18 May 2023

What are the Celtiberians? – Celtiberian peoples and their characteristics and contributions

By Donald

They were an ancestral people, located in the Iberian Peninsula, these mysterious ethnic groups They are the product of the interaction between different cultural currents., as are the Celts and the Iberians. In this way they created a unique and different society that has aroused the curiosity of archeology and historians. If you want to know more about who the Celtiberians are, their culture and their characteristics, continue reading this article.

Meaning and definition of the Celtiberians

It is a series of Celtic pre-Roman towns, which They lived during the Bronze Age, until the Roman culture was established in the Iberian Peninsula, in the territory of Celtiberia. At present, the Arevacos, Titos, Pelendones, among others, are considered Celtiberians.

It is difficult to define how they arrived Celtic influences to indigenous people in the Bronze Age. It is evident that the culture comes from the models that existed in the Central European Celts in the 3rd century BC.

The term ‘Celtiberos’ comes from the ethnic and cultural fusion between the Celts and the Iberians, who were two of the main influences in the region. The way in which this population combined elements of both cultures is surprising.

On the one hand, the Celts, a people from Central EuropeThey dominated the work of metallurgy, their warrior courage and their tribal organization. On the other hand, the Iberians, who were an autochthonous group of the Iberian Peninsula, contributed to this culture their cultural and social system, their agricultural knowledge and craft skills.

Throughout history this town fought to preserve their autonomy against the powerful empires that sought to expand throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Those who managed to conquer them were the Romans, and their legacy lasted for a long time in the region.

What are the characteristics of the Celtiberians?

The cultural fusion, because they were a combination of some elements of the Celtic culture and the Iberians. Proof of this connection is their language, known as ‘Celtiberian’, it is the mixture between both languages.

they were famous for the bravery of his warriors and ferocity in battle, they had a very outstanding warrior tradition, as well as great skill in combat. Likewise, they had advanced knowledge in metallurgy, and were experts in the elaboration of weapons and tools of excellent quality.

This civilization built impressive settlements and large fortifications. They were known by the name of: ‘Celtiberian cities’, and they functioned as refuges and centers of power, in addition, they maintained commercial contact with other towns on the peninsula, and even some further away.

Celtiberian map

Celtiberians are considered to be the towns, the arevacos, titos, belos, lusones and pelendones. On other occasions, the Vacceos, Carpetanos, Olcades and Lobetanos are also included. The territory of this civilization It was located in the central and northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula..

The map of this town I cover regions that today belong to Spain and Portugalits extension went from the Duero River in the north, to the Tagus River in the south, and from the west from the Central Cordillera, to the east of the Central Plateau.

The specific areas where they settled include some parts of the current Spanish provinces, such as:

  • Soria.
  • Guadalajara.
  • Saragossa.
  • Teruel.
  • Basin.
  • Burgos.
  • Segovia.
  • Avila.
  • And some parts of Portugal.

It must be taken into account that these limits are not exact, since they are not precisely defined and can vary. There are still debates about its exact location, since this town in ancient times had conflicts with others, and in addition, there was a great exchange of cultures, which could also influence the evolution of the limits of its territory.

Symbol of the Celtiberians

The Celtiberians had some very representative symbols of their ethnic group. These are found through archeology and in different artistic representations.

One of the most common symbols with which the Celtiberians have been associated is the figure of the warrior. In many of his artistic representations, soldiers can be seen carrying their weapons and shields, embodying their spirit in battle.

Another of these is the use of animals, especially those that They have mythological references. Some examples are the wolf and the bull, which have been found in objects, for example, ceramics and stelae, symbolizing their courage and connection with nature.

The spirals are another graphic motif that have been found repeatedly in some artifacts, symbolizing concepts such as eternity, or the connection between the material and spiritual world.

Celtiberian language

It is one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of this civilization. The scholars of this town have managed to rebuild some features of their language through inscriptions and remains of epigraphs found on the peninsula.

