All  
A soldier from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

Remembering Numantia: Videogame Reminds Us of Brave Warriors and Their Blood on Roman Hands


The forgotten war between the Romans and the Celtiberians may not ring any bells with most people today, but many historians rank it as one of the most significant wars of the Roman era. RECOtechnology commemorated the 2150th anniversary of the Siege of Numantia by releasing a videogame that narrates the ancient conflict between Rome and the city of Numantia, in a war that lasted for more than two decades.

‘Numancia’ by Alejo Vera.

‘Numancia’ by Alejo Vera. Source: Public Domain

How the Game Unfolds

Numantia is a strategy video game that tells us the “bloody” tale that took place in the Iberian Peninsula during the expansion of the Roman Republic in the 153 BC.  The storyline focuses on the different stages of the Roman occupation of Celtiberia, from the beginning of the hostilities to the destruction of Numantia after the siege of Scipio Aemilianus. The game is basically split into two campaigns that will allow you as a player to rewrite history from the Celtiberian side as part of the brave Numantians or just revive the part of written history which has the Romans destroying their enemies. 

Snapshot from the videogame ‘Numantia.’ Credit: RECO Technology

Snapshot from the videogame ‘Numantia.’ Credit: RECO Technology

The gameplay of Numantia is based on two main points. On the one hand, the player has to organize the management of the main settlement; a key camp on the Roman side or the city of Numantia on the Celtiberian one. Resources vary depending on the difficulty level, while many challenges and choices will be presented to the player via the Event System Recotechnology S.L. has developed for this game. Additionally, this system is also a tool which narrates the story of Numantia to the players.

Battle screenshot from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

Battle screenshot from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

The second important feature is the conflicts, combat. As a turn-based strategy game with hexagonal boxes completely adapted to the controller, Numantia allows the player to choose between more than 25 units, each one with its own stats and special skills. Patience, cunning, combining abilities, and a learning curve are essential to defeat your enemies. Battles can be played in the Campaign Mode, where players will face enemy armies or in the 1v1 mode, where players can play against each one offline. Ultimately, the game has two difficulty levels: normal and expert, both increasingly challenging as the conflict unfolds.

A soldier from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

A soldier from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

If you don’t mind the unimpressive visuals and unwieldy controls, then Numantia can be a truly pleasant historical strategy experience that will keep you engaged for many weeks. The game suffers from a general lack of polish, mostly from the low-budget production, but the combat system is pretty decent, and a challenging one for that matter. If you love history and hexagons that mix strategy, Numantia the game is definitely worth your attention.

The Historical Facts Behind the Videogame

The three epic struggles between Carthage and the Roman Republic are still considered by most historians as some of the most important wars in ancient history. For all the terror and catastrophe caused by Hannibal and his army, there was one city that caused Rome even more trouble than Carthage.  However, most people today have never heard of Numantia…that’s about to change.

In the 2nd Century BC, Numantia was a Celtic-style hill fort located in the central part of Celtiberia (modern Spain). The occupants of the city were Celtic-speaking farmers and herdsmen, while their fort included less than 2000 buildings which housed around 10,000 people. Yet it was this city that defeated the Roman Legions time and time again. Only when besieged by an army of 60,000 Romans, would the Numantines finally get defeated - after defending their city valiantly for nearly two decades.

Modern reconstruction of the walls of Numantia.

Modern reconstruction of the walls of Numantia. ( CC BY 3.0 )

According to Appian's Roman History, the Numantine War was the last conflict of the Celtiberian Wars, thus a twenty-year conflict between the Celtiberian tribes of Hispania Citerior and the Roman Empire. It all started in 154 BC as a revolt of the Celtiberians of Numantia. The first phase of the war ended in 151, but only eight years later, the war would flare up again. In 143 BC, Rome sent several generals to the Iberian Peninsula to destroy the Numantines. In that year, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus tried and failed to take the city by siege, but subjugated all the other tribes of the Arevaci.

His successor, Quintus Pompeius, suffered severe defeats at their hands, so he secretly negotiated a peace treaty with the city. However, in 138 BC a new general, Marcus Pompillius Laenas, had arrived -  and when the Numantine envoys came to finish their obligations of the peace treaty, Pompeius disavowed negotiating any such peace. The issue was taken to the Senate for open discussion. Rome decided to ignore Pompeius' peace treaty and sent Gaius Hostilius Mancinus to continue the war in 136 BC. He assaulted the city and was repulsed several times; before being defeated and forced to accept a treaty. The Senate did not ratify this treaty either but only sent Mancinus to the Numantines as a prisoner.

In 134 BC, the Consul Scipio Aemilianus was sent to Hispania Citerior to end the war. He recruited 20,000 men and 40,000 allies, including Numidian cavalry under Jugurtha. Scipio built a ring of seven fortresses around Numantia before launching his campaign. After suffering a fatal epidemic disease and famine, most of the surviving Numantines committed suicide rather than surrender to the Roman conquerors. The decisive Roman victory over Numantia ushered in an era of lasting peace in Hispania until the Sertorian War over half a century later.

Ruins of Numantia.

Ruins of Numantia. ( Public Domain )

Top Image: A soldier from the game Numantia. Credit: RECO Technology

By Theodoros Karasavvas

References

Martynas Klimas (2017). Review: Numantia . Strategy Gamer. Available at:

http://www.strategygamer.com/reviews/review-numantia/

Numantia. Recotech. Available at:

http://www.recotech.es

The Numantine War - A History of the Roman World 753-146 BC. Available at:

https://erenow.com/ancient/a-history-of-the-roman-world-753-to-146-bc/82.html

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Next article