), the country of the CANTABRI (Eth. Κάνταβροι;
Cantaber, Adj. Cantabricus), a people of Hispania Tarraconensis, about the middle of the N. side of the peninsula, in the mountains that run parallel to the coast, and from them extending to the coast itself, in the E. of Asturias,
and the N. of Burgos, Palencia,
They and their neighbours on the W., the Astures, were the last peoples of the peninsula that submitted to the Roman yoke, being only subdued under Augustus.
Before this, their name is loosely applied to the inhabitants of the whole mountain district along the N. coast (Caes. Gal. 3.26
1.38). and so, too, even by later writers (Liv. Epit.
xlviii.; Juv. 15.108
compared with 93).
But the geographers who wrote after their conquest give their position more exactly, as E. of the Astures, the boundary being the river Salia (Mela, 3.1), and W. of the Autrigones, Varduli, and Vascones. (Strab. iii. p.167
, et alib.
; Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4
. s. 34; Ptol. 2.6
. § § 6, 51.) They were regarded as the fiercest and rudest of all the peoples of the peninsula,--“savage as wild beasts,” says Strabo, who describes their manners at some length (iii. pp. 155, 166; comp. Sil. Ital. 3.329
; Hor. Carm. 3.4
.) They were subjugated by Augustus, after a most obstinate resistance, in B.C. 25; but they soon revolted, and had to be reconquered by Agrippa, B.C. 19.
In this second war, the greater part of the people perished by the sword, and the remainder were compelled to quit their mountains, and reside in the lower valleys. (D. C. 53.25
; Strab. iii. pp. 156, 164, 287, 821; Hor. Carm. 2.6.2
, 11. 1, 3.8. 22; Flor. 4.12
; Liv. 28.12
; Suet. Octav.
20, et seq., 29, 81, 85; Oros. 6.21
But still their subjugation was imperfect; Tiberius found it necessary to keep them in restraint by strong garrisons (Strab. p. 156); their mountains have afforded a refuge to Spanish independence, and the cradle of its regeneration; and their unconquerable spirit survives in the Basques,
who are supposed to be their genuine descendants. (Ford, Handbook of Spain,
p. 554, foll.)
The ethnical affinities, however, both of the ancient and the modern people, have always presented a most difficult problem; the most probable opinion is that which makes them a remnant. of the most ancient Iberian population. (W. von Humboldt, Urbewohner von Hispanien,
Berlin, 1821, 4to.) Strabo (iii. p.157
) mentions a tradition which derived them from Laconian settlers, of the period of the Trojan war.
Under the Roman empire, Cantabria belonged to the province of Hispania Tarraconensis, and contained seven tribes. (Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4
.) Of these tribes the ancient geographers apologise for possessing only imperfect information, on the ground of the barbarian sound of their names. (Strab. iii. pp. 155, 162; Mela, 3.1.) Among them were the Pleutauri (Πλεύταυροι
); the Bardyetae or Bardyali (Βαρδυῆται, Βαρδύαλοι
), probably the VARDULI
of Pliny (3.3
. s.4, 4.20. s.34); the Allotriges(Ἀλλότριγες,
probably the same as the AUTRIGONES; the Conisci (Κονίσκοι
), probably the same as the Coniaci (Κωνιακοί
) or Concani (Κωνκανοί
), who are particularly mentioned in the Cantabrian War (Mela, 3.1; Hor. Carm. 3.4.34
; Sil. Ital. 3.360
); and the Tuïsi (Τουίσοι
), about the sources of the lberus.
These are all mentioned by Strabo (iii. pp. 155, 156, 162). Mela names also the Origenomesci or ARGENOMESCI
(3.1), and some minor tribes are mentioned by Ptolemy and other writers.
Of the nine cities of Cantabria, according to Pliny, JULIOBRICA alone was worthy of mention. (Plin. Nat. 3.3. s. 4
. s. 34.) Ptolemy mentions these nine cities as follows: near the sea-coast, Noegaucesia (Νοιγαουκεσία
), a little above the mouth of a river of the same name (2.6.6); and, in the interior, Concana (Κ´γκανα
), Ottaviolca (Ὀτταουιόλκα
), Argenomescum (Ἀργενομέσκον
), Vadinia (Οὐαδινία
), Vellica (Οὐέλλικα
), Camarica (Καμάρικα
), Juliobriga (Ἰουλιόβριγα
), and Moroeca (Μόροικα,
2.6.51). Pliny also mentions Blendium (prob. Santander
); and a few places of less importance are named by other writers, (Ukert, vol. ii. pt. i. pp. 443, 444.)
Strabo places among the Cantabri the sources of the rivers Iberus (Ebro
) and Minius (Minho
), and the commencement of Mt. Idubeda, the great chain which runs from NW. to SE. between the central table-land of Spain and the--basin of the Ebro;
(Strab. iii. pp. 153, 159, 161.)