¡Buenos días! So you want to learn about ancient Iberia and the ways of love, eh? Oh, I see. You Americans only want to learn about Iberia. That is not so surprising to me. Very well. A quick show of hands if you've read Plutarch's account of Sertorius in Lusitania. No? How many of you are familiar with Iberian weapons? No? Can anyone point out Iberia on a map? Do any of you know what a map is? Oh my. Since this is a remedial class, I'll speak slowly enough so that even Arizona State University alumni can understand.
The Iberians lived in tribal communities on the Mediterranean coast of Hispania. Their coastal settlements facilitated extensive trade with the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians...as well as much desired tan and ruddy complexion. Which is why the Romans invaded. Yes, our silver mines were attractive but the real draw was our sunny beaches. And our knowledge in the ways of love. Italian men boast that they're the best lovers but everything they know, they learned from us! I've uploaded a map of Hispania with Iberia colored in gold. ASU alumni may color in the rest of the map for extra credit, assuming you all haven't eaten your crayons.
Many Iberian warriors favored the Gladius Hispaniensis, a stabbing sword so effective that
Some warriors favored the falcata, a 2 foot curved sword that was capable of crushing helmets and lopping off limbs. As for myself, I use mine to shave with. Feel my cheek...smooth as a baby's bottom, no?The fearlessness and sword skills of the Iberians made them fearsome warriors. They served Hannibal well during the Second Punic war and were much sought after as mercenaries. Need I mention that they were also the greatest lovers the world had ever known? But I digress...
People think Iberians fought exclusively through raids and ambushes and were incapable of sustained stand-up fighting. Professor Fernando Sanz rebuts these assumptions in his superb paper "Not so different: individual fighting techniques and battle tactics of Roman and Iberian armies..." linked here. He demonstrates that Mid-Republican Romans and Iberians fought in a similar fashion and that Iberians fought pitched battles in close-order formations. It's an excellent read if you have a few minutes and download-worthy if you don't.
Which brings me to my last point. There's a reason Roman and Iberian armies were not so different. Simply put, the Italians were copycats. They loved our scutum shields, gladius swords and javelins, so they copied them. They loved our beaches, our tan, ruddy complexions, and our ways with the ladies. Since they couldn't copy that, they occupied our lands to be more like us, spending HUNDREDS of years subduing Hispania. Long before Napoleon, we were a Spanish Ulcer for the Roman empire!
I'd like to direct my final comments to the Americans. Your country, she is 243 years old, no? You must be very proud of her. Of course you are! Oh, did I mention I live in a fine Spanish house that is 550 years old? Think about that. ¡Hasta luego!