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Cisalpine Gaul, the Two Spains, the Two Africas (Numidia and Carthage), and

Macedonia, including Greece. And to these already vast dominions must be

added many minor dependencies in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean,

while all the remaining fragments of the Empire of Alexander the Great but

awaited the inevitable absorption. As yet the influence of Rome was but

slightly felt among the barbarian nations of Northern and Central Europe.

In the epoch of which we speak the most threatening foreign relations of

the Republic arose from difficulties in Spain. At the beginning of the

second century B. C. that country had been subjugated by Marcus Porcius

Cato. The authority of Rome was established, but rested mainly on the

eastern borders of the peninsula. The native tribes of the interior and the

north were still unsubdued; but the towns in those regions offered few

inducements to the cupidity of the Roman general, and not many efforts were

made towards the further conquest of the country.

In the year B. C. 154, while Cato was in his usual vein insisting that

Carthage must be destroyed, war broke out among the Celtiberians. The town

of Segeda, a Roman dependency, undertook the extension of its walls, but

was ordered to desist. It was said that such a course was contrary to the

existing treaty. The authorities replied that the treaty stipulated only

the building of new towns, and not the improvement of old ones. The demand

for tribute and a contingent of soldiers was also refused, and the people

armed themselves for resistance. When the consul Fulvius Nobilior proceeded

against the insurgents, they marched out and defeated him in battle. They

then retired to Numantia, and were received by the people of that city. In

a second engagement the Romans were again worsted, inasmuch that the

Lusitanians, encouraged by the example of a successful revolt, also took up

arms and added a third defeat to the list of consular set backs.

In the year 152, a treaty was concluded with the insurrectionary tribes,

who consented, on condition of Roman protection, to pay tribute and give

hostages for good conduct. In the following year, when Lucullus assumed the

government-having taken the same with the hope of gathering much booty from

the Spanish towns-he was disgusted to find that peace had already been

established. It only remained for him to stir up a war with other tribes

whose offense consisted in doing nothing to offend. In the mean time an

event had occurred in Lusitania which illustrated the worst phase of Roman

official character.

Sulpicius Galba had been sent to that country to adjust the difficulties

growing out of the recent revolt. By him the Lusitanian ambassadors were

received with the greatest apparent good will. He entered into friendly

conferences with them, and it was agreed that the people should be removed

to a more fertile district, and that Rome should protect them in the

removal. A great multitude of the tribe was accordingly gathered together

preparatory to the removal, but when their arms had been given up, the

Roman soldiers fell upon them and slaughtered the whole band, with the

exception of a few who made their escape. So black was the perfidious

cruelty of the transaction that for once the Senate disavowed the deed of

its subordinate. Galba was impeached by Cato, but the wealth and eloquence

of the criminal enabled him to escape the punishment which he had so richly


In the breasts of the survivors of the massacre all the slumbering fury of

their nature was aroused. What good thing-what show of justice-could they

ever expect at the hands of their tormentors? So reasoned old Variathus,

the chief man of the nation, who, swearing eternal vengeance against the

oppressors of his people, began a war of extermination. With consummate

ability he raised an army, and planted himself in the hills. He became a

veteran in every species of war-craft. With superior knowledge of the

country, he beat back his foes at every approach. His blows fell like

thunderbolts in the faces of his assailants, and they recoiled like wounded


For ten successive years one consular army after another was defeated by

this untaught general of the mountains. Even Quintus Fabius AEmilianus was

hurled back like the rest;