celtic territories. It was self-evident that the task would now be resumed at the point where it had been broken off, and the Celts were well aware of this. In the very year of the conclusion of peace with Carthage (553) hostilities had recommenced in the territory of the Boii, who were the most immediately exposed to danger; and a first success obtained by them over the hastily-assembled Roman levy, coupled with the persuasions of a Carthaginian officer, Hamilcar, who had been left behind from the expedition of Mago in northern Italy, produced in the following year (554) a general insurrection spreading beyond the two tribes immediately threatened, the Boii and Insubres. The Ligurians were driven to arms by the nearer approach of the danger, and even the youth of the Cenomani on this occasion listened less to the voice of their cautious chiefs than to the urgent appeal of their kinsmen who were in peril. Of "the two barriers against the raids of the Gauls," Placentia and Cremona, the former was sacked—not more than 2000 of the inhabitants of Placentia saved their lives—and the second was invested. In haste the legions advanced to save what they could. A great battle took place before Cremona. The dexterous management and the professional skill of the Phoenician leader failed to make up for the deficiencies of his troops; the Gauls were unable to withstand the onset of the legions, and among the numerous dead who covered the field of battle was the Carthaginian officer. The Celts, nevertheless, continued the struggle; the same Roman army which had conquered at Cremona was next year (555), chiefly through the fault of its careless leader, almost destroyed by the Insubres; and it was not till 556 that Placentia could be partially re-established. But the league of the cantons associated for the desperate struggle suffered from intestine discord; the Boii and Insubres quarrelled, and the Cenomani not only withdrew from the national league, but purchased their pardon from the Romans by a disgraceful betrayal of their countrymen; during a battle in which the Insubres engaged the Romans on the Mincius, the Cenomani attacked in rear, and helped to destroy, their allies and comrades in arms (557). Thus humbled and left in the lurch, the Insubres, after the fall of Comum, likewise consented to conclude a separate peace (558). The conditions, which the Romans prescribed to the Cenomani and Insubres, were certainly harder than they had been in the habit of granting to the members of the Italian confederacy; in particular, they were careful to confirm by law the barrier of separation between Italians and Celts, and to enact that never should a member of these two Celtic tribes be capable of acquiring the citizenship of Rome. But these Transpadane Celtic districts were allowed to retain their existence and their national constitution—so that they formed not town-domains, but tribal cantons—and no tribute, as it would seem, was imposed on them. They were intended to serve as a bulwark for the Roman settlements south of the Po, and to ward off from Italy the incursions of the migratory northern tribes and the aggressions of the predatory inhabitants of the Alps, who were wont to make regular razzias in these districts. The process of Latinizing, moreover, made rapid progress in these regions; the Celtic nationality was evidently far from able to oppose such resistance as the more civilized nations of Sabellians and Etruscans. The celebrated Latin comic poet Statius Caecilius, who died in 586, was a manumitted Insubrian; and Polybius, who visited these districts towards the close of the sixth century, affirms, not perhaps without some exaggeration, that in that quarter only a few villages among the Alps remained Celtic. The Veneti, on the other hand, appear to have retained their nationality longer.

Measures Adopted to Check the Immigrations of the Transalpine Gauls

The chief efforts of the Romans in these regions were naturally directed to check the immigration of the Transalpine Celts, and to make the natural wall, which separates the peninsula from the interior of the continent, also its political boundary. That the terror of the Roman name had already penetrated to the adjacent Celtic cantons beyond the Alps, is shown not only by the totally passive attitude which they maintained during the annihilation or subjugation of their Cisalpine countrymen, but still more by the official disapproval and disavowal which the Transalpine cantons—we shall have to think primarily of the Helvetii (between the lake of Geneva and the Main) and the Carni or Taurisci (in Carinthia and Styria)—expressed to the envoys from Rome, who complained of the attempts made by isolated Celtic bands to settle peacefully on the Roman side of the Alps. Not less significant was the humble spirit in which these same bands of emigrants first came to the Roman senate entreating an assignment of land, and then without remonstrance obeyed the rigorous order to return over the Alps (568-575), and allowed the town, which they had already founded not far from the later Aquileia, to be again destroyed. With wise severity the senate permitted no sort of exception to the principle that the gates of the Alps should be henceforth closed for the Celtic nation, and visited with heavy penalties those Roman subjects in Italy, who had instigated any such schemes of immigration. An attempt of this kind which was made on a route hitherto little known to the Romans, in the innermost recess of the Adriatic, and still more, as if would seem, the project of Philip of Macedonia for invading Italy from the east as Hannibal had done from the west, gave occasion to the founding of a fortress in the extreme north-eastern corner of Italy—Aquileia, the most northerly of the Italian colonies (571-573)—which was intended not only to close that route for ever against foreigners, but also to secure the command of the gulf which was specially convenient for navigation, and to check the piracy which was still not wholly extirpated in those waters. The establishment of Aquileia led to a war with the Istrians (576, 577), which was speedily terminated by the storming of some strongholds and the fall of the king, Aepulo, and which was remarkable for nothing except for the panic, which the news of the surprise of the Roman camp by a handful of barbarians called forth in the fleet and throughout Italy.

