Last Coin

Area: Hispania Citerior: Arekorata (Numantia)
Period: Late 2nd Cent. BC
Denomination: AR Denarius/ Drachm?
Obverse: Male head right, wearing beaded necklace; pellet in circle behind.
Reverse: Horseman galloping to right with couched spear; Iberian 'arekorata' below.
Reference: ACIP 1775; AB 104; CNH 26; Heiss pl. xxxi, 12; Vives pl. xl, 11; GCV 34
Weight: 3.4 gms
Diameter: 18.3 mm


The history of Numantia is linked to the insurrections of the Celtiberians against the abuses of the Romans: the first of importance was in 197, which caused Cato to attack the towns of the Meseta; disturbances again occurred in 193 when the Arevaci helped the Vetones, Vaccaei, and Lusitani, causing Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus to attack them in 180. He defeated them near the Moncayo and reached a peace agreement which lasted until 154, the date of the great rising of the Celtiberians and the Lusitani. The insurrection began in Segeda (Belmonte), and Q. Fulvius Nobilior moved against it with an army of 30,000 men. The Belli and the Titi took refuge in Numantia with their chieftain Caros. Nobilior razed Segeda and in August 153 advanced on Numantia. He was fiercely attacked by the Celtiberians, defeated at Uxama (Osma) and Ocilis, and forced to take refuge in the Renieblas camp, where he spent the winter of 153-152 B.C. He relinquished his command to his successor, M. Claudius Marcellus, who skillfully pacified the region. A peace treaty was signed in 151, which lasted until 143, despite the atrocities of Lucullus at Cauca (Coca) and elsewhere. In 144 the Viriathus rising ended in a peace agreement; Q. Caecilius Metellus, after conquering Contrebia, the Lusitanian capital, and the tribes in the Jalon valley, laid waste the territory of the Vaccaei and attacked the Arevaci who took refuge in Numantia and Termantia (142). The war was resumed in 137 by C. Hostilius Mancinus, who was roundly defeated and capitulated, but the Senate again refused to recognize the peace agreement and left the Roman general to the mercy of the Numantians, naked, shackled, and on his knees before the walls of the town.

Finally in 134 Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus reorganized the demoralized army, seized supplies from the Vaccaei, and blockaded the hill town with a circumvallation 9 km long, supported by six camps, with wall, ditch, and towers. Against the 10,000 Numantians, of which only 4000 were under arms, Scipio deployed 60,000 men, elephants, slingers, and Jugurtha's Numidian archers, cavalry furnished by Spanish auxiliaries, and 300 catapults. But it was hunger which finally defeated Numantia. Scipio refused to accept any terms other than unconditional surrender and the laying down of arms, so the defenders burned the town and most of them killed themselves. Only a few surrendered. Numantia was reduced to ashes in the summer of 133, after a nine-month siege, and reconstruction of the town was forbidden. In the triumph Rome gave to Scipio in 132, so poor was Numantia that only seven denarii could be distributed to each soldier.

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