Tag Archives: carnival

This is what happens to local heroes during carnival…

13 Apr

photos from mobile 2012-2013 567

This is a statue of two local heroes, Indívil and Mandonius which is in the centre of Lleida, Catalonia. You would think that the status of local hero would grant you some sort of special treatment or respect.

Think again.

People in Lleida do have a peculiar sense of humor. There has been a tradition going on for as long as I can remember of dressing up the statues for carnival. This year the heroes went from Iberian warriors to science fiction icons. And this is not by any means the most humiliating experience they have gone through. One year they wore red underwear!

Anyway, here is a bit of history about these heroes. They were Iberian leaders in the third century B.C. They both fought bravely for the independence of their kingdoms against the Carthaginian and Roman invasions during the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.).

Indíbil was an Ilergete, an Iberico tribe which settled between the Pyrenees, the rivers Ebro, Segre and Gállego. This territory was around their capital Ilerda, nowadays called Lleida (my home town). Mandonius, on the other hand, was an Ausetan, a tribe which settled around Ausa, now called Vic.

Both fought as allies of the Carthaginians against Rome when the Romans attacked the Iberian Peninsula to counteract Hannibal’s advance in Italy.  Publius Cornelius Escipion convinced Indíbil and Mandonius that they had been betrayed by the Carthaginians and brought them over to the Roman side. Ilergetes and Ausetans fought by the side of the Romans to get the Iberian Peninsula back from the hands of the Carthaginians.

They were soon to discover that the Romans had not come to bring them back their independence but to submit them to their rule. So they continued fighting against Escipion who beat them in 206 B.C. This is the moment when Indívil and Mandonius decided to join forces against the Romans. In the year 205 B.C. the Iberians would not give up and they started a new rebellion against Escipion. Indívil died on the battlefield and Mandoni was crucified together with the local leaders.

Although they lost, for me, the important thing about these heroes is that they would not give up and kept fighting the Roman war machine against all odds.

That should grant them some respect. But not during carnival in Lleida I’m afraid.

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