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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Fernan

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I was playing a Vettones game (with the Epigoni mod, but without to the Hindu Kush) and suddenly thought that it could be good material for my first AAR, since it was more or less as hopeless as my writing skill. So I kept playing, but i took some notes and screenshots in the meantime. The updates will probably be of varied lenghts, but I would like to keep them kind of short.

I want to say beforehand that I will be making extensive use of the "try to assassinate someone so you get a casus belli when they execute the assassin" tactic and interpret it as "random provocations and border disputes". It might be a bit gamey, but otherwise I would be sitting among the rest of iberian minors until my time to be eaten by either Rome or Carthage came.

The objectives of the game are:

In the short term, form Celtiberia.

In the middle term, control all of the Iberian Peninsula, including the bits owned by Carthage

In the long term, survive the Carthaginian and Roman conquest.

In the lucky term, world domination :rofl:.

A table of contents:

Formative Period:
Chapter 1: Historical and geographical context
Chapter 2: The initial impulse
Chapter 3: Culmination of the tesserae expansion
Chapter 4: The Vettonic Confederation
Chapter 5: The Iberian and Tartessian Wars. The birth of Celtiberia.

Early Confederation:
Chapter 6: Calm before the storm
Chapter 7: War of the Mare I. The capture of Gadira.
Chapter 8: War of the Mare II. Of wooden walls and giant monsters.
Chapter 9: Peninsular unification.
Chapter 10: Politics, economics and culture

Middle Confederation:
Chapter 11: The return of the Greek
Chapter 12: The Second Punic War I. Opening movements.
Chapter 13: The Second Punic War II. The Sicilian campaign.
Chapter 14: The Second Punic War III. The Treaties of Leptis Magna.
Chapter 15: Consolidation of Africa.

So here comes the intro:

The Mare and the Eagle - A Vettones/Celtiberia AAR

Chapter I: Historical and geographical context

The Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the third century BC was inhabited by a very diverse collection of tribes with more or less similar cultural characteristics. Tentatively, we could group them as follows:



A map showing the different cultural groups


-Old Celtiberians. They extend from the Cantabric Sea in the north to the lusitanian plains and well into the peninsula, to about present Toledo. This is the culture which served as the core of the unification process and much of what we say here is going to apply to the Celtiberian culture that christallizes during the following centuries. They had deep celtic roots. There is ample documentation of worship of Epona, Brigeacis and other celtic deities, sacrifices (of cattle most of the time) were common, they organised themselves in fortified hills called oppida and horses were a powerful symbol of the warrior elite. Their script was semi-syllabic at the time.


Sculptures of bulls called Verracos were common as a place marker.

-Iberians. They occupy most of the southern and eastern coast. Their origins are subject of some debate, but are possibly descended from the central-european early iron cultures. A lot of greek and phoenician influences. They had a patronage of sorts, called iberian devotio. The devotio linked an iberian leader with his most trusted warriors, his devotii, who swore to follow him even after death (they offed themselves when their leader died). Also, they were a much more urban culture than their western neighbors and tended to form bigger political units.


Stone bust of an iberian noble woman.

-Tartessians. A very phoenician influenced culture in the south east. Had seen better days. Phoenician architecture and religion with regional peculiarities. Ethnicity is up to debate, probably Phoenicians.


Representation of the phoenician style tartessian temple of Cancho Roano

There were also two other cultures of note: greek (in Emporion) and carthaginian, in the land of the subjugated Bastetani. It is precisely this growing punic giant and the need of defending against it what will serve as the main justification for the formation of Celtiberia.

The tribes of the Peninsula were in a state of division that could only lead to their fall into the hands of some big player in the Mediterranean. That is, unless they united.


Political situation in Iberia circa 290 B.C.
 
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Fernan

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Chapter 2: The initial impulse

To begin with, there are two questions that need to be answered in order to understand the vettonic expansionism of the opening decades of this new century.

Why the Vettones?

Out of all the tribes in the Iberian peninsula, why them? The Lusitanians and Turdetans seemed to have a better powerbase and any iberian group was more civilized and accustomed to the idea of a state.

One of the keys was the access to natural resources. The sturdy, spirited horses the vettones bred in the vast plains that formed their territory were among the best one could find in the Iberian Peninsula. Additionally, newly struck comercial deals with the carpetani in the south gave them access to iron. This way they could complement their traditionally cavalry-based forces with some heavy infantry, very uncommon in their immediate surroundings. In the east this could be seen as the bare minimum for any decent army worthy of that name but here few others could have such well-equipped warriors.

Historically they had also some more military power than their neighbors. Having an economy based on such an unreliable resource as cattle, they were no strangers to razzias and plundering as a way to avoid starvation. In the last centuriy or so, an intense competition over the control of the oppidum of Helmantica had develped between them and their long time rivals, the Vaccaei, and the had gone to war more than once due to it. In short, their standing army was in the top tier of the celtiberian tribes, tied only with the lusitanians.

But, why did they do it?

There are two possible explanations to that question.

The first explanation is the Omen of the Mare. It needs to be stressed though, that even if contemporaries probably did believe in some form of this myth, the version we have was written more than a hundred years after the facts, and most of it was political propaganda. According to it, in the day Ambonid was to be named high druid a wild black mare appeared in the sacred grounds, and refused to be moved no matter what the beleagered vettones did.


Ambonid was a righteous leader, with a big heart and a bigger stomach

In the end Ambonid himself, carried by frustration, clamb on the animal. It did not resist but once he had stabilized himself, it suddently began galloping. Everyone present was too surprised to react in time, and the mare and its rider soon were out of sight. More than a week later no amount of search had offered any result, but then one morning Ambonid returned to the oppidum of Ulaca as if nothing had happened.

When asked about it, he told the druids that the mare had took him southwards, towards Gadira. There, at the gates of the city, he had seen some carthaginian merchants mistreating a herd of good horses because they refused to obey. The merchants were many, and they separated the horses one by one to punish them. Ambonid understood the message and swore to the mare, which had been sent by none other than the goddess Epona, to protect the lands of his ancestors from the foreign menace by uniting what had been divided far too long.

The second explanation is far more prosaic: the Vettones never intended to unite all Celtiberia, at least not at first. The campaign of unmitigated aggresion that takes place in these years is just a result of coincidences and ad hoc decisions that had more to do with economic needs than with an ideological program. Somewhere during this first expansionism, though, the celtiberian project did appear among the vettonic leadership.

How did they do it?