Colonizing of the Region on the South of the Po

A different course was adopted with the region on the south of the Po, which the Roman senate had determined to incorporate with Italy. The Boii, who were immediately affected by this step, defended themselves with the resolution of despair. They even crossed the Po and made an attempt to rouse the Insubres once more to arms (560); they blockaded a consul in his camp, and he was on the point of succumbing; Placentia maintained itself with difficulty against the constant assaults of the exasperated natives. At length the last battle was fought at Mutina; it was long and bloody, but the Romans conquered (561); and thenceforth the struggle was no longer a war, but a slave-hunt. The Roman camp soon was the only asylum in the Boian territory; thither the better part of the still surviving population began to take refuge; and the victors were able, without much exaggeration, to report to Rome that nothing remained of the nation of the Boii but old men and children. The nation was thus obliged to resign itself to the fate appointed for it. The Romans demanded the cession of half the territory (563); the demand could not be refused, and even within the diminished district which was left to the Boii, they soon disappeared, and amalgamated with their conquerors.(1)

After the Romans had thus cleared the ground for themselves, the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona, whose colonists had been in great part swept away or dispersed by the troubles of the last few years, were reorganized, and new settlers were sent thither. The new foundations were, in or near the former territory of the Senones, Potentia (near Recanati not far from Ancona: in 570) and Pisaurum (Pesaro: in 570), and, in the newly acquired district of the Boii, the fortresses of Bononia (565), Mutina (571), and Parma (571); the colony of Mutina had been already instituted before the war under Hannibal, but that war had interrupted the completion of the settlement. The construction of fortresses was associated, as was always the case, with the formation of military roads. The Flaminian way was prolonged from its northern termination at Ariminum, under the name of the Aemilian way, to Placentia (567). Moreover, the road from Rome to Arretium or the Cassian way, which perhaps had already been long a municipal road, was taken in charge and constructed anew by the Roman community probably in 583; while in 567 the track from Arretium over the Apennines to Bononia as far as the new Aemilian road had been put in order, and furnished a shorter communication between Rome and the fortresses on the Po. By these comprehensive measures the Apennines were practically superseded as the boundary between the Celtic and Italian territories, and were replaced by the Po. South of the Po there henceforth prevailed mainly the urban constitution of the Italians, beyond it mainly the cantonal constitution of the Celts; and, if the district between the Apennines and the Po was still reckoned Celtic land, it was but an empty name.


In the north-western mountain-land of Italy, whose valleys and hills were occupied chiefly by the much-subdivided Ligurian stock, the Romans pursued a similar course. Those dwelling immediately to the north of the Arno were extirpated. This fate befell chiefly the Apuani, who dwelt on the Apennines between the Arno and the Magra, and incessantly plundered on the one side the territory of Pisae, on the other that of Bononia and Mutina. Those who did not fall victims in that quarter to the sword of the Romans were transported into Lower Italy to the region of Beneventum (574); and by energetic measures the Ligurian nation, from which the Romans were obliged in 578 to recover the colony of Mutina which it had conquered, was completely crushed in the mountains which separate the valley of the Po from that of the Arno. The fortress of Luna (not far from Spezzia), established in 577 in the former territory of the Apuani, protected the frontier against the Ligurians just as Aquileia did against the Transalpines, and gave the Romans at the same time an excellent port which henceforth became the usual station for the passage to Massilia and to Spain. The construction of the coast or Aurelian road from Rome to Luna, and of the cross road carried from Luca by way of Florence to Arretium between the Aurelian and Cassian ways, probably belongs to the same period.

With the more western Ligurian tribes, who held the Genoese Apennines and the Maritime Alps, there were incessant conflicts. They were troublesome neighbours, accustomed to pillage by land and by sea: the Pisans and Massiliots suffered no little injury from their incursions and their piracies. But no permanent results were gained amidst these constant hostilities, or perhaps even aimed at; except apparently that, with a view to have a communication by land with Transalpine Gaul and Spain in addition to the regular route by sea, the Romans endeavoured to clear the great coast road from Luna by way of Massilia to Emporiae, at least as far as the Alps—beyond the Alps it devolved on the Massiliots to keep the coast navigation open for Roman vessels and the road along the shore open for travellers by land. The interior with its impassable valleys and its rocky fastnesses, and with its poor but dexterous and crafty inhabitants, served the Romans mainly as a school of war for the training and hardening of soldiers and officers.


Wars as they are called, of a similar character with those against the Ligurians, were waged with the Corsicans and to a still greater extent with the inhabitants of the interior of Sardinia, who retaliated for the predatory expeditions directed against them by sudden attacks on the districts along the coast. The expedition of Tiberius Gracchus against the Sardinians in 577 was specially held in remembrance, not so much because it gave "peace" to the province, as because he asserted that he had slain or captured as many as 80,000 of the islanders, and dragged slaves thence in such multitudes to Rome that "cheap as a Sardinian" became a proverb.


