Celtiberian Bronze Helmet, 4th century BC

This helmet was hammered from thin metal and decorated with repousse designs. Plain bands crisscross and encircle it, dividing the helmet into quadrants. A square opening has been cut away in the front for the face. Each quadrant contains a motif of three schematically rendered men beneath a “sun circle” ringed with dots. These lively human figures with their arms raised and one foot lifted off the ground seem to be engaged in an ecstatic dance. Dances such as these are described by Roman writers who observed the bellicose customs of the Celtiberians. Two projections along the transversal band of the helmet indicate that it once included an attached ornament or crest.

The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. These tribes spoke the Celtiberian language. Extant tribal names include the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, Lusones, and Berones. Celtiberians were celebrated for their fine weapons and armor.


Magical Spain (via Pinterest).

Definitely, Spain is different

Mine is a country of contrasts, full of legends and history, with a cultural heritage of centuries, and I love it.

(Credits of the photographies in the description).

Celtiberian Warriors

Iberian auxiliaries often accounted for half of a Carthaginian army, while the Romans usually employed much smaller contingents. Though the Iberians were considered second-rate troops by both the Carthaginians and Romans, they may well have taken a lack of enthusiasm to die for their colonial masters as an indication of their true capabilities. Certainly the Iberian tribes put up a tremendous struggle against the Roman occupation for some 200 years following the overthrow of Carthaginian power in Spain.

Celts, living on the central mesetas in direct contact with the Iberians, adopted many Iberian cultural fashions, including wheel-made pottery, rough stone sculptures of pigs and bulls, and the eastern Iberian alphabet on coins and inscriptions, such as the bronze plaque from Botorrita (Saragossa), but they did not organise themselves into urban settlements until the 3rd century BC. The Celt-Iberians were tribes of mixed Iberian and Celtic stock who inhabited an area in present north-central Spain from the 3rd century BC onward . These Celtiberians inhabited the hill country between the sources of the Tagus (Tajo) and Iberus (Ebro) rivers, including most of the modern province of Soria and much of the neighbouring provinces of Guadalajara and Teruel.

“Ethnographic Iberia 200 BCE” by The Ogre - self-made from Image:Blank-peninsula Iberica.png. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

In historic times the Celtiberians were composed of the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, and Lusones. The earliest population of Celtiberia was that of the southeastern Almería culture of the Bronze Age, after which came Hallstatt invaders, who occupied the area shortly before 600 BC. The Hallstatt people were in turn subjugated by the Arevaci, who dominated the neighbouring Celtiberian tribes from the powerful strongholds at Okilis (modern Medinaceli) and Numantia. The Belli and the Titti were settled in the Jalón valley, the Sierra del Solorio separating them from the Lusones to the northeast.

The material culture of Celtiberia was strongly influenced by that of the Iberian people of the Ebro valley. Horse bits, daggers, and shield fittings attest the warlike nature of the Celtiberians, and one of their inventions, the two-edged Spanish sword, was later adopted by the Romans. To the west and north of Inland Spain developed a world that classical writers described as Celtic. Iron was known from 700 BC, and agricultural and herding economies were practiced by people who lived in small villages or, in the northwest, in fortified compounds called castros. The people spoke Indo-European languages (Celtic, Lusitanian) but were divided culturally and politically into dozens of independent tribes and territories; they left behind hundreds of place-names.
Metalworking flourished, and distinctive neck rings (torques) of silver or gold, along with brooches and bangles, attest to their technical skills.

The warriors of Celt-Iberia enjoyed a reputation as the finest barbarian mercenary infantry in the western world. They were believed to possess the finest qualities of the Celts, savage battle lust and great physical courage, along with the steadiness and organisation of the more civilised Iberians. Their reputation was such that after the rout of the Carthaginians by Scipio Africanus at the Burning of the Camps in 203, the arrival of a band of only 4,000 Celt-Iberians encouraged the Carthaginians to take the field once more.
The Celtiberians first submitted to the Romans in 195 BC, but they were not completely under Roman domination until 133 BC, when Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus destroyed Numantia. The Mediterranean way of life reached the interior only after the Romans conquered Numantia. Asturias was only pacified in 19 BC.



The Windlass Spanish Falcata is a great little sword. Tough and ready, it would represent exceptional value even if it were twice the price - Bill Blake

Spanish Falcata

One of the most devastating swords of all time, the inward curve of the falcata’s blade delivers a tremendous blow capable of splitting shield and helmet a like. The Falcata was used to great effect against the Romans by Spanish Mercenaries under Hannibal in the second Punic War. This version features a high carbon steel blade and a solid brass handle. Includes a leather scabbard.

Overall Length: 25 ¼ In Blade: 20 1/8 In
Weight: 2 lb 14 oz
Edge: Unsharpened
P.O.B.: 3 5/8’’
Thickness: 4.4 mm - 3.5 mm
Width: 69.1 mm
Grip Length: 3 ½’’
Pommel: Peened

Retail Price: $175.00 - Your Price $149.95!

