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NUMANTIA (Muela de Garray) Soria, Spain.

Site 7 km N of Soria. The cultural sequence on the hill is as follows: 1) Material from the final phase of the Neolithic Age and from the Copper Age; 2) Iron Age occupation, with a later castrum dating from the 4th-3d c. B.C., possibly beginning ca. 850 B.C.; 3) Celtiberian Numancia, of the Arevaci, from the beginning of the 3d c. to 133 B.C.; 4) Roman town of the Augustan age, rebuilt after being abandoned for a century and lingering on to the end of the 4th c.; 5) Visigoth town or perhaps merely isolated buildings. Some of these phases may have included destruction and reconstruction; this certainly occurred with the invasion of the Franks and the Alamanni in the 3d c.

The fame of Numantia comes from its ten years of sustained and successful struggle against the Roman armies, a struggle which actually began in 153 and ended with the destruction and burning of the town in 133. The primary source is Appian, who obtained his information from Polybios, a friend and chronicler of Scipio and an eyewitness of the siege; also L. Anneus Florus (1.5, 9; 33.1, 13; 34.1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 17; 47.3) and many others (Diodorus Siculus, Livy, Dio Cassius, Frontinus, Paulus Orosius, and later Pliny and Strabo).

The history of Numantia is linked to the insurrections of the Celtiberians against the abuses of the Romans: the first of importance was in 197, which caused Cato to attack the towns of the Meseta; disturbances again occurred in 193 when the Arevaci helped the Vetones, Vaccaei, and Lusitani, causing Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus to attack them in 180. He defeated them near the Moncayo and reached a peace agreement which lasted until 154, the date of the great rising of the Celtiberians and the Lusitani. The insurrection began in Segeda (Belmonte), and Q. Fulvius Nobilior moved against it with an army of 30,000 men. The Belli and the Titi took refuge in Numantia with their chieftain Caros. Nobilior razed Segeda and in August 153 advanced on Numantia. He was fiercely attacked by the Celtiberians, defeated at Uxama (Osma) and Ocilis, and forced to take refuge in the Renieblas camp, where he spent the winter of 153-152 B.C. He relinquished his command to his successor, M. Claudius Marcellus, who skillfully pacified the region. A peace treaty was signed in 151, which lasted until 143, despite the atrocities of Lucullus at Cauca (Coca) and elsewhere. In 144 the Viriathus rising ended in a peace agreement; Q. Caecilius Metellus, after conquering Contrebia, the Lusitanian capital, and the tribes in the Jalon valley, laid waste the territory of the Vaccaei and attacked the Arevaci who took refuge in Numantia and Termantia (142). The war was resumed in 137 by C. Hostilius Mancinus, who was roundly defeated and capitulated, but the Senate again refused to recognize the peace agreement and left the Roman general to the mercy of the Numantians, naked, shackled, and on his knees before the walls of the town.

Finally in 134 Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus reorganized the demoralized army, seized supplies from the Vaccaei, and blockaded the hill town with a circumvallation 9 km long, supported by six camps, with wall, ditch, and towers. Against the 10,000 Numantians, of which only 4000 were under arms, Scipio deployed 60,000 men, elephants, slingers, and Jugurtha's Numidian archers, cavalry furnished by Spanish auxiliaries, and 300 catapults. But it was hunger which finally defeated Numantia. Scipio refused to accept any terms other than unconditional surrender and the laying down of arms, so the defenders burned the town and most of them killed themselves. Only a few surrendered. Numantia was reduced to ashes in the summer of 133, after a nine-month siege, and reconstruction of the town was forbidden. In the triumph Rome gave to Scipio in 132, so poor was Numantia that only seven denarii could be distributed to each soldier.