The process itself was simple. After having secured the iron from the carpetani, they went to war against the Vaccaei for the umpteenth time. This time they just happened to have a more organized, more numerous and better equipped army than ever before due to the charismatic leadership of Ambonid. The war was a success and the Vaccaei were completely subjugated. Formally speaking, the annexation took the form of a pact that obligated the Vaccaei to assist the Vettones in every way possible and in every endeavour they would undertake. This pact was registered in a bronze plaque, called tessera. This will be the way annexations will work for this first stage of conquest.


An example of celtiberian tessera

After conquering the Vaccaei, wheat began flowing to Ulaca, solving for the most part the chronic starvation issues of the Vettones. This had an unexpected consequence. Since all the vettonic merchants were attracted to the lucrative trade of grain, the carpetan trade routes were abandoned for the most part and iron shortages began. To solve this, the vettones decided to get their very own iron source but relations with the southern neighbours were good and there was no desire to fight them (yet). Therefore, the Cantabri were chosen as the next target. They proved more of a challenge than the Vaccaei, and a first reckless attempt to beat them in their own land met with failure. Still, the Cantabri made the mistake of moving their forces into the Vaccaei plains, where the vettonic cavalry made short work of them. A new tessera was made.


The north-west of the Iberian Peninsula

With these acquired lands, the Vettones standed in an enviable position. They had access to the most important military resources, to a much greater population with which to fill their ranks and to a secure source of food. Furthermore, a quick expedition to the northwest contributed to pacify the local tribes and the Lusitani had been eager to hear of their offer of an alliance, so their northern and western borders were as safe as they could hope for.

They were far from done.
 
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Chapter 3: The culmination of the tesserae expansion


The military campaigns

The spark that ignited the next war was the Arevaci refusal to trade with the Cantabri. This was not only a blow to the local economy but also an act of more or less open hostility to the Vettones, since the trade had been taking place before they imposed their authority over the northern tribe.

After the war had been declared the Arevaci tried to march north, but were intercepted and defeated by a vettonic army that was on its way towards Numantia. The city fell soon after, the Arevaci surrendered and another tessera was made which specifically included the obligation of trading with the Vettones and any of their allies.


Partial reconstruction of the walls of Numantia

The term “people of the tesserae” was being used often to refer to the tribes subjugated by the Vettones by way of these bronze plaques.

Not a full year had passed when the next war began. This time, the objective was the Carpetani, former trading partners. The reason for this aggression was, again, the iron. But this time, instead of needing a metal supply for themselves, the vettonic objective was to prevent possible future enemies from accessing it.

The war was short and relatively bloodless. First the carpetan main city was taken, then the vettonic army went back home to relieve Ulaca from carpetan siege. Another tribe was incorporated into the people of the tesserae and they would ultimately be the last ones

By now the alliance with the Lusitani was beginning to crumble due to the many objections they had to the vettonic expansionism. This was problematic, for they were also allied with the tartessian Turdetani, who were also allied to the Iberian Turduli. The idea of the three of them joining forces was an unsettling one and the Vettones decided to take out the weakest link while the Lusitani were still bound by their pact.

So war was declared to the Turduli, whose call to arms was answered by the Turdetani. The battle that ensued in iberian land was the biggest the Vettones had had until then, and was a resounding victory. The main bulk of the vettonic army stayed put in order to subjugate the land, while a second force went into turdetan territory to prevent them from raising another army. The Turduli were annexed soon and hostilities against the Turdetani ceased almost immediately.

But the Turduli did not have a tessera. Rather, their annexation took place in the context of a greater political reform carried by the Vettones.



Some generalities

Regardless of the individual circumstances in which each campaign took place, there are a few generalities that should be taken into account to fully understand the coming years:

Even if the Vettones had improved drastically their situation with the subjugation of the Vaccaei and the Cantabri, their society did not change in one day. The elite class in place was still a warrior one and fighting was the only way it had to reaffirm its superiority over the other members of the tribe. Even if the sporadic incursions into the lands of other tribes were no longer a necessity for survival it was way too ingrained into the vettonic way of life to be suddenly dropped.

A change of mentality does take place along these years. The Vettones go from caring about having food for the next winter to talking about alliances and power balances. With every new war, the concept of a united Celtiberia becomes more and more prevalent. By the end of this first wave of expansionism it was clear that they had become a regional power whose interests surpassed the short term that characterized their previous frame of mind.

The conflict between these two forces –the vettonic traditionalism and the celtiberian new ideas- is perfectly characterized in the figure of their leader Ambonid. He relentlessly tried to introduce new and more sophisticated ways of doing things, particularly in Ulaca. Writing became more common, although for now it was limited to administrative purposes; human sacrifices were prohibited and the figure of Epona was actively promoted as a common tutelary deity; the warrior elite is encouraged to take on more intellectual pursuits.

There might be elements of mythification of Ambonid as a civilizer hero.​

At the same time, to avoid the popularity loss that such an intensive program would entail he constantly pandered to traditional values. He tried to meddle as less as possible in private disputes of honor and every warring season he lead the army against their enemies.
 

Fernan

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A good start. Will be following this.
Thank you! This was the easy part, and my only concern was getting enough manpower before the punics ended their business in Sicily and came knocking in Iberia. Still, so much for keeping the updates short :p



Chapter 4: The Vettonic Confederation

Until this point the system of keeping the diferent tribes under control by lax pacts had proven effective. Life in the conquered lands had not changed too much and most celtiberians cared very little about foreign relations as long as their homes were safe, so leaving it to the Vettones had not been a terrible sacrifice for them.

But things were beginning to change, even before the annexation of the Turduli. The vettonic army had grown a lot with recruits from every tribe incorporated to the people of the tesserae, dwarfing the military capacity of the Vettones by themselves. With every new year of war, warriors made new brothers in arms from other tribes, and then returned to their villages and told stories about their deeds to their families and friends. This lead to more people actually caring about who they were fighting and why. Intertribal marriages, something not unseen but uncommon before, became the norm and cultural links deepened.


The cantabri and the arevaci were among the most prominent tribes in the early confederation

Although this did not weaken the concept of tribe at all, at least not at first, it did create the notion of a bigger community to which the individuals belonged as much as they belonged to the tribe. This went well with the concept of Celtiberia that the local elites were entertaining.

Of course there were resistances. The Vaccaei revolted at least twice in the period, and the Arevaci did so once. Many (inside and outside of the vettonic circle) questioned the insatiable hunger for more land their leaders, were exhibiting. And, even if Ambonid himself made sure that every defeated people was treated well and sacking and plundering was kept to a minimum, there were many open wounds from recent wars.