To buy this sturdy workhorse of a sword click here: Windlass Spanish Falcata

Read more: http://sword-site.com/thread/900/windlass-spanish-falcata-falcatus-iberian#ixzz39KDvDrCJ

Stories I Want to Read But Am too Lazy to Write
  • Ancient Alexandrian-inspired fantasy.
  • Ancient Carthaginian-inspired fantasy.
  • Seriously, have you seen its port? That’s a major naval power filled with major opportunities for fight scenes at sea. And it’s pretty too.
  • Historical fiction or fantasy or sci fi about traders who travel to tons of places, allowing readers to see different cultures, peoples, and lands.
  • Celtiberian-inspired fantasy or historical fiction.
  • Italian renaissance fantasy.
  • Something inspired by the Hagia Sophia
  • The passive aggressive adventures of Michelangelo and Da Vinci.
  • A male bisexual lead in a contemporary setting.

A Celtiberian shield done in wood, bronze. These shields were often circular and decorated,

Up until the end of the 5th century/beginning of the 4th century bce, Celtiberian cemeteries bore much in the way of rich, military related grave goods, including swords and shields, and an quite the accumulation of bronze artifacts such as helmets, cuirasses, military styled brooches called fibula, horse equipment etc. This indicates the presence of a ‘warrior elite’, meaning that the richer burials were more likely to also be those of great military leaders who had achieved their place in high society via their battle prowess.

Hannibal Barca - Part 3: Siege of Saguntum, 219 BC

Suggested  by derprandal

Preceded by:
Hannibal - Part 1: “Never be a friend to Rome”
Hannibal - Part 2: “Consolidating Iberia” - LINK
[10] Hannibal tried as far as he could to keep his hands off this city, wishing to give the Romans no avowed pretext for war, until he had secured his possession of all the rest of the country, following in this his father Hamilcar’s suggestions and advice.”  – Polybius 14: 10

Saguntum  fears the Carthaginians 
[1] But the Saguntines sent repeated  messages to Rome, as on the one hand they were alarmed for their own safety and foresaw what was coming, and at the same time they wished to keep the  Romans informed how well things went with the Carthaginians in Spain. [2] The Romans, who had more than once paid little attention to them, sent on this occasion legates to report on the situation.

[3] Hannibal at the same time, having reduced the tribes he intended, arrived with his forces to  winter at New Carthage, which was in a way the chief ornament and capital of  the Carthaginian empire in Spain. [4Here he found the Roman legates, to whom he gave audience and listened  to their present communication. - Polybius 15: 1-4
After a conversation they decided that  Hannibal was not a threat and so turned their attention towards Illyria. 

Greens - Illyria c. 220 BC

[11] But as it was, by  keeping silent as to the real cause and by inventing a non-existing one about  Saguntum, he gave the idea that he was entering on the war not only  unsupported by reason but without justice on his side. [12] The Roman legates, seeing clearly that war was inevitable, took ship  for Carthage to convey the same protest to the Government there.”
- Polybius  15: 11-12

[1] Consequently, the Senate, adapting their  measures to this supposition, decided to secure their position in Illyria, as  they foresaw that the war would be serious and long and the scene of it far  away from home.” - Polybius 16:1

Reasons for Wanting to Take Saguntum
In taking it Saguntum they would  remove from the Romans a strong location to launch an Iberian campaign, leaving the bulk of the war to be set in Italy. An agriculturally rich  land which could provide substantial provisions for his army, loot to boost the morale of his troops, to keep the Iberians in check and to rid themselves of a potential threat.

Polybius’ account
[13] They never thought, however, that the war  would be in Italy, but supposed they would fight in Spain with Saguntum for a  base.”
 Polybius 15: 13
[5] But in this calculation they were deceived; for Hannibal forestalled  them by taking Saguntum, [6] and, as a consequence, the war was not  waged in Spain but at the very gates of Rome and through the whole of Italy.”
- Polybius 16: 5-6
Livy’s account
[3] The territory of the Saguntines yields every kind of crop and is the most fertile in the whole of Iberia. [4] Hannibal, now encamping before the town, set himself to besiege it vigorously, foreseeing that many advantages  would result from its capture.

[5] First of all he thought that he would thus deprive the Romans of any prospect of a campaign in Iberia, and secondly he was convinced that by this blow he would inspire universal terror, and render the Iberian tribes who had already submitted more orderly and those who were still independent more cautious, [6] while above all he would be enabled to  advance safely with no enemy left in his rear.
[7] Besides, he would then have abundant funds and supplies for his projected expedition, he would raise the spirit of his troops by the booty distributed among them and would conciliate the Carthaginians at home by the spoils he would send them.” Polybius  17: 3-7

