Map of the Roman Empire - Lusitania

Lusitania
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Ancient Lusitania A difficult area to conquer but proven to be a very profitable province of ancient Rome, along with Baetica and Tarraconensis.

Lusitania (Portuguese: LusitÔnia) was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain (the present autonomous community of Extremadura and a small part of the province of Salamanca). It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people (an Indo-European people). Its capital was Emerita Augusta (currently MÚrida, Spain), and it was initially part of the Roman Republic province of Hispania Ulterior, before becoming a province of its own in the Roman Empire.

Roman Province. With Lusitania (and Asturia and Gallaecia), Rome had completed the conquest of the Iberian peninsula, which was then divided by Augustus (25ľ20 BC) into the eastern and northern Hispania Tarraconensis, the southwestern Hispania Baetica and the western Provincia Lusitana. Originally, Lusitania included the territories of Asturia and Gallaecia, but these were later ceded to the jurisdiction of the new Provincia Tarraconensis and the former remained as Provincia Lusitania et Vettones. Its northern border was along the Douro river, while on its eastern side its border passed through Salmantica and Caesarobriga to the Anas (Guadiana) river. The capital of Lusitania was Augusta Emerita (currently MÚrida) in Spain. Modern Coimbra was the Roman city of Aeminium, and near modern Condeixa-a-Nova was the Roman city of ConÝmbriga. ConÝmbriga was not the largest city of Lusitania, but it is the best preserved. Built on a long-inhabited site, it was sacked by the Suevi in 468 and its inhabitants fled to Aeminium, which inherited its name and is nowadays known as Coimbra. ConÝmbriga's city walls are largely intact, and the mosaic floors (illustration, left) and foundations of many houses and public buildings remain. In the baths, visitors can view the network of stone heating ducts (the hypocaust) beneath the now-missing floors. Archaeologists estimate that, though excavations began in 1898, only 10% of the city has been excavated. Under Diocletian, Lusitania kept its borders and was ruled by a praeses, later by a consularis; finally, in 298 AD, it was united with the other provinces to form the Diocesis Hispaniarum ("Diocese of the Hispanias"). - Wikipedia

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Lusitania LUSITA┤NIA
LUSITA┤NIA (? ??s?ta??a, ? ??s?ta????, Strab.; ???s?ta??a, Diod. Sic., Ptol., Steph. B. sub voce: Eth. ??s?ta???, Lusitani), originally denoted the country of the Lusitani, but is commonly used in a wider sense, as the name of one of the three provinces, into which Hispania was divided by Augustus. (HISPANIA p. 1081, Nos. 3, 4).