So some measures had to be taken in order to lessen the impact the expansion had had in the reputation of the Vettones. The Contestani,who had subjugated the Oretani some years ago, offered the perfect chance for it. When (and it was a matter of when, not if) the carthaginians decided to expand in the Peninsula, their lands would be the obvious target. So the iberians were desperatedly looking for allies, and were in no position to turn down the Vettones and their big army. Still, an alliance was not deemed appropiate. The lusitanian one was getting sour after some border disputes and there was no will for making new alliances anytime soon. Instead, the deal was that the Carpetani would give the Vettones a symbollic tribute and, in exchange, they would guarantee their independence.


Graphic showing demographics of the early confederation. Assimilation of conquered territories was still a work in progress.​

This move not only serve to show a more civil side of the celtiberians, but also marked Carthage as a big and foreign threat that they would need to face sooner or later. There are few things as effective for uniting people than a common enemy. Therefore, the anti-carthaginian rethoric ramped up spectacularly. The Omen of the Mare myth originates probably from this moment.

But, even if this could have been enough for the time being, Ambonid knew that the time was ripe for a more in depth political reform. He had taken a nasty wound in the war agains the Carpetani and did not go to the Turduli campaign. Instead, he met many different leaders from the people of the tesserae and the Vettones and design a new form of government, more adaptive than the one in place, and in which every tribe could air their opinions and concerns instead of rising in arms.

It was this way that the Vettonic confederation came to life. A Council of Elders was created, where representatives of all the tribes would meet regularly to discuss matters of state and to choose a new leader when necessary. Of course, Ambonid made sure that he would be elected as the first High Chief of the confederation. The tesserae were pronounced obsolete in light of the new pact being signed. It is worth noting, though, that the Vettones retained some measure of preminence in the new state by having three seats in the council instead of the one seat of every other tribe.


Some of the first agreements in the council included more strict training for the heavy infantry and introduction of defensive tactics

This is the reason for there not being a tessera for the Turduli. They were directly incorporated in the new confederation. It took a long time for them to fully buy into the celtiberian idea, though, and they found themselves a bit isolated in the council for some time. Still, many iberian ideas that would be assimilated in celtiberian culture in time were first introduced by them and the early rupture of cultural homogeneity ultimately made for a more open-minded confederation.

This new system would be tested very soon.
 

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Chapter 5 : The Iberian and Tartessian War. Birth of Celtiberia.

While the Vettones had been busy uniting the people of the northwest, the rest of the Iberian peninsula did not stand idle. While there had not been too many changes in the political map, diplomatic relations among the iberians were at an all time high, with complex networks of alliances ensuring that no war fought in the east would be a small one.

One alliance in particular had grown powerful and rich. It was centered around the Lacetani, who had conquered Saguntum in a recent struggle, the Olcades in Belli and the Ilergetes in the Upper Ebro. The Contestani had been a part, but they got out of it once they had secured the protection of the Vettones.


The Olcades were a celtiberian tribe -the last one of notice outside the vettonic sphere of influence- and they were understandably suspicious about the intentions of the confederation. They refused the half hearted offers of alliance that came from the west and spoke to anyone who would listen about how the Vettones had diverged from the ways of their ancestors and could not be called celtiberians any longer.

At least, that was the official casus belli used by the confederation to declare war on them. It did not seem to convince anyone. The iberian allies heeded the call to arms and, much to vettonic surprise and anger, were granted permission to maneuver their armies through Contestani land. By doing that, they aimed to fully take advantage of their individual armies -as opposed to the larger but fewer celtiberian armies- by enlarging the battlefront as much as possible.

The problems did not stop there. The lacetani were able to field an unexpectedly large army of mercenaries by themselves, thanks to the riches of Saguntum. This prevented the vettonic armies from splitting to attend every battlefield. Alarmed by the recent turn of events, the Vettones called for their lusitanian allies only to be rebuked. Without them noticing, they had turned into as big a boogeyman as the Carthaginians for all their neighbours.

All of these circumstances caused the confederation to lose the iniciative in the war, and they had to retreat to their territories to defend against a bigger foe they had prepared for. The celtiberian forces are estimated to be around the fifteen thousand men, divided between a main army ten thousand men strong and another army of around five thousand. The main army stayed in the south, trying as best as they could to prevent the Olcades and Lacetani from joining forces and engaging in a lot of small and intrascedent battles. Meanwhile the second army travelled north and fought the ilergetes off in cantabrian land.

The northern front was still raging when the main army began encounterig troubles against an ever increasing Lacetani army. After a couple of painful defeats, they had to retreat west, towards the vettonic heartland, in order to regain some of their strenght. The Iberians reacted quickly and attacked the Arevaci and the Turduli.

At last, the Ilergetes were thrown out of confederation lands, and marched south to unite with the Lacetani and Olcade forces. But by that time things had started to look bleak for the southern Iberians, unable to properly reinforce their armies. The Vettones had, on the other hand, recovered from their losses and managed to defeat the Lacetani in Turduli lands. Seeing this, the Ilergetes asked for an end of hostilities, and the celtiberians agreed to it. The secondary army then engaged the Olcades near Numantia. During the battle both the Lacetani and the main vettonic army joined the fray. It was a victory for the confederation, which went on to occupy the lands of both of their enemies.

The Olcades were annexed and, soon after, the Lacetani joined their fate. As would become the usual modus operandi after hostile annexations, they were given seats in the Council, but it would take some time after they had the right to vote in there.

Almost immediately, the Vettones turned against the traitorous Lusitani and declared war on them. In the meantime they had allied the Turdetani, as had been expected from the beginning, and they were called to the war too. There was not much worth telling of this war. Both the Lusitani and the Turdetani were annexed and treated as the Olcades and Lacetani.

This last war is normally considered an epilogue of the war in the east and normally both of them together are called the Iberian and Tartessian War.


With the annexation of the Olcades and Lusitani, the Celtiberian unity was achieved. From this point onward, the confederation would call itself the Celtiberian Confederation.

The fall of Saguntum was also the first time foreign powers took notice of what was happening in th e Iberian Peninsula. The greeks in Emporion and Massilia debated a lot about wether it was a good or a bad thing, and only managed to leave us some inspired discourses. The Romans used it as an example of the dangers of having celts in the vicinity in their struggle against the senones in northern Italy. Carthage was, ironically, the least concerned of them all.


 

Hiryuu

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Interesting... It's a long time since I played EU:R, I confess I'm more in CK2 and EU4 now xD but I like the game, will be really nice if a new version was supposed to be made.
Waiting for the next chapter :)
 

Fernan

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Interesting... It's a long time since I played EU:R, I confess I'm more in CK2 and EU4 now xD but I like the game, will be really nice if a new version was supposed to be made.
Waiting for the next chapter :)
Yeah while the newer games take much of my gaming time I sometimes get in the mood for some Ancient fun. I think it is actually one of the most diverse and interesting periods in History and has a lot of untapped potential for many genres.