In Africa the policy of Rome was substantially summed up in the one idea, as short-sighted as it was narrow-minded, that she ought to prevent the revival of the power of Carthage, and ought accordingly to keep the unhappy city constantly oppressed and apprehensive of a declaration of war suspended over it by Rome like the sword of Damocles. The stipulation in the treaty of peace, that the Carthaginians should retain their territory undiminished, but that their neighbour Massinissa should have all those possessions guaranteed to him which he or his predecessor had possessed within the Carthaginian bounds, looks almost as if it had been inserted not to obviate, but to provoke disputes. The same remark applies to the obligation imposed by the Roman treaty of peace on the Carthaginians not to make war upon the allies of Rome; so that, according to the letter of the treaty, they were not even entitled to expel their Numidian neighbours from their own undisputed territory. With such stipulations and amidst the uncertainty of African frontier questions in general, the situation of Carthage in presence of a neighbour equally powerful and unscrupulous and of a liege lord who was at once umpire and party in the cause, could not but be a painful one; but the reality was worse than the worst expectations. As early as 561 Carthage found herself suddenly assailed under frivolous pretexts, and saw the richest portion of her territory, the province of Emporiae on the Lesser Syrtis, partly plundered by the Numidians, partly even seized and retained by them. Encroachments of this kind were multiplied; the level country passed into the hands of the Numidians, and the Carthaginians with difficulty maintained themselves in the larger places. Within the last two years alone, the Carthaginians declared in 582, seventy villages had been again wrested from them in opposition to the treaty. Embassy after embassy was despatched to Rome; the Carthaginians adjured the Roman senate either to allow them to defend themselves by arms, or to appoint a court of arbitration with power to enforce their award, or to regulate the frontier anew that they might at least learn once for all how much they were to lose; otherwise it were better to make them Roman subjects at once than thus gradually to deliver them over to the Libyans. But the Roman government, which already in 554 had held forth a direct prospect of extension of territory to their client, of course at the expense of Carthage, seemed to have little objection that he should himself take the booty destined for him; they moderated perhaps at times the too great impetuosity of the Libyans, who now retaliated fully on their old tormentors for their former sufferings; but it was in reality for the very sake of inflicting this torture that the Romans had assigned Massinissa as a neighbour to Carthage. All the requests and complaints had no result, except either that Roman commissions made their appearance in Africa and after a thorough investigation came to no decision, or that in the negotiations at Rome the envoys of Massinissa pretended a want of instructions and the matter was adjourned. Phoenician patience alone was able to submit meekly to such a position, and even to exhibit towards the despotic victors every attention and courtesy, solicited or unsolicited with unwearied perseverance. The Carthaginians especially courted Roman favour by sending supplies of grain.

Reform of the Carthaginian Constitution
Hannibal's Flight

This pliability on the part of the vanquished, however was not mere patience and resignation. There was still in Carthage a patriotic party, and at its head stood the man who, wherever fate placed him, was still dreaded by the Romans. It had not abandoned the idea of resuming the struggle by taking advantage of those complications that might be easily foreseen between Rome and the eastern powers; and, as the failure of the magnificent scheme of Hamilcar and his sons had been due mainly to the Carthaginian oligarchy, the chief object was internally to reinvigorate the country for this new struggle. The salutary influence of adversity, and the clear, noble, and commanding mind of Hannibal, effected political and financial reforms. The oligarchy, which had filled up the measure of its guilty follies by raising a criminal process against the great general, charging him with having intentionally abstained from the capture of Rome and with embezzlement of the Italian spoil—that rotten oligarchy was, on the proposition of Hannibal, overthrown, and a democratic government was introduced such as was suited to the circumstances of the citizens (before 559). The finances were so rapidly reorganized by the collection of arrears and of embezzled moneys and by the introduction of better control, that the contribution due to Rome could be paid without burdening the citizens in any way with extraordinary taxes. The Roman government, just then on the point of beginning its critical war with the great-king of Asia, observed the progress of these events, as may easily be conceived, with apprehension; it was no imaginary danger that the Carthaginian fleet might land in Italy and a second war under Hannibal might spring up there, while the Roman legions fighting in Asia Minor. We can scarcely, therefore, censure the Romans for sending an embassy to Carthage (in 559) which was presumably charged to demand the surrender of Hannibal. The spiteful Carthaginian oligarchs, who sent letter after letter to Rome to denounce to the national foe the hero who had overthrown them as having entered into secret communications with the powers unfriendly to Rome, were contemptible, but their information was probably correct; and, true as it was that that embassy involved a humiliating confession of the dread with which the simple shofete of Carthage inspired so powerful a people, and natural and honourable as it was that the proud conqueror of Zama should take exception in the senate to so humiliating a step, still that confession was nothing but the simple truth, and Hannibal was of a genius so extraordinary, that none but sentimental politicians in Rome could tolerate him longer at the head of the Carthaginian state. The marked recognition thus accorded to him by the Roman government scarcely took himself by surprise. As it was Hannibal and not Carthage that had carried on the last war, so it was he who had to bear the fate of the vanquished. The Carthaginians could do nothing but submit and be thankful that Hannibal, sparing them the greater disgrace by his speedy and prudent flight to the east, left to his ancestral city merely the lesser disgrace of having banished its greatest citizen for ever from his native land, confiscated his property, and razed his house. The profound saying that those are the favourites of the gods, on whom they lavish infinite joys and infinite sorrows, thus verified itself in full measure in the case of Hannibal.

