The Ancient Iberians lived and developed a culture from the 6th to the 1st century BC in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal), before the area was occupied by the Romans.
They developed their own civilization influenced by the Greeks, the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians. The Iberians were farmers but they also served as mercenaries of the Greeks and the Carthaginians. In 369 BC Dionysus I, tyrant of Syracuse, sent Iberians and Celts to help his allies, the Spartans, against the Boeotians.
The early settlements of the Iberians were soon converted to fortified towns but their political system varied from area to area ranging from aristocracy to full monarchy. Their script also differed from place to place and it was alphabetic or syllabic. Archaeologists have also unearthed some inscriptions written in the Greek alphabet. Their language has not been deciphered yet and this adds to our difficult of apprehending the Iberian civilization.
The Ancient Iberians live again this winter (1997-1998) in the Grand Palais in Paris, France where an exhibition with pieces of their art has just opened.
The Dame of Elche