CHAPTER XX. ROME AND SPAIN.-THE NUMANTINE AND SERVILE WARS. (206-132.)
Africanus the elder left Spain in 206. After a provincial government of nine years (206-197), the country was divided into two provinces, separated by the IBÉRUS (Ebro), and each province was assigned to a praetor. It was some time, however, before Spain was really brought into a state of complete peace and order. The mountains and forests were a formidable obstacle to the Roman legions, and favored guerilla warfare, which makes conquest slow and laborious.
The most warlike of the Spanish tribes was the CELTIBÉRI, who occupied the interior of the peninsula. They were always uncertain and intractable, continually breaking out into revolt. In 195, Cato the elder put down a rebellion led by them. He established more firmly the Roman power east of the Ibérus. He disarmed the inhabitants of this part of Spain, and compelled all from the Pyrenees to the Guadalquivir to pull down their fortifications.
Still the smouldering fires of rebellion were not extinguished, for, sixteen years later (179), we find TIBERIUS SEMPRONIUS GRACCHUS, the father of the famous Gracchi, as Governor of Spain, fighting the troublesome Celtibéri. He captured over one hundred of their towns, but tempered his victories with moderate measures, showing himself greater in peace than in war. He granted to the poorer classes lands on favorable conditions, and did much to produce contentment among the natives. But farther west, in the valleys of the Douro and Tagus, and in Lusitania (Portugal), there seems to have been constant warfare.
In 154, MUMMIUS, the same who eight years later sacked Corinth, was Governor of Farther Spain. His defeat by the Lusitanians encouraged the Celtibéri to revolt again, and there followed another defeat, with a massacre of many Roman citizens. Two years later (152), CLAUDIUS MARCELLUS avenged these losses, founded Corduba, and governed the country humanely. His successors, LUCIUS LUCULLUS and SERVIUS GALBA, were so cruel and grasping as to drive the Lusitanians into another open rebellion, headed by VIRIÁTHUS, a bold and daring bandit. During seven years (147-140) he defeated again and again the armies sent against him. The Celtibéri joined his standards, and Spain seemed likely to slip from the Romans. The only check to these successes was during the command of METELLUS MACEDONICUS (143); when he was recalled, matters returned to their former condition.
In 140, the Consul Mancínus was obliged to capitulate, and, to save himself and his army, made a treaty which the Senate refused to sanction.
Viriáthus was finally (139) assassinated by persons hired by the Consul Caepio; his people were then subdued, and the government was ably conducted (138) by DECIMUS JUNIUS BRUTUS.
THE NUMANTINE WAR (143-133).
The Celtibéri, however, were still in arms. The strong city of NUMANTIA, the capital of one of their tribes, witnessed more than one defeat of a Roman Consul before its walls (141-140). Finally Rome sent out her best general, Africanus the younger.
After devoting several months to the disciplining of his troops, he began (134) a regular siege of the place. It was defended with the utmost bravery and tenacity, until, forced by the last extreme of famine, it surrendered (133). The inhabitants were sold as slaves, and the town was levelled to the ground. The victor was honored with the title of NUMANTÍNUS.
The fall of Numantia gave Rome a hold upon the interior of Spain, which was never lost. The country now, with the exception of its northern coast, was nominally Roman territory. Several towns were established with Latin municipal rights (municipia), and, on the whole, order was maintained. Along the coast of the Mediterranean there sprang up many thriving and populous towns, which became centres of civilization to the neighboring districts, and were treated by Rome rather as allies than as subjects. Some of them were allowed to coin the silver money of Rome. The civilizing process, due to Roman influence, went on rapidly in these parts, while the interior remained in barbarism.
In 105 the peninsula was overrun by the Cimbri, a barbarous race from the north. The country was ravaged, but finally saved by the brave Celtibéri, who forced the invaders back into Gaul.
THE SERVILE WAR (134-132).
While the Numantine war was still in progress, a war with the slaves broke out in Sicily, where they had been treated with special barbarity.
For a long time slave labor had been taking the place of that of freemen. The supply was rendered enormous by constant wars, and by the regular slave trade carried on with the shores of the Black Sea and Greece. The owners of the slaves became an idle aristocracy.
The immediate cause of the outbreak in Sicily was the cruelty of a wealthy slave-owner, Damophilus. The leader of the slaves was EUNUS, who pretended to be a Syrian prophet. A number of defeats were suffered by the Roman armies, until, finally, PUBLIUS RUTILIUS captured the strongholds of the slaves, TAUROMENIUM and ENNA, and thus closed the war. For his success he was allowed an ovation.