Continued Irritation in Rome towards Carthage

A graver responsibility than that arising out of their proceedings against Hannibal attaches to the Roman government for their persistence in suspecting and tormenting the city after his removal. Parties indeed fermented there as before; but, after the withdrawal of the extraordinary man who had wellnigh changed the destinies of the world, the patriot party was not of much more importance in Carthage than in Aetolia or Achaia. The most rational of the various ideas which then agitated the unhappy city was beyond doubt that of attaching themselves to Massinissa and of converting him from the oppressor into the protector of the Phoenicians. But neither the national section of the patriots nor the section with Libyan tendencies attained the helm; on the contrary the government remained in the hands of the oligarchs friendly to Rome, who, so far as they did not altogether renounce thought of the future, clung to the single idea of saving the material welfare and the communal freedom of Carthage under Roman protection. With this state of matters the Romans might well have been content. But neither the multitude, nor even the ruling lords of the average stamp, could rid themselves of the profound alarm produced by the Hannibalic war; and the Roman merchants with envious eyes beheld the city even now, when its political power was gone, possessed of extensive commercial dependencies and of a firmly established wealth which nothing could shake. Already in 567 the Carthaginian government offered to pay up at once the whole instalments stipulated in the peace of 553—an offer which the Romans, who attached far more importance to the having Carthage tributary than to the sums of money themselves, naturally declined, and only deduced from it the conviction that, in spite of all the trouble they had taken, the city was not ruined and was not capable of ruin. Fresh reports were ever circulating through Rome as to the intrigues of the faithless Phoenicians. At one time it was alleged that Aristo of Tyre had been seen in Carthage as an emissary of Hannibal, to prepare the citizens for the landing of an Asiatic war-fleet (561); at another, that the council had, in a secret nocturnal sitting in the temple of the God of Healing, given audience to the envoys of Perseus (581); at another there was talk of the powerful fleet which was being equipped in Carthage for the Macedonian war (583). It is probable that these and similar reports were founded on nothing more than, at most, individual indiscretions; but still they were the signal for new diplomatic ill usage on the part of Rome, and for new aggressions on the part of Massinissa, and the idea gained ground the more, the less sense and reason there was in it, that the Carthaginian question would not be settled without a third Punic war.


While the power of the Phoenicians was thus sinking in the land of their choice, just as it had long ago succumbed in their original home, a new state grew up by their side. The northern coast of Africa has been inhabited from time immemorial, and is inhabited still, by the people, who themselves assume the name of Shilah or Tamazigt, whom the Greeks and Romans call Nomades or Numidians, i. e. the "pastoral" people, and the Arabs call Berbers, although they also at times designate them as "shepherds" (Shawie), and to whom we are wont to give the name of Berbers or Kabyles. This people is, so far as its language has been hitherto investigated, related to no other known nation. In the Carthaginian period these tribes, with the exception of those dwelling immediately around Carthage or immediately on the coast, had on the whole maintained their independence, and had also substantially retained their pastoral and equestrian life, such as the inhabitants of the Atlas lead at the present day; although they were not strangers to the Phoenician alphabet and Phoenician civilization generally,(2) and instances occurred in which the Berber sheiks had their sons educated in Carthage and intermarried with the families of the Phoenician nobility. It was not the policy of the Romans to have direct possessions of their own in Africa; they preferred to rear a state there, which should not be of sufficient importance to be able to dispense with Roman protection, and yet should be sufficiently strong to keep down the power of Carthage now that it was restricted to Africa, and to render all freedom of movement impossible for the tortured city. They found what they sought among the native princes. About the time of the Hannibalic war the natives of North Africa were subject to three principal kings, each of whom, according to the custom there, had a multitude of princes bound to follow his banner; Bocchar king of the Mauri, who ruled from the Atlantic Ocean to the river Molochath (now Mluia, on the boundary between Morocco and the French territory); Syphax king of the Massaesyli, who ruled from the last-named point to the "Perforated Promontory," as it was called (Seba Rus, between Jijeli and Bona), in what are now the provinces of Oran and Algiers; and Massinissa king of the Massyli, who ruled from the Tretum Promontorium to the boundary of Carthage, in what is now the province of Constantine. The most powerful of these, Syphax king of Siga, had been vanquished in the last war between Rome and Carthage and carried away captive to Rome, where he died in captivity. His wide dominions were mainly given to Massinissa; although Vermina the son of Syphax by humble petition recovered a small portion of his father's territory from the Romans (554), he was unable to deprive the earlier ally of the Romans of his position as the privileged oppressor of Carthage.


