After the end of the Punic Wars in the third century BC, Rome focused all its strength on conquering the Iberian Peninsula. Initially, the invasion was successful and Rome conquered most of the peninsula with relative ease. Led by Consul Servius Sulpicius Galba, Roman troops proceeded to eliminate the last remnants of the Lusitan resistance. Fearing the destruction of their lands, the Lusitans sent an emissary to Consul Galba requesting an armistice. Galba obliged, suspending the Roman offensive and promising to leave the remainder of the peninsula to the Lusitanians. As it turned out, Galba had lied. When the Lusitanians attempted to claim the lands they were promised, Galba's army was waiting for them. The unarmed Lusitanians were killed in massive numbers. A man named Viriathus was among the few who managed to escape the massacre. After losing such a substantial amount of troops, Lusitanian military leaders were prepared to negotiate a new treaty with their enemies. Viriathus, however, hadn't forgotten Galba's treachery. Instead of a treaty, he suggested a counteroffensive. The Lusitanians supported this idea wholeheartedly. Viriathus and the Lusitan army were severely outmatched by the better-armed and better-organized Romans, so Viriathus utilized guerilla tactics, orchestrating imaginative ambushes and clever flanks. Charging forward with iron spears, short swords, and resounding warcries, the Lusitanians left a trail of enemy armies in their wake, freeing the Iberian Peninsula from Roman control.
In the 3rd century BC, Rome started its conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The invasion progressed quite well in its initial phases, conquering most of the peninsula with relative ease. The consul Servius Sulpicius Galba commanded the Roman troops in Iberia circa 150 BC and started destroying the rest of the Lusitanian resistance. Fearing the destruction of their lands, the Lusitanians sent an embassy to him. Galba received the Lusitanian embassy politely, suspended the offensive and promised to give lands to the Lusitanian people. The offer turned out to be a trap. When the unarmed Lusitanians, among them Viriathus, tried to reclaim the lands promised by Galba, many were killed. Viriathus was among those who escaped. Viriathus never forgot the Roman treachery. Later, when some Lusitanian leaders prepared to make a new agreement with the Romans after a major loss of lives to the Roman army of Caius Vetilius, Viriathus reminded them of Galba's trick and proposed a Lusitanian War against the Romans. The Lusitanians cried with joy. Viriathus organized an attack against Caius Vetilius in Tribola. Since the Romans were better armed, he organized guerrilla tactics and sprung imaginative ambushes. Charging with iron spears, tridents and roars, the Lusitanians defeated Vetilius. After him, the Lusitanians clashed with the armies of Caius Plancius, Unimanus and Caius Nigidius. To complete the pacification and humiliation of Lusitania, Rome sent Fabius Emilianus, with 15,000 soldiers and 2,000 horses to strengthen Caius Lelius. The Romans lost most of these reinforcements in Ossuma. When Emilianus risked combat again, he was totally defeated near what is today the city of Beja in Alentejo. This defeat gave the Lusitanians access to today’s Spanish territory, modern Granada and Murcia. Can History be changed? Iberia MUD