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The Carpetani (Greek: Karpetanoi) were one of the Celtic pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula (the Roman Hispania, modern Spain and Portugal), akin to the Celtiberians, dwelling in the central part of the meseta - the high central upland plain of the Iberian Peninsula.
Since the 5th century BC the Carpetani inhabited the Toledo and Alcaraz highland ranges along the middle Tagus basin, occupying a territory that stretched from the Guadarrama River at the north to the upper Anas (Guadiana) in the modern provinces of Guadalajara, Toledo, Madrid and Ciudad Real, an area designated as Carpetania in the ancient sources. Main city-states (Civitates) in the region were Toletum (near modern Toledo; Roman or Celtiberian-type mint: Tole), Complutum (Alcalá de Henares – Madrid; Celtiberian-type mint: Ikezancom Konbouto?), Consabura (Consuegra – Toledo), Barnacis (Orgaz – Ciudad Real; Celtiberian-type mint: Bornaiscom), Laminium (Argamasilla de Alba or Alhambra – Ciudad Real) and Alce (Campo de Criptana – Ciudad Real). Towns of lesser importance were Aebura (Cuerva – Toledo), Metercosa (Madridejos[disambiguation needed] – Ciudad Real), Ispinum (Yepes – Toledo), Miaccum (Casa de Campo – Madrid), Mantua (Montiel – Guadalajara), Thermida (Trillo, Guadalajara), Ilarcuris (Horche – Guadalajara) and Ilurbida (Lorvigo, near Talavera de la Reina – Toledo).
The exact location of the remaining Carpetanian towns is either uncertain or unknown, this is true in the cases of Dipo (near Toledo?), Libora, Varada, Titulcia, Caracca or Characa, Rigusa, Paterniana, and Alternia.
In archeological terms, it is now believed that they stemmed from both the transitional Late Bronze Age/early Iron Age ‘Campiñas de Madrid’ farmers’ and the ‘Cogotas I’ cultural groups.
Only a few Carpetanian towns appear to have issued their own currency, modelled after Roman patterns copied directly or adapted via Celtiberian coinage. In the 2nd century BC, Complutum and Barnacis struck coins with their names marked in Celtiberian script, whilst later Toletum struck theirs bearing its name in Latin script.
By the later part of the 3rd century BC, the Carpetani had evolved into a sort of federation or loose tribal confederacy whose nominal capital was set at Toletum, with several centres of power in the main towns ruled by petty kings (Reguli). Some of these Rulers appear to have risen to prominence in the early 2nd century BC – one king Hilernus led a coalition of Carpetani, Vaccaei, Vettones and Celtiberians against Consul Marcus Fulvius near Toletum in 193 BC, but he was defeated in battle and captured; another Regulus, Thurrus, ruler of Alce signed a treaty with Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus in 179 BC. Prior to the Second Punic War, they opposed Carthaginian expansion in central Spain, but in 219 BC Hannibal defeated a combined force of Vaccaei, Olcades and Carpetani, thus completing his conquest of Hispania south of the Ebro with the exception of Saguntum. They also provided mercenary troops to the Carthaginian armies, for Frontinus mentions the desertion of 3,000 Carpetani warriors from Hannibal’s army when he entered in Italy after crossing the Alps.
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 39: 30.
- Some archeologists place it somewhere between Augustobriga and Toledo, in either Cuevas[disambiguation needed] or Montalbán.
- Plutarch, Sertorius, 17.
- Herodotus, Istoriai, II, 33; IV, 49
- Strabo, Geographika, III, 4, 12
- Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia 3, 29
- Appian, Iberiké, 2
- Jesús Corrobles Santos, Los Carpetanos, in Prehistoria y Protohistoria de la Meseta Sur… (2007), pp. 194-195.
- Livy, Ad Urbe Condita 37: 7, 6
- Livy, Ad Urbe Condita 29: 40, 49
- Livy, Ad Urbe Condita 21: 5, 2
- Frontinus, Stratagematicom, II, 7
- Ángel Montenegro et alii, Historia de España 2 - colonizaciones y formación de los pueblos prerromanos (1200-218 a.C), Editorial Gredos, Madrid (1989) ISBN 84-249-1386-8
- Francisco Burillo Mozota, Los Celtíberos, etnias y estados, Crítica, Barcelona (1998) ISBN 84-7423-891-9
- João Ferreira do Amaral, Os Filhos de Caim e Portugal - povos e migrações no II milénio a.C., Quetzal Editores, Lisbon (2004) ISBN 972-564-595-2
- Juan Pereira Siesto (coord..), Prehistoria y Protohistoria de la Meseta Sur (Castilla-La Mancha), Biblioteca Añil n.º 31, ALMUD, Ediciones de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real (2007) ISBN 84-934858-5-3
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carpetani.|
- Jesús R. Álvarez-Sanchís, "Oppida and Celtic society in western Spain," in e-Celtoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies, Vol. 6 (The Celts in the Iberian Peninsula)
- Detailed map of the Pre-Roman Peoples of Iberia (around 200 BC)