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The Sertorian War

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The Sertorian War, or the Sertorian War (Latin: Bellum Sertorium, 82-72 BC), - military conflict between supporters Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who seized power in Rome, on the one hand, and the Marians, led by Quintus Sertorius, on the other. The scene is set in Roman Spain. During this civil war, a number of Spanish tribes participated on the side of the Marianas.

Quintus Sertorius

Quintus Sertorius (120 BC-73 BC) was a Roman politician and military leader, best known as the leader of the rebellion against the Sullanian regime in Spain in 80-72 BC.

Quintus Sertorius was born in the land of the Sabines, in the small town of Nursia on the Salarian Road, which was part of the tribe of Quirinus and is only occasionally mentioned in the sources. It is known that the mother of the Emperor Vespasian came from there. This territory was finally conquered by Rome in 290 BC, and half a century later its inhabitants received Roman citizenship. The Sabines had a reputation for being a brave and warlike tribe, the "original inhabitants of the country", whose colonists were Samnites and Picenes. This tribe included such prominent figures in Roman history and culture of the first century BC as Marcus Terentius Varro and Gaius Sallust Crispus.

The exact date of birth of Quintus Sertorius is unknown. Historians speak of the mid-120s BC, about 123 or 122 BC. Nomen Sertorius (Sertorius) is supposed to be of Etruscan origin. Plutarch calls this genus "prominent" for Nursia. The Sertorii probably belonged to the municipal aristocracy and to the equestrian class, so Quintus had every chance of making a great career in his native city. At the same time, he was a "new man"for Rome.

Quintus Sertorius lost his father at an early age and was raised from that moment on by his mother, " whom he seems to have loved very much." His mother's name was Rhea; some researchers associate this name with the name of another Sabine city — Reate. Sertorius received a good education and, in particular, thoroughly studied law and rhetoric. He had a certain oratorical ability; Cicero, in his treatise Brutus, calls him "the most intelligent and easy-tongued "of the" orators, or rather screamers." From this formulation in historiography, it is concluded that by Roman standards Sertorius lacked professionalism. Nevertheless, he was able to gain "some influence" in Nursia in his early youth years through his performances.

When the Germans invaded the Roman Republic, Quintus Sertorius joined the active army. Its first commander was Quintus Servilius Caepio — an influential patrician and famous general who commanded an army in Narbonne Gaul in 106-105 BC. e. There is speculation that Sertorius became a contubernal under Caepio and his client. He could use the patronage of a prominent aristocrat to make his way up in the new world of Roman politics.

At the Battle of Arausio on October 6, 105 BC, the army of Quintus Servilius was almost completely destroyed by the Germans. Sertorius was wounded and lost his horse in the fight, but still managed to escape: he swam across the river Rodan, despite the strong current, and even retained his shield and armor. This episode of his biography became a textbook example of military valor in Latin literature.

After this battle, the hypothetical patron of Sertorius was convicted because of obvious guilt in the defeat and suspicion of embezzlement. Command in the ongoing war with the Germans passed to Gaius Marius. Under his command, Sertorius served, according to one of the assumptions, from 104 BC.e. Another outstanding feat of Sertorius belongs to this period: disguised as a Gaul, he made his way into the enemy camp and learned valuable information, for which he was awarded. There is an assumption that this happened on the eve of the battle of Aquae Sextii in 102 BC. There is no other information about Sertorius ' participation in the war with the Germans, which ended in 101 BC.

Plutarch reports that Sertorius enjoyed the confidence of Marius, but the events of the 80s BC show that good relations between the two "new people" were not established. A. Korolenkov suggests that Sertorius remained associated with the Servilii, enemies of Marius, who by the end of 100 BC had lost most of his influence.

Military campaign of 81 BC

The next mention of Sertorius in the sources is connected with Spain. In 98 BC, he acted in this region as a military tribune under the command of the consul Titus Didius. It is known that the latter defeated the Celtiberians, but Sertorius is mentioned only in connection with one military operation against the city of Castulon, which was located much to the south — in Iberia. The military tribune was part of the local garrison. When the inhabitants of Castulon revolted and killed most of the Romans, Sertorius and a group of soldiers were able to escape, and then in turn attacked the city, killed all the men, and sold the women and children into slavery. The same fate befell the neighboring city that participated in the uprising. For this, Sertorius received the highest military award — corona graminea.

It has been suggested that Sertorius came under Didius ' command after these events, since it is unlikely that such a brave and well-deserved warrior was kept in the deep rear. Sertorius may have come to Spain as early as 99 BC. e. Didius, also associated with the Servilii and the Quirinus tribe, may have become his new patron. B. Katz suggested that Sertorius fought under Didius in Thrace, but there is no evidence of this in the sources.

Immediately after his return to Rome, Sertorius was elected Quaestor. This master's degree was the first step on the cursus honorum and guaranteed a seat in the Senate. There are no exact dates: the questura of Sertorius dates back to 91 or 90 BC. e. At this time, the Allied War was beginning, and Sertorius was recruiting people and preparing equipment for the army in Cisalpine Gaul. According to Plutarch, " he showed such zeal and impetuosity in this matter (especially when compared with the slowness and lethargy of other young military leaders) that he acquired the reputation of an active man." Later, Sertorius took part in the fighting and showed miracles of bravery; in one of the battles, he lost an eye, which he was proud of as a unique distinction. He became a famous war hero: The same Plutarch reports that once, when Sertorius appeared at the theater, "he was greeted with loud cheers." However, there is an opinion that the biographer could somewhat exaggerate the popularity of his hero.

Spain at the beginning of the first century BC.

