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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Celtiberian civilization


The Iberians.]

The early Spanish peoples left no literature which has survived, wherefore dependence has to be placed on foreign writers. No writings prior to the sixth century B.C. which refer to the Iberian Peninsula are extant, and those of that and the next two centuries are too meagre to throw much light on the history or the peoples of the land. These accounts were mainly those of Greeks, with also some from Carthaginians. In the first two centuries B.C. and in the first and succeeding centuries of the Christian era there were more complete accounts, based in part on earlier writings which are no longer available. One of the problems resulting from the paucity of early evidences is that of the determination of Iberian origins. Some hold that the name Iberian should not have an extensive application, asserting that it belongs only to the region of the Ebro (_Iberus_), the name of which river was utilized by the Greek, Scylax, of the sixth century B.C., in order to designate the tribes of that vicinity. Most writers use the term Iberians, however, as a general one for the peoples in Spain at the dawn of recorded history, maintaining that they were akin to the ancient Chaldeans and Assyrians, who came from Asia into northern Africa, stopping perhaps to have a share in the origin of the Egyptian people, and entering Spain from the south. According to some authors the modern Basques of northern Spain and the Berbers of northern Africa are descendants

of the same people, although there are others who do not agree with this opinion. Some investigators have gone so far as to assert the existence of a great Iberian Empire, extending through northern Africa, Spain, southern France, northern Italy, Corsica, Sicily, and perhaps other lands. This empire, they say, was founded in the fifteenth century B.C., and fought with the Egyptians and Phoenicians for supremacy in the Mediterranean, in alliance, perhaps, with the Hittites of Asia Minor, but was defeated, and fell apart in the twelfth or eleventh century B.C., at which time the Phoenicians entered Spain.

[Sidenote: The Celtic invasion.]

The origin of the Celts is more certain. Unlike the Iberians they were of Indo-European race. In the third century B.C. they occupied a territory embracing the greater part of the lands from the modern Balkan states through northern Italy and France, with extremities in Britain and Spain. They entered the peninsula possibly as early as the sixth century B.C., but certainly not later than the fourth, coming by way of the Pyrenees. It is generally held that they dominated the northwest and west, the regions of modern Galicia and Portugal, leaving the Pyrenees, eastern Spain, and part of the south in full possession of the Iberians. In the centre and along the northern and southern coasts the two races mingled to form the Celtiberians, in which the Iberian element was the more important. These names were not maintained very strictly; rather, the ancient writers were wont to employ group names of smaller sub-divisions for these peoples, such as Cantabrians, Turdetanians, and Lusitanians.

[Sidenote: Celtiberian civilization.]

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