Timeline of the Roman Conquest of Hispania

The main periods of significance in the Roman conquest of Iberia are:


Hamilcar Barca

264 – 241 BC 1st Punic War

Carthage lost Sicily and Sardinia to Rome. The most important Carthaginian General is Hamilcar Barca.

240 – 238 BC Mercenary War

In the Mercenary War Hamilcar Barca’s veteran army from Sicily revolted against Carthage. Carthage’s Libyan subjects joined in the revolt. Although not initially involve Hamilcar was instrumental in putting down the revolt.

236 – 219 BC Barcids build Empire in Spain

236 BC

Hamilcar Barca conquers the ore-rich southeastern regions of Spain (Sierra Morena)

227 BC

Carthago Novo founded on the southeastern coast of Spain

226 BC

Ebro treaty signed between Hasdrubal (Hamilcar’s son-in-law) and Rome. Under the terms of this treaty Hasdrubal is not to cross the Ebro for unfriendly purposes. In turn, Rome recognised Carthaginian rule south of the Ebro.

221 BC

Hasdrubal murdered, and Hannibal (Hamilcars son) takes command of Carthaginian forces in Spain.

219 BC

Rome and Carthage dispute status of the town of Sagumtum (just north of modern Valencia). Hannibal takes Sagumtum. Roman’s demand surrender of Sagumtum and extradiction of Hannibal, but Carthage refuses. Rome declares war.

Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca

218 – 154 BC 1st period of Roman conquest including 2nd Punic War

218 BC

First Roman troops (2 legions) arrive in Spain under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio. Battle of Cesse (Tarraco). Romans establish a permanent base at Tarraco.

215 BC Battle of Ibera

Publius Cornelius Scipio (brother of Gnaeus) defeats the Carthaginian fleet in the mouth of the Ebro. Romans conquer Saguntum. Hasdrubal prevented from reinforcing his brother (Hannibal) in Italy due loss at the battle of Ibera.

213 BC

Romans advance to the Guadalquivir river, and conclude a treaty with Syphax, ruler of Western Numidia.

212 BC Battles of Castulo and Ilorci

Carthaginians (Hasdrubal, Gisco, Mago) and their Ilergetes allies (Prince Indibil) defeat Publius Cornelius Scipio near Castulum (Cazlona). Both Scipio brothers killed. Prince Masinissa of Numidia involved here somewhere on the Carthaginian side. Surviving Romans under Titus Fonteius retreat to the Ebro.

Scipio Africanus

Scipio Africanus

211 BC

25 year old Pro-consul Publius Cornelius Scipio (the younger) sent to Spain to replace his father and uncle. Publius Cornelius Scipio brings M. Junius Silanus with him.

Prince Indibil
and King Mandoni

209 – 208 BC

Three Spanish rulers (Prince Indibil of the Ilergetes, King Mandonio of the Ilergavones, Prince Edecon of the Edetani) join the Roman cause. Publius Cornelius Scipio conquers Carthago Novo.

208 BC Battle of Baecula

Publius Cornelius Scipio defeats Hasdrubal at the costly battle of Baecula (Bailen), after which Hadrubal breaks into Italy to support his brother Hannibal.

207 BC Battle in the Meseta

Silanus defeats Hispano-Carthaginians (Mago and Hano) in the Meseta. Lucius Scipio (Brother of Publius Cornelius) attacks Bastetania and captures the capital Auringis (Jaen). The Accitani, based on Acci (Guadix), side with the Romans.

206 BC

Battle of Ilipa

Source for Ilipa is Gerson (1983, March, May).

The only approach to Carthaginian territory from the east was along the River Guadalquivir . Hasdrubal Gisgo camped west of the river near the port of Ilipa to block the route.

Timeline 206 BC

  • Mid Mar: Scipio leaves Tarraco with four legions.
  • Late Mar: Hasdrubal Cisgo camps near Ilipa.
  • Mid Apr: Pro-praetor M. Junius Silanus joins Scipio with Culcha’s Spanish.
  • Late Apr: Scipio arrives near Ilipa.
  • 1st week may: Battle of Ilipa.

Battle of Ilipa (Alcala del Rio) where Scipio defeats Mago and Masinissa.

Hasdrubal’s army:

  • 20,000 African Foot
  • 50,000 Turdetani Levy (Prince Attentes)
  • 3,000 Numidian Cavalry (Masinissa)
  • 1,500 Spanish and Poeni Cavalry (Mago Barca)

Scipio’s army

  • Romans and Latin Allies
    • Comprising
      • 20,000 Foot
      • 2,500 Horse
    • Organised into
      • 2 Roman Legions
      • 1 Umbrian Legion
      • 1 Campanian Legion
  • Spanish contingents
    • Comprising
      • 25,000 Spanish Foot
      • 500 Spanish Horse
    • Formed from various contingents.
    • The largest contingent was provided by Culchas
      • 3,000 Spanish Foot
      • 500 Spanish Horse

The two armies encamped 4 km from each other across a treeless valley. The Carthaginian camp was higher and had wooded slopes behind. Each day the two armies drew up in front of their camp in order of battle. Both armies deployed with the Spanish on each flank (this suggests two major Spanish commanders in both armies). Notice this has the Roman and African heavy infantry facing each other in the centre. The Spanish allies of the two protagonists are also facing each other.