Most of the Iberian Peninsula was part of the Roman Empire by the beginning of the first century BC. Back in 197, two provinces were formed here. Near Spain included the lower and middle reaches of the Iber River and the Mediterranean coast to New Carthage, which became the administrative center; Far Spain included Betica, and here Corduba was the main city. In the course of almost continuous wars, by 133, Rome's possessions had expanded significantly to include regions in the center and west of the country, but many lands were subject to Roman governors only nominally. Researchers distinguish three territorial zones according to the degree of penetration of the invaders. On the Mediterranean coast, on the middle reaches of the Iberian River, and south of the Ana River, the Roman position was strongest: most of the local communities were subjects, paid tributes, had no weapons of their own, and maintained Roman garrisons; the inhabitants of the central part of the peninsula were vassals of the Republic, also paid tributes and provided auxiliary troops; finally, there were also the lands of the Vettons and Vaccaeans in Celtiberia, territories to the west and north Sometimes the governors took hostages from individual communities or moved individual tribes from the mountains to the plains, but in general they tried to maintain the status quo.

Lusitania, which occupied the entire southwestern Iberian Peninsula, was conquered by Decimus Junius Brutus in 138-137 BC, but this conquest was a mere formality. At the time of Sertorius ' rebellion, the powerful and numerous Lusitanian people remained virtually independent of Rome. The Vascones continued to resist in the far north, and did not submit to the Republic of Astura and Cantabra. The Romans had to regularly suppress uprisings in Nearby Celtiberia, repel Lusitanian raids, and wage a minor war with the Vaccaeans.

Communities in the territories directly subordinate to the governors occupied different positions. The greatest privileges were enjoyed by cities that had entered into a special treaty with Rome and were considered free; these included some Phoenician and Greek colonies (Emporion, Malaca, Ebes), the native city of Saguntum, and possibly several other communities. These cities enjoyed full self-government, paid no taxes, and were not required to maintain Roman garrisons. In the event of war, their duties were limited to moral support. The civitates stipendiariae had to pay taxes to Rome, and their lands were considered ager provincialis, but such communities had internal autonomy. Finally, there was the category of dedititi: these were communities that, in the course of wars, surrendered to the mercy of the Romans and became simple subjects. They were completely at the mercy of the provincial administration, and their situation was not regulated by any laws.

In addition, on the territory of Spain there were cities with a Roman structure. First of all, these were the cities founded by the governors: Tarracon, Italica, Gracchouris. It is possible that Italy by the 80th years BC had the status of a Latin colony, and with it-Ilerda, Cartea, Corduba. There were no Roman colonies in Spain at the time of the Sertorian War. Nevertheless, there was an active colonization of the country by immigrants from Rome in particular and Italy in general: veterans who had served their time, impoverished peasants, representatives of the business community, who were attracted by the natural resources of Spain, settled here. At the beginning of the first century BC, in a number of cities, the descendants of immigrants displaced or completely assimilated the natives. At the same time, the main part of the colonists were not actually Romans, but Italians[8], who came primarily from Campania, and secondly, possibly from Etruria.

At the same time, the natives were introduced to the Roman-Italian culture. Spaniards learned the Latin language and Roman way of life while serving in the army of the Republic; some of them earned Roman citizenship for their services, but this was still a rarity in the 80's BC. The success of Romanization is indicated by the fact that many cities minted coins with legends in Latin, began to acquire a Roman appearance, and Latin schools appeared in them. Roman names have become widespread. In general, Romanization by the beginning of the first century BC. It has made huge strides in the Iberian and Betis basins and much more modest ones in other regions. But its main achievement, researchers believe, is the fact that the native inhabitants of Spain no longer saw their future outside the borders of Roman power and sought to become like the Romans. This is what made possible their active involvement in the Roman civil wars.

Civil War

Quintus Sertorius went to Spain in late 83 or early 82 BC. Most likely, only a small detachment was with him; it is known that Sertorius ' Quaestor was Lucius Hirtuleius, who became his closest associate in the following years. Sertorius was forced to submit the province to his authority. Appian writes that "the former governors did not want to accept him." From this, some historians conclude that Near Spain was controlled by the Sullans, whom Sertorius defeated; according to another opinion, the proconsul only encountered unrest among the local tribes. Sertorius stabilized the situation by reducing taxes, eliminating military posts in cities, and establishing relations with the tribal nobility. According to Sallust, the Spaniards loved the governor "for his moderate and impeccable rule."

Despite this love, Sertorius considered the Roman and Italian colonists to be his mainstay. He put into service all those capable of carrying weapons from this category, "kept under close surveillance" cities and built a military fleet. The primary goal of this activity was to keep the Spaniards in subjection, but soon a new threat arose. Sulla won a complete victory over the Marians in Italy, and his generals began to establish control over the western provinces. Sertorius ' name was included in the first proscription list, so it was not only about his career prospects, but also about his life. Presumably, Sulla appointed Gaius Annius Lusca as the new governor of Near Spain, who moved through the Pyrenees in the spring of 81 BC. Under his command there were up to 20 thousand soldiers, and Sertorius could oppose these forces with about 9 thousand people; the question remains whether there were representatives of local tribes among them.

In the Pyrenees, Gaius Annius 'path was blocked by a six-thousand-strong Marian force under the command of one of Sertorius' subordinates, Livius Salinator. But soon the latter was killed by a traitor, and his men abandoned their positions. Gaius Annius invaded the province, and Sertorius, unable to fight, fled to New Carthage, where he loaded the remnants of his troops on ships. The reason why he so easily admitted defeat, historians see not only in the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Sullans. Probably, Sertorius was unpopular with his own soldiers (this could be affected by the abolition of winter camps in the cities); in addition, the population of the province, both Spanish and Roman-Italian, should have realized the futility of further struggle, given the victories of the Sullanians throughout the Roman empire. The key role, according to I. Gurin, could be played by the lack of support from the Celtiberians.

