Plan of the Square of Barcelona, its port, Ciudadela and Montjuich Castle in the General Project of Fortresses and Military Buildings being considered. Juan Martín Cermeño, 1751.
The city of Barcelona was founded by the Romans , who came to the Peninsula as a result of the maneuvers of the Carthaginian general Aníbal Barca, which are known as the Carthaginian Wars . In prehistoric times there already were different types of settlements and Neolithic villages in the area and near-by. When the Romans came to fight against the Carthaginians, it had been some time since the Greeks had settled down in Iberia (called this way in reference to the villages living there since the 6th century b.C. From 264 to 146 b. C., they brought into conflict two old Mediterranian powers : Rome and Cartago. There were 3 phases and they ended up with the total destruction of the Carthaginians. But before the Romans… 2.1. Foundation
The Emporion colony, the most important that the Greeks had in Catalonia, minted this dracma in the mid-3rd century b. C.
The Iberians: inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula before the Greeks and the Romans arrived. They were different ethnic groups with a common culture and a common language. The Iberian towns settled in the present Catalan territory were : Cosetanos, Indigets, Ilergets and Laietans . Aerial view of the site of Olèrdola, in L'Alt Penedès, one of the present regions occupied by the Cosetans in the old times . Vessel decorated with horses and white drawings, found in Ullastret , which belonged to the Indegets.
They occupied the plain of Barcelona, El Maresme up to the mouth of the Tordera and a part of El Vallès (maybe Montserrat and El Montseny). The Laietans It has been speculated about the existence of a town near Montjuïc called Laie (hence the name of Laietans). In Montjuïc they found a field of de silos and the remains of an Iberian town, and some specialists have talked about the coexistence of two cities (the Iberian and the Roman).
Plan Iberian silos in Montjuïc The researchers hold the hypothesis that in Iberian times Montjuïc was like a big grain store, which would explain the set of spacious silos that the excavations have discovered in the mountain.
The plain of Barcelona had a quite dense Iberian population, with 18 villages . These villages were strategically located in high places to defense themselves, and near the busiest routes . The people worked in agriculture and cattle farming. They grew cereals but also olives and vineyards. They kept an active trade with these products. They worked bronze and iron, made ceramic vessels and weaved wool and linen.
2.2. FROM THE ROMAN BARCINO TO THE HISPANIC BARCELONA
The Roman emperor Augustus founded Barcino (the present Barcelona) around the year 10 b. C. The new city is between two big cities: Emporion: largest Greek settlement. Tarraco: capital of the province of Tarraconensis. Barcino was a strategic area, very well-connected to the interior and allowed the control of business at the beaches of Llobregat. Besides it was very safe due to the mountains surrounding the city ciudad and the elevation of the soil. The situation of the city permitted to delimitate an ager. Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of César Augusto in the Chiaramonti Museum, Vatican City, 2.2.1. La Barcelona romana
Denarius Like in other Roman cities, in the forum of Barcelona there were the main public buildings, like the temple dedicated to deified emperor Augustus. Augustos denarius from Hispania, 19th b. C.
Around the year 44 a.C., Pomponio Mela defined Barcino as a small fortified town. Barcino was surrounded by a wall. The streets of he Roman cities were organized around the central forum . El forum was generally located just between the cardo and the decumanus maximus . In Barcelona, this point is the present Plaça de Sant Jaume, but recent hypothesis say that the cardo maximo would be the south limit of the big forum. In the central forum there was a temple dedicated to Augustus and other buildings which have completely disappeared.
Idealized vision of how the Roman colony of Barcino was, with the two aqueducts, the forum with the temple of Augustus and the two main roads, the cardo and the decumanus.
a. The aqueduct Carrer Duran i Bas We have the remains of the arches of the aqueduct of Barcino. La ciudad supplied itself with water with the aqueduct and tanks. The water came from the river Besós and the Collserola mountains. The arches are integrated to a building of the 19thC. They were discovered in 1889 when a building was demolished. In the town alterations of 1957 two towers of the aqueduct had been found in the Cathedral Avenue, which proved its existence.
Cupae-shaped tombs in the necropolis in the present Plaza de la Vila de Madrid. b . Roman sepulchral road Plaza de la Vila de Madrid In the Roman cities, the cemeteries were outside the walls, along the access to the gates. This cemetery was at the entrance of the coastal stretch of Vía Augusta (Plaça de l’Àngel and Boqueria street). Working class people were buried in this cemetery from the 1st to the 3rd centuries. In the late 16thC, this place was occupied by a convent (El convento de las Carmelitas descalzas) which was demolished after the Civil War (1936-1939) along with other buildings damaged by the bombs. In the mid-fifties, the archeological excavations started and the cemetery was discovered. La plaza Vila de Madrid was built in that decade to free space in Ciutat Vella. The archeological remains were integrated in the square.