The Astures were the original Indo-European inhabitants of the northwest area of
Hispaniathat now comprises almost the entire modern autonomous communityof Asturiasand the modern provinces León, and northern Zamora (all in Spain), and west of Trás os Montes in Portugal. The name was used until the foundation of the Kingdom of Asturias.Along with their fellow neighbours Gallaeci Lucensesand Braccarenses(see Gallaecia) they spoke a Q-Celtic tongue.Fact|date=May 2007 Most of their peoples, like the Lugones, worshipped the Celtic god Lugh, and references to other Celtic deities like Taranisor Belenosstill remain in the toponomyof the places inhabited by the Astures. Other scholars believe they were related to Ligures.
From the Roman point-of-view, expressed in the brief remarks of the historians
Florus, epitomising Livy, and Orosius, there were two different factions within the Astures, following the natural division made by the alpine karstmountains of the Picos de Europa: "Transmontani" (located in the modern Asturias, "beyond" and north of the Picos de Europa) and "Cismontani" (located on the "near" side in the modern area of León). The Transmontani tribes were mainly located between the Navia Riverand the central massifof the Picos de Europa and the Cismontani surrounded Asturica Augusta, the main Astur town in Roman times, and the "Astura" river (the modern Esla).
Some of the known transmontani astur peoples are: "Lugones", "Pesicos", "Cilurnigos", "Vincianos" and "Viromenicos". Known cismontani tribes are: "Lancienses", "Orniacos" and "Supertios".
Mode of life
The Astures were hunters and gatherers who also engaged in complementary agriculture. During a large part of the year they used the
acornas a staple food source, drying and powdering it and using the flour for a type of easily preserved bread. Their sown fields during the pre-Roman period were scarce. From them they harvested barleyfrom which they produced beer, as well as other crops, like wheatand flax. Due to the scarcity of their agricultural production as well as their strong war-like character, they made frequent incursions into the lands of the Vacceos, who had a much more developed agriculture. Lucan calls them ' Paleseekers after gold ' (Astur scrutator pallidus aim).
According to classic authors, their family structure was
matrilineal, wherein the woman inherits and is the owner of property.
The Astures lived in
hill forts, established in strategic areas and built with round walls in today's Asturiasand the mountainous areas of León, and with rectangular walls in flatter areas, similarly to their fellow Galicians, the Lucensisand the Bracarensis
Along with their
Cantabrineighbours, they were the last free tribes to fall to Romans in Hispania during the Astur-Cantabrian Wars (29 - 19 BC) in Gallaecia. The Roman campaign against the Astures (the "Bellum Asturicum") began in 25 BCand lasted for ten years.
Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula
* [http://www.arqueotavira.com/Mapas/Iberia/Populi.htm Detailed map of the Pre-Roman Peoples of Iberia (around 200 BC)]
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