Massinissa became the founder of the Numidian kingdom; and seldom has choice or accident hit upon a man so thoroughly fitted for his post. In body sound and supple up to extreme old age; temperate and sober like an Arab; capable of enduring any fatigue, of standing on the same spot from morning to evening, and of sitting four-and-twenty hours on horseback; tried alike as a soldier and a general amidst the romantic vicissitudes of his youth as well as on the battle-fields of Spain, and not less master of the more difficult art of maintaining discipline in his numerous household and order in his dominions; with equal unscrupulousness ready to throw himself at the feet of his powerful protector, or to tread under foot his weaker neighbour; and, in addition to all this, as accurately acquainted with the circumstances of Carthage, where he was educated and had been on familiar terms in the noblest houses, as he was filled with an African bitterness of hatred towards his own and his people's oppressors, —this remarkable man became the soul of the revival of his nation, which had seemed on the point of perishing, and of whose virtues and faults he appeared as it were a living embodiment. Fortune favoured him, as in everything, so especially in the fact, that it allowed him time for his work. He died in the ninetieth year of his age (516-605), and in the sixtieth year of his reign, retaining to the last the full possession of his bodily and mental powers, leaving behind him a son one year old and the reputation of having been the strongest man and the best and most fortunate king of his age.

Extension and Civilization of Numidia

We have already narrated how purposely and clearly the Romans in their management of African affairs evinced their taking part with Massinissa, and how zealously and constantly the latter availed himself of the tacit permission to enlarge his territory at the expense of Carthage. The whole interior to the border of the desert fell to the native sovereign as it were of its own accord, and even the upper valley of the Bagradas (Mejerdah) with the rich town of Vaga became subject to the king; on the coast also to the east of Carthage he occupied the old Sidonian city of Great Leptis and other districts, so that his kingdom stretched from the Mauretanian to the Cyrenaean frontier, enclosed the Carthaginian territory on every side by land, and everywhere pressed, in the closest vicinity, on the Phoenicians. It admits of no doubt, that he looked on Carthage as his future capital; the Libyan party there was significant. But it was not only by the diminution of her territory that Carthage suffered injury. The roving shepherds were converted by their great king into another people. After the example of the king, who brought the fields under cultivation far and wide and bequeathed to each of his sons considerable landed estates, his subjects also began to settle and to practise agriculture. As he converted his shepherds into settled citizens, he converted also his hordes of plunderers into soldiers who were deemed by Rome worthy to fight side by side with her legions; and he bequeathed to his successors a richly-filled treasury, a well- disciplined army, and even a fleet. His residence Cirta (Constantine) became the stirring capital of a powerful state, and a chief seat of Phoenician civilization, which was zealously fostered at the court of the Berber king—fostered perhaps studiously with a view to the future Carthagino-Numidian kingdom. The hitherto degraded Libyan nationality thus rose in its own estimation, and the native manners and language made their way even into the old Phoenician towns, such as Great Leptis. The Berber began, under the aegis of Rome, to feel himself the equal or even the superior of the Phoenician; Carthaginian envoys at Rome had to submit to be told that they were aliens in Africa, and that the land belonged to the Libyans. The Phoenico-national civilization of North Africa, which still retained life and vigour even in the levelling times of the Empire, was far more the work of Massinissa than of the Carthaginians.

The State of Culture in Spain

In Spain the Greek and Phoenician towns along the coast, such as Emporiae, Saguntum, New Carthage, Malaca, and Gades, submitted to the Roman rule the more readily, that, left to their own resources, they would hardly have been able to protect themselves from the natives; as for similar reasons Massilia, although far more important and more capable of self-defence than those towns, did not omit to secure a powerful support in case of need by closely attaching itself to the Romans, to whom it was in return very serviceable as an intermediate station between Italy and Spain. The natives, on the other hand, gave to the Romans endless trouble. It is true that there were not wanting the rudiments of a national Iberian civilization, although of its special character it is scarcely possible for us to acquire any clear idea. We find among the Iberians a widely diffused national writing, which divides itself into two chief kinds, that of the valley of the Ebro, and the Andalusian, and each of these was presumably subdivided into various branches: this writing seems to have originated at a very early period, and to be traceable rather to the old Greek than to the Phoenician alphabet. There is even a tradition that the Turdetani (round Seville) possessed lays from very ancient times, a metrical book of laws of 6000 verses, and even historical records; at any rate this tribe is described as the most civilized of all the Spanish tribes, and at the same time the least warlike; indeed, it regularly carried on its wars by means of foreign mercenaries. To the same region probably we must refer the descriptions given by Polybius of the flourishing condition of agriculture and the rearing of cattle in Spain—so that, in the absence of opportunity of export, grain and flesh were to be had at nominal prices—and of the splendid royal palaces with golden and silver jars full of "barley wine." At least a portion of the Spaniards, moreover, zealously embraced the elements of culture which the Romans brought along with them, so that the process of Latinizing made more rapid progress in Spain than anywhere else in the transmarine provinces. For example, warm baths after the Italian fashion came into use even at this period among the natives. Roman money, too, was to all appearance not only current in Spain far earlier than elsewhere out of Italy, but was imitated in Spanish coins; a circumstance in some measure explained by the rich silver- mines of the country. The so-called "silver of Osca" (now Huesca in Arragon), i. e. Spanish -denarii- with Iberian inscriptions, is mentioned in 559; and the commencement of their coinage cannot be placed much later, because the impression is imitated from that of the oldest Roman -denarii-.

