The Iberians were a folk or tribal group, the Iberian peninsula, but mainly areas outside of it inhabited in prehistoric times.


The Roman historian Marcus Terentius Varro ( Pliny the Elder Nat. Hist. III, I, 8) reported that Spain had been successively inhabited by the Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians.


The Iberians first lived in closed communities, which were composed of tribes. They had knowledge and skills in metal processing, including processing of bronze and of agriculture. In later years, the Iberians developed a more complex culture with urbanized settlements and social stratification.

The Phoenicians established its first trading post ( emporium ) in the Iberian Peninsula Gadir, Gades, modern Cádiz in the 8th century BC and took the Iberians probably at this time or a little later connection. Greek colonizers set in the 6th century BC, the first historical reference to the Iberians. The Greeks titulierten a different tribe than Iberians, the Caucasian Iberians. The reason for this name similarity is unknown.

The Iberians built up with the Phoenicians and Greeks trade contacts in which the occurring on the Iberian Peninsula silver was a sought-after product. This reaching back to the 5th century BC, the period of trade also represents the heyday of the Iberian culture dar. from the predominantly nuclear regions of southern Spain, the Iberians spread to north-east, up to the present-day southern France out of ( oppida of Ullastret and Ensérune ). The Iberian culture is attested to by numerous archeological findings ( see for example the exhibition in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany ). The Iberian sites in Catalonia, like the Puig de Castellet in Lloret de Mar are united in the Ruta dels Ibers, organized by the Museu d' Arqueologia de Catalunya.

Outside influences

The Ligurians settled mainly north of the Pyrenees, but also in the east of the Iberian Peninsula. In the 5th and 4th century BC Celts migrated to the West and the Ligurians repressed. The culture of the Celts prevailed then in front of the north and west of the peninsula, while the Iberians kept the south. The Iberians in Spain today preserved their independence or intermingled with the Celts to the Celtiberian. From this time the tribal divisions originate in Celtiberian, Lusitanians (today's Portugal), Asturians and Cantabrians (north -west Spain ) and Turdetani ( at Tartessos ).

The Iberians and the Celtiberian exaggerated intensive trade with other Mediterranean cultures. Iberian pottery was found in France, in Italy and in North Africa. Iberians also had a close contact with the Greek colonizers who shared their cultural skills with them. The Iberians may have taken some artistic skills of the Greeks. It is believed that statues, like the Dama de Elche, the Dama de Guardamar or the Dama de Baza, was created in art by Iberians with fairly high education.

At the time of the Punic Wars, the Iberians came to the attention of recorded history. Between the first and second Punic war they came for a short time under the dominion of the Carthaginians. Both ethnic groups also featured troops to Hannibal's army. Subsequently, they were military harassed by the Roman Empire and eventually occupied. The following Romanization meant the end of an independent culture or politics.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the era of the Iberians finally ended with the invasion of the Vandals (406) of the Visigoths (415 ) and finally the Moors ( 712).

Language and writing

Iberian texts were found from the period between the 5th and the 1st century BC, especially Christmas and grave inscriptions, which mostly come from Andalusia. To record the Iberian four writing systems were used: The nordostiberische writing that the südlusitanischen, the südostiberischen and the Celtiberian script is closely related, is a mixed system of letters and syllabic signs; an influence of the Cypriot syllabary is therefore discussed. In the territory of the modern provinces of Murcia and Alicante, the Greco - Iberian alphabet was also used for recording the Iberian.


On the origin of the Iberians, there are a number of assumptions: An opinion is, they immigrated in the Neolithic of North Africa in present-day Spain. Their arrival is dated to the 4th millennium BC. Most scholars who adhere to this theory, believe on the basis of archaeological, anthropological and genetic evidence that the Iberians come from an area which lies further east in the Mediterranean. Others are of the opinion that the Iberians were possibly located in North Africa itself and were related to the ancestors of the Berbers. The Iberians were then initially settled along the east coast of Spain and possibly later expanded over the entire Iberian Peninsula.

Another view regards them as part of the natives of Europe and as creators and inheritors of a great megalithic culture in this whole area. Also suggest genetic findings for this theory. Accordingly, there are closer relations with those tribes that were conquered by the Celts in the first millennium BC in what is now Ireland, Great Britain and France.

History of Research

The French archaeologist Louis Siret sat at the beginning of the 20th century, the producers of Neolithic finds in southeast Spain coinciding with the Iberians, where he probably was based on the information Varro.