Roman Spain: The Iberian Peninsular was called Hispania
March on Rome
Military and its Role
Principal Roman Divisions
Praetorium Prefecture of Gaul
Roman Mining Interests Part 1
Mining Interests Part 11
Timeline before Rome Declared the Iberian Peninsula
A Roman Province: Hispania.
The Role of Cathargo Nova in Roman Spain
First Punic war 264 to 241 BC: Rome defeated Carthage, conquesting,
Sicila, Corsica, the Aegadian Islands, topped with heavy war indemnities - stripping Carthagian economy and of its naval power and its battalions.
Ispania and Hannibal
The Carthaginians gradually rebuilt power and finances in (Ispania: Carthaginian etymology of Hispania). Hannibal became commander-in-chief after Hasdrubal, his brother, was killed in 221 BC
Cartago Nova: new city
became the Carthaginians' capital of their Iberian territories. Today it is known as
Cartagena (Murcia) and remains a prime naval-base.
The silver mines of Cartago Nova financed the Carthaginian re-structurisation. Ironically, it was the Roman Spain silver, extracted, what went, straight into Roman cofffers, as payments for the war debts incurred from the first Punic war. Thus Rome knew - but not exactly - "how extremely wealthy" these Cartago Nova Silver mines were.
It is accurate to say: the mines of Roman Spain financed 'centuries' of the Roman Republic and Empire existence.
Detail of Phoenician jewellery: a locket on a bracelet
Hannibal took two years to regroup and then, either by alliance or by force, began vanquishing the Iberians, expanding Carthaginian territories, advancing towards the south of the Ebro.
Hannibal broke the First Punic's war peace terms, of the Treaty of Lutatius signed in 241 BC. He marched straight to Saguntum; seiged it, after Rome equally broke the same treaty terms in annexing Sardinia.
Sagunta fell 218 BC this was the decisive-point which caused the Second Punic War.
The Greek port-trading city of Masallia (Marseilles) had signed a peace treaty with the Roman Republic. The Masallia grew alarmed by the threat of Carthaginian expansion. They asked the Romans for protection.
Hannibal's march on Rome was famed, not just for the sheer numbers in man-power his army wielded: rough estimates were that over 100,000 troops were mobilized. This war cost very heavily to the Romans but equally to the entire Punic-Greco-Roman world of 218 BC
An extraordinary element to Hannibal's war corps: 37 war elephants - who had to cross the Pyrenees, raft over large rivers and who had to scale the slippery surfaces of the freezing Alps, in order to reach Rome.
Thereafter the Romans acted preventing that further Carthaginian reinforcements reach Hannibal
218 BC Rome declared the Iberian Peninsula a Roman province (Roman Spain) and went to assist their allies in defeating the Carthaginians.
219 BC Rome sent Cornelius Scipio with two legions to prevent the Carthaginians from approaching Rome. Imagine the surprize of the Romans, when they discovered the Carthaginians had already left!
215 BC The brother of Cornelius Scipio, Publis Scipio, arrived with reinforcements. Together they marched on Saguntum which they recaptured in 214.
Double tragedy struck the Roman ranks in 213 AD when Hasdrubal, Hannibal's brother-in-law, supported by 40,000 Iberian mercenaries defeated the Romans, killing both Scipio brothers.
The son of Cornelius Scipio, Publius Cornelius Scipio arrived in 209 BC. He seized Carthago Novo cutting off supplies and finances to the Carthaginians. The battle with the Carthaginians ended three years later when they were finally forced off the Iberian Peninsula by Publius Cornelius Scipio.
The Carthaginian war on the Iberian Peninsula was more of a Roman Spain publicity stunt but one fact remained clear: the natives tribes of the Iberian Peninsula were prepared to fight even with the lightest of weaponry, preventing Roman dominion of Roman Spain. Spain was about to be militarized and administrated on an unprecedented scale.
Roman pottery artwork of a gladiator-themed oil-lamp
Hispania: The future Roman Spain province was an ideal prototype area for Roman military manoeuvres, as it, equally, had served Spanish Carthage.
There was ample scope for waring-techniques: the Carthaginians, Turdetans, Iberians, Lusitanians, the Galicians, Cantabrians and Celts had to be fought. Each Iberian Peninsula tribe had stayed independant of each-other, separated by geographical factors.
Conquering Hispania was the hardest step for the Romans. It took over two hundred years before Roman Spain was completely dominated by Roman rule
The military performed the backbone of imperial tasks: building aqueducts, dams and bridges.