But, while in the southern and eastern provinces the culture of the natives may have so far prepared the way for Roman civilization and Roman rule that these encountered no serious difficulties, the west and north on the other hand, and the whole of the interior, were occupied by numerous tribes more or less barbarous, who knew little of any kind of civilization—in Intercatia, for instance, the use of gold and silver was still unknown about 600—and who were on no better terms with each other than with the Romans. A characteristic trait in these free Spaniards was the chivalrous spirit of the men and, at least to an equal extent, of the women. When a mother sent forth her son to battle, she roused his spirit by the recital of the feats of his ancestors; and the fairest maiden unasked offered her hand in marriage to the bravest man. Single combat was common, both with a view to determine the prize of valour, and for the settlement of lawsuits; even disputes among the relatives of princes as to the succession were settled in this way. It not unfrequently happened that a well-known warrior confronted the ranks of the enemy and challenged an antagonist by name; the defeated champion then surrendered his mantle and sword to his opponent, and even entered into relations of friendship and hospitality with him. Twenty years after the close of the second Punic war, the little Celtiberian community of Complega (in the neighbourhood of the sources of the Tagus) sent a message to the Roman general, that unless he sent to them for every man that had fallen a horse, a mantle, and a sword, it would fare ill with him. Proud of their military honour, so that they frequently could not bear to survive the disgrace of being disarmed, the Spaniards were nevertheless disposed to follow any one who should enlist their services, and to stake their lives in any foreign quarrel. The summons was characteristic, which a Roman general well acquainted with the customs of the country sent to a Celtiberian band righting in the pay of the Turdetani against the Romans—either to return home, or to enter the Roman service with double pay, or to fix time and place for battle. If no recruiting officer made his appearance, they met of their own accord in free bands, with the view of pillaging the more peaceful districts and even of capturing and occupying towns, quite after the manner of the Campanians. The wildness and insecurity of the inland districts are attested by the fact that banishment into the interior westward of Cartagena was regarded by the Romans as a severe punishment, and that in periods of any excitement the Roman commandants of Further Spain took with them escorts of as many as 6000 men. They are still more clearly shown by the singular relations subsisting between the Greeks and their Spanish neighbours in the Graeco-Spanish double city of Emporiae, at the eastern extremity of the Pyrenees. The Greek settlers, who dwelt on the point of the peninsula separated on the landward side from the Spanish part of the town by a wall, took care that this wall should be guarded every night by a third of their civic force, and that a higher official should constantly superintend the watch at the only gate; no Spaniard was allowed to set foot in the Greek city, and the Greeks conveyed their merchandise to the natives only in numerous and well-escorted companies.

Wars between the Romans and Spaniards

These natives, full of restlessness and fond of war—full of the spirit of the Cid and of Don Quixote—were now to be tamed and, if possible, civilized by the Romans. In a military point of view the task was not difficult. It is true that the Spaniards showed themselves, not only when behind the walls of their cities or under the leadership of Hannibal, but even when left to themselves and in the open field of battle, no contemptible opponents; with their short two-edged sword which the Romans subsequently adopted from them, and their formidable assaulting columns, they not unfrequently made even the Roman legions waver. Had they been able to submit to military discipline and to political combination, they might perhaps have shaken off the foreign yoke imposed on them. But their valour was rather that of the guerilla than of the soldier, and they were utterly void of political judgment. Thus in Spain there was no serious war, but as little was there any real peace; the Spaniards, as Caesar afterwards very justly pointed out to them, never showed themselves quiet in peace or strenuous in war. Easy as it was for a Roman general to scatter a host of insurgents, it was difficult for the Roman statesman to devise any suitable means of really pacifying and civilizing Spain. In fact, he could only deal with it by palliative measures; because the only really adequate expedient, a comprehensive Latin colonization, was not accordant with the general aim of Roman policy at this period.

