Quintus Cecilius Metellus

Mallorcan characters

Back to Blog

Quintus Cecilius Metellus

Quintus Cecilius Metello, AKA ” El Balearico, was born circa 170 BC in a powerful family during the Republican times of Rome.

Since the second half of the 3rd century, Rome had carried out an important military expansion.
During those times there were conquered Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica.

In that way, Rome controlled the Italic peninsula and the islands. Rome started many wars attempting to control the Mediterranean zone.

Who has the principal enemy of Rome?

The city of Carthage, located on the coast of present-day Tunisia, had created a maritime empire that dominated the entire western Mediterranean.

Carthage had colonies in Hispania, the Balearic Islands and Sicily, from where it came to expel the Greeks and the consequent creation of provinces in those territories from 227 a. C.

During the Punic Wars, Carthage and its excellent military fleet yielded in 146 BC., creating the province of Africa, in addition to Macedonia and Greece as the incorporation of several eastern kingdoms to Roman expansion.

Historical and cultural legacy of Carthage. Source: revistadehistoria.es

Which was the role of Mallorca during those times?

To ensure control of the Western Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands still had to be incorporated into the Roman Empire. The Roman Senate commissioned this mission to the newly elected consul Quintus Cecilius Metellus in 123 B.C.

The official reason for the Roman intervention in Mallorca and Menorca was the presence of pirates (latrones).  They used their ports as a base to attack the vessels that sailed the Western Mediterranean Sea.

From the economic point of view, the conquest of the islands meant a reduction in the time of the journeys between Italy and Spain and a safe place to sail.

After the conquest, the consequence for Quintus Cecilius Metellus was to receive all the honours in Rome in the year 121 BC granting him the title “El Balearico”.

Thereafter, the Balearic islands came under the rule of Rome. The islands were included in the province of Hispania Citerior.

In Mallorca, the cities of Palma and Pollentia would be founded in addition to three cities named Bocchorus, Guium and Tuccis. And in Menorca, Iamo and Mago, together with Sanisera, would be the three cities.

Since then, the so-called “Romanization process” was applied, introducing new formulas of a social, religious, cultural, and legal nature, etc. that have been identified through the archaeological remains found.

Sesterce of Trajan Dèce (Traianus Decius)

Mallorca Premium Tours – Guided Tours in Palma and Mallorca