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KARTEIA or Herakleia, Cádiz, Spain.

Town on the Cortijo de El Rocadillo near the Guadarrangue area, in the S Roque district on the bay of Algeciras, the S coast of Hispania Ulterior. Although it is Phoenician or Punic in origin, as its name indicates, there are few remains of these cultures. In antiquity it was called Karteia and Herakleia, since its foundation was attributed to Herakles according to Timosthenes of Rhodes. Strabo (3.1.7-8) stated that in Timosthenes' time, ca. 280 B.C., its circuit wall and arsenals were visible.

Part of this wall has been uncovered, as well as Campanian ware A, B, C, and Hispano-Carthaginian silver coins. However, most of the remains are Roman, the oldest from the Republican period. The Roman foundation dates from 171 B.C. when it was called Colonia Libertinorum (Livy. 28.30.3). There are frequent references to the city, some stating that it was the site of the legendary Tartessos (Strab. 3.151; Paus. 6.19.3; Mela 2.96; Plin. 3.7; and Sil. Pun. 3.396). The port was of great importance in both the Iberian and the Imperial age according to Strabo and the author of De Bello Hisp. (26.1-37.1-2), who calls it navale presidium. In 46 B.C. the squadron of Accius Varo took refuge in Karteia when pursued by Caesar's ships under Caius Didius, and Cn. Pompeius embarked in the same port after the defeat at Munda (De Bello Hisp. 26.1-17, 1-2), when the partisans of Caesar in Karteia compelled him to leave the city. On the death of Cn. Pompeius, Sextus Pompeius returned to Baetica, and Karteia, which had declared itself for Pompey, again surrendered to him (Cic. Ep. 15.30.3).

Remains include the Roman wall, the theater, the baths, part of a monumental building with Corinthian columns and bull protomes (apparently a temple); the supposed Capitolium; remains of the salting basins for the manufacture of garum; and finds of sculptures, inscriptions, coins, and pottery.


E. Romero de Torres, Catálogo Monumental de España. Provincia de Cádiz (1934) 174, 223-27, 270, 533, 537; A. García y Bellido, “Las colonias romanas de Hispania,” Anuario de Historia del Derecho Español 29 (1959) 450ff; D. Woods et al., Carteia (1967).


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.19.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.7
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