José de Madrazo – La muerte de Viriato, 1807
José de Madrazo y Agudo (22 April 1781, Santander – 8 May 1859, Madrid) was a Spanish painter and engraver; one of the primary exponents of the Neoclassical style in Spain. He was the patriarch of a family of artists that included his sons Federico and Luis; and his grandsons, Raimundo and Ricardo.
Viriathus (also spelled Viriatus; known as Viriato in Portuguese and Spanish; died 139 BC) was the most important leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of western Hispania (as the Romans called it) or western Iberia (as the Greeks called it), where the Roman province of Lusitania would be finally established after the conquest. This Roman province spread over areas comprising most of Portugal (the northernmost part was included in Gallaecia), all of Extremadura and the province of Salamanca. Its eastern frontier reached the proximities of Toletum, in central Hispania. Current Galicia was not included in the province, since it comprised most of the territory of another province, the aforementioned Gallaecia, but like the Vettonian people in the South, the Galaic tribes living there were also related to them.
Viriatus developed alliances with other Iberian groups, even far away from his usual theatres of war, inducing them to rebel against Rome. He led his army, supported by most of the Lusitanian and Vetton tribes as well as by other Celtiberian allies, to several victories over the Romans between 147 BC and 139 BC before being betrayed by them and murdered while sleeping. Of him, Theodor Mommsen said, “It seemed as if, in that thoroughly prosaic age, one of the Homeric heroes had reappeared.”