In the middle years of the second century BC, Rome was engaged in the conquest and pacification of Iberia: what is now Spain and Portugal. They met with determined resistance from several tribes but nobody defied them with more determination and skill than Viriathus. Apparently of humble birth, he emerged as a leader after the treacherous Roman massacre of the existing tribal chieftains and soon proved himself a gifted and audacious commander.
Relying on hit and run guerrilla tactics, he inflicted repeated humiliating reverses upon the theoretically superior Roman forces, uniting a number of tribes in resistance to the invader and stalling their efforts at conquest and pacification for eight years. Still unbeaten in the field, he was only overcome when the Romans resorted to bribing some of his own men to assassinate him (though they reneged on the agreed payment, claiming they did not reward traitors!)
Though renowned in his day, Viriathus has been neglected by modern historians, a travesty that Luis Silva puts right in this thoroughly researched and accessible account. Portuguese by birth, the author draws on Portuguese research and perspectives that will be refreshing to English-language scholars and readers and his own military experience also informs his analysis of events. What emerges is a stirring account of defiance, heroic resistance against the odds, and, ultimately, treachery and tragedy.
VIRIATHUS And the Lusitanian Resistance to Rome
Little known in the English-speaking world, Viriathus was the humbly-born guerilla chieftain who resisted the Roman conquest of his Iberian homeland. Uniting tribes in what is now Portugal and Spain, Viriathus successfully defied the might of Rome for a decade until his treacherous assassination by his own men. A book to interest lovers of Rome, the ancient world, Spain, Portugal and tells the story of a brave battler against all the odds.
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