Chapter 6: Calm before the storm


The first years of life of Celtiberia were peaceful ones. They were years of recovery from the recent wars, mending of debilitated relations and adapting to the new ways of doing things. The celtic pantheon became more accepted between non-celtic people and, at the same time, incorporated some iberian deities. Legal private documents became much more common, and a unified codex of law, which could be complemented but not opposed by regional codices, was promulgated. The land became more estable and people less prone to rebel.

Political unification became also an economic boon. With traders now protected by law in any city or castrum of the federation, internal exchanges accelerated. Some particularly well off merchants even stablished some routes to Alba, to the land of the picts.

At the same time, the military grew a lot. With farmlands and cattle now secure from the raids of neighboring tribes, their maintenance required much less hands and many young men, who had grown with tales of glory, conquest and honor from the past campaigns, volunteered for service in the army.


It was still outnumbered by Carthage, just not greatly.

Some effort was made to pacify the less civilized land to the north-east, stablishing a new city in Brigantia.

But, after the land had recovered enough, a decision was made to punish the contestani for their sly conduct of the Iberian and Tartessian War. The contestani, who had feared this could happen, allied themselves quickly with the edetani, but had troubles convincing others so they were rather weak when the Celtiberians fell upon them. The edetani heeded their call to arms, but the celtiberians were at this moment strong enough to take both of them with just their freshest recruits. Soon enough, the war came to an end and both tribes were integrated into the confederation.

The edetani lands were particularly rich in wood, a resource very scarce in the Peninsula. Thanks to this wood the first celtiberian fleet began construction in the Saguntum shipyard.


Celtiberian Confederation around 250 B.C.

This war also saw a lot of tension build in the enlargened Carthaginian border. The newly incoporated contestani were also big supporters of the bellicist faction. An aged Ambonid then saw the moment he had been waiting for all his life was close, the moment of attacking Carthage. After giving an inspired discourse, which can be found at the beginning of the History of the Celts by Mandonia, he convinced the Council to approve of such an action.


They myth had become very popular by now, and everyone in Celtiberia saw the taking of Gadira as fated​

Not a week later, Celtiberia sent Gadira a succint declaration of war. They sent back the head of the messenger. The War of the Mare had began.
 

TheWolfe

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I just checked in on this part of the forum for the first time in a long time and find that there is a new aar! I just finished reading through it so far and am excited to see the continuation of the adventures of the Celt-Iberians.
 

Fernan

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I just checked in on this part of the forum for the first time in a long time and find that there is a new aar! I just finished reading through it so far and am excited to see the continuation of the adventures of the Celt-Iberians.
Oh, their adventures have just began. :)

Chapter 7: The War of the Mare I. The capture of Gadira.

As a contemporary roman senator said, this was a conflict in which the celtiberians won the battles, but it was the carthaginians that lost the war. Indeed, on paper the city of Dido was superior in most respects. It had a big technological advantage, with better armors and more sophisticated tactics. It had a numerical advantage in land, which turned overwhelming in the seas. It had more men to recruit and more money to hire mercenaries. In short, they had a wider range of strategic options and could project more raw force than the celtiberians. They just didn't use their advantages efficiently.


Disposition of forces at the start of the war

The plan of attack of Ambonid was a simple, straightforward one. He sent the first and second armies to take Gadira and Bastetania respectively. These two were full of veterans of past campaigns, tough and hardened and fierce. The third army, made almost entirely of new recruits, was sent to Turdetani land, where it could quickly reinforce either of the other two.

While the celtiberians had accumulated some experience besieging full fledged cities in their wars against the iberians, there was no way they could siege a city like Gadira, and Ambonid knew it very well. Placed in a little island off the coast (much like their old metropolis, Tyre) there was no way it could be isolated as long as the phoenician ships could enter and exit their port. Therefore, it had to be taken by force.


A map of the Gadiran islands. The blue lines represent the current coastline.

Alexander had once built a stone causeway to reach Tyre, but the celts lacked both the technological know-how and the time to repeat such a feat. In this case, there were other islands between Gadira and the continent, close enough that an good swimmer could cross between them. Most of the celtiberians could not swim, but there were some tartessian companies serving in the first army, and among them some very good swimmers. They crossed the strait from the coast to the southern part of the island of Kotinoussa with the last lights of the day. There they entered the Temple of Melqart. It was traditional that phoenician traders would stop at the temple to make an offering to Melqart at an eternal flame before heading into the city.


The temple of Melqart was said to be the final resting place of the hero Heracles​

The following day, when some ships stopped there to make their offerings, the tartessians fell upon them and captured the ships. They then moved the ships close to the coast, unloaded the provisions they carried and loaded as many celtiberian troops as they could. When the Gadirans realized the ships entering the dock were full of enemies, it was already too late. Both sides fought bravely, street by street, but in the end the celtiberians took control of the city.

All the horses in the city were declared sacred and taken from their previous owners. The temple of Baal Hammon was burnt while the temple of Melqart was left intact. The temple of Astarte would, in time, be repurposed as a temple of Epona. There was some local resistance, but it ultimately amounted to nothing.

The land of the Bastetani surrendered promptly too, with many natives helping the celtiberians against their masters.

Ambonid, whose health was already fragile before the war, died from natural causes. Again, myths abound. His death shortly after having fulfilled the promise he supposedly made to the mare led many people to believe that he had been reclaimed by the goddess to serve her as an immortal hero. Some tales say that, when he was burnt, his ashes took the form of a powerful stallion as they flew away into the open sky.

Anyway, his succession had been prepared long before and it transcurred without incidents. His successor was Megaravicos Audaxid, a cantabrian, devoid of charisma but very adept at both administration and war. An appropiate leader for this time of war, since the carthaginian counter-attack was about to arrive.
 

MondoPotato

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This is really great! Good luck against the Carthaginians! Hopefully they keep squandering their advantages and getting trounced by the mighty Celtiberian warriors!
 

Mkoll13

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This is masterful, and I really want to see where you take your celtiberian nation!
 

Fernan

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MondoPotato
This is really great! Good luck against the Carthaginians! Hopefully they keep squandering their advantages and getting trounced by the mighty Celtiberian warriors!
Mkoll13
This is masterful, and I really want to see where you take your celtiberian nation
Thank you!

This time it's a big update. I didn't want to make this war too long but there were some things I did want to flesh out. So, here it is

Chapter 8: The War of the Mare II. Of wooden walls and giant monsters.

Megaravicos Audaxid was already old, well past his sixties, when he was named High Chief of the Celtiberians. Still, he knew war well and was considered a role model for the people of the tesserae. He had fought against the Vettones in his youth, but he had done so out of fear for his home and family. Once the war had been over, and neither one nor the other had been harmed, he became one of the most ardent defenders of the celtiberian idea and a very respected and trusted member of the Ambonid's inner circle.


