Wu Mingren  – Spain’s Sagunto Castle: From Iberian Arse To Roman Sagunto and Beyond!

Aerial sunset panorama view of Sagunto Castle, near Valencia Spain (foto Adobe Stock)

Spain’s Sagunto Castle: From Iberian Arse To Roman Sagunto and Beyond!

Sagunto Castle is located not far from the city of Valencia, on the East coast of Spain. The parts of Sagunto Castle that are most visible, these are its defensive walls, date largely to the Islamic Period, with modifications from later times. Nevertheless, the site also contains remains from earlier eras, such as the Roman Period. Thus at Sagunto Castle visitors are able to get a glimpse of the different civilizations that occupied the Iberian Peninsula over the course of its long history. The national importance of Sagunto Castle was recognized by the Spanish Government, leading to it being declared a National Monument in the 20th Century.

Sagunto Castle is situated about 25 km (15.5 mile) to the North of Valencia, the Capital of the Valencian Community. The castle occupies a geographically strategic position on top of the hill overlooking the modern town of Sagunto. Thanks to its location on this hill, the Castle commanded a view of the surrounding area, and could be easily defended. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the site was chosen for the construction of a Castle.

Anton van den Wyngaerde – Sagunto Castle (1563)

Sagunto Castle History: From the Iron Age to Roman Fort

The history of Sagunto Castle stretches all the way back to the Iron Age , this is about the First Millennium Before Christ. During that time, the inhabitants of the site were the local Iberians, who named their settlement Arse.

Due to its Location on the East Coast of the Iberian Peninsula, which is also the Western end of the Mediterranean Sea, Arse was connected to the rest of the Mediterranean world and prospered from its trade with the Greeks and Phoenicians.

During the second half of the First Millennium Before Christ, the ancient Phoenician City State of Carthage began to expand, and eventually became the dominant power in the Western Mediterranean. By the time the First Punic War broke out between Carthage and Rome in 264 Before Christ, the Southern part of the Iberian Peninsula was in the hands of the Carthaginians.

Although Rome emerged victorious when the war ended in 241 Before Christ, the Carthaginians were not completely defeated. In the Decades that followed, Carthage expanded further into the Iberian Peninsula.

It seems that Carthage’s expansion alarmed the Iberians at Arse, the Romans, or both, as a Defensive Alliance was formed between the two around 220 Before Christ. This, however, was no deterrent to the Carthaginians, as Arse was besieged, captured, and sacked by Hannibal in 219 Before Christ