Remains of weapons, sandals and coins shed new light on Roman conquest of Northwest Iberia

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Republication from  www.exeter.ac.uk  (University of Exeter)


Reenactment in Spain – Image Credit : Franciscojh -Wikimedia commons


Newly discovered remains of weapons, hobnails from sandals and coins will help experts piece together the untold story of how the Romans won control of Galicia and Northern Portugal from local tribes for the first time.

Archaeologists have found the oldest evidence yet of the presence of legions in Galicia in the Penedo dos Lobos Roman camp (Manzaneda, Ourense, Galicia). This significant discovery will help to redefine the history of the period.

Until now historians had found few clues about the actions of Roman soldiers in these regions. The findings show some, smaller groups, of legionnaires were probably sent on scouting missions in the area to investigate the landscape, rather than to fight, suggesting the region was already under Roman control by the end of 1st century BC, when the bronze coins found were made.


The Weapon That Changed History

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Republication from the Archaeology Magazine



Roman legionaries board on a Carthaginian warship during the First Punic War. Artwork by Peter Connolly.

by Andrew Curry

Evidence of Rome’s decisive victory over Carthage is discovered in the waters off Sicily

In his work The Histories, the second-century B.C. Greek historian Polybius chronicles the rise of the Romans as they battled for control of the Mediterranean. The central struggle pits the Romans against their archenemies the Carthaginians, a trading superpower based in North Africa. For 23 years, beginning in 264 B.C., the two rivals fought what became known as the First Punic War.




Guard Roman
The  skilful general  Gaius  Marius  turned  the  Roman  army  into  a  war  machine  of  fully  armored  professional  soldiers  (credit:  Εrmine  Street  Guard  Roman  Reenactment  Society).

By  Periklis    Deligiannis


[This  article is actually a part of my book  ‘The Celts‘, Periscope publ., Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek]

In  113  BC  a  great  threat  appeared  in  the  horizon  of  the  Roman  world:  the  Cimbri  and  the  Teutones.  The  ancient  writers  usually  consider  these  two  peoples  as  Germanic,  but  their  leaders  had  Gallic/Celtic  names  (Boiorix,  Lugius,  Gaesorix  etc)  or  Celtisized  (Claodicus)  and  their  arms  and  armor  were  clearly  Celtic.  Plutarch  mentions,  in  an  episode  of  his  narrative  about  the  Cimbri-Teutones  invasions,  that  the  Cimbri  descended  quickly  the  slopes  of  the  Alps  using  their  shields  as  sleds  –  therefore  these  shields  were  of  the  large  Gallic  thyroid  type  rather  than  the  small  and  weak  Germanic  type.  When  the  Roman  officer  Sertorius  was  sent  by  Marius  to  spy  the  Cimbrian  camp,  he  wore  Celtic  clothes  and  learned  the  Gallic/Celtic  language  in  preparation  for  his  mission.  The  tribal  name  “Cimbri”  is  of  Celtic  origin  and  the  word  (and  verbal  prefix)  “Teuton-”  (meaning  “people”  and  “army”)  was  used  equally  by  Celts  and  Germans  (apparently  a  verbal  type  of  Proto-Indo-European  extraction).  These  are  just  some  of  the  evidence  that  led  many  researchers  of  the  20th  century  to  consider  the  two  tribes  as  Celtic  peoples  mistaken  by  the  Romans  to  be  Germanic.  However,  the  ancient  writers  mention  their  homeland,  the  Cimbrian  Peninsula  (modern  Jutland),  a  region  undoubtedly  Germanic  in  antiquity.  In  addition,  the  Massaliot  Greek  navigator  Pytheas  had  found  the  Teutones  living  on  an  island  in  the  Baltic  Sea  (4th  century  BC):  the  Baltic  coastal  areas  have  never  been  Celtic.


Map  of  Germany  according  to  the  Geography  of  Claudius  Ptolemy.  We  can  see  the  remaining  Cimbri  at  the  northern  ends  of  the  land  (in  ‘Chersonesus  Cimbrica’,  modern  Jutland)  and  the  remaining  Teutones  somewhere  in  modern  Northeastern  Germany.


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