1. Extent and Boundaries.
Like the modern Portugal, it lay on the W. side of the peninsula, extending from its SW. point (SACRUM PR., C. S. Vincent), eastwards to the mouth of the ANAS (Guadiana), and northwards along the W. coast; but here, as well as in the interior, the boundaries of the two countries were very different; Lusitania occupying only two-thirds of the W. coast, and Portugal more than three-fourths. The former had its N. boundary at the DURIUS (Douro), the latter at the MINIUS (Mi˝o) ; and the Portuguese province, called Entre Douro e Minho, as lying between these rivers, as well as that of Traz os Montes E. of it, were anciently the part of GALLAECIA which belonged to the Calla´ci Bracarii. But on the E. side, inland, Lusitania had a much wider extent than Portugal. Both rest on the same base, as their S. side, namely the coast between C. S. Vincent and the mouth of the Guadiana, and at first the boundary runs N. nearly along the same line, namely the course of the Guadiana, the slight difference being in favour of Portugal, which has a slip on the E. side of the river. But, from a point on the river, a little below Badajoz, and a little above its intersection with the Meridian of 7░ W. long., the boundaries diverge ; that of Portugal taking a general direction N. with a slight bearing to the E., till it strikes the Douro at its great bend from SW. to NW. (where the Agueda joins it), and running up the river to its great bend in the opposite direction, below the Esla; while that of Lusitania continued up the Anas eastward, towards the middle of the Peninsula, to a point considerably above METELLINUM (but not very certainly defined), whence it followed a N. direction to the Durius, which it met at a point below the river Pistoraca (also not very well defined). Thus, Lusitania contained, on this side, the N. part of Spanish Estremadura, and the S. part of Leon; and the part of the province thus lying E. of Modern Portugal, corresponds very nearly to the territory of the VETTONES These are the boundaries of the Roman province, as constituted under Augustus; but there are considerable variations in the extent assigned to the country by various writers, especially according as the word is used, in the wider sense, for the province, or in the narrower meaning, for the country of the Lusitani. In this first and narrowest sense, it included only the district between the Tagus and the Durius, from the Atlantic on the W., to about the present frontier of Portugal on the E. Next, the supposed or actual connection of these people with their Northern neighbours, the Calla´ci, Artabri, and Astures, led to their being, at least in part, included under the same name, and accordingly Strabo defines Lusitania as the country N. of the Tagus, bounded on the W. & N. by the Ocean. (Strab. iii. p.153.) But just above he says, that the greater part of the Lusitani, meaning those N. of the Durius, had obtained the name of Calla´ci; and elsewhere he expressly states that the whole region N. of the Durius, which was formerly called Lusitania, was now called Calla´ca. (iii. p. 166.) On the E., says Strabo (l.c.), it bordered on the Carpetani, Vettones, Vaccaei, and Calla´ci, and other tribes of less note ; and he adds that these also were sometimes called Lusitani, thus pointing to the extension of the name towards the east. Then, again, on the S. of the Tagus, where the country seems originally to have belonged to the TURDETANI with an intermixture of Celtic tribes [CELTICI], the long and obstinate wars carried on by the Romans drove many of the Lusitanians and their allies into the district, which thus came naturally to be included under the name of Lusitania. (Strab. iii. p.139.) Finally, under Augustus, the boundaries were fixed as above stated.

2. Dimensions.
Agrippa, as quoted by Pliny, assigned to the province, together with Asturia and Gallaecia, a width of 536 M. P.; and a length of 540 M. P. (Plin. Nat. 4.21. s. 35.) Strabo makes its length 3000 stadia, and its width considerably less (iii. p. 153, as amended by Xylander: it should be remembered that the width is reckoned, as Strabo expressly says, along the E. side, i. e. from N. to S., in conformity with his general views respecting the form of the peninsula, which are explained under HISANIA).

3. Physical Geography.
Strabo's description of Lusitania (l.c.) as lofty and rugged on the E. side, and level towards the sea, with the exception of minor ridges of mountains, is tolerably correct. A more exact account of its relation to the whole formation of the surface of the peninsula is given under HISPANIA ( ž v. No. 5. pp. 1085, 1086), together with a description of the coast and the chief promontories. Its surface is roughly divided by the MONS HERMINIUS (Sierra de Estrella), which ends in the peninsula of Lisbon, into the two great basins of the Tagus and the Durius; but it is also intersected by numerous offsets from the great central chains of the peninsula. Besides the great river TAGUS which bisects it, there are several others, of more or less importance, which flow in the same general direction, and fall into the sea on the W. coast; but of these none require special notice, except the Callipus (?a???p???, Sadao), which flows N. from the M. Cuneus in the extreme S., and falls into the sea, SE. of the Tagus, and the MUNDA (Mondego) and VACUA ( Vouga), between the Tagus and the Durius.1 [2.219]

The country, being irrigated by these rivers, and penetrated by their navigable streams, as well as enriched by the gold and silver found in their beds and in mines, was rich and fertile, Strabo tells us; but its prosperity was greatly checked by the predatory habits of its people, who neglected the culture of the soil, to give themselves up to war and robbery. This evil tendency, however, he ascribes chiefly to the mountaineers, by whose attacks the inhabitants of the lowlands were involved in the same disorder. (Strab. iii. p.154.)

