(Ἱσπανία). An extensive country, forming a kind of peninsula, in the southwest of Europe; the modern Spain and Portugal. It was bounded on the north by the Pyrenees and Sinus Cantabricus or Bay of Biscay, on the west by the Atlantic, on the south by the Atlantic, Fretum Herculeum or Strait of Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean, which last bounds it also on the east. By the Romans, Spain was represented by the figure of a woman with a rabbit at her side. The Romans borrowed the name Hispania, appending their own termination to it, from the Phnicians, through whom they first became acquainted with the country. The Greeks called it Ἰβηρία (Lat. Iberia), but attached at different periods different ideas to the name. Up to the time of the Achaean League and their more intimate acquaintance with the Romans, they understood by this name all the sea-coast from the Pillars of Hercules to the mouth even of the Rhodanus (Rhone) in Gaul (Polyb. iii. 37). The coast of Spain on the Atlantic they called Tartessis ( Herod.i. 163). The interior of the country they termed Celtic (Κελτική), a name which they applied, in fact, to the whole northwestern part of Europe. The Greeks in after-ages understood by Iberia the whole of Spain. The name Iberia is derived from the Iberi (Ἴβηρες) of whom the Greeks had heard as one of the most powerful nations of the country. The Roman poets called the country Hesperia Ultima. For a map of Hispania, see the article Provincia.
The origin of the ancient population of Spain is altogether uncertain. The Iberi, according to the ancient writers, were divided into six tribes; the Cynetes, Gletes, Tartessii, Elbysinii, Mastieni, and Calpiani. Diodorus Siculus (v. 31 foll.) mentions the invasion of Spain by the Kelts. The Iberi made war against them for a long time, but, after an obstinate resistance on the part of the natives, the two people entered into an agreement, according to which they were to possess the country in common, bear the same name, and remain forever united; such, says the same historian, was the origin of the Celtiberi in Spain. These warlike people, continues Diodorus, were equally formidable as cavalry and infantry; for, when the horse had broken the enemy's ranks, the men dismounted and fought on foot. Their dress consisted of a sagum, or coarse woollen mantle; they wore greaves made of hair, an iron helmet adorned with a red feather, a round buckler, and a broad two-edged sword, of so fine a temper as to pierce through the enemy's armour. Although they boasted of cleanliness in both their food and dress, it was not unusual for them to wash their teeth and bodies with urine, a custom which they considered favourable to health. Wine was brought into the country by foreign merchants. The land was equally distributed, and the harvests were divided among all the citizens; the law punished with death the person who appropriated more than his just share. They sacrificed human victims to their divinities, and the priests pretended to read future events by inspecting the entrails. At every full moon they celebrated the festival of a god without a name; from this circumstance, their religion has been considered a sort of deism.
The Phnicians were the first people who established colonies on the coast of Spain. Tartessus was perhaps the most ancient; at a later period they founded Gades (Cadiz). They carried on there a very lucrative trade, inasmuch as the country was unknown to other nations; but, in time, the Rhodians, the Samians, the Phocaeans, and other Greeks established settlements on different parts of the coast. Carthage had been founded by the Phnicians; but the inhabitants, regardless of their connection with that people, took possession of the Phnician stations, and conquered the whole of maritime Spain. The government of these people was still less supportable. The Carthaginians were unable to form any friendly intercourse with the [p. 828] Spaniards in the interior. The ruin of Carthage paved the way for new invaders, and Spain was considered a Roman province two centuries before the Christian era. Those who had been the allies became masters of the Spaniards, and the manners, customs, and even language of the conquerors were introduced into the peninsula. But Rome paid dearly for her conquest; the northor the present Old Castile, Aragon, and Cataloniawas constantly in a state of revolt. The mountaineers shook off the yoke, and it was not before the reign of Augustus that the country was wholly subdued.
