Verraco

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The Bulls of Guisando, in El Tiemblo, Castile and León, Spain.
Verraco in Mingorría, Castile and León, Spain.
Verracos in Villatoro, Castile and León, Spain.
Mule of Villardiegua de la Ribera, Castile and León, Spain.
Verraco in Ciudad Rodrigo, Castile and León, Spain.

The verracos (Spanish: verraco; Portuguese: berrão) are granite megalithic monuments, sculptures of animals that are to be found in the west of the Iberian meseta - the high central plain of the Iberian peninsula - in the Spanish provinces of Ávila, Salamanca, Zamora, and Cáceres, but also in the north of Portugal and Galicia. Over 400 have been identified.

The Spanish word verraco normally refers to boars and the sculptures are sometimes called verracos de piedra (pigs of stone) to distinguish them from live animals. The stone verracos appear to represent not only pigs but also other animals. Some have been identified as bulls, and the village of El Oso, Ávila, named for "the Bear", has a verraco which supposedly represents a bear. Their dates range from the mid 4th to 1st centuries BC. There is some similar zoomorphic monument markers in lands of Poland from the same period or older.[citation needed]

Though they were perhaps not confined to a single usage, the verracos were an essential part of the landscape of the Vettones, one of the Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. It has generally been assumed from their high visibility in their original open fields surroundings that these sculptures had some protective religious significance, whether guarding the security of livestock or as funerary monuments (some of them bear Latin funerary inscriptions). The verracos are particularly numerous too in the vicinity of the walled Celtiberian communities that Romans called oppida.

Notable verracos[edit]

Portugal[edit]

  • Murça
    • Porca de Murça (literally the "Sow of Murça" in Portuguese, although the sculpture appears to represent a boar, i.e. a male rather than a female pig). The name has been taken to designate a red wine of the Douro district.[1]
  • Torre de Dona Chama
    • Berroa
  • Marvão
    • Verraco head (Portuguese: berrão) displayed in the Marvão Municipal Museum
      Head of berrão, with right eye clearly visible, found in the Abegoa area of Marvão. Today in Municipal Museum in Marvão.

Spain[edit]

Salimos de Salamanca y, llegando a la puente, está a la entrada de ella un animal de piedra que casi tiene forma de toro. El ciego me mandó que llegase cerca del animal y, allí puesto, me

dijo...

Further reading[edit]

  • J. Leite de Vasconcelos, Religiões da Lusitânia, Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda, Lisbon.
  • Eduardo Sánchez Moreno, 2000. Vetones: Historia y Arqueología de un pueblo prerromano (Madrid: Ediciones de la Universidad Autónoma)

External links[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2] bilingual text