The Muela de Garray is a hill 67 m high, protected by the Douro and the Tera, which meet at its foot to the W, and by the Merdancho (Merdancius) on the S; the N, S, and especially the W slopes are precipitous, while the E slope is gentle. According to Appian and Orosius the perimeter of the town of 150 ha was 4400 m, but excavations have given axes of 310 and 720 m and an area of ca. 24 ha. The center of the Celtiberian town lay slightly W of the crest of the hill: two long streets parallel to the main axis were crossed at right angles by 11 others, with steps at the intersections. A street parallel to the wall surrounded the urban complex, and the central part and the first two ring streets appear to be the oldest. The trapezoidal wall, built of boulders, is 3.4 m thick at its base and still stands to a height of 2 m, backed by houses facing inwards; excavations have unearthed two gates, simple openings in the wall. The streets were paved with small cobblestones but repaired with larger ones; they had raised sidewalks and stepping stones for crossing the gutter. The houses were arranged in rectangular blocks with exterior dry pebblestone walls; the surviving houses are Roman, with a cellar or storeroom, and one or two stories high. On the S slope there are two small circles of large stones, assumed to be platforms on which the dead were exposed (Silius Italicus, Elianus).

The Roman streets are clearly built over the Celtiberian ones, and usually separated from them by a layer of debris and ashes. In some cases they have been regularized and widened, and the pavement consists of large well-joined slabs. In the so-called first street was discovered the remains of a temple, at the place thought to be a forum of modest proportions and design. Numantia was undoubtedly reconstructed in the Augustan period as a town with ius peregrinum for the subjected Celtiberians, to protect the road from Asturica Augusta to Caesar-augusta. It is difficult to distinguish the Roman houses from earlier ones of the native type. They have no mosaic pavements or drains but have regular two-course ashlar walls bound with clay; in addition to the usual roofs of wood and boughs, tegulae, imbrices, and antefixes have been found; the Celtiberian silos of the houses were replaced by cisterns for collecting runoff water. Numantia may have had an amphitheater or theater on the N slope, of which only the cavea can be seen. There are also remains of large houses: one with a caldarium may have been a public bath.

On the surrounding hills were built the Roman camps: that on the Atalaya de Renieblas, 8 km away, was reconstructed five times and remains of all the reconstructions survive (Cato in 195, 193-181, Nobilior in 153 m accordance with the Vitruvian model, Mancinus in 137, and Scipio; the last occupation was in 75-74 in the wars between Sertorius and Pompey). Peñarredonda, on the S, has well-defined ruins, what is assumed to be the camp of Maximus with cavalry quarters and the houses of the tribunes; there are remains on the Castillejo, on the N of the camps of Marcellus (ruins of the praetorium and the house of the tribune), Pompey, and Scipio, some remains of the catapult platform at Valdeborrón, on the E, and walls of the forts of Travesadas, Dehesilla, Alto Real, el Molino, Vega, and Saledilla, some of which perhaps were reused Celtiberian settlements.

All these camps have yielded remains of weapons, projectiles, ornaments, for the most part Celtiberian, as is the pottery. This is basically wheel-turned, smoked, painted pottery with animated scenes, many in the Iron Age tradition, and terra sigillata. Bronze fibulae, necklaces, rings, belt buckles, surgical instruments, and needles have also been found, and clay slingshots, few weapons, trumpets, horns, clay nozzles, an occasional iron tool, circular grindstones, Hispano-Roman and Imperial coins. The finds are in the Numantia Museum, the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, and the museums of Mainz and Bonn.


Varios, Excavaciones de Numancia (1912); A. Schulten, Numantia. Die Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen 1905-1912: I. Die Keltiberer und ihre Kriege mit Rom. II. Die Stadt Numantia. III. Die Lager der Scipio. IV. Die Lager bei Renieblas (1914-31); id., Historia de Numancia (1945); B. Taracena, La cerámica ibérica de Numancia (1923); id., Numancia (1929); id., Carta Arqueológica de España: Soria (1941); id., “Los pueblos celtibéricos,” Historia de España de Menéndez Pidal I, 3 (1954) 197; F. Wattemberg, Las cerámics indígenas de Numancia (1963); A. Beltrán, “Un corte estratigráfico en Numancia,” VIII Congreso Arqueológico Nacional (1964) 451; T. Ortego, Guia de Numancia (1967); A. García y Bellido, Numantia (1969).


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