The peninsula was then divided into Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. Hispania Citerior was also called Tarraconensis, from Tarraco, its capital, and extended from the foot of the Pyrenees to the mouth of the Durius (Douro), on the Atlantic shore; comprehending all the north of Spain, together with the south as far as a line drawn below Carthago Nova (Carthagena), and continued in an oblique direction to Salamantica (Salamanca), on the Durius. Hispania Ulterior was divided into two provinces, Baetica, on the south of Spain, between the Anas (Guadiana) and Citerior, and above it Lusitania, corresponding in a great degree, though not entirely, to Portugal. In the age of Diocletian and Constantine, Tarraconensis was subdivided into a province towards the limits of Baetica, and adjacent to the Mediterranean, called Carthaginiensis, from its chief city Carthago Nova, and another, north of Lusitania, called Gallaecia from the Callaici. The province of Lusitania was partly peopled by the Cynetes or Cynesii. The Celtici possessed the land between the Anas and the Tagus. The Lusitani, a nation of freebooters, were settled in the middle of Estremadura. The part of Baetica near the Mediterranean was peopled by the Bastuli Poeni. The Turduli inhabited the shores of the ocean, near the mouth of the Baetis. The Baeturi dwelt on the Montes Mariani, and the Turdetani inhabited the southern slope of the Sierra de Aracena. The last people, more enlightened than any other in Baetica, were skilled in different kinds of industry long before their neighbours. When the Phnicians arrived on their coasts, silver was so common among them that their ordinary utensils were made of it. The people in Gallaecia, a subdivision of Tarraconensis, were the Artabri, who derived their name from the promontory of Artabrum, now Cape Finisterre; the Bracari, whose chief town was Bracara, the present Braga; and lastly the Lucenses, the capital of whose country was Lucus Augusti, now Lugo. These tribes and some others formed the nation of the Callaici or Callaeci. The Astures, now the Asturians, inhabited the banks of the Asturis, or the country on the east of the Gallaecian mountains. Their capital was Asturica Augusta, now Astorga. The Vaccaei, the least barbarous of the Celtiberians, cultivated the country on the east of the Astures. The fierce Cantabri occupied Biscay and part of Asturias. The Vascones, the ancestors of the present Gascons, were settled on the north of the Iberus or Ebro. The Iacetani were scattered over the Pyrenaean declivities of Aragon. The Ilergetes resided in the country round Lerida. As to the country on the east of these tribes, the whole of Catalonia was peopled by the Ceretani, Indigetes, Ausetani, Cosetani, and others. The lands on the south of the Ebro were inhabited by the Arevaci and Pelendones; the former were so called from the river Areva; they were settled in the neighbourhood of Arevola, and in the province of Segovia: the latter possessed the high plains of Soria and Moncayo. The space between the mountains of Albaracino and the river was peopled by the Edetani, one of the most powerful tribes of Spain. The Ilercaones, who were not less formidable, inhabited an extensive district between the upper Jucar and the lower Ebro. The country of the Carpetani, or the space from the Guadiana to the Somo-Sierra, forms at present the archiepiscopal see of Toledo. The people on the south of the last were the Oretani, between the Guadiana and the Montes Mariani; and the Olcades, a small tribe near the confluence of the Gabriel and Jucar. Hispania Carthaginiensis, a subdivision of Tarraconensis, was inhabited by two tribes: the Bastitani, in the centre of Murcia, and the Contestani, who possessed the two banks of the Segura, near the shores of the Mediterranean.
Under the Romans all the arts of Latin civilization flourished. Latin was spoken by the educated, and many of the great writers of the Silver Age were SpaniardsMartial, Seneca, Quintilian, Lucan, Silius Italicus, Columella, Pomponius Mela, as also Prudentius and Isidorus in later times. The emperor Trajan was of Spanish birth.
The different tribes were confounded while the Romans governed the country; but, in the beginning of the fifth century, the Suevi, Vandals, and Visigoths invaded the Peninsula, and, mixing with the Kelts and Iberians, produced the different races which the ethnologist still observes in Spain. The first-mentioned people, or Suevi, descended the Durius under the leadership of Ermeric, and chose Braga for the capital of their kingdom. Genseric led his Vandals to the centre of the peninsula, and fixed his residence at Toletum (Toledo); but fifteen years had not elapsed after the settlement of the barbarous horde when Theodoric, conquered by Clovis, abandoned Tolosa (Toulouse), penetrated into Spain, and compelled the Vandals to fly into Africa. During the short period that the Vandals remained in the country, the ancient province of Baetica was called Vandalusia, and all the country, from the Ebro to the Strait of Gibraltar, submitted to them. The ancient Celtiberians, who had so long resisted the Romans, made then no struggle for liberty or independence; they yielded without resistance to their new masters. Powers and privileges were the portion of the Gothic race, and the title of hijo del Goda, or son of the Goth, which the Spaniards changed into hidalgo, became the title of a noble or a free and powerful man among a people of slaves. A number of petty and almost independent States were formed by the chiefs of the conquering tribes; but the barons or freemen acknowledged a liege lord. Spain and Portugal were thus divided, and the feudal system established.
See Dunham, History of Spain and Portugal, 5 vols. (London, 1832); Mariana, The General History of Spain from the Earliest Times (Eng. trans. by Stephens, London, 1699), a very valuable work; Romey, Histoire d'Espagne, 9 vols. (Paris, 1839-50); and Hbner, La Arqueologia de Espaa (Barcelona, 1888).