Lusitanian War

Lusitanian War

The Lusitanian War, called the "Purinos Polemos" (meaning "Fiery War"), [This is the name for it in Polybius and Appian.] was a war of resistance fought between the advancing legions of the Roman Republic and the Lusitani tribes of Hispania Ulterior from 155 to 139 BC. The Lusitani revolted on two separate occasions (155 and again 146 BC) and were pacified. In 154, a long war in Hispania Citerior known as the Numantine War was begun by the Celtiberians. It lasted until 133 and is an important event in the integration of what would become Portugal into the Roman and Latin-speaking world.

In 194, war first broke out in between the Romans and the Lusitani, who were an autonomous (αὐτονόμων) people. [ [ Appian's "History of Rome"] ] By 179, the Romans had mostly succeeded in pacifying the region signing a peace treaty. In 155, a major revolt was reignited under the leadership of Punicus who allied with the Vettones. Caesarus succeeded after Punicus death. Another warlord, Caucenus, made war against the Romans in the region south of Tagus down to North Africa.

The praetor Servius Sulpicius Galba and the proconsul Lucius Licinius Lucullus arrived in 151 and began the process of subduing the local population. Galba betrayed the Lusitani leaders he had invited to peace talks and had them killed in 150, thus ending the first phase of the war.

In 146, the Lusitani found a new leader. This leader, named Viriathus, was to gain renown throughout the Roman world as a guerilla fighter. In the words of Theodor Mommsen, "It seemed as if, in that thoroughly prosaic age, one of the Homeric heroes had reappeared." In 145, the general Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus campaigned successfully against the Lusitani, but failed in his attempts to arrest Viriathus. In 143, Viriathus formed a league against Rome with several Celtic tribes.

Sextus Junius Brutus, while following Viriathus, found women warrior defending the Lusitanian towns alongside with men. [ [;query=chapter%3D%2320;layout=;loc=Hisp.%2011.61Appian, The Foreign Wars (ed. Horace White)] ]

In 139, Viriathus was finally killed in his sleep by three of his companions, Audax, Ditalcus and Minurus, who had been sent as emissaries to the Romans and were bribed by Marcus Popillius Laenas. The Roman general Servilius Caepio had them executed, however, declaring "Rome does not pay traitors."



* [ Appian's "History of Rome".]
*Wintle, Justin. "The Rough Guide History of Spain". [ Rough Guides] : Spain, 2003.
* [ Encyclopaedia Romana: "The Celtiberian War and Numantia".]

ee also

*Timeline of Lusitanian history

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