In ancient times there were several societies that were not very defined in terms of their founding date, they were known by the name of protohistoric societies and in this interesting group we can find the Celtiberians , a social group that populated the Iberian Peninsula before the arrival of Rome.


Who were the Celtiberians?

The Celtiberians were a mestizo culture that had its origin within the Iberian Peninsula . It was a culture that resulted from the mixture between the Celtic inhabitants who were located in the northern part and the Iberians of the Levant.



The Celtiberians were a cultural group or society that was formed from miscegenation . This event took place in the Iberian Peninsula , during the Bronze Age , in the thirteenth century BC This place was mostly inhabited by the Iberians from the Levant but little by little the Celts were invading the peninsula until they settled in the place. This mixture of cultures is what is known by the name of Celtiberians .


Characteristics of the Celtiberians

Among the main characteristics of the Celtiberians we find the following aspects:

  • It was a people that dominated iron .
  • The type of religion was naturalistic .
  • They received Iberian influence especially in the field of ceramics.
  • The type of society they had was totally tribal and they also had strong hierarchies .
  • The peoples of this society were located in places of defense .
  • They are considered as a true ethnic group .
  • They had their own language and writing system .
  • His social organization was quite elaborate and marked.


As for its origin there is a certain degree of controversy and doubt. However, many of the ancient writers left information that mentioned that during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC the central plateau was made up of Celts and that, during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, Celtiberians began to appear. It is considered that its origin was in the Celtic invasions of the north.


Its history begins around the 13th century BC . It was a town that developed in the northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula and according to history they arose as a result of the invasion of the Celtic peoples who came from the northern part of Europe in the peninsula. Despite this, there is a lack of accurate historical sources that clearly delimit the fusion of this culture.

The migration is part of the history of this culture because many tribes were taken to find more pleasant climates and soils more fertile. The tribes that came from Scandinavia and the northern part of Germany exerted pressure on the Celts who were forced to force other groups into the Iberian Peninsula.

As part of its history, three different periods stand out : the old one, which is considered as a proper stage of formation, the plenary session where the culture had already managed to acquire its own cultural traits and had consolidated them, and the late one where the disappearance occurred. of culture due to various external causes.


There were several peoples that were part of the Celtiberian society, among them we find the Berones (pre-Roman people), the Arevacos and Pelendones . There were also cities such as Secontia , Numancia , Uxama and Clunia . Segeda , Bilbilis , Tierga , Complega and Botorrita were also part of Celtiberian society. Currently, several peoples are still considered as part of this culture, among them we find the Lobetans , Carpetanos , Vacceosand olcades .


They had a culture based on the military field because they were warriors first and foremost. They also attached great importance to the social aspect and the culture focused a lot on everything related to urban planning , arts and crafts in ceramics. They used to make their houses with vaulted cellars and two rooms and some communities preferred to stay away from civilization.

Political and social organization

The society of this culture was hierarchical and divided into tribes and clans . In the clans you could find individuals who had some blood tie or kinship, or those who shared a territory as well as duties and rights. In the tribes, there were superior organizations. The warriors had access to political power and also had the duty to defend the people.

Political power was in the hands of a group of elders who made up an assembly and who were known as seniores . They also had an assembly of young people whom they called iuniores . Among the important political figures were the heralds who negotiated the peace, the magistrates and military chiefs.

Celtiberian economy

As for its economy, it was based on activities related to livestock , metallurgy , hunting , fishing , agriculture and the gathering of fruits , mainly nuts and acorns. They had certain difficulties due to the poor quality of the soils and used the plow and oxen to work the land. Livestock had a better boom and in fact it was the source of their wealth, they mainly focused on the reproduction of goats and sheep to later be able to obtain products such as milk, meat and wool.

They mined silver , lead , iron and copper and made different types of instruments of war, agricultural and artisanal with these materials. Another important aspect within its economy was metallurgy which focused mainly on iron, in the manufacture of utensils for daily use, war and ornaments.


Some of the symbols of this culture were the following:

  • Celtic triskele : used for protection.
  • Triquetra : a female symbol that also represented health and fertility.
  • Cross : for protection.
  • Solar cross : ancestral symbol that symbolizes life, courage and momentum.
  • Star – an ancient amulet associated with magic and the occult.
  • Perennial knot : symbolizes the eternal union and the union that exists between the material and spiritual world.


As for religion, experts say that they practiced a type of polytheistic religion as many objects that have been found indicate this. They also practiced Mediterranean naturalistic beliefs mainly influenced by Greek culture. They represented animals such as lions and sphinxes to worship and had as their main sanctuary the Cerro de los Santos , a rectangle inside which was a stone platform.


Some of their gods were:

  • Andera : goddess of the earth.
  • Ataecina : goddess of the underworld, rebirth and fertility.
  • Baraecus : god of the waters.
  • Camal : goddess of beauty and love.
  • Candamius : He was the god of storms and the sky.
  • Baeslitos : god of the berones.
  • Cosus : god of war.

Celtiberians in Spain

Initially, the Celtiberians in Spain were located in the northern part , where the cities of Asturias , Galicia and in the northern part of Portugal are currently located . Later, they were in contact with the Iberians forming the Celtiberian culture . They spread through Soria, Guadalajara, La Rioja, Aragon, Cuenca and other towns.


Its main importance lies in the different activities that this culture carried out which were part of the bases for a later culture. The manufacture of weapons , the way in which society was organized and much of its art , became key points in later civilizations.


Much of their legacy was based on all the objects that they used for personal decoration, the ornamentation of metals, the creation of weapons, mainly knives, swords and shields and on the worldview that society left as a legacy. His works in art and construction managed to pass from generation to generation, improving every day. Its megalithic monuments are part of world culture and many of its symbols continue to be used today.

Leave a Comment