Warrior of the Army of Sertorius Reconstruction of A. G. Pinto.
Warrior of the Lusitanian Tribes Reconstruction by J. Shumate
Roman legionnaire at the beginning of the 1st century BC

For a time, the Sullans established control over all of Roman Spain. Sertorius crossed to Mauretania, but there he suffered losses in a skirmish with the local population, and therefore decided to return. The exiles landed presumably in the area of Malaka. They were immediately defeated, but in the open sea they received help from Cilician pirates and were able to occupy the island of Pityusa. Soon the fleet of Gaius Annius appeared here. Sertorius gave the enemy a battle, but his light ships were little suited for it. Mistral scattered them across the sea; only after 10 days Sertorius" with a few ships " was able to land on some islands. Then he passed through the Strait of Hades and landed again in Spain, near the mouth of Betis. Researchers note that this was one of the most romanized parts of the country. Thus, Sertorius could have chosen this landing site in the expectation of help from the local provincials. These hopes were not fulfilled, but in any case the exiles were able to settle down here for a long rest, after which they returned to Mauretania.

At that time, there was a civil war in this country: Ascalid, who had been deposed earlier, was trying to regain the throne. Sertorius intervened in this conflict, according to Plutarch, hoping "that his colleagues, encouraged by new successes, would see in them the guarantee of further exploits and therefore would not disperse in despondency." From this passage, historiography concludes that the problem of desertion at that time was very acute: the small number of Sertorius ' supporters clearly considered the current situation hopeless.

The exiles sided with the current tsar. Sertorius led this ruler's army and besieged Ascalides, supported by Cilician pirates, at Tingis. The Sullans from Further Spain, under the command of Vibius Paccianus, came to the aid of the besieged. Sertorius defeated this group, and attracted the enemy soldiers to his side. According to Plutarch, after the capture of Thingis, Mauretania came under the complete control of Sertorius, but the Greek writer seems to be exaggerating: the Sertorians were rather in the position of military specialists and could not control power in the whole kingdom.

Shortly after this success, Lusitanian envoys came to Sertorius and asked him to become their leader. Plutarch writes that the Lusitanians made such an invitation, "having learned about the character of Sertorius from his companions." This may mean that the initiative belonged to Quintus: he may have specifically sent his people to Spain to prepare the ground for a new appearance in this country. The alliance was concluded. In this regard, some scholars believe that Sertorius betrayed the Roman Republic, or at least went to a complete break with it. There is also an opinion that his actions were rather unconventional. Researchers note that the two sides of the alliance pursued completely different goals: the Lusitanians either simply needed military specialists, or expected to use intra-Roman strife to strengthen their independence. Sertorius planned to make the Lusitanians his weapon in the civil war.

Map of Lusitania

Securing the Marianas in Spain

In 80 BC, Sertorius crossed from Tingis to Spain. He landed in the vicinity of the city of Belon with a force of 2,600 Romans and 700 Mauretanians. In historiography, there is an opinion that it was before this landing that he defeated the squadron of Sullanz Cotta at Mellaria. According to another hypothesis, this victory was won after Sertorius gained a foothold in Spain.

More than 4,000 Lusitanians were waiting at Belon Sertorius. The 8,000 strong rebel army was opposed, according to Plutarch, by " 120,000 foot soldiers, 6,000 horsemen, 2,000 archers and slingers." It is assumed that this is an anachronism: a Greek historian describes the situation in 74 BC. e. In 80, the governor of Distant Spain, Lucius Fufidius, could have had 15-20 thousand soldiers or even only 10-12 thousand, and judging by the fact that he allowed a large Lusitanian detachment to reach Belon, the governor did not fully control the situation in his own province. The governor of Near Spain, Marcus Domitius Calvinus, had two other legions.

At Betis (presumably near Hispalis), the first major battle of this war took place. Lucius Fufidius was defeated, and only the Romans in his army died 2 thousand. The course of further events is not entirely clear: some scholars believe that Sertorius went to Lusitania (according to this version, he moved there before the battle), others — that he occupied part of Distant Spain. I. Gurin and A. Korolenkov suggest that the rebellion was supported by most of the province; however, it could be more submission to the strongest than active participation in the war.

Roman cavalry and legionnaires. Monument of Emilius Paulus in Delphi Museum Munich. Mid-2nd century BC
Part of the bas-relief with the nose of the bireme. Vatican City Museum, Rome. End of II-beginning of I century BC

Nor is it entirely clear how much support Sertorius received in Lusitania. Sources say that there were only 20 "polis" on his side; this may refer to fortified points or just individual communities. At the same time, I. Gurin believes that the cities of Betica, and not Lusitania, are meant. Plutarch ascribes to Sertorius the power of "strategos autocrator", but this is a clear exaggeration: there is no information that Quintus had any powers in Lusitania other than military ones. The events of the Viriat War show that the Lusitanians could not put more than 10 thousand soldiers in the field, even with all their strength. At the same time, Sertorius was never able to establish discipline in the native part of his army. Often he had to enforce obedience not by order, but by explanation. This is indicated, in particular, by the episode with two horses, described by a number of ancient authors.

Immediately after landing, Sertorius began to resort to various tricks to strengthen his authority in the eyes of the local tribes. In particular, he pretended to be a person communicating with the gods. A certain Spanus had given him a fawn; a fully tame white fallow deer, Sertorius had declared it "a divine gift from Diana," and said that the animal told him secret things.

If he received a secret notification that enemies were attacking any part of his country or prompting a city to withdraw, he pretended that the doe had revealed it to him in a dream, instructing him to keep his troops on alert. Similarly, if Sertorius received news of the victory of one of his generals, he did not inform anyone of the arrival of a messenger, but led out a doe decorated with wreaths as a sign of good news, and ordered them to rejoice and offer sacrifices to the gods, assuring them that soon everyone would know about some happy event.

"Plutarch." Sertorius, 11.

A number of sources tell about the sertorium fallow deer. This choice of sacred animal may be related to the widespread cult of the fallow deer in the Iberian Peninsula. In addition, Sertorius himself could become an object of worship as an alien hero; in historiography, analogies are drawn with the cult of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus in the 200s BC. e. Thanks to this, Sertorius was able to strengthen his authority.

