Condition of Spain.While the Romans were thus engaged in creating the new provinces of Macedonia and Africa, they were called upon to maintain their authority in the old provinces of Spain and Sicily. We remember that, after the second Punic war, Spain was divided into two provinces, each under a Roman governor. But the Roman authority was not well established in Spain, except upon the eastern coast. The tribes in the interior and on the western coast were nearly always in a state of revolt. The most rebellious of these tribes were the Lusitanians in the west, in what is now Portugal; and the Celtiberians (see map, p. 112) in the interior, south of the Iberus River. In their efforts to subdue these barbarous peoples, the Romans were themselves too often led to adopt the barbarous methods of deceit and treachery.
War with the Lusitanians.How perfidious a Roman general could be, we may learn from the way in which Sulpicius Galba waged war with the Lusitanians. After one Roman army had been defeated, Galba persuaded this tribe to submit and promised to settle them upon fertile lands. When the Lusitanians came to him unarmed to receive their expected reward, they were surrounded and murdered by the troops of Galba. But it is to the credit of Rome that Galba was denounced for this treacherous act. Among the few men who escaped from the massacre of Galba was a young shepherd by the name of Viriathus. Under his brave leadership, the Lusitanians continued the war for nine years. Finally, Viriathus was murdered by his own soldiers, who were bribed to do this treacherous act by the Roman general. With their leader lost, the Lusitanians were obliged to submit (B.C. 138).
The Numantine War.The other troublesome tribe in Spain was the Celtiberians, who were even more warlike than the Lusitanians. At one time the Roman general was defeated and obliged to sign a treaty of peace, acknowledging the independence of the Spanish tribe. But the senaterepeating what it had done many years before, after the battle of the Caudine Forksrefused to ratify this treaty, and surrendered the Roman commander to the enemy. The “fiery war,” as it was called, still continued and became at last centered about Numantia, the chief town of the Celtiberians. The defense of Numantia, like that of Carthage, was heroic and desperate. Its fate was also like that of Carthage. It was compelled to surrender (B.C. 133) to the same Scipio Aemilianus. Its people were sold into slavery, and the town itself was blotted from the earth.
The Servile War in Sicily.While Spain was being pacified, a more terrible war broke out in the province of Sicily. This was an insurrection of the slaves of the island. One of the worst results of the Roman conquest was the growth of the slave system. Immense numbers of the captives taken in war were thrown upon the market. One hundred and fifty thousand slaves had been sold by Aemilius Paullus; fifty thousand captives had been sent home from Carthage. Italy and Sicily swarmed with a servile population. It was in Sicily that this system bore its first terrible fruit. Maltreated by their masters, the slaves rose in rebellion under a leader, called Eunus, who defied the Roman power for three years. Nearly two hundred thousand insurgents gathered about his standard. Four Roman armies were defeated, and Rome herself was thrown into consternation. After the most desperate resistance, the rebellion was finally quelled and the island was pacified (B.C. 132).
Bequest of Pergamum; Province of Asia.This long period of war and conquest, by which Rome finally obtained the proud position of mistress of the Mediterranean, was closed by the almost peaceful acquisition of a new province. The little kingdom of Pergamum, in Asia Minor, had maintained, for the most part, a friendly relation to Rome. When the last king, Attalus III., died (B.C. 133), having no legal heirs, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people. This newly acquired territory was organized as a province under the name of “Asia.” The smaller states of Asia Minor, and Egypt, Libya, and Numidia, retained a subordinate relation as dependencies. The supreme authority of Rome, at home and abroad, was now firmly established.
SELECTIONS FOR READING
Merivale, Gen. Hist., Chs. 26, 27, “Rome after the Conquests” (1).1
Pelham, Bk. III., Ch. 3, “The Roman State and People” (1).
Liddell, Chs. 49, 50, “Rome at the Close of the Conquests” (1).
How and Leigh, Ch. 32, “Foreign and Provincial Affairs” (1).
Mommsen, Vol. II., Bk. III., Ch. 11, “The Government and the Governed” (2).
Arnold, Prov. Admin., Ch. 2, “Period of the Republic” (19).
Harper’s Dict. Antiqq., “Provincia” (8).
TAXATION OF THE PROVINCES.Pelham, pp. 185-187 (1); Liddell, pp. 389-393 (1); Mommsen, abridged, pp. 496-498 (2); Arnold, Prov. Admin., pp. 179-187 (19); Ihne, Hist., Vol. IV., Bk. VI., Ch. 7 (2); Ramsay and Lanciani, Ch. 8 (8); Harper’s Dict. Antiqq., “Stipendium,” “Publicani,” “Vectigalia,” (8).
1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.