4. Population.
The province, as finally constituted, contained the countries of five chief peoples, and of innumerable petty tribes, most of whom, however, may be included among these five. Thus, for example, the 30 (some read 50) tribes (????), mentioned by Strabo, between the Tagus and the Artabri, are doubtless but subdivisions of the Calla´ci and Lusitani. The five chief peoples of Lusitania (the Roman province) were:--(1.) The LUSITANI, on the W. coast between the Durius and the Tagus, and extending also (as explained above) S. of the latter river. (2.) E. of them the VETTONES between the Darius and the Anas. (3.) S. of these two were the TURDULI VETERES, a branch of the ancient population of Baetica, who (according to the common opinion of the ancients) had crossed the Anas; but whose presence should perhaps rather be referred to an ancient occupation of the country up to the Tagus. (4.) S. of them again, in the district between the lower course of the Anas and the S. and W. coasts, were a branch of the TURDETANI to whom similar remarks apply. (5.) Lastly, in various positions, we find remnants of the old Celtic population, preserving the name of CELTICI. The chief traces of them are on the SE. of the lower Tagus, between it and the great bend of the Anas, where they were mingled with the Turduli; and among the Turdetani, in the extreme S., where they seem to have taken up their position in the mountainous district between the termination of the W. coast and the Anas (Algarbe), which the ancients called CUNEUS and where they bore the distinctive name of CONII (Comp. HISPANIA p. 1087. ž vii.) The particulars respecting these peoples, their chief cities, and so forth, are given under the several articles: in this place we have to deal only with the Lusitanians, properly so called.

5. The LUSITANI (??s?ta???, Strab.; ???s?ta???, Diod., Ptol.)
The Lusitani are designated by Strabo as ôthe greatest of the nations of Iberia, and the one most frequently and longest engaged in war with the Romans,ö a distinction which, certainly, not even the Celtiberians could dispute with them. The history of the wars referred to has been given in outline under HISPANIA and that of their last great contest may be read in the histories of Rome and under VIRIATHUS (Dict. of Biog.). The incidents of that war seem to prove that though the Lusitani formed a compact state, under one national government,

STRABO. MELA. PLINY. PTOLEMY. APPIAN. MODERN.
Tagus. Tagus. Tagus Tagus. Tagus. Tajo.
Mundas. Monda. Munda. Mondas. Tagus. Mondego.
Vacua. Monda. Vacca. Vacus. Tagus. Vouga.
Durius. Durius. Durius. Durius. Durius. Douro.
ôOther Rivers.ö Avus Avo Celandus Ave.
? t?? ????? or Limaea, or Belion, s. c. Oblivionis. Naebis. Durius. Nebis. Naebis. Cavado.
Naebis, Minius. Limia, or Limaeas. Limias. Limicis, or Lethes. Lima.
or Minius, Limia. Minius. Minius. Minius. Minho.

its force was impaired by a certain defect of real union among the numerous minor peoples of whom Strabo speaks. (Niebuhr, Lectures on Anc. Ethnog. and Geog. vol. ii. p. 297.) The full account of their manners and customs, given by Strabo (iii. pp. 154--156), may be more conveniently studied in the original than repeated here in its many details.

6. Lusitania as a Roman Province.
(LUSITANIA PROVINCIA, Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 31, No. 383.) The position of Lusitania, after its conquest by the Romans, first as a part of Hispania Ulterior, and already under Julius Caesar tending to a separate constitution; its formation into a distinct province, under Augustus; its civil and military governments; its three conventus of EMERITA AUGUSTA, PAX JULIA, and SCALABIS with the number and rank of the towns included in them; and its position under the later empire, are all given under HISPANIA (pp. 1081, 1082).

