Sites & cities that bear the name of Numantia


Today in : Spain
First trace of activity : ca. 6th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 6th century C.E
Recorded names : Numance, Numancia

Description : Numantia (Spanish: Numancia) was an ancient Celtiberian settlement, whose remains are located 7 km north of the city of Soria, on a hill known as Cerro de la Muela in the municipality of Garray. Numantia is famous for its role in the Celtiberian Wars. In 153 BC Numantia experienced its first serious conflict with Rome. After 20 years of hostilities, in 133 BC the Roman Senate gave Scipio Aemilianus Africanus the task of destroying Numantia. He laid siege to the city, erecting a nine-kilometre fence supported by towers, moats, impaling rods and so on. After 13 months of siege, the Numantians decided to burn the city before surrendering. Numantia was an Iron Age hill fort (in Roman terminology an "oppidum"), which controlled a crossing of the river Duero. Pliny the Elder counts it as a city of the Pellendones, but other authors, like Strabo and Ptolemy place it among the Arevaci people. The Arevaci were a Celtiberian tribe, formed by the mingling of Iberians and migrating Celts in the 6th century BC, who inhabited an area near Numantia and Uxama. The first serious conflict with Rome occurred in 153 BC when Quintus Fulvius Nobilior was consul. Numantia took in some fugitives from the city of Segeda, who belonged to another Celtiberian tribe called the Belli. The leader of the Belli, Carus of Segeda, managed to defeat a Roman army. The Romans then besieged Numantia, and deployed a small number of war elephants, but were unsuccessful. Before their defeat in 133 BC, the Numantians gained a number of victories. For example, in 137 BC, 20,000 Romans surrendered to the Celtiberians of Numantia (population between 4,000-8,000). The young Roman officer Tiberius Gracchus, as quaestor, saved the Roman army from destruction by signing a peace treaty with the Numantines, an action generally reserved for a Legate. Final siege of Numantia Main article: Siege of Numantia The final siege of Numantia began in the year 134 BC. Scipio Aemilianus, who was a Roman consul at that time, was in command of an army of 30,000 soldiers. His troops constructed a number of fortifications surrounding the city as they prepared for a long siege. Resistance was hopeless but the Numantians refused to surrender and famine quickly spread through the city. After eight months most of the inhabitants decided to commit suicide rather than become slaves. Only a few hundred of the inhabitants, exhausted and famished, surrendered to the victorious Roman legions. Numantian defence The Spanish expression Defensa numantina may be used to indicate any desperate, suicidal last stand against invading forces.

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