According to A. Schulten, after the victory over Fufidium, the rebel army did not grow, remaining at the level of about 8 thousand people. F. Spann believes that Sertorius gradually increased his forces to 20 thousand soldiers. Thanks to this growth, the governor of Near Spain, Marcus Domitius Calvinus, was also defeated. According to one version, in 79 BC, the Quaestor of Sertorius, Lucius Hirtuleius, with an army supposedly made up of provincials, invaded Near Spain and defeated Calvin and his two legions. According to another version, as early as 80 BC. Marcus Domitius himself marched south to help Lucius Fufidius; presumably he was killed in battle. In any case, the failures of the Sullanian troops in Spain were so serious that Sulla himself drew attention to them. He sent to the Iberian Peninsula one of his main associates, his colleague in the consulship of 80 BC, a representative of an influential family and a cousin of his wife — Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius.

Map of the military campaign of 80 BC.

Sertorius vs. Metellus Pius

In 79 BC, the war entered a new, more violent phase. The Sullan regime had concentrated a large force in Spain under the command of Proconsul Metellus Pius, a very experienced general. Sources depict him as a middle-aged, lazy person, prone to " luxury and luxury." At the same time, he was only a few years older than Sertorius and was highly regarded by the latter. I. Gurin suggested that "the senile lethargy of Metellus was an obsessive representation of Plutarch."

Under the command of Quintus Caecilius, there could be four legions and auxiliary troops. Plutarch, when he spoke of the 128,000 men massed against Sertorius, might have been referring to the situation in 79 B.C. and included the troops of Metellus Pius and the governors of Distant Spain and Narbonne Gaul. Some scholars estimate that the Sullan legionnaires alone in both Spains numbered at least 40,000; the auxiliary troops could reach even greater numbers.

Sources ' reports on the course of military operations in 79-77 BC are fragmentary. Based on them, you can confidently restore the picture only in the most general terms. Metellus ' army was significantly outnumbered, so Sertorius chose guerrilla tactics. He did not start large battles, but instead harassed the enemy from ambushes, made it difficult for them to supply, attacked when Metellus ' soldiers began to set up camp. If the latter began a siege of a city, Sertorius began to act on its communications, sometimes mobilizing huge forces for a short time (Plutarch even speaks of 150 thousand soldiers. There is a well-known case when he himself besieged the besiegers.

Plutarch has a description of the siege of Lacobriga. Metellus unexpectedly attacked this city, thinking that the main forces of the Sertorians were far away. He expected to force the besieged to surrender in two days, depriving them of water, and therefore took food only for five days. But Sertorius was able to quickly deliver 2 thousand water skins to Lacobriga, which upset all Metellus ' plans. The latter was forced to send an entire legion for food, which was ambushed and completely destroyed. As a result, Metellus had to retreat with nothing.

A. Schulten tried to create a detailed reconstruction of military operations. In his opinion, Metellus sent his legate Lucius Thorius Balbus to Near Spain, but on the way the latter was intercepted by Lucius Hirtuleius, was defeated at Consabura and died. Metellus later operated in Lusitania between the Guadiana and Tagus Rivers. In 79 BC, he moved from Betica to central Lusitania, and then to Olisippo. In 78, he was marching west and southwest; it was then that the siege of Lacobriga might have taken place. Metellus ravaged all the lands in his path, hoping to deprive the enemy of supply bases, but could not oppose anything to the guerrilla war, and therefore at the end of 78 he went on the defensive in Turdetania.

Silver Denarius of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, 81 BC

Most scientists agree with this reconstruction. I. Gurin believes that military operations in these years took place in Betica, in the north-eastern part of Distant Spain and in the south of Lusitania, but not in the interior of this country. A. Korolenkov does not agree with this hypothesis, referring to the fact that Betica, unlike Lusitania, was not suitable for guerrilla warfare.

During the fight against Metellus, Sertorius, although he was able to avoid defeat, still lost most of his positions in Betica — according to A. Korolenkov, "without much resistance." This was to be seen as Metellus ' great success. But the latter's army was so weakened that it could not resist the rebel offensive in Nearby Spain. Here, after the defeat of Thorius Balbus in 78 BC, the Sullanian governor of Narbonne Gaul, Lucius Manlius, appeared with three legions. Lucius Hirtuleius defeated him at Ilerda and forced him to flee with a handful of men to his province. Then Sertorius himself appeared in Near Spain. Plutarch claims that all the tribes north of the Iberian Peninsula submitted to him, but historians consider this an exaggeration, although they admit that a significant or even large part of the province went over to the rebels during the campaign of 77 BC. The most important cities-New Carthage, Tarracon, Gracchuris-apparently remained under the control of the Sullans.

In 77 BC, Sertorius received help from Italy. As early as 78, one of the consuls, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, rebelled to overthrow the order established by Sulla, and after the defeat, he sent his army to Sardinia and died there soon after. His successor in command, Marc Perperna, continued the fight. According to Orosius, he crossed to Liguria, from where he threatened Italy, but was driven back to the Pyrenees. Exuperantius reports that Perperna crossed directly from Sardinia to Spain. Here he intended to fight Metellus on his own, but the soldiers forced him to join Sertorius. According to Plutarch, this happened when it became clear that another Sullanian army was moving into Spain. According to Appian, the order of events was reversed: the Senate sent another commander to Spain, having learned of the strengthening of Sertorius.

Under the command of Perperna there were 53 cohorts, that is, more than 20 thousand soldiers-most of them Romans and Italians. Such substantial reinforcements arrived at Sertorius shortly before his capture of Contrebia, presumably no later than September 77 BC.

Both Perperna and Sertorius were praetorii (former praetors). At the same time, Perperna had a clear formal advantage as the son and grandson of the consuls, and therefore could claim the general command; only the demands of the soldiers forced him to submit to the "new man". There is a hypothesis that Sertorius at this stage had to enter into a tough struggle for power. It is at this point that Plutarch may relate the story that Quintus, upon receiving the news of his mother's death, was suspended from all business for seven days; he could simply blackmail his associates by relinquishing command in order to gain maximum authority. He emerged victorious from this fight, but the heterogeneity of his surroundings, which was reinforced by the appearance of Perperna, later played a negative role.