The first Roman soldiers, the 2nd Legion, arrived in Roman Spain, to conquer it. These soldiers adapted well to this new region called Hispania. They considered themselves: Hispanicus. By the end of the 1st century, romanized Iberian citizens and progeny of Roman soldiers received full Roman citizenship.
Emperor Trajan Baelo Claudia
The descendants of Hispania were resiliant soldiers. Famous sons of Hispania: Trajan, Hadrian and Theodosius who each became Roman emperors.
Out of the five "good" emperors Trajan and Hadrian belonged to the category of the good emperors. The other good emperors were Nerva and the two Antoines.
Roman Art and Architecture introduced predominantly was of the Imperial style.
Roman Spain Roads
Roman Roads i.e.: Ab Asturica Burdigalam, Via Augusta, Via de la Plata were meticulously constructed, sweeping through the entire Iberian Peninsula.
Roman roads were vital, connecting each Roman Spain province and colony. Roman roads enabled the Romans, primarly, to conquer the distinctly different geographical areas of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Via de la Plata connected two of the most important mines : with the gold Las Medulas mines, in Leon (Legio VII Gemina Felix) and with the copper, silver, gold and ore Rio Tinto mines, in Huelva. Later the Via de la Plata became an important pilgrimmage route travelling from the south on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
Latterly, vast profitable shares of each province's patrimony, whether the produce was mined minerals or overland goods: thus were swiftly - and safely - exported back to Rome.
All of the Hispaniae provinces were rich in precious and utilitarian metals and minerals.
Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior
Dividing, previously independant tribal communities of the Iberian Peninsula, facilitated Romanization. For administrative purposes, in 197 BC, the Romans divided Hispania into two provinces: Hispania Citerior
: Nearer Hispania
- a large part of Castilla la Nueva
Hispania Ulterior: Farther Hispania
- a large section of Castilla la Vieja
- El Pais Vasco
Political Map of Spain
Physical Map of Spain
Each Roman Spain province was ruled by a senior magistrate: a praetor. By 19 BC after two centuries of war, under the rule of Augustus, Rome finally dominated all of Hispania.
Hispania was Then Divided into Three Provinces
In 27 BC Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa sectioned Hispania Ulterior
to divide into:
- Hispania Baetica
- Lusitania. Galicia and Asturias were attached to this Lusitanian province.
Hispania Citerior was further enlarged, by adding the País Vasco and Cantabria
That Same Year Emperor Augustus
Divided Roman Spain into 4 Provinces
- Provincia Hispania Ulterior Baetica:
Hispania Baetica entailed most of Andalucia, excepting Almeria, parts of Granada and Jaen. The capital of Roman Spain's Hispania Baetica was Corduba Historic Cordoba. The Guadiana river was used as a boundary line between Lusitania (Portugal) and Hispania Baetica
- Provincia Hispania Ulterior Lusitania
The Lusitanian province entailed Portugal, this time Galicia and Asturias were excluded. The capital of Lusitania became: Emerita Augusta – Mérida
- Provincia Hispania Citerior
The Tarraconensis province was of the utmost importance to the Romans. Tarragona Tarraco was the capital. The province became known as Tarraconensis. Galicia, Asturias and northern Portugal were included in it. In 69 AD, the province of Mauretania, (entailing nearly all of today's Northern Morocco) was absorbed into this Hispanarium jurisdiction. Tingitana: Tangiers was its capital - situated almost opposite to Baelo Claudia, in Cadiz.
3rd Century Division under Caracalla
Hispania Citerior was divided into 2 provinces:
Provincia Hispania Nova Citerior and
Asturiae-Callaciae (Callaciae origin of: Galicia)
However, by 238 AD, Hispania Citerior Province returned to its previous boundaries
Later in the 3rd Century Hispania Nova
(a small section of north western Hispania) was separated from Tarraconensis to become a small province.
Praetor Galba of Hispania Tarraconensis mobilised the Legio VII "Gemina Felix."
: Twin. This new province became home for the permanent legion of Hispania - the same legion which marched on Rome.
(Legio VII Gemina Felix transcended time to become known as: Léon.)
In 293 AD, under the rule of Diocletan, Eastern and Western Imperial Administrations were divided to avoid further crises - such as 50 years of civil war and what enemy countries had deemed as, perfect predator moments,
all of which nearly brought the vast Roman Empire to a disasterous end, during the Third century.
