Larger picture of Viriato
In the second century before Christ, the Romans began to expand into the Iberia Peninsula, the area where Spain and Portugal would evolve the future. The Roman expansion met with considerable resistance from the indigenous population know as the Lusitanians. None of the local leaders of resistence that the legions encountered in all of Europe impressed the Roman historians as much as Viriato, the leader of the Lusitanians. Between the years 147 to 139 BC. Viriato and the army he commanded was able to fight the legions to a standstill in large areas of what is now central Spain. He was one of several leaders who slowed the Roman advances. Very little it known about Viriato. According to tradition he came from very humble beginning in the region of what is now Central Portugal, between the Douro and Tejo rivers. The city of Viseu, being located in this region, has adopted him as being from their area. In the city is a heroic statue of Viriato in a prominent intersection of the city. Literary traditions maintain that Viriato was a humble shepherd and hunter. As he participated in the battles against the Romans he gained military experience and eventually rose to leadership. In 146 BC, he achieved his first victory over the Romans, conquering a roman city and defeating several Roman commanders, and bringing the Roman advance to a standstill. The Romans fell back to a proven strategy in this situation. They bribed several of Viriatós confederates to betray him, leading to his capture and subsequent death. Tradition has it that when the traitors returned for their rewards from the Romans that they were subsequently killed because they had demonstrated that they could not be trusted.
Eventually, the Romans conquered nearly all of the Iberian peninsula, with the exception of the Basque area in Northern Spain. For this reason the Basque language has to this day remained distinctive from all other romance languages of Europe. The 500 years of Roman occupation proved to be very beneficial for the Lusitanians from both and economical and cultural sense. Many archeological evidence remains of the Roman culture through out Portugal. In the areas of the Porto Mission, the prime areas are the ruins of a city called Conimbriga near Coimbra and a bridge in Chaves.
Source: História de Portugal, José Hermano Saraiva.