Spanish-Roman State of Sertoria

By the fall of 77 BC, Sertorius had reached the height of his power. At that time, he controlled vast territories in Spain. These were Lusitania (in whole or in part), the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, part of Distant Spain, the Mediterranean coast with the exception of certain points, the middle course of the Iberian River and the territories north of this river up to the Vascon lands. This was at least half of the entire territory of Spain. It is well known that the Sullanians retained their influence in Betica (at least in its eastern part) and in most Roman and Phoenician cities. Nevertheless, Sertorius was able to create a vast and powerful state, which posed a serious threat to the Sullan regime.

Appian reports that, in addition to Spain, the authority of Sertorius was recognized by neighboring regions. This could be referring to a part of Roman Gaul: its inhabitants inflicted a final defeat on Lucius Manlius in 78 BC, which many historians consider an argument in favor of Sertorius ' influence in this region.

There may have been some contact between the rebels and the Roman political elite. Plutarch reports that "former consuls and other most influential persons "" called Sertorius to Italy, claiming that there were many who were ready to rise up against the existing order and carry out a coup." It is believed that it is impossible to establish the authenticity of these data: only Perperna, who tried to postpone his execution, speaks about these appeals in Plutarch. In this situation, he could say anything. It is known that the question of an amnesty for Sertorius was never raised in Rome; this means that the influence of his hypothetical supporters was small. High-ranking officials who were in contact with Sertorius (among them, for example, the consul Gaius Cassius Longinus of 73 BC) apparently did not plan to support him.

Sertorius might have been popular among ordinary Italians and Romans, but there was no movement in favor of Sertorius in Italy or Rome. Nevertheless, some members of the Sullan elite feared that the rebellion would spread to Italy as well. Sallust included in his" History " a speech by Lucius Marcius Philippus, in which the orator frightens the Senate with the alliance of Sertorius and Lepidus. At the same time, it is unclear whether such an alliance actually existed or whether it is more of a figure of speech. According to I. Gurin, Sertorius made a serious mistake by not concentrating all his forces in 79-78 BC. on capturing Near Spain and preparing for the campaign to Italy. Then, according to the researcher, the rebels had a chance of victory, disappeared after the crossing of Lepidus to Sardinia.

Scientists do not agree on the goals of Sertorium. Various researchers say that the rebellion was for him an attempt to simply survive, create an alternative state structure in Spain, or defeat the Sullan regime on the scale of the entire Roman state. The power of Sertorius is described as "independent Spain", as a Roman-Spanish or Spanish-Roman state, as "Antirim" (Gegenrom).

In its internal structure, the power of Sertorius had a dual character. On the one hand, it was a union of Spanish communities (according to Y. Tsirkin, it covered almost the entire non-Romanized part of Spain). Sertorius held sway over this alliance partly as a military leader, and partly as patron of individual tribes, cities, and local nobles. The Spaniards swore an oath to him as their leader and were part of his squad. Representatives of individual communities gathered together to decide on the recruitment of soldiers and the distribution of duties. On the other hand, it was a Roman political structure that Sertorius governed as a proconsul appointed by the Marian government. In accordance with the political practice of that era, the term of proconsular powers expired only when their bearer returned from the province to Rome. At the same time, the Sullans probably considered Sertorius ' power illegitimate from the moment he entered into an alliance with the Lusitanians. Sertorius did not allow the Spanish natives to take power. At the same time, as proconsul, he en masse granted Roman citizenship to those provincials who supported him with weapons in their hands. This is indicated by the mention of Sertoriums in a number of inscriptions found in certain regions of Spain. Most likely, after the suppression of the rebellion, the citizenship of these people was not confirmed. For the children of the native nobility, Sertorius created a school on the Roman model:

In the great city of Osk, he gathered noble boys from various tribes and assigned teachers to teach them the science of the Greeks and Romans. In essence, he made them hostages, but in appearance, he raised them so that when they matured, they could take over management and power. And the fathers were extremely happy when they saw their children in their purple-bordered togas go to school in strict order, how Sertorius paid for their teachers, how he distributed awards to the worthy and gave the best gold neck ornaments, which the Romans called "bulls". "Plutarch." Sertorius, 14.

If you take this story literally, you can understand it in such a way that the parents of students received Roman citizenship, and graduates of the school were supposed to be ranked among the equestrian class and, accordingly, receive the right to be elected to the highest positions of the Roman Republic. Many researchers see this school only as a way to get hostages. For H. Berwe and F. Spann togi-praetexts and bulls - is a deliberately frivolous idea, a direct hoax, which can be put on a par with the stories of Sertorius about the fallow deer. Ю. Tsirkin sees Sertorius ' effort as demagoguery, but also as a desire to show the local aristocracy its prospects in case of victory and a desire to rely on romanized noble youth in the future. For I. Gurin, the main thing in this episode is fixing the claims of the Spanish nobility to become part of the Roman ruling class.

There is an opinion that in the administration of Sertorian Spain there was a principle of collegiality. It is based on Cicero's statement that Mithridates sent envoys to the generals with whom the Romans were then at war, and on Perperna's complaints that the proconsul decided everything at the end of the war without consulting his entourage (these complaints may mean that Sertorius did consult earlier). Titus Livy reports that after the death of Sertorius, the Imperium partium passed to Perperna, and Y. Tsirkin suggests that we can talk not only about informal party leadership, but also about some kind of official status.

According to another hypothesis, the political system in Sertorian Spain is characterized as a soft dictatorship, acting with the consent of the advisory body and local officials When creating the state apparatus, the proconsul resorted not to elections, but to appointments that could be formally approved by the council under him. In particular, Sertorius appointed praetors and quaestors from among his senators, of whom there should have been at least six. In addition, he appointed prefects and legates, who sometimes combined military functions with civilian ones. In particular, Marcus Marius, sent by Sertorius to Asia, acted as a governor of the praetorian rank. This is confirmed by the fact that Mary was accompanied by lictors with fascia.

