I am in one of those moods. Defiance. LOL.
I was reading some stuff before and I came across a subject that I have always wanted to make a thread about. Its a very personal subject for me being
that it covers my cultural heritage. I want to talk about a place on earth that has never been fully conquered. I want to talk about a place that even
Rome could not subdue, not entirely and not for long.
Asturias is a province in northern spain. It is populated by a stout, merry, fierce, and DEFIANT people. Really it is a place of constant human
occupation since our species has been on earth. From Homo erectus to neanderthal to modern humans. Asturias is as old as dirt.
There have been countless invasions, efforts of conquest, and enemies lusting for our iron, gold, and women. LOL.
They all failed. Hence the saying in Asturias, Spain is Asturias, and the rest is all conquered land.
The most notable enemy we faced was Rome. Rome had taken several centuries to conquer Spain, following Carthage into the iberian peninsula, but never
until the fall of Carthage did they try to conquer it fully.
The conquest of Spain was difficult, but when Rome finally reached northern Spain it seemed impossible.
The Cantabrian Wars (29-19 BC) (Bellum Cantabricum), sometimes also referred to as the Cantabrian and Asturian Wars (Bellum Cantabricum et
Asturicum), were the final stage of the two-century long Roman conquest of Hispania, in what today are the provinces of Cantabria, Asturias and
León, in northwestern Spain.
The northern celtic tribes of Spain were fierce warriors. They were a matriarchal set of societies where women fought side by side with the men. They
were hoarse riding celts. Their horses were really powerful ponies, the Asturcon, and their weapons were incredibly strong and curiously well crafted
steel blades called Falcatas. They were known to be able to slice a roman helmet in half along with who ever was inside it.
A side note to the weapons of choice which were light arms, the Falcatas were so well made that one could take several years to make. They would burry
steel plates in the ground for several years. The natural corrosion would erode the weak parts of the material and then 3 such plates were bound
together in a bloomery. This is European "samurai Katana" type quality swords. LOL. They could slice through armour, bone and all.
Anyways, Rome was bent on conquering the known world after the fall of Carthage. When the Cantabrian wars started they never thought it would take as
much as it did to conquer Asturias and Cantabria.
There is little known about the Asturians by Roman accounts. Probably since most interactions with them were embarrassing. A notable embarrassment was
the loss of a Roman standard to them. Those eagles on poles that Roman legions carried...yeah, the most important ceremonial symbol of a roman legion.
Rome loss many men to Asturias, and never fully conquered them, just subdued them for short periods of time.
It is also worth mention that after the final battles of the cantabrian wars, Ceasar refused the traditional victory celebration in Rome. I dont think
that had ever happened before, nor did it ever after. It must have been a sour victory. Especially since Asturians never lost their religion, language
or traditions no matter how hard Rome tried. Maybe it was out of respect. Who knows, but what is known is that if the emperor Augustus had not gone in
person to oversee the conquest, the whole endeavor would have failed. His troops were ready to surrender in totality, since many had already, or had
been outright obliterated down to the last man.
Augustus sent 8 legions, and 2 auxiliaries, along with 1 naval component. A total of over 50,000 men. This is the force that was needed to subdue, not
conquer, but subdue the Asturians and the Cantabrians. It should be noted, that it took 10 years with this force. 10 years of basically 10 roman
legions and a naval force under constant fighting to quiet a celtic people who fought with short light arms. Daggers, short swords, and spears. They
did use ranged weapons, and cavalry charges as well as all out guerilla warfare. Some cavalry tactics they employed were copied by Rome.
"Sub occasu pacata erat fere omnis Hispania, nisi quam Pyrenaei desinentis scopulis inhaerentem citerior adluebat Oceanus. Hic duae validissimae
gentes, Cantabri et Astures, inmunes imperii agitabant."
("In the west almost all Spain had been subjugated, except that part which adjoins the cliffs where the Pyrenees end and is washed by the nearer
waters of the ocean. Here two powerful nations, the Cantabrians and the Asturians, lived in freedom from the rule of Rome.")
— Lucius Anneus Florus , Epitome de T. Livio Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri duo (Bellum Cantabricum et Asturicum),
It is said that the Romans themselves built a little obelisk in Tarragona dedicated to the impetus of the Astur race, with this inscription: Genio
The Asturian General that led the Asturian armies in the Cantabrian wars was finally captured and crucified. His was named Gauson. Little is known
about him. Again maybe just because no one wrote things down, something very unlikely for Romans, or it because it was all to embarrassing to
Even after the war Rome had to station 2 full legions in Asturias for 70 more years, though they were more a show of force than effective forces
against the uprisings that happened all the time afterwards.
After Augustus left and went home the uncelebrated war hero, he was never fully at ease with northern Spain. He knew that granting semi autonomous
rule for them was the only way to avoid having to go back to lose several more tens of thousands of men.
What followed was a live and let live policy for Asturias since the heavy hand was tried at first but only inspired more rebellion. It seemed to
invigorate them. LOL
It should be noted that Emperor Augustus had to leave the battle and didnt even oversee the victory, he had fallen ill from anxiety and fatigue. He
was pretty pissed and depressed. He really thought he would return to Rome defeated like everyone else Rome had sent to conquer this part of the
world. Gaius Antistius was the one to win, and not because he was a better tactician than the Emperor. It was because the Asturians thought the
Emperor had given up, and they started to get cocky with direct engagements against the Roman troops. They were eventually defeated.
The bright side, well not so bright, but kick ass, they never stopped fighting. Any peace was just a ploy for the next uprising. A time to regroup and
re hatch the war effort. So really, Rome never won. The Asturian warriors considered death without surrender as a victory. They didnt die foolishly.
They just kept fighting. They held it down.
So thats about it. I dont want to make just a wall of text. Here are some pictures. LOL
edit on 4 9 2015 by tadaman because: (no reason given)