The Siege of Saguntum
Polybius’ account
[8] From all these considerations he actively pursued the siege, now setting an example to the soldiers by sharing personally the fatigue of the battering operations, now cheering on the troops and exposing recklessly to danger. [9] At length after eight months of hardship  and anxiety he took the city by storm.
[10] A great booty of money, slaves, and property fell into his hands. The money, as he had determined, he set aside for his own purposes, the slaves he distributed among his men according to rank, and the miscellaneous property  he sent off at once to Carthage.
[11] The result did not deceive his expectations, nor did he fail to  accomplish his original purpose; but he both made his troops more eager to face danger and the Carthaginians more ready to accede to his demands on them, while he himself, by setting aside these funds, was able to accomplish many things of much service to him.” -  Polybius 17: 8-11

Iberian  Warriors in Carthaginian service

 Livy’s account
“At first they repelled the enemy with missile weapons, and suffered no place to be sufficiently secure for those engaged in the works; afterwards, not only did they brandish their weapons in  defence of the walls and tower, but they had courage to make sallies on the posts and works of the enemy; in which tumultuary engagements, scarcely more  Saguntines than Carthaginians were slain.
But when Hannibal himself, while he too incautiously approached the wall, fell severely wounded in the thigh by a javelin, such flight and dismay spread around, that the works and vineae had nearly been abandoned.”
- Livy 7
“For a few days after, while the general’s wound was being cured, there was rather a blockade than a siege: during which time, though there was a respite from fighting, yet there was no intermission in the preparation of works and fortifications. Hostilities, therefore, broke out afresh with greater fury, and in more places, in some even where the ground scarcely admitted of the works, the vineae began to be moved forward, and the battering-ram to be advanced to the walls. The Carthaginian abounded in the numbers of his troops; for there is sufficient reason to believe that he had as many as a hundred and fifty thousand in arms.” – Livy 8

(Carthaginian) Citizen Conscript - Osprey Publishing

[8] - the walls were now battered by the rams, and many parts of them were shattered. One part by continuous ruins left the city exposed; three successive towers and all the  wall between them had fallen down with an immense crash, and the Carthaginians believed the town taken by that breach; through which, as if the wall had alike protected both, there was a rush from each side to the battle.
There was nothing resembling the disorderly fighting which, in the storming of towns, is wont to be engaged in, on the opportunities of either party; but regular lines, as in an open plain, stood arrayed between the ruins of the walls and the buildings of the city, which lay but a slight distance from the  walls.
On the one side hope, on the other despair, inflamed their courage; the Carthaginian believing that, if a little additional effort were used, the city was his; the Saguntines opposing their bodies in defense of their native city deprived of its walls, and not a man retiring a step, lest he might  admit the enemy into the place he deserted.
The more keenly and closely, therefore, they fought on both sides, the more, on that account, were wounded, no weapon falling without effect amidst their arms and persons. There was used by the Saguntines a missile weapon, called  falarica, with the shaft of fir, and round in other parts except towards the point, whence the iron projected: this part, which was square, as in the  pilum, they bound around with tow, and besmeared with pitch. It had an iron  head three feet in length, so that it could pierce through the body with the armor.
But what caused the greatest fear was, that this weapon, even though it stuck in the shield and did not penetrate into the body, when it was discharged with the middle part on fire, and bore along a much greater flame, produced by the mere motion, obliged the armor to be thrown down, and exposed the soldier to succeeding blows.

[9] When the contest had for a long time continued doubtful, and the courage of the Saguntines had increased, because they had succeeded in their resistance beyond their hopes, while the Carthaginian, because he had not conquered, felt as vanquished, the townsmen suddenly set up a shout, and drive their enemies to the ruins of the wall; thence they force them, while embarrassed and disordered; and lastly, drove them back, routed and put to flight, to their camp.” - Livy 8-9

Followed  by “Peace or War?

Primary sources:

Celtiberian Footed Cup with Warrior Frieze, 3rd-2nd century BC

A squat unglazed drinking vessel with narrow foot-ring, carinated body and everted rim; to the lower body, red painted concentric rings, to the shoulder a frieze of advancing warriors with helmets, spears and shields next to birds and foliage; running zigzag design to the rim. 

The Celtiberians were Celtic-speaking people of the Iberian Peninsula in the final centuries BC. Extant tribal names include the Arevaci, Belli, Titti, Lusones, and Berones. The modern Iberian Peninsula includes Spain, Portugal, Andorra, as well as a part of France and the British Territory of Gibraltar.

Beautiful craftsmanship, bronze, a representation of a horse with a blanket which the Celtiberians traditionally used as a saddle. The tail and forefeet can also be used as fasteners for a warrior’s cape.

What is perhaps most interesting and curious about this piece is that it has become the symbol of Soria, where the hillfort of Numancia is found. The same as the donkey in Cataluña, the sheep in Navarra, this icon can be found on bumperstickers and postcards across the province. It has for this reason become the most famous piece in the Numancia Museum.

[photo © x]

Cernunnos is the conventional name given in Celtic studies to depictions of the “horned god” (sometimes referred to as Herne the Hunter) of Celtic polytheism. Cernunnos was a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. The name itself is only attested once, on the 1st-century Pillar of the Boatmen, but he appears all over Gaul, and among the Celtiberians.