The Romans Maintain a Standing Army in Spain

The territory which the Romans acquired in Spain in the course of the second Punic war was from the beginning divided into two masses—the province formerly Carthaginian, which embraced in the first instance the present districts of Andalusia, Granada, Murcia, and Valencia, and the province of the Ebro, or the modern Arragon and Catalonia, the fixed quarters of the Roman army during the last war. Out of these territories were formed the two Roman provinces of Further and Hither Spain. The Romans sought gradually to reduce to subjection the interior corresponding nearly to the two Castiles, which they comprehended under the general name of Celtiberia, while they were content with checking the incursions of the inhabitants of the western provinces, more especially those of the Lusitanians in the modern Portugal and the Spanish Estremadura, into the Roman territory; with the tribes on the north coast, the Callaecians, Asturians, and Cantabrians, they did not as yet come into contact at all. The territories thus won, however, could not be maintained and secured without a standing garrison, for the governor of Hither Spain had no small trouble every year with the chastisement of the Celtiberians, and the governor of the more remote province found similar employment in repelling the Lusitanians. It was needful accordingly to maintain in Spain a Roman army of four strong legions, or about 40,000 men, year after year; besides which the general levy had often to be called out in the districts occupied by Rome, to reinforce the legions. This was of great importance for two reasons: it was in Spain first, at least first on any larger scale, that the military occupation of the land became continuous; and it was there consequently that the service acquired a permanent character. The old Roman custom of sending troops only where the exigencies of war at the moment required them, and of not keeping the men called to serve, except in very serious and important wars, under arms for more than a year, was found incompatible with the retention of the turbulent and remote Spanish provinces beyond the sea; it was absolutely impossible to withdraw the troops from these, and very dangerous even to relieve them extensively. The Roman burgesses began to perceive that dominion over a foreign people is an annoyance not only to the slave, but to the master, and murmured loudly regarding the odious war-service of Spain. While the new generals with good reason refused to allow the relief of the existing corps as a whole, the men mutinied and threatened that, if they were not allowed their discharge, they would take it of their own accord.

The wars themselves, which the Romans waged in Spain, were but of a subordinate importance. They began with the very departure of Scipio,(3) and continued as long as the war under Hannibal lasted. After the peace with Carthage (in 553) there was a cessation of arms in the peninsula; but only for a short time. In 557 a general insurrection broke out in both provinces; the commander of the Further province was hard pressed; the commander of Hither Spain was completely defeated, and was himself slain. It was necessary to take up the war in earnest, and although in the meantime the able praetor Quintus Minucius had mastered the first danger, the senate resolved in 559 to send the consul Marcus Cato in person to Spain. On landing at Emporiae he actually found the whole of Hither Spain overrun by the insurgents; with difficulty that seaport and one or two strongholds in the interior were still held for Rome. A pitched battle took place between the insurgents and the consular army, in which, after an obstinate conflict man against man, the Roman military skill at length decided the day with its last reserve. The whole of Hither Spain thereupon sent in its submission: so little, however, was this submission meant in earnest, that on a rumour of the consul having returned to Rome the insurrection immediately recommenced. But the rumour was false; and after Cato had rapidly reduced the communities which had revolted for the second time and sold them -en masse- into slavery, he decreed a general disarming of the Spaniards in the Hither province, and issued orders to all the towns of the natives from the Pyrenees to the Guadalquivir to pull down their walls on one and the same day. No one knew how far the command extended, and there was no time to come to any understanding; most of the communities complied; and of the few that were refractory not many ventured, when the Roman army soon appeared before their walls, to await its assault.

These energetic measures were certainly not without permanent effect. Nevertheless the Romans had almost every year to reduce to subjection some mountain valley or mountain stronghold in the "peaceful province," and the constant incursions of the Lusitanians into the Further province led occasionally to severe defeats of the Romans. In 563, for instance, a Roman army was obliged after heavy loss to abandon its camp, and to return by forced inarches into the more tranquil districts. It was not till after a victory gained by the praetor Lucius Aemilius Paullus in 565,(4) and a second still more considerable gained by the brave praetor Gaius Calpurnius beyond the Tagus over the Lusitanians in 569, that quiet for some time prevailed. In Hither Spain the hitherto almost nominal rule of the Romans over the Celtiberian tribes was placed on a firmer basis by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, who after a great victory over them in 573 compelled at least the adjacent cantons to submission; and especially by his successor Tiberius Gracchus (575, 576), who achieved results of a permanent character not only by his arms, by which he reduced three hundred Spanish townships, but still more by his adroitness in adapting himself to the views and habits of the simple and haughty nation. He induced Celtiberians of note to take service in the Roman army, and so created a class of dependents; he assigned land to the roving tribes, and collected them in towns—the Spanish town Graccurris preserved the Roman's name—and so imposed a serious check on their freebooter habits; he regulated the relations of the several tribes to the Romans by just and wise treaties, and so stopped, as far as possible, the springs of future rebellion. His name was held in grateful remembrance by the Spaniards, and comparative peace henceforth reigned in the land, although the Celtiberians still from time to time winced under the yoke.

