It is clear that whenever we speak of Numantia we are referring above all to the Numantia destroyed by Scipio. The city was “razed to the ground”, according to Cicero . Numantine resistance has become a byword for a people fighting for its freedom and the victory of the weak over the strong; for this reason it has been used as a symbol by all ideologies throughout history.
The Numantines’ attitude impacted so heavily on the conquerors’ mindset that they in turn were to some extent conquered by the Numantine cause. A total of twenty two writers from antiquity refer to Numantia, but pride of place goes to the thorough and detailed account of Appian of Alexandria, who drew directly on the information of Scipio’s friend Polybius. Numantia is also named by Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, Ptolomy, the Antonine Itinerary of the Roman Imperial era and the anonymous seventh-century Ravenna Cosmography.
The vision of Numantia has “soared above” the merely human sphere. During the last two millennia it has been constantly invoked to defend Christianity, support the imperial idea of the Hapsburgs, stoke up the esprit de corps and heroic identification of people in conflict, boost romantic ideas of national unity, resistance and the selfless struggle for freedom, as hailed and lauded over recent centuries by ideologies of all sorts. The spirit of Numantine resistance is still invoked today in difficult situations and in sporting contexts of heroic defence.