His most famous feats until then had been leading the defence of the northern front in the Iberian and Tartessian War and planning the construction of the first warship in Saguntum. His last assignment had been the recruitment and training of the third army, which was seemingly a very mundane task but would prove one of the pivotal decisions in the current war.

Back into the conflict. The carthaginians had been outraged after hearing of the burning of the temple of Baal Hammon, their tutelary deity, so much so that the Senate ordered Gadira to be retaken as the first action of the war. And, underestimating the celtiberian threat, they ordered Teleclus Zoticid, whose position had more to do with appeasing the sicilians than with his military prowess, to quickly put together an army and go to Tingis, from where the navy would take them to the peninsula.

The carthaginian navy took control of the strait without any resistance while smaller fleets blockaded almost the entirety of the celtiberian coastline, disrupting maritime commerce.

But in Gadira they faced the inverse problem the Celtiberians had. They could not stop supplies from getting in without controling the adjacent land first. Therefore, Zoticid landed in the vicinity of the city and prepared to fight the defenders camped there. But the punic forces, while twice as numerous, were ill prepared for battle. They consisted mostly of light infantry and archers, with none of the strenghts one could expect from the carthaginians.


They stood no chance against the first celtiberian army and had to hastily retreat to the ships to avoid a bigger disaster.

When the Senate knew of this failure, they sent reinforcements from their Massyli allies. The carthaginians attacked again but this time when the celtic horsemen rushed the flanks to strike at rear of the punic formation, they were met with numidian cavalry. While neither cavalry could rout the other easily, they kept each other busy for the bulk of the battle, leaving the infantries to fight among themselves.

It is worth noting that while the celtiberian infantry can be easiliy classified as heavy, it was still lighter than most other heavy infantries of the time. They tended to wear chainmail with wooden shields and used javellins and short swords. Their formation was not as close as that of the phalanx. They were prepared to face the odd volley of slingshot bullets at best and, when the punic archers began letting loose their arrows, it was evident that it was too much for them. They were defeated and had to retreat inland with the third army.


It was a short lived victory, though. The first and third celtiberian army joined their forces and marched immediately towards Gadira. This time the numidians could not stop the reinforced celtiberian cavalry, even though some horsemen from the third had been left as reserve, and Zoticid had to bitterly give the order to retreat.


Fearing the consequences of his failure and the judgement of the council of the 104 back in Carthage, the sicilian decided not to go back to Africa and to go for a final confrontation instead not a week after the last battle, knowing fully well that he was just choosing how to die. The first army wiped out the demoralized carthaginians in what probably was the most one sided battle of the whole war.

This disaster had unexpected results. The sicilians were under the impression that Zoticid had been given a suicidal task, and revolted against Carthage. The african state was running low of young people to recruit and had to choose between trying to deal with the rebellion in Sicily or sending their forces to Iberia. They actually sent a messenger to Audaxid, offering a truce, but the celtiberians replied that no peace until the carthaginians agreed to vacate the Peninsula forever. The war would go on and Sicily was left unchecked.

But, before the war entered its final phase, Audaxid died from an unindentified illness. His replacement was the commander of the first army: Megaravicos Ambonid, or Ambonid II. He was from the Ambonid clan but had a distant relation at best with Ambonid I. Very similar to Audaxid, he was even less tactful, but an exceptional tactician.


Ambonid II was not a man of words

Ambonid II knew that, the moment Carthage decided to treat the war more seriously and made use of their main army, things would not go so smoothly. Furthermore, the iberians were growing restless since the naval blockade was strangling their economies and small rebellions had to be suffocated now and then. Therefore, he decided to attack again, so that they would think losing their iberian possessions was preferable to having to retake half of Africa in a bloody and prolongued conflict.

The celtiberian navy took sail for the first time. It was small, probably less than twenty warships, but it was enough to strike against the tiny groups of ships that blockaded the iberian coast and letting commerce flow again. The navy sailed south all the way to the straits and, having secured them, transported the first and second armies to Tingis, were they beat a small punic contingent, taking control of Western Mauretania.

And then, at the worst possible moment, came what everyone had been dreading. A huge army, a little short of forty thousand men landed in Bastetania, quickly retaking control of it and advancing through the levantine coast without much opposition.What is worse, the tales from the refugees confirmed the carthaginian army was using those huge monstruous animals they called elephants.


There were many tales of elephants in Celtiberia from old veterans that had served in the Carthaginian army as mercenaries. It didn't make them any less frightening.

The third alone was obviously too weak to face such a foe, and the straits were again under carthaginian control, so the armies in Africa had no way to cross back and help. Fortunately Celtiberia was brimming with young men eager to prove their worth and to defend their homeland, so a fourth army could be recruited relatively fast and without lowering standards. It was done by the commander of the third, a close friend to both Audaxid and Ambonid II, who knew fully well the plan they had to deal with the situation, so the fouth was trained exactly like the third had.


The Massaesyli stayed neutral, granting military access to both sides in order to avoid getting dragged into the conflict.

Meanwhile the carthaginians were starting to have problems to feed their humongous army and between the hunger and the casualties from taking the iberian cities by force their numbers dwindled a bit. And in Africa, Ambonid II had secured military access through the land of the Massaesyli and advanced towards Numidia, hoping to force a peace deal.

Since the carthaginians counted on their elephants and the celtiberians on their cavalry, it was only appropiate that the final clash between both armies took place in the open field, near the Olcade oppidum of Segobriga.


Initial disposition of the armies. The carthaginians put their elephants both in the front to destroy the enemy formation and the flanks to counter the celtiberian cavalry. The celtiberian infantry adopted a loose formation, with cavarly in the flanks and in the rear, as reserve.


When the battle started, the elephants were set loose upon the celtiberians. The celtiberian infantry divided in two groups, and the rear cavalry burst forward. Then, taking care of not getting the horses too close to the elephants, the horsemen surrounded them and began rotating around the beasts, droped their lances, drew ther bows and began shooting at them. The elephants stampeded and were followed from a distance by the celtiberian horse archers, who kept firing at them from a distance until the last of the animals was slain.


The celtiberian cavalry in the flanks burst forward, and the flank elephants were sent to meet them. It turned out, there were horse archers in the flanks too, and the situation developed in a similar way as in the center, with the melee cavalry outflanking the elephants and going for the archers in the carthaginian rear.


Then the infantries advances towards each other and, while outnumbered, the celtiberians were able to rout the punic militiamen. The remnants of the army disbanded and fled, with many of them being taken out as they run. The carthaginian army had been totally destroyed.