Administration of Spain

The system of administration in the two Spanish provinces was similar to that of the Sicilo-Sardinian province, but not identical. The superintendence was in both instances vested in two auxiliary consuls, who were first nominated in 557, in which year also the regulation of the boundaries and the definitive organization of the new provinces took place. The judicious enactment of the Baebian law (573), that the Spanish praetors should always be nominated for two years, was not seriously carried out in consequence of the increasing competition for the highest magistracies, and still more in consequence of the jealous supervision exercised over the powers of the magistrates by the senate; and in Spain also, except where deviations occurred in extraordinary circumstances, the Romans adhered to the system of annually changing the governors—a system especially injudicious in the case of provinces so remote and with which it was so difficult to gain an acquaintance. The dependent communities were throughout tributary; but, instead of the Sicilian and Sardinian tenths and customs, in Spain fixed payments in money or other contributions were imposed by the Romans, just as formerly by the Carthaginians, on the several towns and tribes: the collection of these by military means was prohibited by a decree of the senate in 583, in consequence of the complaints of the Spanish communities. Grain was not furnished in their case except for compensation, and even then the governor might not levy more than a twentieth; besides, conformably to the just- mentioned ordinance of the supreme authority, he was bound to adjust the compensation in an equitable manner. On the other hand, the obligation of the Spanish subjects to furnish contingents to the Roman armies had an importance very different from that which belonged to it at least in peaceful Sicily, and it was strictly regulated in the several treaties. The right, too, of coining silver money of the Roman standard appears to have been very frequently conceded to the Spanish towns, and the monopoly of coining seems to have been by no means asserted here by the Roman government with the same strictness as in Sicily. Rome had too much need of her subjects everywhere in Spain, not to proceed with all possible tenderness in the introduction and handling of the provincial constitution there. Among the communities specially favoured by Rome were the great cities along the coast of Greek, Phoenician, or Roman foundation, such as Saguntum, Gades, and Tarraco, which, as the natural pillars of the Roman rule in the peninsula, were admitted to alliance with Rome. On the whole, Spain was in a military as well as financial point of view a burden rather than a gain to the Roman commonwealth; and the question naturally occurs, Why did the Roman government, whose policy at that time evidently did not contemplate the acquisition of countries beyond the sea, not rid itself of these troublesome possessions? The not inconsiderable commercial connections of Spain, her important iron- mines, and her still more important silver-mines famous from ancient times even in the far east(5)—which Rome, like Carthage, took into her own hands, and the management of which was specially regulated by Marcus Cato (559)—must beyond doubt have co-operated to induce its retention; but the chief reason of the Romans for retaining the peninsula in their own immediate possession was, that there were no states in that quarter of similar character to the Massiliot republic in the land of the Celts and the Numidian kingdom in Libya, and that thus they could not abandon Spain without putting it into the power of any adventurer to revive the Spanish empire of the Barcides.

Notes for Chapter VII

1. According to the account of Strabo these Italian Boii were driven by the Romans over the Alps, and from them proceeded that Boian settlement in what is now Hungary about Stein am Anger and Oedenburg, which was attacked and annihilated in the time of Augustus by the Getae who crossed the Danube, but which bequeathed to this district the name of the Boian desert. This account is far from agreeing with the well-attested representation of the Roman annals, according to which the Romans were content with the cession of half the territory; and, in order to explain the disappearance of the Italian Boii, we have really no need to assume a violent expulsion—the other Celtic peoples, although visited to a far less extent by war and colonization, disappeared not much less rapidly and totally from the ranks of the Italian nations. On the other hand, other accounts suggest the derivation of those Boii on the Neusiedler See from the main stock of the nation, which formerly had its seat in Bavaria and Bohemia before Germanic tribes pushed it towards the south. But it is altogether very doubtful whether the Boii, whom we find near Bordeaux, on the Po, and in Bohemia, were really scattered branches of one stock, or whether this is not an instance of mere similarity of name. The hypothesis of Strabo may have rested on nothing else than an inference from the similarity of name—an inference such as the ancients drew, often without due reason, in the case of the Cimbri, Veneti, and others.

2. III. I. Libyphoenicians

3. III. VI. Gades Becomes Roman

4. Of this praetor there has recently come to light the following decree on a copper tablet found in the neighbourhood of Gibraltar and now preserved in the Paris Museum: "L. Aimilius, son of Lucius, Imperator, has ordained that the slaves of the Hastenses [of Hasta regia, not far from Jerez de la Frontera], who dwell in the tower of Lascuta [known by means of coins and Plin. iii. i, 15, but uncertain as to site] should be free. The ground and the township, of which they are at the time in possession, they shall continue to possess and hold, so long as it shall please the people and senate of the Romans. Done in camp on 12 Jan. [564 or 565]." (-L. Aimilius L. f. inpeirator decreivit utei qui Hastensium servei in turri Lascutana habitarent, leiberei essent, Agrum oppidumqu[e], guod ea tempestate posedissent, item possidere habereque ioussit, dum poplus senatusque Romanus vettet. Act. in castreis a. d. XII. k. Febr.-) This is the oldest Roman document which we possess in the original, drawn up three years earlier than the well-known edict of the consuls of the year 568 in the affair of the Bacchanalia.

5. 1 Maccab. viii. 3. "And Judas heard what the Romans had done to the land of Hispania to become masters of the silver and gold mines there."

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