Orientalising period

The birth of the princes and the creation of the oppida.

The first period corresponds to the 7th and 8th Centuries BC. The majority of the fortified settlements (oppida) were built during this time. The circular mud and straw huts found inside from the previous period were progressively substituted by four-sided houses with stone baseboards and rammed earth and adobe walls. This enabled better town planning. This is also the period when the first princely spaces appear such as the Baños de la Muela building in Cástulo. Iberian princes had a high social standing as can be seen in the burial mounds at Hornos in Peal de Becerro, where a princely couple were buried. From this moment onwards the aristocratic lineages began to build their power by gathering around them those who agreed to form part of their lineage, as demonstrated by the Cerrillo Blanco burial mound in Porcuna.

The princes as heroes

The princes as heroes and the concentration of people in the oppidum .

This second period is defined as being from the start of the 5th century BC until the end of the 4th century BC. The oppida became the political unit of the lineage of each prince, their people identified as belonging to the oppidum and not to a particular village. The power of the prince was permanently consolidated and the oppida were identified as the great unit of residence. These events coincided with a new ideology that left behind the old models of Eastern-style power in pursuit of the development of heroic forms of power. The Prince displayed his strength more for the recognition of those who supported him – clients, artisans etc. – than his sacred origin, and did so by representing himself in sculptures displaying all his power. This social model is clearly shown in the cemeteries. The princes were buried with their families and clients in an orderly manner, and their funerar ...


The political territories

The expansion of the princes’ power, the birth of the political territories (states).

From the end of the 4th century BC the local power of the oppidum disappears and the great territories governed by a single prince are defined. Greek and Roman writings explain how this happened. Orisson, a prince from the north of Jaén province, ruled over twelve fortified cities when he defeated the Carthaginian General Amilcar Barca, or Culchas, who controlled a territory comprising twenty eight oppida. Logically the capitals of these kingdoms, such as Cástulo, Ipolca or Baecula,grew to the scale of real cities. This phase was cut short by the Roman invasion when Escipión defeated the Carthaginians in 208 BC at the battle of Baecula in Santo Tomé.

The romanisations of the princes

The disappearance of the Iberian states under the power of Rome.

The victory of Escipión at the battle of Baecula in 208 BC marks an important milestone in our history. The last period in the history of the Iberians began under the control of Rome, and lasted until the disappearance of Iberian culture as a recognisable entity, which became clear at the beginning of the 1st century AD. A long period began during which many oppida disappear and others were transformed into Roman cities, with new economic strategies and new municipal political models. The Ibero-Roman city of Cástulo in Linares is one of the best archaeological sites for understanding this final period of Iberian culture.