IBERIA. PROTOHISTORY OF THE FAR WEST OF EUROPE
areas and communications routs, while the garden and
the house corresponded to women. This social-economical organization was based on the communal exploitation of ﬁelds, characteristic of the Bronze Age, previous
of the idea of privet property introduced by the gentilic
organization in the Late Iron Age21. Similar traditions
are present in different Indo-European peoples, such as
the Vacceai (Diod. V,34,3), Celts from Ireland, Scotland
and Wales, Slavs and Germans (César, b.G. 6,22,2)22.
In this society of warrior-herders there was a clear division of labor among gender. Men were tied to herding,
hunting, war and livestock pillaging, like in other archaic
Celtic cultures, such as the Irish ﬁonna23. Woman took
care of the house and the garden (Strabo III,4,17; Justinus 44,3,7), which were inherited by the family women,
since it was their task, while men received livestock, similar to the Pictons, whose inheritance was also transmitted
Figure 3. Golden helmet from Leira or Rianxo, La
of the Central Plateu17, though they are contemporary
to the advance of the Roman Conquest from South to
North. During this phase new ideological and religious
ideas appear, evidenced by the presence of domestic gentilic sanctuaries18 and the Galician-Lusitanian warrior
statues (Fig. 5A), representing Founding Heroes or social
chiefs. Furthermore, golden torques (Fig. 5B) and some
Lusitanian silver hoards, with Vaccean inﬂuence19, prove
the existence of social classes and a plutocratic elite, to
whom Astolpas, father-in-law of Viriatus belonged to
Posidonius and Strabo (III,3,7) refer to some very
archaic customs of Lusitanians, that explain why their
language and primitive beliefs and social structures survived. The Lusitanians belong to an Atlantic Bronze Age
substratum20, with an economy mainly based on herding
that existed form megalithic times. During the II millennium B.C. it was complemented by metallurgical activities, characteristic of the Atlantic world, and the extraction of gold from rivers, as well ﬁshing and shell-ﬁshing
off the coast lines. These traditions maintained an archaic
Indo-European warrior-herding societies specialized in
the defense of their livestock and the control of pasture
This extremely articulated territory (Fig. 6) was inhabited by small tribes. The inscription on the Roman
bridge of Alcántara (CIL II,760) lists the populi who inhabited between the Tagus and the Douro Rivers24. Many
of the names of these peoples are Lusitanian, while others
have a Celtic origin. The people of these Lusitanian territories refer to their “castros” when they wrote their personal names in inscriptions, tradition documented at the
Western side of a theoretical line that runs from Merida
to Gijon25. To the East, the personal names of Celtiberians
and related peoples offer the gentilic epithet of a family
clan in the plural form of the genitive26; to the West, it was
writted a sign C, interpreted as refereeing to a castellum
or “castro”27. Each “castro” had also a speciﬁc deity for the
whole collectivity, possibly considered as their Founding
Hero as is, for example, Teutates among the Celts28. Consequently, the personal names and deity names conﬁrm that
Lusitanians had a different social organization if compared
to Celtiberians and related peoples of the Central Plateau,
who tended to extend to the West29.
These testimonies precise the ethno-cultural border
of the Lusitanians, though it varied through time. During the VII century, a Tartessian colonization established
da Silva, 1986: 33s.
For warriors, Schatner (ed.) 2003; da Silva, 1986: 291s.; for
sanctuaries, Id., 299, lám. 22 y 132.
Raddatz, 1969: 279, lám. 94.
Ruiz-Gálvez, 1998; Cunliffe, 2001.
This communal exploitation of ﬁelds remained in some areas of Western Iberia until the XX century; cf. Costa, 1981,
151, 339s.; Id., 1983, 147s.
D’Arbois de Jubainville, 1880; MacDowell, 1986: 89s.;
Meitzen, 1895: 211s.; Costa, 1983: 173-174; etc.
D’Arbois de Juvainville, 1981: 173; McCone, 1986.
Alarcão, 1988: 41; García Alonso, 2003.We must consider
the Lusitanian ethnic names for Paesures, Pallantienses,
Selium, Elbocoris, Aeminium, Sallaecus, Ammaea y Lancienseses; and Arabrigenes, Interannienses, Meidubrigenes, Seanoci,
Tapori, Transcudani, Vivemenses y Araducta.are considered as
Albertos, 1988; Pereira, 1982; Almagro-Gorbea, 1995.
Blanco, 1959; de Hoz, 1986a: 39s.; García Fernández-Albalat, 1990: 112s., 123s.; Almagro-Gorbea y Lorrio, 2011.