7. Cities and Towns
(Those of the VETTONES are given under the article.)--The city of Lisbon (Port.Lisboa) was, under the same name [OLISIPO], the ancient capital of the Lusitanians, and though the Romans degraded it from that rank, in favour of their own military colonies, it remained a place of great commercial importance. Its political rank was transferred, under the Romans, to SCALABIS (Santarem), a colony, and seat of a conventus juridicus, higher up the river, on its right bank. But the true Roman capital was EMERITA AUGUSTA (Merida) in the SE. of the province, on the right bank of the Anas, a colony founded by Augustus. The chief roads leading through the province from Emerita, with the places on them, were as follows: 1. From EMERITA, E. and then NE. to CAESAR-AUGUSTA ôper Lusitaniam,ö as the Itinerary expressly says, although it lies entirely S. of the Anas (Itin. Ant. pp. 444, 445); thus suggesting a doubt whether the boundary of Lusitania was not carried as far S. as the M. MARIANUS (Sierra Morena): the places on the road, which are commonly assigned to Baetica, are: CONTOSOLIA, 12 M. P. (Alange?) MIROBRIGA 36 M. P. (Capilla); Sisalone, or SISAPO, 13 M. P. (Almaden); CARCUVIUM, 20 M. P. (Caracuel?); AD TURRES, 26 M. P. (Calatrava?), where, if not sooner, the roads enter the ORETANI 2. From EMERITA, due N. to SALMANTICE (Salamanca) and ASTURICA, through the territory of the VETTONES (Itin. Ant. p. 433: for the places see VETTONES). 2. From EMERITA, NW. to the TAGUS and down the right side of the river to OLISIPO (Itin. Ant. pp. 419, 4202): PLAGIARIA 30 M. P. (RaposÚra, CortÚs; El-Commandante, Lapie); AD VII ARAS, 20 M. P. (Codesera, CortÚs, Arronches, Mentelle and Lapie); MONTOBRIGA, 14 M. P. (vulg. Mundobriga, Marvao, Resend. Antiq. Lus. p. 58, Florez, Esp. S. vol. xiii. p. 66, CortÚs, Ukert; Partalegre, Lapie; it seems to be the Medobriga of the Bell. Alex. 48, and the town of the Medubricenses Plumbarii of Plin. Nat. 4.21. s. 35); FRAXINUS 30 M. P., on or near the left bank of the Tagus (Amieira, CortÚs; Villa Velha, Lapie); TUBUCCI 32 M. P. (Abrantes or Punhete?); SCALABIS 32 M. P., a colony and conventus, with the surname PRAESIDIUM JULIUM [2.220] (Plin. l.c. Santarem, Florez, Esp. S. vol. xiii p. 69, xiv. p. 171); JERABRIGA, 32 M. P. (Arabriga, Plin. l.c.; ???▀???a, Ptol. 2.5.7; Alanquer, Florez, Esp. S. vol. xiv. p. 174); OLISIPO 30 M.P. 4. From EMERITA, W. to OLISIPO curving round to the N.: PLAGIARIA 30 M. P. (vide sup.); BUDUA, 8 M. P. (S. Maria de Bedoya CortÚs, Campo Mayor, Lapie; the river Bodoa preserves the name); AD VII. ARAS, 12 M. P. (vid. sup.) MATUSARO, 8 M. P., ABELTERIUM, 24 M. P. (it seems that these names are inverted, and that the latter is Alter da Chao, and the former Puente do Sora); ARITIUM PRAETORIUM 28 M. P. (Salvatierra, or Benavente, both close together on the left bank of the Tagus); OLISIPO 38 M. P. 5. From EMERITA to OLISIPO W. with a curve to the S. (Itin. Ant. pp. 416--418): EVANDRIANA, 8 M. P. (??a?d??a, Ptol. 2.5.8); DIPO, 17 M. P.; AD ADRUM FLUMEN, 12 M. P.; EBORA 9 M. P. (Evora). Here is a difficulty: the last is a well-known place, but the distance is evidently much too small; and the various attempts made to