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Pirineos-Monte Perdido

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The Romans

Pre-Roman peoples

At the time of the arrival of the Romans in the Iberian Peninsula, the Alto Aragn region was home to various peoples with different cultures and backgrounds. The north-west was occupied by the Iaccetani, who remained largely untouched by Iberian influence and were, it seems, of Aquitanian-Vascon stock. The south and south-west, from Huesca to Lleida (Osca-Ilerda), was the territory of the Ilergeti, possibly the most powerful of all the peoples to claim Iberian descent.

It is, however, unclear who occupied the central and eastern mountainous regions of our province, though it is possible that it was the Ceretani, who are recorded as appearing later on. In any event, this people would have been on the fringes of the earlier Iberian trends and would also have put up resistance against the Roman conquest from the outset.

The arrival of the Romans

During the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal recruited troops in the Iberian Peninsula, many of them from the Pyrenean mountains. In 218 BC, the Roman general Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio landed at Emporion, a Greek colony on the Mediterranean, marking the start of the Roman conquest of Hispania, which continued until 19 BC, when the last peoples to be brought to heel, the Cantabri and the Astures, surrendered and were enslaved.

The Romans engaged in a number of campaigns to subdue the populace in the Pyrenees and the north-east of the peninsula. In around 180 BC, Rome came to dominate the region after various alliances and acts of treachery by the Romans.

Political and administrative organisation of the region

The Romans divided the Iberian Peninsula into administrative districts and placed our region in Hispania Citerior, later the Provincia Tarraconense, as part of the Caesaraugustanus conventus iuridicus (capital city)

The Roman provinces were subdivided into municipalities, as a result of which the heads of the Ara and Cinca rivers lay in Territorium Boletanum, in other words, in the civitas of which Boltaa, as we know it today, was the administrative, economic and military capital.

It is reasonable to suppose that even though the mountain valleys were now completely under Roman administration, economic and social life differed very little from earlier eras, with shepherding remaining people's main livelihood.

The decline in Roman power

Towards the end of the 2nd century BC, the Roman Empire began to wane and life gradually became more rural.

The cities were abandoned and the rich and powerful moved to the countryside, where they built villae, farming operations that were also the centre of their refined social and religious life.

No evidence of the existence of villas up in the mountains has been found, unsurprisingly given that the communities of the time were mainly pastoral and hence of little interest to the lords and masters of the villae.