The rotating circle tactic, which had been the result of Audaxid adapting a traditional tactic of his people to the celtiberian warfare, recieved the name of cantabrian circle in his honor and became a staple of celtiberian tactics thereafter.

After news of the Battle of Segobriga reached Africa, Ambonid II sent Carthage a peace offer which was promptly accepted. Carthage vacated the Iberian Peninsula forever, accepting the celtiberian control over both Gadira and Bastetania. News spread quickly across the sea and, for the first time, the name Celtiberia was heard in the distant courts of Pella and Alexandria and Aleppo.
 

Fernan

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I approve! :)
Are you using the new beta patch?
Nope. I'm playing on Steam and I'm so used to auto-update that I didn't think of checking for newer updates. Now I worry about compatibility with both the mod and the save game. This game has been very bug-free, so I'd rather not jinx it. But for the next Rome game I play, I'll probably go for a Reign of the Ancients and beta patch game. :)


Chapter 9: Peninsular Unification.


Contrary to what one could expect, the years immediately following the War of the Mare were not peaceful ones. In fact, most soldiers had barely any time to visit their homeland before being called into action again.

All historical accounts point squarely at Ambonid II as the reason for this prolongued bellicosity. He had earned his fair share of glory facing the carthaginians in Gadira, so much so that he had been elected High Chief. Many would say that he was as accomplished as any man could hope to be. Still, the end of the war did not sit well with him. He was painfully aware that, despite his fame, he had faced a very inferior general leading an afterthought of an army. And, while his countrymen were fighting a true battle in Segobriga, all he had been able to do had been marching through the desert and meeting with african chieftains that styled themselves kings.

He craved a challenge, something that he could make him feel like he had really done something great with all the power ha had been given. And, in the end, the only thing he could think of that could saciate his hunger for glory was the complete unification of the Iberian Peninsula under the Celtiberian banner.

During the early phases of the War of the Mare, the Cassetani had turned into allies, which had contributed to secure the northern border. Ambonid did not want to dishonor that alliance, so he decided to go first after the Illergetes, citing as a reason their involvement in the Iberian and Tartessian War. The Illergetes were allied themselves with the Volcae, who where allied to the cassetani. Ambonid sent a message and some gold to his allies to ensure their neutrality.

The war was not really a contest, with the hardened celtiberian veterans beating the ibero-celt alliance both in the Ebro Valley and in the Pyrenees. Still, the volcae managed to snuck an army through cassetani lands and attack the land of the edetani. This angered Ambonid, who suspected foul play, and declared the alliance broken.

This was noted by the greeks of Emporion. Massilia, their closest ally and commercial partner, had only recently fallen into Arverni hands. Isolated among barbarians, their government had fallen to a hard line faction that advocated for the subjugation of their neighboring tribes. This was the perfect chance for them so they attacked the Cassetani but, against all odds, were beaten. The city was occupied by the iberians while many of the population fled to Palaiapolis, the first greek settlement in the area which was now used as an acropolis.


The Ampurias dock would be, along with the one in Saguntum, the main shipyard of the Confederation

Once a peace treaty had been signed with the volcae and the illergetes, and a trade deal had been struck with the catuvellani providing more wood for the budding navy, Ambonid II wasted no time in declaring war against the cassetani, annexing them immediately. Emporion was given its own seat in the confederated Council and a great deal of autonomy in exchange for them joining willingly the confederation. The greek seat would have a lot of importance in the years to come.

These two conflicts are normally grouped into the Third Iberian War (the first being the Iberian and Tartessian, the second being the war against the Constestani), and left Celtiberia as the sole power in all the Iberian peninsula. There were some independent tribes left, but they lacked any sort of organization and they were being integrated at a good pace.


It had been almost exactly fifty years since Ambonid I had been named Chief of the Vettones.

After a long period of peace and consolidation, Celtiberia would begin to extend their influence outside the Peninsula, where both opportunities and threats were waiting for them. To the north, the gauls viewed them with suspicion. To the south, the carthaginians plotted revenge. To the east, an eagle soared.
 

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Chapter 10: Politics, economics and culture.

Political stabilization

After the unification of the Peninsula, there were peaceful years, devoted to economic growth and political stability. The Ruteni, in the north, became the new celtiberian allies as a protection against the Arverni expansionism. The fleet continued growing.

This was a time of great stress for Ambonid II. He was a warrior first and foremost but now his days were spent dealing with a very different Council from the days of the Pact. The matters that had to be dealt with had diversified, as had the different perspectives to take into consideration for each matter. The High Chief was not inept at all at administrative and organizative endeavors, but he was too used to run things like he a commander, and every time he had to enter the increasingly sophisticated political arena he did it either in a dubious manner or trying to rush through everything and everyone. Still, he managed to stabilize the country and gave his countrymen some well deserved peace.

In this context, two individuals rised to prominence.


Qelmerqart Hannid was the man who managed to secure a voting seat for Gadira, and who occupied said seat for years to come. He was a phoenician who had converted to the celtic religion suspiciously fast and a well-rounded individual, almost as good as Ambonid at warring, but less of a klutz in other areas. He tended to favor tolerant solutions in cultural and religious matters, but had a much more aggressive attitude when military or commerce where concerned. In particular, he was constantly talking about the necessity of building the biggest navy of the western mediterranean no matter the cost.

While the celtiberians still had the most seats (in part due to the three seats of the vettones), the iberians and tartessians together now had almost as many. But that was manageable. After all, celitiberization was underway and cultural differences between the three groups were shrinking at a good pace. Even the volcae celts were not a problem since they usually mantained a low profile. It was two seats that provided the most headaches for the High Chief: the seats of Gadira and Emporion.

Skopas Aratid was a greek from Emporion, former leader of the faction that had pressed for the attack on the Cassetani. He was very charismatic, but had not set a foot on a battlefield in all his life. Broad ideas, not detailed plans, were his domain. He didn't concern himself with anything other than commercial and political affaires. In fact, he despised celtiberian culture and saw it as a crude, barbarian thing though he usually took good care of keeping his opinion on the matter to himself. He had lost a lot of money with the fall of Massilia and kept pushing for an attack on the Arverni, but Ambonid II would have none of it while Celtiberia recovered from so many years of wars.

Whatever plans did Ambonid II have for the future, his premature death put a sudden stop to them. After lenghty negotiations Aratid was finally elected High Chief. This did not bode well for the Arverni.

Economical progress, social stagnation

With the long peace, the benefits of the Confederation shined brighter than before. Political unity had brought internal peace, and people could sleep soundly without worrying about being attacked by another tribe. A celtiberian man could go anywhere in the country and would still have (roughly) the same rights as the people who had been born there.

