Indibilis and Mandonius

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File:Lleida-6-1 indibil i mandoni.jpg
Indibilis (left) + Mandonius (right)[1]

Indibilis and Mandonius (fl. 3rd century BC) were chieftains of the Ilergetes, an ancient Iberian (pre-Roman) people of the Iberian Peninsula. Polybius speaks of the brothers as the most influential and powerful of the Spanish chieftains in that time period.[2][3] Livy calls one of the chieftains of the Ilergetes "Indibilis",[4] while Polybius gives "Andobales" for the same person.[2] They agree that his brother chieftain was Mandonius.[5][6]


File:Iberia 237-206BC.svg
Iberia 237-206BC

Indibilis fought against the Romans and sided with the Carthaginians at the Battle of Cissa in 218 BC, when Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus fought them. Indibilis was defeated at this battle and became a prisoner, along with the Carthaginian general Hanno.[5] In 217 BC, Indibilis had regained his freedom and, with his younger brother Mandonius, decided to harass neighboring Spanish tribes that were friendly to, and in alliance with, Rome. This harassment was fended off by Calvus by counter measures that involved killing off some of Indibilis's tribesmen, taking some prisoners, and disarming the others.[4] When Hasdrubal Barca, who was in northwestern Spain, heard of this, he came back to help out his Spanish allies south of the Ebro River. At this time, the tide of war took a turn because of unexpected intelligence received by Calvus from the Celtiberians. The Celtiberi were induced to collaborate with Calvus and invade New Carthage. On the way there, the combined armies took three fortified towns and fought two successful battles with Hasdrubal and Indibilis with Mandonius. Calvus with the combined armies killed 15,000 of the enemy and took 4,000 prisoners.[4]

This pretty well kept Indibilis and Mandonius and their remaining tribesmen out of the picture until 211 BC.[2] At that time, they gathered 7,500 Suessetani and joined forces with Hasdrubal.[2] Publius Cornelius Scipio, father to Scipio Africanus and younger brother of Calvus, decided to attack the Iberian chieftain brothers as they were moving across his line of retreat from his camp.[2] Scipio didn't want to be trapped and surrounded by Carthaginians.[2] He marched at midnight to meet them and skirmished with them about daybreak.[2] Scipio was speared with a lance and killed here at the Battle of Castulo, part of the Battle of the Upper Baetis.[2] Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, Scipio’s older brother, was killed at the Battle of Ilorca, the other part of the battle of the Upper Baetis, a few days later.[2]

Even though the chieftains were generally pro-Carthaginian, for which they were rewarded by being given back their tribal territories after the death of the two Scipios in 211 BC, they soon changed their minds after the conduct of the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal Gisco. He demanded much money from them on his own whim and for his own benefit. He also required that the wife of Mandonius and the daughters of Indibilis be held at New Carthage in pledge for their fathers' fidelity. The hostages were part of the booty when Scipio Africanus captured New Carthage in 209 BC.[7] Africanus treated them with much dignity and returned them to their rightful places, which impressed the Spaniards.[8] This added to Africanus's already excellent reputation of his personal character.[9][10]

The two brothers soon abandoned the Carthaginians and sided with the Romans.[11] In 209 BC, they concluded a treaty of alliance with the Romans with most of the tribal territories of Spain, since basically they were their overall leader chieftains. They then collaborated in a campaign against Hasdrubal Gisco which ended in a victory at the Battle of Baecula in 208 BC.[12]

Because of the presence of the reputable Roman general Africanus, Indibilis and Mandonius with their influence over all the territories of Spain was in friendly association with the Romans. However, on the rumor of the serious illness of Africanus and his possible death in 206 BC, they started a rebellion for the Romans to leave Spain.[13][14] This rumor also started a mutiny at the military camp at the Sucro River, which involved some 8,000 soldiers.[15] Indibilis and Mandonius sided with them.[16] Africanus became better and returned to good health and ultimately squelched the mutiny with the 35 main instigator ringleaders beheaded. He then went after the armies of Indibilis and Mandonius and slaughtered their army. Indibilis surrendered to Africanus asking for mercy.[17][18] Indibilis and Mandonius were released to their territories with favorable terms. However, this special kindness on the part of Africanus did not have the effect he was hoping for. The next year, Africanus left Spain in the hands of his generals L. Lentulus and L. Manlius and returned to Rome to prepare for an attack on Carthage. Since Africanus was now gone, the only general Indibilis and Mandonius were deathly afraid of, they aroused the Spanish tribes and assembled an army of 30,000 foot soldiers and 4,000 cavalry and decided to rebel again.[19] They soon realized their mistake.[19] In a battle with the Romans, the Spaniards were all but totally destroyed.[19] Indibilis was killed in this battle and Mandonius escaped with the remnants of the army.[2] He was soon given up by his own tribesmen and then killed by the Roman generals.[20]


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Smith, p. 572
  3. Livy 27.17
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livy 22.21
  5. 5.0 5.1 Polybius 3.76
  6. The Library of History of Diodorus Siculus
  7. Ihne, p. 356
  8. Williams, p. 280
  9. Polybius 9.11
  10. Livy 26.49
  11. Dio 16.8 (42)
  12. Liddel, p. 53
  13. Livy 28.24
  14. Acciaiuoli, p. 406
  15. A history of Rome from the earliest times to the establishment of the empire, Volume 1, p. 406
  16. To His Mutinous Troops
  17. Appian vi.37
  18. Raleigh, p. 469
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Appian, The Spanish Wars vi.38
  20. Livy 29.1-3


Primary Sources

  • Appian, Roman History
  • Cassius Dio, Roman History
  • Livy, Ab urbe condita,
  • Polybius, Histories,

Secondary Sources

  • Acciaiuoli, Donato, Plutarch's Lives of the noble Grecians and Romans, Translated by Sir Thomas North, D. Nutt, 1896
  • Ihne, Wilhelm, The history of Rome, Volume 2, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1871
  • Liddell, Sir Basil Henry Hart A Greater than Napoleon: Scipio Africanus, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1971, ISBN 0-8196-0269-8
  • Raleigh, Sir Walter, The Works of Sir Walter Ralegh, Kt: The history of the world, 1829
  • Smith, William; Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Volume 2; Boston, Mass; Little, Brown and Company (1870)
  • Williams, Henry Smith, The Historians' History of the World, The Outlook company, 1904

External links