Celtiberians (Lat. Celtiberi), the people who during the time of the Romans occupied the inland district of Spain lying between the Ebro and the Tagus. The name was sometimes used in a wider sense, including also nearly all the inhabitants of Hispania Citerior. The Celtiberians arose from the mixture of two races, the Celts and the [berians. Many have supposed that the Iberians were the original inhabitants of Spain, and that the Celts crossed the Pyrenees and invaded their country. Nie-buhr was of the contrary opinion, and believed that the Celts once occupied Spain as far south perhaps as the Sierra Morena, and that the Iberians afterward landed from the Mediterranean and drove them northward, expelling them where they were not protected by the nature of the country. The Celts would seem, in Niebuhr's opinion, not to have been expelled from the mountainous country between the Ebro and the Tagus, but merely to have been subdued by the Iberians, who settled among them, and the two nations became amalgamated.
The race thus produced retained in a high degree the qualities of the original Iberians. They were with great difficulty subdued by Hannibal, and made a long and obstinate resistance to the Romans. Scipio induced them to become allies of the Romans; but they revolted in 181 B. C, and renewed the war from time to time during more than a century. After the fall of Sertorius, 72 B. C, they began to adopt the Roman language, dress, and manners, and their country gradually became an integral part of the Roman empire. The great mass of the people inhabiting the central portions of Spain under all these changes retained, and indeed still retain, the essential characteristics of their ancestors. The Celti-berians, like the modern Spaniards, were grave in dress, sober and temperate in their habits, and of an unyielding disposition. Like the modern Spaniards, they were remarkable for the bitter animosity with which they warred against their neighbors, and for the obstinate courage with which they endured protracted sieges. (See Iberia.)