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OSCA (Huesca) Huesca, Spain.

Oppidum Urbs Victrix Osca, an Iberian oppidum first named Bolscan and then Olscan, on a hill with fortifications 3 m thick to halfway up the slope. At the intersection of the Roman roads from Asturica Augusta to Tarraco and Caesaraugusta to Benearum, it belonged to the Conventus Iuridicus Caesaraugustanus and was inhabited by Roman citizens, in Vescitania (Pliny), in the territory of the Ilergetes (Ptolemy), or of the Iacetani (Strabo). In 208 B.C. it was the limit of the Roman power and was mentioned in the account of the struggles against the native tribes of the N, 206-97 B.C. It fell into the hands of Sertorius in 62. He made it his capital as the natural center of his territory, and between 80 and 72 (certainly before the battle of Lauro), he founded an academy where the sons of Iberian chieftains were given a Graeco-Roman education, including grammar and rhetoric. Sertorius also introduced the use of the toga praetexta and the gilded bulla. In 72 he was murdered in Osca by Perperna. The city had a strong Christian community from the middle of the 3d c. A.D. on, outstanding members of which were St. Lorenzo and St. Vicente.

No monuments remain but much Roman material has been found: the sarcophagus decorated with a clipius which today contains the body of Ramiro II (San Pedro el Viejo cloister); remains of a colossal bronze statue of the Imperial age in the Church of San Salvador; a statuette of Pan; a mosaic or tessellatum in the Ayuntamiento; lamps, cinerary urns, terra sigillata, inscriptions, and many coins. Livy spoke of the enormous amount of Oscan silver that was sent to Rome, at least in 195 and 179, not Iberian silver coins bearing the native names of the town and the horseman with a lance, but Iberian drachmae copied from those of Emporion. Oscan denarii and bronze coins, inscribed first in Iberian and then in Latin, included many plated pieces and were minted by Sertorius in great quantities. Latin issues began around 38, continuing the Iberian series and beginning with the denarius of Cn. Dimitius Calvinus, second consul in 40, the conqueror of the Cerretani in 39 and certainly the legate in the constitutio of the municipium; the coin bears the name OSCA, the Iberian head, and the priestly signs. Latin bronze coins were minted from the time of Augustus to that of Caius Caesar and bear their heads, the horseman, and the lengend V.V.OSCA.

The finds are almost all in the Huesca Provincial Museum.


R. del Arco y Garay, Catálogo Monumental de España: Huesca (1942); A. Schulten, Sertorio (1949); A. Beltrán, Las antiguas monedas oscenses (1950).


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