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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

In the war between C?sar and Pompey


The wars of Numantia.]

Meanwhile, the wars of Numantia, which date from the year 152 B.C., were still going on. Numantia was a city on the Douro near the present town of Soria, and seems to have been at that time the centre, or capital, of a powerful confederation. Around this city occurred the principal incidents of the war in central Spain, although the fighting went on elsewhere as well. Four times the Roman armies were utterly defeated and obliged to grant peace, but on each occasion their treaties were disavowed by the government or else the Roman generals declined to abide by their own terms. Finally, Rome sent Scipio ?milianus, her best officer, with a great army to bring the war to an end. This general contrived to reach the walls of Numantia, and was so skilful in his methods that the city was cut off from its water-supply and even from the hope of outside help. The Numantines therefore asked for terms, but the conditions offered were so harsh that they resolved to burn the city and fight to the death. This they did, killing themselves if they did not fall in battle. Thus ended the Numantine wars at a date placed variously from 134 to 132 B.C. The most serious part of the fighting was now over.

[Sidenote: Sertorius.]

In the next period, lasting more than a hundred years, there were not a few native revolts against the Romans, but the principal characteristic of the

era was the part which Spain played in the domestic strife of the Roman Republic. Spain had already become sufficiently Romanized to be the most important Roman province. When the party of Sulla triumphed over that of Marius in Rome, Sertorius, a partisan of the latter, had to flee from Italy, and made his way to Spain and thence to Africa. In 81 B.C. he returned to Spain, and put himself at the head of what purported to be a revolt against Rome. Part Spanish in blood he was able to attract the natives to his standard as well as the Romans in Spain who were opposed to Sulla, and in a short time he became master of most of the peninsula. He was far from desiring a restoration of native independence, however, but wished, through Spain, to overthrow the Sullan party in Rome. The real significance of his revolt was that it facilitated the Romanization of the country, for Sertorius introduced Roman civilization under the guise of a war against the Roman state. His governmental administration was based on that of Rome, and his principal officials were either Romans or part Roman in blood. He also founded schools in which the teachers were Greeks and Romans. It was natural that not a few of the natives should view with displeasure the secondary place allotted to them and their customs and to their hopes of independence. Several of the Roman officers with Sertorius also became discontented, whether through envy or ambition. Thus it was that the famous Roman general Pompey was at length able to gain a victory by treachery which he could not achieve by force of arms. A price was put on Sertorius' head, and he was assassinated in 72 B.C. by some of his companions in arms, as Viriatus had been before him. In the course of the next year Pompey was able to subject the entire region formerly ruled by Sertorius. In the war between C?sar and Pompey, commencing in 49 B.C., Spain twice served as a battle-ground where C?sar gained great victories over the partisans of his enemy, at Ilerda (modern L?rida) in 49, and at Munda (near Ronda) in 45 B.C. It is noteworthy that by this time a C?sar could seek his Roman enemy in Spain, without paying great heed to the native peoples. The north and northwest were not wholly subdued however. This task was left to the victor in the next period of civil strife at Rome, Octavius, who became the Emperor Augustus. His general, Agrippa, finally suppressed the peoples of the northern coasts, just prior to the beginning of the Christian era.

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