The advisory body that existed under Sertorius was probably officially called the Senate. Its creation in historiography dates back to 78 or 76 BC. e. A. Korolenkov suggests that the senate could have appeared only after the arrival of Perperna in Spain, since before that there were practically no senatorial dignitaries in the Sertorius camp. Some scholars believe that by creating such a state body, Sertorius wanted to emphasize the illegitimacy of the Sullan government. On the other hand, there are opinions that this measure was ineffective in this context and destroyed the last chances of reconciliation. Another reason for the creation of the Senate could be to find a compromise with representatives of the Roman nobility, who arrived in Spain with the remnants of the Lepidian army. In addition to Marcus Perperna, they were the patrician Lucius Cornelius Cinna, Lucius Fabius of Spain, Manius Antonius, Gaius Gerennius, Marcus Marius and others. Since the normal expansion of the Senate could not reach 300 members, Sertorius probably appointed the senators himself.

Legionnaires from the so-called "Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus" Louvre, Paris. (cast in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow). Late 2nd century BC

The real influence of the Senate did not seem to be very great. The sources mention only one case of his involvement in politics-discussing the terms of an alliance with Mithridates. The senators approved the terms proposed by the king, but Sertorius later refused to accept one of them, the most important — the cession of the province of Asia. It follows that the proconsul had the last word.

The capital of Sertorius was Oska. Most researchers believe that this is modern Huesca in Aragon. The Roman division into provinces was preserved: according to one opinion, these were Near and Far Spain, according to another-Celtiberia and Lusitania with administrative centers in Osca and Ebora, respectively.

Sertorius ' most important support was his army. Sources say only twice about its number: Plutarch has 150 thousand soldiers, Orosius has 60 thousand infantry and 8 thousand horsemen. In historiography, as a rule, Orosius ' data is accepted, although with some reservations: this writer refers to the time of the Battle of Lavrona, and the size of the rebel army, of course, could not remain the same throughout the war.

It is known that the army of Sertorius was divided into cohorts. The legions are not mentioned, but there may have been some. The problem of the ethnic composition of the army, apparently, cannot be solved in the current state of sources. In the first years of the war (79-78 BC, when the Sullanian forces were led by Metellus Pius), the Lusitanians fought mainly for Sertorius. Later (in 77-76 BC), his army included at least 20 thousand Romans and Italians who came from Perperna, as well as many Celtiberians. In parallel, there was an influx of emigrants from Italy. By the end of the war, this influx had almost stopped and Sertorius had been forced out of most of the Romanized regions, so that the mass share of Spaniards had to grow.

According to Plutarch, only the Romans held command positions in the rebel army. According to the assumptions of scientists, the native detachments were still led by tribal leaders. At the same time, Sertorius introduced "Roman armament, military formation, signals and commands"in all parts of his army. There is no consensus on its combat effectiveness: some historians highly appreciate the fighting qualities of the Sertorians, while others are sure that the rebels were obviously inferior to the soldiers of Metellus and Pompey and were suitable only for guerrilla warfare. The proconsul's attempts to instill the rudiments of discipline in the native troops are illustrated by Plutarch's story of the two horses:

"Sertorius called a public meeting and ordered two horses to be brought out: one completely exhausted and old, the other statuesque, powerful and, most importantly, with a surprisingly thick and beautiful tail. The decrepit horse was led by a man of enormous stature and strength, while the mighty one was led by a small and pathetic man. As soon as the signal was given, the strong man seized his horse by the tail with both hands and began to pull hard, trying to pull it out, while the feeble little man began to pull the hair out of the tail of the mighty horse one by one. The former's great labors proved fruitless, and he abandoned his task to the laughter of the spectators, while his feeble rival soon and without much effort plucked out the tail of his horse. 9 Then Sertorius stood up and said: "You see, fellow soldiers, perseverance is more useful than strength, and many things that cannot be done in one fell swoop can be done if you act gradually. Constant pressure is irresistible: with its help, time breaks and destroys any force, it turns into a benevolent ally of a person who knows how to choose his hour wisely, and a desperate enemy of all who inappropriately rush things."

"Plutarch." Sertorius, 16.In any case, Sertorius, as is well known, could not inflict a decisive defeat on the government forces.

Hans Holbein the Younger. The episode with two horses. 1515-1532 AD

The Marians against Metellus Pius and Pompey

The campaign of 77 BC gave the Roman government the prospect of a complete defeat of Metellus Pius and even a campaign of Sertorius in Italy. Therefore, the Senate sent another general to Spain — Gnaeus Pompey the Great, who received the powers of proconsul, despite his young age and lack of experience in higher positions. Pompey crossed the Pyrenees either at the end of 77 or at the beginning of 76 BC. e. At the beginning of the next campaign, the tribes of Indicetes and Lacetans went over to his side; it is possible that Pompey's Quaestor Gaius Memmius landed in New Carthage at the same time.

Gnaeus moved south along the Mediterranean coast. Meanwhile, Sertorius was besieging Lavron, which had recently come over to the Roman government, and Pompey found it necessary to help that city. Under his command, according to Orosius, there were 30 thousand legionaries and a thousand horsemen, but in addition to this, there should have been numerous auxiliary units. For some time both armies stood at Lavron, until finally a battle took place. Sertorius set up an ambush for the enemy foragers; Pompey sent one legion to the rescue, but even that legion was surrounded. When Pompey had withdrawn the main force from the camp, Sertorius showed the enemy his heavy infantry on the hilltops, ready to strike in the rear. As a result, Pompey abandoned a full-scale battle and accepted the loss of 10 thousand soldiers. The Sertorians soon took Lavron by storm.

Pompey retreated to the Pyrenees after this defeat. His prestige was seriously damaged: it was said of him that he "was nearby and did not bask in the flames that devoured the allied city, but did not come to the rescue." Pompey remained inactive for the remainder of the campaign, and some of the communities that had sided with him might again support Sertorius. The latter successfully operated in Celtiberia, where he occupied a number of cities.

Gnaeus Pompey the Great

The following year, 75 BC, was crucial. Sertorius ' plan called for Perperna and Herennius to hold Pompey in the northeast, while Lucius Hyrtuleius would defend the southern allies from Metellus by avoiding a major battle. Sertorius himself planned to act against the Berones and Autricones in the upper reaches of the Iberian. In historiography, this plan is characterized as a cunctatorial one; it was built largely on an underestimation of Pompey.