This reinforced internal safety increased commercial exchanges. To further stimulate the economy the Council made a deal to adopt the greek currency system for the Confederation. Emporion, the iberian cities and even Gadira had minted drachmas before, and now Ulaca and several other celtiberian cities joined them. The stater (worth two drachmas) was very favoured in the new system, since it was roughly equal to a phoenician shekel and it was used by the northern celts too.


Drachma from Emporion.

Yet, with all the changes taking place, society remained static. Despite many people having access to horses now, the old celtiberian warrior elite did not open its ranks at all. They were still warriors at heart, every noble boy was expected to serve in the military in some capacity. They had little patience for studying and meditating too and payed no attention to the technological advancement.


"The future looks bright" seems to be an euphemism for "we might discover how to make fire"

Slavery was very common and, while the slaves were considered public property and inflicting them any unjustified harm was considered a serious crime, many spent their lives working in the mines and in the fields in very bad conditions. The lucky ones, who ended up in administrative roles, managed to gather a respectable amount of wealth, but with no emancipating legal mechanism in place they could not hope for a better life for them and their children. Slave uprisings became a recurrent concern.


Cultural amalgamation

Celtiberian culture had been exposed to iberian and tartessian influences for a while now, and it showed. Many celtiberian tribe leaders, including Ambonid II, had their own devotii. Fabrics and works in gold and silver from the tartessian area became symbols of status. Loanwords multiplied. At the same time, many in the iberian and tartessian areas began adopting celtiberian customs. Celtiberization was underway.

This was a time of cultural flourishing. The celtiberian script and language became more prevalent among the upper class. Literary writing and reciting was something in which the women of the incipient nobility specialized. The Lamentations of the Devotii, an anonymous corpus of poems inspired by the lives and deaths of the personal guards of Ambonid II, was written around this date and, afterwards, it became traditional to honor each devotii with a poem before they killed themselves at their liege's funeral. It was also around this time that Elazuna wrote the Tuatereskue Kentis (“the daughters and sons” in old celtiberian), a literary compilation of myths that formed the celtic cosmogony.


While the demographics of the Confederation diversified, most people identified themselves as Celtiberian in a political sense
 

TheWolfe

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Things look like they are going great for the Celtiberians and the aar is getting better with each update, long live the Celtiberians empire!
 

Fernan

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It's been a couple of really crazy weeks, sorry for the tardiness.

Things look like they are going great for the Celtiberians and the aar is getting better with each update, long live the Celtiberians empire!
Thanks! Yeah, the great powers are taking their sweet time expanding, which is giving me a lot of breathing room. But now that Celtiberia is in the big leagues I don't expect things to go as smoothly for much longer. That technological gap is the stuff of nightmares, but I cannot allow any freemen to promote to citizen right now if I want to compete against the limitless manpower pool that is Rome and I don't have any good way to emancipate slaves yet.


Chapter 11: The Return of the Greek.


A quick glance at Gaul

During the past decades, Gaul had been a very dynamic area. There was a generalized trend to concentration that led to a decreased number of stronger political entities. Some even adopted the confederated form of government. In the north both the Parisii and the Belgae vied for dominance while the Arverni ruled undisputed in the Mediterranean coast after having beaten the Massalians.

At the same time, a very intrincate web of alliances had formed between all the northern celtic tribes, including even some germanic group. This did not make for a very stable status quo, though, and the only thing that could be said for sure was that, whenever war came, it would engulf the whole region.

And war came when the Arverni decided to forcibly add another member to their confederation. The logical choices, the Ruteni and the Senones, were Celtiberian allies and Roman tributaries respectively, so they took their chances and attacked one of his northern neighbours. As predicted, the many pacts sealed by the gaulish tribes immediately forced most of them to choose a side. Only a few decided to stay away from the conflict and only the Parisii took the side of the Arverni. The war was short and bloody, and served for nothing but for weakening everyone implicated, with the Arverni-Parisii isolated and the other tribes too weak and small to fend off any external power.


With two great powers at its doors and gaulish relations all but destroyed, the Arverni situation was dire

The greek affair.


This was the moment chosen by Aratid to strike at the Arverni. He had to convince the Council first, and for that he was forced to use every diplomatic and rethoric resource he had. It was true that peace had lasted too much for many in Celtiberia and the army was full of young men itching to prove themselves in battle.

On the other hand many, Hannid being the most important individual among them, were wary of the Carthaginians, who were making very good use of these years and were looking even more threatening than before. Furthermore, some iberians feared that the confederation would become even more celtic-centric if it expanded north.

Aratid argued that the Arverni lands were rich in wood and many of their coastal cities would increase the speed at which the Celtiberian navy was built. He also talked of the riches of Massalia and how a whole new army could be equipped with the revenue generated by that city alone. To illustrate this point, he even payed for a new Chamber of the Council with his own money. In private reunions, he talked about a pan-celtic state with the celtiberian leaders while he told the iberians that the northern celts were too different and that including them in the confederation would actually shatter any idea of celtic unity the celtiberians may have had.

And, in his final discourse, he spoke about Rome, how it had been expanding in the Balkans and how it was just a matter of time that the Latins would look westward. He ended his speech with the famous “Would you rather fight the Romans in the Alps or in the Pyrenees?” From then on, “choosing the Alps” became an idiom for “taking a problem head on”.

War was declared, citing the liberation of Massalia as its reason. The land of the Ruteni was used as a spring board to invade simultaneously most of the Arverni territories, while the Parisii were bribed into looking the other side.

The Arverni proved to be brave and tough, but were heavily outnumbered, had no time to gather their forces and their tactics were an ill match for the conflict. Furthermore the Massaliotes revolted, overpowered the Arverni garrison stationed in the polis and opened their gates to an army led by Aratid himself, who had promised them independence from the confederation. The other minor greek cities in the vicinity of Massalia, like Nikaias and Agathe, had almost no Arverni garrison and surrendered without bloodshed.

The High Chief's life ended almost at the same time as the conflict, though, and the Council took charge of peace talks. Surely, had he survived a few months more the terms enforced by the celtiberians would have been very different. In a twist of fate, many of the things Aratid had done to convince the councillors of the necessity of the war served, in the end, to alleviate the conditions imposed to his sworn enemies.

The pan-celtic ideas of the celtiberians moved them to seek for the northern celts the same treatement that other celtic tribes in the Iberian Peninsula had received, while the iberians thought they could eventually use the newcomers as potential allies in future votes. Thus, the whole matter was treated as an integration of confederations, with every junior tribe of the Arverni receiving a seat in the Council.

