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THE IBERIAN SOLDIERS

By: José I. Lago.

The old authors describe to the iberos soldiers dressed in white short dress with borders purple and their íberas falcatas in the hand. Probably the dress were not "white", but of the natural color of the wool, like it happens with the Roman gowns, and probably the purple of the borders was not so, but a strip of scarlet color.

In fact, it is evident that all the Spanish soldiers did not dress equal way, far from it, but this indumentaria yes that was most current and by that the Romans identified the Spaniards of the army of Aníbal. An aesthetic one that is most repeated in the ibero art. 

The famous relief of Osuna, Sevilla (Spain), shows the most well-known image of the soldier with its íbera sword.

Warrior with iberian falcata and shield

 

Figure made by Jose Ignacio Lake that represents the typical Spanish infant of the time of the Punic wars, so and as is described by the Roman historians and appears in the relief of Osuna.

 

Magnificent illustration of Jeff Burn that shows a Spanish infant of the army of Aníbal.

 

The Spanish soldiers used a great variety of armors to protect themselves in combat. Simplest he was the pectoral one that then also used the Roman legionaries and who consisted of a metal plate that protected the chest.

In the image of Angus McBride a ceremony is reconstructed in which a soldier asks for the blessing for his falcata before an altar. The soldier takes typical the pectoral one, this one of round type and very decorated, with a lynx head, an original feline of Spain of a great beauty. The soldier also carries a leather helmet, grebas of bronze and a wide bronze belt also of which the case of the íbera falcata hangs.

 

The famous "Glass of the Soldiers" found in San Miguel de Liria shows iberos soldiers armed with levels of grudges, lances and shields of céltico type. Also celta was very used the mesh level, mainly by the celtíberas tribes.

 

Magnificent reconstruction of the real aspect of the soldiers of the previous glass by Angus McBride. In this drawing it can be appraised the íberas falcatas that these soldiers used. 

The most well-known weapon of the iberos is the famous falcata.

Falcata found in Almenedilla, Cordova. One of the best one conserved examples of this beautiful Spanish sword.

 

The falcata is a weapon of Spanish origin, in fact is a streamlined type of gladius Roman hispaniensis or gladius, that after the arrival from Rome to Spain happened to comprise of the Roman fighting equipment. The leaf of the falcata approximately measures about 45 cm. in length, that is to say, the length of the arm. In fact there were not two equal falcatas, since these valuable Roman swords made of order, reason why each one had measures according to the arm of his sir. 

In all Mediterranean the quality of these arms, made with an iron mineral was admired of highest purity. Its flexibility was so that the armorers placed it on their heads doubling them until the end and the grip touched their shoulders. If the Roman sword returned to its straight position when loosen it of blow were an art work, if it were not fused to return to make it. Greek that arrived at Spain took the falcata with himself and had great acceptance, becoming the second used weapon more after the hoplita sword.

Gladius hispaniensis and pugio pertaining to the personal collection of Jose I Lago.

 

The Romans adapted their own grip to gladius, but pugio continued with the typical Spanish grip.

 The iberos used two types of shields: the céltico, made oval, and caetra, that was round and smaller

Magnificent illustration of Peter Connolly who shows a iberos rider and an infant. The infant carries a lance of attack and the frightful soliferrum, a throwable lance as large as a man and completely of iron. Here, both soldiers take leather helmets. The one of the infant, in hood form, has a crest of horsehair of horse dyed of red color.

 

Separate mention deserves the famous honderos of the Balearic islands that formed one of the elite troops more known the Antiquity arriving to comprise of the auxiliary troops of Julio Caesar.

The frightful honderos in a magnificent illustration of Angus McBride.

 

In the tombs, the iberas arms are doubled carefully, made unusable, since, since we have seen in the falcata, they were personal arms, made for each soldier in concrete and they did not have to be used by any other. For that reason they were buried made unusable with his owner. The bond that united to the Spanish soldier with its arms was more important that their own life, for that reason preferred to die before to surrender and to give their arms. Like soldiers, the Spaniards were the cream of the auxiliary troops. 

Punic and Roman they used them widely, mainly to the heavy infantry and the Balearic honderos, whose deadly skill in the handling of the deep era apreciadísima in the Antiquity. Of fact, in Cannas, Aníbal had to alternate Spanish and Gallic companies because it was not entrusted in these last ones and it knew that the Spaniards always fulfilled the orders until the end

Each nation had its own arms and their way to use them. In Spain, when being used the short sword, the formation was in line, net offensive, since gladius is a powerful weapon that of little serves the defensive. Of there the tremendous loss of life caused by the Spaniards in Cannas and later to the legions romanas.  Altogether, the ibera tactics literally was copied by the Romans after the I Punic War. 

The Spanish infant carried the frightful soliferrum, specially designed to perforate any type of shield, even though this one outside metalist. After sending it against the enemy he pulled out of a scabbard his frightful short sword and, protected by his shield celta attacked using the sword for "puncturing", with the arm moving perpendicular to the body. This form to fight, with the protected affluent body, was lethal against an enemy who used his sword for "striking", since he had to discover part of his body when raising it, moment that took advantage of the ibero to cross it with his gladius.

The Romans were made an impression by this form so to fight in Cannas who when they arrived at Spain adopted gladius, now call hispaniesis, like standard weapon. Since the Roman shield, the typical samnita shield, was better than celta and provided greater protection, the Roman legions became authentic machines to prick meat, although in front of the Spanish troops, with whole generations of training to his backs, they underwent great disasters one after another one. Why? because the legion to manipulate nonera the most appropriate unit for this type of tactics, tactics that would find its total yield in the new legions of Mario in which cohortes acted like a block, devastating the enemy lines. Exactly equal to as the Spanish companies would act that Aníbal in Cannas used. Since the Gauls fought in "phalange", that is to say, in compact lines, it is easy to deduce that the Boat supeditó the Gallic tactics to the Spanish and who those companies were normally used by the Spaniards.

 

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