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The Oretani were a pre-Roman ancient Iberian people of the Iberian Peninsula (the Roman Hispania), that lived in Extremadura, La Mancha, eastern Andalusia and Murcia.

The Iberian Peninsula in the 3rd century BC.


Location map of the pre-Roman Oretani people in the Iberian Peninsula

Oretania, the territory of the Oretani, was located in the eastern Sierra Morena, which included most of Ciudad Real Province except its western end, the northern section of Jaén Province, the western half of Albacete Province and the southern rim of Cuenca Province. The roman geographer Pliny the Elder lists 14 cities, including Tuia/Tugia (Toya?), Salaria (Úbeda/Baeza?), Biatia, Castulo (Cazlona, Jaén),[1] Luparia, Cervaria and Salica,[2] whilst Diodorus Siculus lists 12 towns.[3] Other sources refer the towns of Amtorgis, Ilorci, Helicen/Helike (Elche de la Sierra, Elche?),[4] Baecula/Bekor (Bailén, Jaén),[5][6] Ilucia, Nobila and Cusibi.[7]


Arqueological site of Cerro de las Cabezas, Valdepeñas

They are believed by some to have spoken an Iberian language, by others to have been Celtic, akin to the Celtiberians, as the northern Oretani were also called Germani. The main archaeological sites in the oretanian area are Linares, La Carolina, Montiel, Valdepeñas, Almagro, Oreto and Zuqueca, and Cerro de las Cabezas.


The Oretani remained independent until the late 3rd Century BC, when their powerful King Orison was defeated at the battle of Helicen in 228 BC.[8] Orison’s defeat in 227 BC[9] and its subsequent alliance with Carthage, however, caused a major friction between the Oretani and their Germani allies who continued to resist Punic expansion until being subdued by Hannibal Barca in 221 BC; the latter were certainly amongst the Oretani troops sent to Africa at the outbreak of the 2nd Punic War.


Like the Germani, the Oretani appear to have adopted a less hostile stance towards Rome and in 156 BC both peoples were included into Hispania Citerior Province, though retaining their Iberian cultural identity for several more centuries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strabo, Geographikon, III, 3, 2.
  2. ^ Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, III, 19.
  3. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica, 25, 42.
  4. ^ Appian, Iberiké, 6; 65.
  5. ^ Polybius, Istorion, 10, 38, 7; 11, 20.
  6. ^ Livy, Ad Urbe Condita, 27, 18; 28, 13.
  7. ^ Livy, Ad Urbe Condita, 35, 7, 6; 22, 5.
  8. ^ Appian, Iberiké, 6.
  9. ^ Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica, 25, 42.


  • 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 Motoza, Los Celtíberos – Etnias y Estados, Crítica, Grijalbo Mondadori, S.A., Barcelona (1998, revised edition 2007) ISBN 84-7423-891-9
  • 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

External links[edit]