identify the intermediate positions rest on no sufficient data. The alteration of Ad Adrum to Ad Anam has no sign in the MSS. to bear it out. It seems,--on the whole, most likely that the route intended is that of the great road through Talavera la Real, Badajoz, and Elvas. From Ebora, it proceeds thus :--SALACIA 44 M. P., surnamed URBS IMPERATORIA, a municipium, with the Old Latin Franchise (Alcašer do Sal.; Plin. Nat. 4.35, 8.73; Mela, 3.1; Marc. Herac. p. 42; Inscr. ap. Gruter, pp. 13, 16; Florez, Esp. S., vol. xiii. p. 115, xiv. p. 241); MALECECA 26 M. P. (Marateca?); CAECILIANA, 26 M. P. (Agnalva, or Pinheiro, or Seixola? ); CATOBRIGA, 8 M. P. (Cetobriga, Geog. Rav. 4.43; ?a?t?▀???, Ptol. 2.5.3; ?ast?▀??? Marc. Herac. p. 42; Ru. on the headland at the mouth of the estuary of the Callipus, Sado, near Setubal; Resend. Antiq. Lus. iv. p. 210; Mentelle, p. 87); EQUABONA 12 M. P. (Coyna); OLISIPO 12 M. P. The country S. of this road was traversed by others, connecting EBORA with PAX JULIA and both with the Anas and the S coast; namely :--6. (Itin. Ant. pp. 426, 427.) From ESURIS (opp. Ayamonte) at the mouth of the Anas, in Baetica, W. along the coast to BALSA 24 M. P. (Tavira) ; OSSONOBA 16 M. P. (Estoy, N. of Faro, by C. de S. Maria); thence the road struck inland across the mountains of the Cuneus (Algarbe), and down the valley of the Callipus (Salo), to ARANNI, or ARANDIS 60 M. P. (Ourique), SALACIA 35 M. P. (vid. sup.), and EBORA 44 M. P. (vid. sup.). The course pursued from EBORA by SERPA 14 M. P., FINES 20 M. P., and ARUCCI, 25 M. P., to PAX JULIA 30 M. P. (Beja), is so intricate as to prove an error in the Itinerary, which commentators have sought in vain to amend. 7. The direct road from ESURIS to PAX JULIA is given thus (Itin. Ant. p. 431):--MYRTILIS 40 M. P. (Mertola); PAX JULIA 36 M. P. 8. A direct road from SALACIA to OSSONOBA is also mentioned, but the distance, 16 M. P., is absurdly wrong (Itin. Ant. p. 418). 9. From OLISIPO a great road ran parallel to the coast, up to the mouth of the Durius and BRACARA AUGUSTA thus (Itin. Ant. pp. 420--422): JERABRIGA, 30 M. P. (vid. sup.); Scalabis, 32 M. P. (vid. sup.); SELIIUM, 32 M. P. (Pombal?); CONEMBRICA 34 M. P. (Coimbra, or further S.); EMINIUM, 10 M. P. (Agueda, Mintro, or Carvalhos? site very uncertain), TALABRIGA 40 M. P. (Aveiro); LANGOBRIGA 18 M. P. (near Feira); CALEM, 13 M. P. (Oporto); BRACARA, 35 M. P. (Braga); the last two, though originally Lusitanian, belong, according to the common division, to the Calla´ci Bracarii. Other places, not important enough to require further notice, will be found in the lists of Ptolemy (2.5). and Ukert (vol. ii. pt. 1. pp. 387--399). [P.S]

1 The discrepancies among the ancient writers respecting the names of the rivers between the Tagus and the Minius have been noticed under GALLAECIA : the following conspectus, by Groskurd, of their various statements, may be useful:--

2 The numbers on all the roads from Emerita to Olisipo are very corrupt: they do not agree with the totals given at the head of each route; and many of them are evidently too short.  - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.

 

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