The language arises from the fusion between the Celtic and Iberian languages. Celts they were an Indo-European group, and the Iberians were native to the Iberian Peninsula. These peoples intertwined to create a unique form of communication.

Celtiberian is not a uniform language, but rather presents multiple dialectical variations, which are observed among the various tribes that made up this civilization. And although most of the knowledge is found in short inscriptions and some fragments, a large number of words and grammatical structures have been identified.

These inscriptions have been found on objects such as funerary stela, coins and some of daily use. the verbal system It is known as a semisyllabarythat is, they used symbols to express the combination between consonants and vowels.

Also, they have identified some words that have celtic roots, such as ‘briga’, which means fortress or hill, and ‘dumno’, which refers to the world. Among the lexicon of the Iberian languages, there is ‘sekobirikes’ to refer to horsemen.

What were the Celtiberian peoples like?

One of the most outstanding characteristics of this civilization was its social organization, which focused on the creation of tribes or clans. Each tribe was led by a chief, who would exercise complete authority and leadership over his subjects.

Their settlements were of different types, these were called polis or cities, civitates, castella and vici. The cities were a city-state, where its urban area was more developed and the agricultural zone was independent of this.

the civitates they were autonomous political entities, of indigenous origin, which may or may not have an urban structure. While the vici and castella, represented smaller settlements, corresponding to towns and castros typical of these towns, documented by archeology.

Their social organization was composed of a dominant group that it was the gentile aristocracy and the military. This aristocracy was made up of the owners of herds and cattle, on which they built the foundations of their prestige. The political body of the aristocracy was the council of elders, but in this period it was no longer associated with age, they were in charge of presenting proposals to the Assembly, the latter were in charge of choosing the military commander.

Their economy was mixed, they were engaged in both agriculture and livestock. They cultivated cereals, legumes and vineyards, in addition, they raised cattle for their livelihood and trade.

They were known for his warrior spirit and his great skill in combat, they were spoken of as brave, fierce and experts in the use of weapons. They defended themselves against invaders, but they also participated in looting and other types of raids. They used their skill in crafting high-quality weapons and tools to gain an advantage in any battle.

As for religion, very little is known, it is known that it occupied an important place in the life of this civilization. They were polytheists and performed rituals that sometimes included sacrifices, in order to honor and obtain the favor of their gods. Her pantheon is represented by certain Celtic deities, such as Lug warrior god or Matres goddess of fertility.

Where were the Celtiberians?

They inhabited the eastern part of the plateauand one of its basic urban centers was located in the current province of Soria, which was formerly known as Numancia, in addition, they spread to the south, until they reached part of Teruel and the province of Cuenca.

Each one of the different tribes of the Celtiberians had its location, for example: the Arevacos and the Pelendones controlled that place called ‘Later Celtiberia‘, made up of the scoop of Soria, a large part of Guadalajara, the source of the Tagus River, half of the eastern part of Segovia, and the southeast of Burgos.

Secondly, the land of the titos, beautiful and lusones, also known as ‘Celtiberia Citerior‘, who inhabited the lands around the rivers Jalón, Alto Tajuña, Jiloca and Huerva.

What were the contributions of the Celtiberians to humanity?

Although they did not leave a legacy as extensive and lasting as other cultures in antiquity, important contributions are recognized, such as:

metallurgical culturewere experts in the manufacture of weapons, tools and ornamental work, his skill in casting and forging metals It allowed them to develop a quality arsenal, a legacy that was transmitted through time in humanity.

the warrior spiritbeing a population recognized for its courage and its skills in war, left a mark on the military history of the Iberian Peninsula.

cultural influencethe fusion of Celtic and Iberian culture generated a unique tradition and beliefs in the territory, its legacy can be seen in its iconography, ceramics and other aspects that reflect its identity.

When were the Celtiberians in Spain?

Its presence in the Iberian Peninsula was from the 13th BC to the 1st to the 2nd century BC During this period they settled in various regions of what we know today as Spain and Portugal.

That is, they ranged from the end of the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, and they managed to maintain themselves until the Romanization of the peninsula.