Sertorius did move in the spring to the upper reaches of the Iberian. Only the story of the beginning of this campaign, which was successful, has been preserved. But in the meantime Pompey crossed the Iberian River, reached Valentia, and here defeated Gerennius and Perperna. 10,000 rebels were killed, including Gerennius, and Valentia was taken and destroyed. The news of such a serious defeat forced Sertorius to return to the coast and fight the enemy. Before that, he apparently added the remnants of Perperna's troops to his army.

Pompey, for his part, was elated by the victory and also wanted a big fight. According to Plutarch, he was even in a hurry to give battle before Metellus arrived, so as not to share the glory with him. The meeting of the two armies took place on the Sukron River. Sertorius commanded the right wing. Pompey, who also led the right flank of his army, was able to push the enemy in his sector; Sertorius arrived here and put the enemy to flight. Pompey himself was wounded and escaped only because the pursuing Libyans seized his horse in its precious finery and were carried away with the division of the spoils. At this time, the left flank of the Pompeians, led by Lucius Afranius, temporarily gained the upper hand and even broke into the enemy camp. Thanks to the appearance of Sertorius, the Pompeians were also repulsed here.

Legionnaires Relief. Osuna (Spain). 1st century BC
Soldiers of the Spanish auxiliary cohorts. Bas-relief of the monument from Osuna (Spain). 1st century BC

The Ebro River (in ancient times — Iber) in the lower reaches. Anti-Sertorian sources portray this battle as if the outcome was a draw. Nevertheless, Pompey's defeat was obvious. Sertorius couldn't destroy his army just because it took refuge in the camp. The next day, it was discovered that Metellus was approaching, so Sertorius retreated. According to Plutarch, he said: "If it wasn't for that old woman, I would have whipped that boy and sent him to Rome."

Metellus, on the eve of the march to Sucron, defeated Hirtuleius at Italica. The Quaestor Sertorius accepted the battle despite the commander's express prohibition; some historians believe that he did so to prevent the combined forces of Metellus and Pompey. Girtulei's soldiers spent several hours in the heat, challenging the enemy to battle. Metellus, who placed the strongest formations on the flanks, was able to surround the enemy and inflict a complete defeat on him. Twenty thousand Sertorians were killed, including Lucius Hirtuleius himself.

As a result of these events, Sertorius was left with only one army out of three, forced to confront both Pompey and Metellus. He had to abandon all hopes of finishing off Pompey and leave the Mediterranean coast. It was a complete strategic defeat.

Now the military operations were transferred to the central part of the Iberian Peninsula — to Celtiberia. Sertorius was forced to retreat to the Arevacian lands of Segontia, while Metellus and Pompey joined forces. Presumably it was then that Sertorius proposed reconciliation. He expressed his readiness to "lay down his arms and live as a private citizen, if only he gets the right to return," but his offer was not accepted. On the contrary, Metellus announced a bounty on his head of 100 talents of silver and 20 thousand jugers of land, and the exile-the right to return to Rome.

Sertorius was able to lock the enemy in a valley near Segontia with a series of maneuvers and make them feel an acute shortage of food. Despite the benefits of his position, he was forced to fight — perhaps because his warriors insisted on it. Sertorius himself took part in the battle, attacking Pompey's army; in this direction the rebels were victorious, and among the 6 thousand dead Pompeians was the Quaestor Gaius Memmius. At the same time, the army of Perperna suffered heavy losses in the battle with Metellus (5 thousand killed). From Appian's account, it follows that here the government forces gained the upper hand. Sertorius came to the aid of his legate :" he pressed the enemy and fought his way to Metellus himself, sweeping away those who still held on." Metellus was wounded, but his soldiers still forced the enemy to retreat.

The Sertorians retreated to the mountain fortress of Clunia. The Senatorial armies besieged them there, but Sertorius was able to break through and began a guerrilla war. In the end, Metellus retired to Narbonne Gaul for winter quarters, and Pompey wintered in the lands of the Vaccaeans after a series of maneuvers in Vasconia. At that time, both sides were on the verge of exhaustion; Pompey demanded reinforcements and money from the Senate, saying that otherwise Italy would be the theater of military operations. For the Roman government, the situation was worsened by the need to fight also in Thrace and Isauria. But in the following years, Pompey and Metellus received the necessary reinforcements, which ensured their victory.

Course of the campaign in 76-75 BC

Negotiations with Mithridates

Sources say that Sertorius negotiated with one of Rome's worst enemies, King Mithridates VI of Pontus. This monarch in those years was finishing preparations for the next, already third, war with Rome and needed allies. The negotiations were initiated by Lucius Magius and Lucius Fannius, officers of the Fimbrian army stationed at the royal court. They convinced Mithridates of the feasibility of such an alliance, citing Sertorius ' military successes and the strength of his army. They probably also went to Spain "with letters addressed to Sertorius and with suggestions that they were supposed to convey to him in words."

There are no exact dates for this mission. Cicero, in one of his speeches against Gaius Verres, reports that in 79 BC Magius and Fannius bought mioparon, "on which they sailed to all the enemies of the Roman people from Dianius to Sinope." Since Dianium was the naval base of Sertorius, some researchers conclude from these words that as early as 79 AD, the Marian proconsul of Spain entered into an alliance with the king of Pontus. According to another point of view, the date of the ship's purchase is not very informative, and in 79 BC Mithridates was still trying to strengthen peace with Rome. The union dates back to 75 BC. E., and it is unlikely that the negotiations were held for four years.

