The next four chapters review events within the Roman world (and its expansion) from west to east covering the Iberian Peninsular, Gaul, Illyria and Asia Minor in turn. Expansion of the territory held by the Republic is the common theme, but what is clear is the extent this was preplanned varies considerably.
The Cantabrian War
The expansion of the Senatorial rank brought a slow influx of new families, primarily from the lands of the old Roman allies of Saguntum and their extensive land holdings along the Ebro valley. In common with the pattern of these years, they saw a close linkage between their family interests and what should be the policy of the Republic. In this case, the Cantabrii were the last organised tribe in Iberian and had a long record of raids into the long settled provinces of the upper Ebro.
However, gaining support in principle and finding the resources in practice were different. The disaster in North Africa limited any support for a foreign war and it took 5 years of sustained lobbying before the Senate agreed to bring the Cantabri into the Roman fold.
Gaius Julius Ceasar was sent to negotiate a peaceful incorporation into Roman Spain.
His unprovoked and cruel death removed any remaining doubts as to the wisdom of the war.
By mid-June 652, 8 Legion had marched into Cantabrian territory and brought their army to battle.
The resulting victory was anything but easy. Fighting a tribal army, defending their own mountains, led to heavy Roman losses. In the end Lucius Cinna managed to disperse the enemy rather than bring them to a decisive battle and the war carried on into late October when the last citadel fell and Cantabria became part of the Senatorial holdings in NW Iberia. The Military Faction were quick to exploit the victory and to try to ignore the heavy losses that had been incurred.
Rome's revenge for Gaius' death was swift. Many of the Cantabrian nobles were accepted into the Republic and given lands and titles in the new province. Those responsible were imprisoned.
Ambon Punicid was sentenced to death 'ad beastiam' in a message to all. Those who defied Rome, and engaged in barbaric acts, would be punished accordingly. Equally the death of Ambon was used in the domestic power struggle within the Senate to diminish the power of the Populists who had opposed the war.
From then, Spain was mostly quiet. The main problem was the loyalty of Gaius Marius, leader of the Populist Faction and Legate of the 5 Legion stationed in the south.
However, threatened with a loss of his lands and exile, he agreed to stand down and concentrate purely on political matters. Thus, the first potential civil war was averted.
Beyond that, the Governorship of Lusitania in the far west became a source of intrigue and some scandal. Gaius Julius managed to convince the Spanish faction in the Senate to back his claims and the competent Gaius Flaccus lost his job.
However, many towns had benefitted from his wise stewardship and this had some bearing on the number of Spanish provinces that were subsequently to join Catalus' ill advised revolt.