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People of Cantabri

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Monument showing a Cantabrian in Santander (Spain)
Monument showing a Cantabrian in Santander (Spain). | Photo: Year of the Dragon | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Strabo, a Greek geographer and historian from the 1st century BCE in his work Geography mentions the people of Cantabria with whom Rome was at war in the years 29-19 BCE They were finally defeated only in 19 BCE by the troops of Marcus Agrippa. The war was the last phase of the Roman conquest of Spain.

The Cantabras were an Indo-European Celtic people, inhabiting the northwestern territories of the Iberian Peninsula, which had been independent of Rome for a long time.

The Cantabrian lands became part of the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis. The IV legion was stationed in Palencia. However, until the end of the Roman Empire, the degree of their romanization remained low. The Cantabras formed auxiliary units in the Roman army, which, inter alia, participated in the conquest of Britain by Emperor Claudius.

The geographer remembers with astonishment that the members of the tribe, when nailed to the crosses, sang their triumphant songs. According to him, it was supposed to be a symptom of madness and courage.

  • Strabo, Geography

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