Numidian Cavalry
Cavalry & Velites
(Legate Gaius Laelius)
Turdetani Spanish
Camp Africans
(Hamilcar Cisgo)
Treeless Plain Legions
(Scipio; Pro-Praetor M. Junius Silanus)
(Prince Attentes?)
Spanish & Poeni Cavalry
(Mago Barca)
Cavalry & Velites
(Knight L. Marcius Septimus)

On the day of battle Scipio deployed early and changed his deployment in one significant way. Breaking the pattern of previous days he put his legions on the wings instead of the Spanish.

Numidian Cavalry
Cavalry & Velites
(Legate Gaius Laelius)
Turdetani Legions
Camp Africans
(Hamilcar Cisgo)
Treeless Plain Spanish Camp
(Prince Attentes?)
(Pro-Praetor M. Junius Silanus)
Spanish & Poeni Cavalry
(Mago Barca)
Cavalry & Velites
(Knight L. Marcius Septimus)

This deployment left the heavy infantry of both sides facing their weaker Spanish opponents.

After Ilipa

Romans conquer Castulum, Iliturgi (Mengibar), Astapa (Estepa?), Carthago Novo and finally Gades (Cadiz) in southern Spain. Mago departs with the Carthaginian fleet, thus ending Carthaginian domination of Spain.

Following the battle of Ilipa in 206 BC Two Spanish Kings (Indibil of the Ilergetes and Mandonio of the Ilergavones) revolt against Rome, and invade the territories of Rome’s allies the Suessetani and Edetani. Publius Cornelius Scipio defeats them.

205 BC Defeat of the Ilergetes and Ilergavones

In 205 BC Indibil and Mandonio continue to cause trouble, but Indibil is defeated and killed in battle, and Mandonio is captured and executed.

204 BC

Publius Cornelius Scipio crosses into Africa to greater fame and glory.

197 BC Revolt of the Turdetani

In south-west Hispania the Turdetani (under Culcas and Luxinio), supported by the cities of Sexi (Almuñecar) and Malaca (Málaga), defeat and kill C. Sempronius Tuditanis (one of the new Roman governors sent that year) .

195 BC Defeat of the Ausetani, Bargusi, Edetani and Suessetani

The Ausetani and Bargusi in north-east Hispania submit to the new Consul M. Porcius Cato. The Bargusi submit after Cato takes their capital Bergium (Berga). The Edetani in north-east Hispania submit to the praetor P. Manlius. Siege of Segontia (Segorbe?). Suessetani submit.

194 BC Defeat of the Iacetani; 2nd Battle of Ilipa

Assisted by the Suessetani, Cato takes the Iacetani capital Iacca (Jaca). The Lusitani in south-west Hispania are defeated at Ilipa.

193 BC Battle of Toletum

The governor of south-west Hispania, M. Fulvius Nobilior, defeats a confederation near Toletum (Toledo). The Vaccei and Vettones are the main contributors to the confederation.

192 – 178 BC General uprisings throughout Hispania

155 – 19 BC 2nd period of Roman Conquest

The death of Viriatus, by José de Madrazo, Prado Museum, Madrid.

155 – 138 BC Lusitan Wars

153 – 151 BC 1st Numantine War

143 – 133 BC 2nd Numantine War

104 – 103 BC Invasion of the Cimbrians and Teutones

99 BC Uprisings in the Meseta

82 – 72 BC Sertorian wars

61 – 60 BC C. Julius Caesars campaigns against the Lusitani

56 BC Revolt of the Vaccei

49 – 44 BC Roman Civil War in Spain

39 – 37 Uprising of the Cessetani

29 – 19 BC Campaigns against the Cantabri, Vaccei and Astures


Gerson, J. (1983; March). The Battle of Ilipa (206 BC) Part 1. Slingshot: The Journal of the Society of Ancients, 106, 2-4.

As his sources Gerson cites:

  • Polybius
  • Livy
  • Appian “Spanish War”
  • Zonaras “Epitome”
  • Polyaenus “Stratagems”
  • Frantinus “Stratagems”
  • Silius Italicus “Punica”

Gerson, J. (1983; May). The Battle of Ilipa (206 BC) Part 2. Slingshot: The Journal of the Society of Ancients, 107, 18-20.

Head, D. (1982). Armies of the Macedonian and Punic wars 359 BC to 146 BC. Wargames Research Group.

Kinder, H. and Hilgemann, W. (1964). The Penguin Atlas of World History Volume 1: From the beginning to the eve of the French Revolution (E. A. Menze Trans.). Penguin Books.

Livy. (1965). The War with Hannibal. Penguin.

Polybius. (1979). The Rise of the Roman Empire. Penguin.

Sekunda, N. (1996). Republican Roman Army 200-104 BC. Osprey.

Treviño, R. (1986). Rome’s Enemies (4): Spanish Armies 218 BC – 19 BC. Osprey.

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