Massalia, too, was integrated in the Council. The independence promised by Aratid was denied, but it was treated favorably. A league of poleis was formed, called the Phocean League, with Massalia as its head. The Phocean League had some autonomy to resolve its internal matters and had a seat with vote in the Celtiberian Council. Emporion was an honorary member of the league, participating in their religious and athletic events but keeping its own autonomy and council seat.


Statue of Pytheas of Massalia, greek explorer from the fourth century B.C. The account of his voyage to northern Europe would ignite the imagination of many Celtiberian merchants and adventurers.

The successor of Aratid was no other than Hannid. A phoenician leading Celtiberia was a very strange occurrence and the fact that the nobles of the council had chosen him did not mean the people would be happy with the decision. Luckily for him, an opportunity to prove his devotion to the cause and win the heart of the people came soon enough. Carthage had attacked the Massaesyli, who had been good friends of the celtiberians since the War of the Mare. Another big war was coming.
 

Serek000

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I haven't played Rome in ages, but now I want to again. This is a good AAR.

It's lucky that Rome hasn't gone expanding into Gaul - that could have really complicated things. Does conquering the Arveni mean that you now have a land border with them?
 

Fernan

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I haven't played Rome in ages, but now I want to again. This is a good AAR.

It's lucky that Rome hasn't gone expanding into Gaul - that could have really complicated things. Does conquering the Arveni mean that you now have a land border with them?
Thanks!

Yeah, it made my life much easier. The senones gave them a very hard time and, by the time that was out of their way, the Gaulish had weaved their web of alliances. There was a moment when war against the Arverni could potentially mean war against all of Gaul and half of Germany. Not even the Romans were willing to risk that, not when they had juicier targets. By the time the alliance was broken they were entangled in the Balkans and I took advantage of it.

And yes, we now have a land border in Liguria. Expect them to multiply in the near future. It is not going to take much time before either of us attacks, so I have to deal with Carthage in a very definitive manner ASAP. If I had the coin I would pay my way into an alliance with the Lysimachids, who are looking strong, but building a decent fleet from scratch has emptied the treasury.

Chapter 12: The Second Punic War (I).

Balance of power

The punics had not been idle all this time. In Sicily, they had declared war against the Syracusans, who had asked in vain for Roman help, and now only Aetna escaped to their control. In Africa, they had asserted their hegemony, and were subjugating the few independent countries at an alarming speed. They had also rebuilt their army and appointed better generals. They were a much more dangerous foe than they had been before.

Celtiberia now counted with two more armies, elevating their number to six armies of ten thousand men. After the success of Segobriga, every army included now some horse archers. Supply lines and logistics had been prepared for the eventuality of warring in multiple fronts in the mediterranean. The navy was much bigger too, though not yet a match for the carthaginian one. Most of the ships had outdated designs and their performance in battle was an unknown but they were more than enough for transport duties.



The Western Mediterranean before the war. Leptis Magna (purple) is neutral.

The Numidian theatre

This time around, the strait didn't see much action. The celtiberians crossed it straight away with two armies and managed to beat the carthaginian forces that had been attacking the Massaesyli. Carthage signed a truce with the mauretanians and had to retreat to Numidia, leaving his western territories undefended. After taking control of them without further resistance, the celtiberian forces headed east.


Rif Mountains. The African campaign took place mostly on semi-arid mountain ranges.

Along the way to Carthage-controlled land they had to face on several occasions a Massyli army. The numidians, knowing well the terrain they were fighting on, tried to divide the two celtiberian columns in order to beat them separatedly. While in the end they could not isolate the invaders and suffered some losses along the way, they did manage to slow down their advance, buying time for more carthaginian troops to arrive to the front.


The Mediterranean islands

Meanwhile, two other armies had landed on Corsica and Sardinia. The former was virtually undefended with only a few men garrisoned in Alalia to mantain order. While securing the entire island took some time, there was no real fighting. Sardinia was another entirely different matter. It was undergoing a native rebellion and the carthaginian troops stationed there had been forced to fortify themselves in an ancient stone stronghold at Su Nuraxi.


These buildings, called Nuraghe, were very common in Sardinia. Built by the extinct Nuragic civilization, some had been rebuilt by the punics to serve as fortifications

When the celtiberians arrived, they tried to negotiate with the sardinians. They had limited success: the villages that were willing to accept them were also the villages that were not willing to revolt against Carthage. But the leaders of the rebel army sieging Su Nuraxi would not accept anything but full independence. In the end, the celtiberians had to deal with the rebels with force.

It was not the last hurdle they had to face in Sardinia, though. Few days after the native army had been beaten scouts brought news of a big army, more than fifteen thousand men strong, travelling fast in their direction. It had been sent by Carthage to deal with the rebellion even before the start of the war. Upon landing in the northern port of Olbia, their commander learnt of the enemy being in the island and, anticipating the glory of a victory against his country's most hated rival, gave the order to march against them.

Now trapped between a rock and a hard place, and with many recent wounds still open, the celtiberians were forced to storm the fortress with brute force, losing many men in the stony bottlenecks before the last carthaginian had been killed. They then positioned their entire army to a side, as if trying to face both the incoming army and the stronghold. The trap worked and the carthaginian commander, being in a rush to send notice to the mainland of his victory, just thought that the defenders had been able to hold the place so he attacked the celtiberian army while sending the stronghold order to join him.

By the time the carthaginians noticed something was wrong, it was already too late. With the bulk of their troops engaged in combat they only had a few reserves to face the celtiberian heavy infantry that suddenly appeared in their flank and lasted only a short time before routing in a disorderly manner. With the last obstacle cleared, Celtiberia at last could take control of Sardinia.


The Sardinian campaign was led by a young member of the Ambonid clan​

Unrest in Gaul

During these first weeks of war Massalia became an unexpected problem.

Most of the Massaliotes were content with their new situation. They had more autonomy than under the Arverni and the constitution of the Phoecian League gave them a lot of influence over the rest of the poleis in Gaul. Even the culture was highly regarded and many in the city were beginning to adopt celtiberian customs.

Still, not everyone felt the same. Many slaves, not just those of the rich and the powerful but also slaves of merchants and craftmen, saw their life conditions worsen after turning into state property and being reassigned to harsh tasks in the docks or in the fields. Discontent grew quickly and eventually turned into a full fledged slave revolt. Hannid, who was in the area with an army waiting for the fleet to carry them to Sicily, had to change plans and head to Massalia.

The slave revolt was quenched easily enough but then another rebellion started, this time of citizens that resented Celtiberia for not honoring Aratid promise or feared the cultural changes that had began to take place. Hannid defeated this rebellion outbreak too.

In the end, these rebellions only served to speed up the cultural shift of Massalia since the more resistant had been killed or fled to the east. But it also delayed the Sicilian campaign, something that would have some unexpected consequences down the line.