Cultures > Celtiberians



The Celtiberians were a group of Celtic tribes in the Iberian Peninsula, mainly occupying the central part of modern-day Spain during the Hellenistic period. Their interactions with other cultures, particularly the Carthaginians and Romans, had a significant impact on the region's history during this era. Here's a detailed overview of the Celtiberians during the Hellenistic period:

Geography and Society

  1. Territory:

    • The Celtiberians inhabited the central plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, an area corresponding to parts of present-day Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, and Aragon.
    • Key tribal groups included the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, Lusones, and Pelendones.
  2. Society and Culture:

    • The Celtiberians were known for their warrior culture, living in fortified hilltop settlements called castros.
    • They practiced agriculture, animal husbandry, and metallurgy, excelling in the production of iron weapons and tools.
    • Their society was tribal, with a strong emphasis on kinship and clan loyalty.

Interaction with Other Cultures

  1. Carthaginian Influence:

    • During the Punic Wars, especially the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), the Celtiberians came into contact with the Carthaginians.
    • Some Celtiberian tribes allied with Hannibal against Rome, providing troops and support for his campaigns.
  2. Roman Conquest:

    • Following the Carthaginian defeat, the Romans turned their attention to consolidating control over the Iberian Peninsula, leading to prolonged conflicts with the Celtiberians.
    • The Celtiberian Wars (181-133 BC) were a series of conflicts between Rome and the Celtiberian tribes.

Key Conflicts and Events

  1. First Celtiberian War (181-179 BC):

    • The Romans, under the leadership of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, launched a campaign to subdue the Celtiberian tribes.
    • The war ended with a peace treaty that temporarily quelled the unrest but did not fully pacify the region.
  2. Second Celtiberian War (154-151 BC):

    • Renewed hostilities broke out, with the Roman consul Quintus Fulvius Nobilior leading a campaign against the Celtiberians.
    • The conflict saw significant battles, including the siege of the Celtiberian stronghold of Numantia.
  3. Numantine War (143-133 BC):

    • The most famous and decisive conflict between the Romans and Celtiberians centered around the city of Numantia.
    • The Numantines resisted Roman sieges for several years, demonstrating exceptional resilience and military skill.
    • The Roman general Scipio Aemilianus finally captured Numantia in 133 BC after a prolonged siege, marking the end of major Celtiberian resistance.

Romanization and Legacy

  1. Integration into the Roman Empire:

    • After the fall of Numantia, the Celtiberian territories were gradually incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania.
    • The process of Romanization involved the spread of Roman culture, language (Latin), law, and infrastructure.
  2. Cultural Impact:

    • Despite Roman conquest, the Celtiberians retained elements of their distinct cultural identity, influencing local customs and traditions.
    • Archaeological findings, such as weapons, pottery, and inscriptions, provide insights into their way of life and interactions with Rome.
  3. Military Contribution:

    • The Celtiberians were known for their martial prowess, and many were recruited into the Roman army as auxiliary troops, contributing to Roman military campaigns across the empire.


The Celtiberians played a crucial role in the history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Hellenistic period. Their interactions with the Carthaginians and Romans, marked by fierce resistance and eventual subjugation, had a lasting impact on the region's development. The legacy of the Celtiberians is reflected in the archaeological record and the enduring cultural influences that persisted even after the Roman conquest.


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