A Roman fresco fragment, found in La Caleta, Cadiz
Museo Arqueologico de Cadiz
Two parallel emperors would rule either side of the Roman Empire, with the honourific title of "Augustus" - Latin: venerable, the increaser, majestic. (Gauis Julius Caeser Octavianus had been the first Roman Emperor. The Roman Senate bestowed the original title of "Augustus" to Julius Caeser.)
The Western Roman Empire remained known as the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire became the Byzantinium Empire.
Two junior Tectrachic emperors were prepared to rule either-side of the Roman Empire, alongside his Augustus ruler - who was united to the senior ruler, either by blood-line or by marriage.
Tectrachy: Greek terminology: rulership of four.
Tectrachy ruling-succession(s) became hereditary. However, the struggle for power caused ruinous wars between the inheritors.
Roman Provinces of Gaul
- Gallia Cisalpina: modern-day northern Italy
- Gallia Narbonensis: Provence/Alps/Côte d´Ázure and much of Languedoc-Roussillon
- Gallia Comata: modern-day France, western Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium
- Hispaniae (Roman Spain): modern-day Spain and Portugal
- Hispania Baetica
- Hispania Gallaciae
- Hispania Lusitania each of the above which was ruled by a Consul
- Hispania Carthagenesis
- Hispania Tarraconensis, (which also included Mauretania and the Baleric Islalnds) each of the above were ruled by a Praetor
Emerita Augusta became the capital of Lusitania Hispania under the Tectrachy division. Modern-day Merida, in Extremadura: This was one of the most important Roman cities of Hispania.
The Via Augusta route, arched around Hispania, with a ramification point in Emerita Augusta. The Ancient Bridge of Merida was built by the Romans. It spans east-west for 755 metres, crossing the Guadiana river. The Merida Bridge enabled the Romans to cross into Lusitania (Portugal) to reach Felicitas Julia where the Via Lusitanorium swept up to Legio V11 Germina Felix (Leon).
Merida has the best preserved Roman archaelogical monuments in Spain and the the Archaelogical Ensemble of Merida was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.
Precious metals: gold and silver were of great interest to the Romans. Hispania was rich in minerals.
The Importance of Money in the Ancient Civilizations
The "love of money" was paramount to the success of the Greeks and Romans in financial enterprise and social unity.
Before 600 BC there was no monetary system. Barter was previously transacted using: cattle, pepper corns, salt or cowry shells in commodity trading. Currency bars appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia in the 3rd century BC.
In the 6th century BC, Solon reformed monetary laws prior to introducing silver as legal currency.
The Greek term for money: Nomisma and law: Nomos.
Thereafter money and law were inseparable. By the sixth century BC the Greeks were minting currency coinage.
Gold and silver were of great interest to the Romans for currency. Utilitarian metals were also of great interest: iron, tin, copper and lead. The Iberian Peninsula represented a wealth of minerals to the Roman Empire.
Pliny documented that by means of hydraulic mining 20,000 Roman pounds of gold were extracted every year from the Las Médulas mines in Galicia every year.
The Roman Monetary System
The early Roman monetary system was crude. Bronze bars were the highest form of currency, (usually sheep and goats were current commodity trading). This trend lasted until the Romans gained supremacy in 200 BC, conquering, Hellenic Pyrrhus in 275 BC.
This victory kick-started the Roman minting system. The spoils of war: the Greek Bruttium silver mines (modern day Calabria) fell into Roman dominium.
The Romans first minted currency in 300 BC. Silver currency was adopted into the Roman monetary system after gaining the Bruttium silver mines.
Expansion of Roman territories during the first and second Punic wars, revolutionised the Roman economy, influencing Roman civic and social structures. Slavery emerged, to cover war costs during the 2nd Punic war (218 to 201 BC). War spoils were severely taxed. The Roman coinage system was remodeled in 212 BC, basing currency on silver and bronze coins. This led to Roman domination in the Mediterranean.
Julius Caeser amassed a vast fortune conquering Britannia, Gallia, Africa and Egypt. During his triumphant return 46 BC Julius Caeser lavished his military with gold coinage. He specially contracted gold minting
for this purpose: source of the Roman aureus gold coin. Gold coinage was
assimilated into the Roman monetary system during the reign of Augustus.
Money in ancient Times
Las Medulas Unesco world Heritage Centre
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