This occurred in the autumn of 621, fifteen months after Scipio had assumed the chief command.

The fall of Numantia struck at the root of the opposition that was still here and there stirring against Rome; military demonstrations and the imposition of fines sufficed to secure the acknowledgment of the Roman supremacy in all Hither Spain.

The Callaeci Conquered New Organization Of Spain

In Further Spain the Roman dominion was confirmed and extended by the subjugation of the Lusitanians. The consul Decimus Junius Brutus, who came in Caepio's room, settled the Lusitanian war-captives in the neighbourhood of Saguntum, and gave to their new town Valentia (Valencia), like Carteia, a Latin constitution (616); he moreover (616-618) traversed the Iberian west coast in various directions, and was the first of the Romans to reach the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The towns of the Lusitanians dwelling there, which were obstinately defended by their inhabitants, both men and women, were subdued by him; and the hitherto independent Callaeci were united with the Roman province after a great battle, in which 50,000 of them are said to have fallen. After the subjugation of the Vaccaei, Lusitanians, and Callaeci, the whole peninsula, with the exception of the north coast, was now at least nominally subject to the Romans.

A senatorial commission was sent to Spain in order to organize, in concert with Scipio, the newly-won provincial territory after the Roman method; and Scipio did what he could to obviate the effects of the infamous and stupid policy of his predecessors. The Caucani for instance, whose shameful maltreatment by Lucullus he had been obliged to witness nineteen years before when a military tribune, were invited by him to return to their town and to rebuild it. Spain began again to experience more tolerable times. The suppression of piracy, which found dangerous lurking-places in the Baleares, through the occupation of these islands by Quintus Caecilius Metellus in 631, was singularly conducive, to the prosperity of Spanish commerce; and in other respects also the fertile islands, inhabited by a dense population which was unsurpassed in the use of the sling, were a valuable possession. How numerous the Latin-speaking population in the peninsula was even then, is shown by the settlement of 3000 Spanish Latins in the towns of Palma and Pollentia (Pollenza) in the newly-acquired islands. In spite of various grave evils the Roman administration of Spain preserved on the whole the stamp which the Catonian period, and primarily Tiberius Gracchus, had impressed on it. It is true that the Roman frontier territory had not a little to suffer from the inroads of the tribes, but half subdued or not subdued at all, on the north and west. Among the Lusitanians in particular the poorer youths regularly congregated as banditti, and in large gangs levied contributions from their countrymen or their neighbours, for which reason, even at a much later period, the isolated homesteads in this region were constructed in the style of fortresses, and were, in case of need, capable of defence; nor did the Romans succeed in putting an end to these predatory habits in the inhospitable and almost inaccessible Lusitanian mountains. But what had previously been wars assumed more and more the character of brigandage, which every tolerably efficient governor was able to repress with his ordinary resources; and in spite of such inflictions on the border districts Spain was the most flourishing and best-organized country in all the Roman dominions; the system of tenths and the middlemen were there unknown; the population was numerous, and the country was rich in corn and cattle.

The Protected States

Far more insupportable was the condition--intermediate between formal sovereignty and actual subjection--of the African, Greek, and Asiatic states which were brought within the sphere of Roman hegemony through the wars of Rome with Carthage, Macedonia, and Syria, and their consequences. An independent state does not pay too dear a price for its independence in accepting the sufferings of war when it cannot avoid them; a state which has lost its independence may find at least some compensation in the fact that its protector procures for it peace with its neighbours. But these client states of Rome had neither independence nor peace. In Africa there practically subsisted a perpetual border-war between Carthage and Numidia. In Egypt Roman arbitration had settled the dispute as to the succession between the two brothers Ptolemy Philometor and Ptolemy the Fat; nevertheless the new rulers of Egypt and Cyrene waged war for the possession of Cyprus. In Asia not only were most of the kingdoms--Bithynia, Cappadocia, Syria--likewise torn by internal quarrels as to the succession and by the interventions of neighbouring states to which these quarrels gave rise, but various and severe wars were carried on between the Attalids and the Galatians, between the Attalids and the kings of Bithynia, and even between Rhodes and Crete. In Hellas proper, in like manner, the pigmy feuds which were customary there continued to smoulder; and even Macedonia, formerly so tranquil, consumed its strength in the intestine strife that arose out of its new democratic constitutions. It was the fault of the rulers as well as the ruled, that the last vital energies and the last prosperity of the nations were expended in these aimless feuds. The client states ought to have perceived that a state which cannot wage war against every one cannot wage war at all, and that, as the possessions and power enjoyed by all these states were practically under Roman guarantee, they had in the event of any difference no alternative but to settle the matter amicably with their neighbours or to call in the Romans as arbiters. When the Achaean diet was urged by the Rhodians and Cretans to grant them the aid of the league, and seriously deliberated as to sending it (601), it was simply a political farce; the principle which the leader of the party friendly to Rome then laid down--that the Achaeans were no longer at liberty to wage war without the permission of the Romans-- expressed, doubtless with disagreeable precision, the simple truth that the sovereignty of the dependent states was merely a formal one, and that any attempt to give life to the shadow must necessarily lead to the destruction of the shadow itself.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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