Regions of Ancient Asia Minor

The proposal of Mithridates was discussed at a meeting of the Senate. The king claimed Galatia, Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, Bithynia, and the Roman province of Asia. The majority of senators agreed. According to Plutarch, Sertorius rejected the main demand for Asia; according to Appian, he also ceded this province to the king. Most researchers are inclined to the version of Plutarch, one of the exceptions is G. Berwe. Mithridates promised to send 40 ships and three thousand talents of silver, and Sertorius sent a detachment to the East led by Marcus Marius, who became the Marian governor of Asia. The union was sealed by a written contract. Some ancient authors claim that it was by forming an alliance with Sertorius that Mithridates found it possible to start a new war against Rome, but this may be an exaggeration.

Scientists disagree on whether Sertorius received any real help from Pontus. It has been suggested that starting in the middle of 74 BC, the proconsul's army received salaries only from the money sent by Mithridates. Sertorius could have counted on Mithridates ' actions to force the Roman government to move some troops from Spain to the East, but this did not happen.

Death of Sertorius

As a result of the defeats in the campaign of 75 BC, the situation of Sertorius and his supporters noticeably worsened. They lost control of the Mediterranean coast, a large part of Near Celtiberia, the lands of the Vaccaeans, and were finally driven out of Distant Spain. A significant part of the rebel troops were killed in the battles. Many tribes have defected to the government forces. Sertorius felt compelled to resort to reprisals: he ravaged the fields of traitors, executed or sold into slavery students of the school for the nobility in Osk. His relations with the Roman entourage also worsened, many of whose representatives considered themselves unfairly pushed out of power[259]. The epitomator Livy mentions"many of Sertorius' cruelties against his own people: he executed many of his friends and comrades in disgrace on false charges of treason." There were defectors, who were received quite graciously in the Senate armies.

In Sertorius ' army, the Spaniards now clearly outnumbered the Romans and Italians. According to A. Korolenkov, this "changed the face of the uprising." Nevertheless, Sertorius continued to enjoy great prestige in the eyes of most of his soldiers and, up to a certain point, was able to ignore the discontent of his senior officers.

Course of the campaign in 74-73 BC

In the theater of military operations in 74-73 BC, the situation was quite stable. In 74, Sertorius and Metellus were engaged in battles of uncertain outcome at Bilbilis and Segobriga. Pompey tried to take Pallantia, but was driven back by Sertorius; the latter won a tactical victory at Calagurris, destroying 3,000 enemy soldiers. In general, the government forces seem to have expanded their control in Near Celtiberia. All that is known about the military events of 73 is that Metellus and Pompey occupied a number of cities that had previously been subordinate to Sertorius; some of them surrendered without a fight. Some scholars conclude from this that the Senate troops occupied all of Distant Celtiberia.

Meanwhile, Sertorius ' entourage conspired against him. The sources contain two different versions. According to Diodorus and Appianus, Sertorius began to act like a tyrant: he ceased to reckon with his fellow Romans, oppressed the Spaniards, indulged in pleasure and luxury, stopped doing business, and because of which he began to suffer defeats. Seeing his cruelty and suspicion, and fearing for his life in this connection, Perperna organized a plot that was discovered; almost all the conspirators were executed, but for some reason Perperna survived and brought the matter to an end.

According to Plutarch, the blame for what happened lies entirely with Perperna. This military leader, proud of his high birth, " cherished in his heart an empty desire for supreme power," and therefore began to incite other senior officers to speak out against the commander. He said that the Senate had become a laughing stock, and that the Romans were " the retinue of the fugitive Sertorius, "who were"assailed with curses, orders, and duties, as if they were Spaniards and Lusitanians." Already during the preparation for the assassination attempt, Perperna learned that information about the plot began to spread uncontrollably, and moved to decisive action.

In historiography, these two versions are considered complementary rather than mutually exclusive. The conspirators might indeed have had some complaints about Sertorius ' management style in recent years. At the same time, Perperna in his agitation could exaggerate the tendency of his commander to tyranny; it is the love of power of Perperna that is considered as the main reason for the death of Sertorius. Plutarch claims that the conspirators were emboldened by their victories over the Senate troops. It could have been the other way around — defeats undermined the authority of the proconsul. There is a hypothesis that the conspirators were against guerrilla warfare and wanted to give the enemy a general battle, which Sertorius avoided.

Some scholars attribute the plot to attempts to negotiate with the ruling regime in Rome. Some believe that the conspirators wanted to buy reconciliation at the price of Sertorius ' head; others believe that it was Sertorius who sought a compromise that his entourage did not want. But both versions have no support in the sources. In addition, Metellus and Pompey showed an unwillingness to negotiate even when the rebels were doing much better.

A detailed account of the death of Sertorius was left by Plutarch. He reports that the conspirators have sent a messenger with news of a great rebel victory. Perperna organized a feast for the occasion, to which he invited Sertorius. The latter, although delighted with the news, still agreed to come only "after long insistence." Other guests at the feast included Manius Antonius, Lucius Fabius of Spain, Tarquitius, and the secretaries Maecenas and Alexander.

When the drinking was already in full swing, the guests, who were looking for an excuse for a clash, spread their tongues, and, pretending to be very drunk, said obscenities, hoping to annoy Sertorius. Sertorius, however, either because he was displeased with the disturbance, or because he saw from the insolence of their words and the unusual disregard for himself of the plotters ' intent, only turned on his bed and lay on his back, trying not to notice or hear anything. Then Perperna picked up the cup of undiluted wine and sipped it, dropping it with a clatter. It was a signal sign, and immediately Antony, who was reclining next to Sertorius, struck him with his sword. Sertorius turned towards him and would have risen, but Antony threw himself on his breast and seized him by the arms; unable to resist, Sertorius died under the blows of many conspirators.

"Plutarch." 26 Sertoriy Street.

Command passed to Perpernais. According to Appian, it was the head of the conspiracy who was named in Sertorius ' will as his successor. [280] Perperna managed, though with some difficulty, to cope with the discontent of the soldiers, but the Spanish tribes began to go over to the side of Metellus and Pompey: apparently, they considered themselves clients only of Sertorius, but not of his successor. In the first battle with Pompey, Perperna was completely defeated, captured, and immediately executed. Most of the Sertorians were pardoned.

Related topics

Roman Republic, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Gaius Marius


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