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Archaeologists Discover Roman Battlefield in N.Germany - HISTORY & UPDATES

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Author Topic: Archaeologists Discover Roman Battlefield in N.Germany - HISTORY & UPDATES  (Read 5536 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2009, 06:32:21 pm »












                             Battle of the Teutoburg Forest - Part of the Roman-Germanic wars






Date September 9 to September 11 , AD 9

Location Osnabrück County, Lower Saxony

Result Decisive Germanic victory.

Roman Empire's strategic withdrawal from Magna Germania.
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2009, 06:38:49 pm »









                                            BATTLE OF THE TEUTOBURG FOREST

 




Belligerents

Germanic tribes (Cherusci, Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci and Sicambri). Roman Empire



Commanders

Arminius Publius Quinctilius Varus †



Strength

17,000-25,000 3 Roman legions,
3 alae and
6 auxiliary cohorts, probably 20,000 - 25,000



Casualties and losses

Unknown; but far less than Roman losses over 20,000



Roman-Germanic Wars
 
Cimbrian War
Noreia - Arausio - Aquae Sextiae - Vercellae
Attempted conquest of Germania
Lupia River - Teutoburg Forest - Weser River
Marcomannic Wars
Roman-Alamannic Wars
Mediolanum - Lake Benacus - Placentia - Fano - Pavia - Lingones - Vindonissa - Durocortorum - Argentoratum - Solicinium



Gothic War

Ad Salices - Adrianople
Roman-Visigothic Wars
Pollentia - Verona - Rome - Narbonne
 


The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (described as clades Variana by Roman historians) took place in
A.D. 9 (probably lasting from September 9 to September 11) when an alliance of Germanic tribes led
by Arminius, the son of Segimer of the Cherusci, ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.

The battle began a seven-year war which established the Rhine as the boundary of the Roman Empire for the next four hundred years, until the decline of the Roman influence in the West. The Roman Empire made no further concerted attempts to conquer Germania beyond the Rhine.

The battle (which is called Schlacht im Teutoburger Wald, Varusschlacht or Hermannsschlacht in German) had a profound effect on 19th century German nationalism along with the recovery of the histories of Tacitus in the 15th century, in which the Germans identified with the Germanic tribes as a way to give the (at the time politically disunited) "German people" a common origin.

In 1808, the German author Heinrich von Kleist's play Die Hermannsschlacht aroused anti-Napoleonic sentiment, even though it could not be performed under occupation. Later, the figure of Arminius was used to represent the ideals of freedom and unification — as supported by German liberals, and opposed by the reactionary rulers of the German states. A memorial — the Hermannsdenkmal — was begun during this period, and Arminius became a symbol of Pan Germanism. The monument lay unfinished for decades until after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which unified the country. The completed monument was then a symbol of conservative German nationalism. The battle and the Hermannsdenkmal monument is also commemorated by the similar Hermann Heights Monument in New Ulm, MN, U.S.A.
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« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2009, 06:40:35 pm »





               









The Roman force was led by Publius Quinctilius Varus, a noble from an old family, an administrative official who was assigned to establish the new province of Germany in 7 AD.

Varus' opponent, Arminius (also known as Hermann), had lived in Rome as a hostage in his youth, where he had received a military education and had even been given the rank of Equestrian. After his return, he was a trusted advisor to Varus.  In secret, he forged an alliance of Germanic tribes that had traditionally been enemies (the Cherusci, Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci and Sicambri), but which he was able to unite due to outrage over Varus' measures.

While Varus was on his way from his summer camp somewhere west of the Weser river (despite recent finds indicating a Roman presence near the modern city of Minden, its location remains disputed; other sites near Minden or Rinteln have been suggested by the historian Delbrück and the military writer Pastenaci, respectively) to the winter headquarters near the Rhine, he heard reports of a local rebellion, fabricated by Arminius.

Varus decided to quell this uprising immediately and take a detour through territory unfamiliar to the Romans. Arminius, who accompanied Varus, probably directed him along a route that would facilitate an ambush. Another Cheruscan nobleman, Segestes, father of Arminius' wife, and opposed to the marriage, warned Varus the night before the departure of the Roman forces, allegedly even suggesting that Varus apprehend him along with several Germanic leaders whom he identified as covert participants in the planned uprising. But his warning was dismissed as the result of a personal feud. Arminius then left under the pretext of drumming up Germanic forces to support the Roman campaign, but instead led his troops, who must have been waiting in the vicinity, in attacks on surrounding Roman garrisons.

Recent archaeological finds place the battle in Osnabrück County, Lower Saxony. On the basis of Roman accounts, the Romans must at this time have been marching northwestward from the area that is now the city of Detmold, passing east of Osnabrück; they must then have camped in this area prior to being attacked.
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2009, 06:41:32 pm »



Reconstruction of the improvised fortifications prepared by the Germanic tribes for the final phase of the Varus battle near Kalkriese
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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2009, 06:45:38 pm »










Varus's forces included three legions (Legio XVII, Legio XVIII, and Legio XIX), six cohorts of auxiliary troops (non-Roman allies) and three squadrons of cavalry (alae), most of which lacked combat experience with Germanic fighters under local conditions. The Roman forces were not marching in combat formation, and were interspersed with large numbers of camp-followers. As they entered the forest (probably just northeast of Osnabrück 52°24′38″N 8°07′46″E / 52.41056, 8.12944), they found the track narrow and muddy; according to Dio Cassius a violent storm had also arisen. He also writes that Varus neglected to send out advance reconnaissance parties.

The line of march was now stretched out perilously long — estimates are that it surpassed 15 km (9 miles), and was perhaps as long as 20 km (12 miles).  It was then suddenly attacked by Germanic warriors. Arminius knew Roman tactics very well and could direct his troops to counter them effectively, using locally superior numbers against the spread-out Roman legions. The Romans managed to set up a fortified night camp, and the next morning broke out into the open country north of the Wiehen mountains, near the modern town of Osterkappeln. The break-out cost them heavy losses, as did a further attempt to escape by marching through another forested area, with the torrential rains continuing, preventing them from using their bows, and rendering them virtually defenseless, as their shields too became waterlogged.

 
They then undertook a night march to escape, but marched straight into another trap that Arminius had set, at the foot of Kalkriese Hill (near Osnabrück). There, the sandy, open strip on which the Romans could march easily was constricted by the hill, so that there was a gap of only about 100 m between the woods and the swampland at the edge of the Great Bog. Moreover, the road was blocked by a trench, and, towards the forest, an earthen wall had been built along the roadside, permitting the Germanic tribesmen to attack the Romans from cover. The Romans made a desperate attempt to storm the wall, but failed, and the highest-ranking officer next to Varus, Numonius Vala, abandoned the troops by riding off with the cavalry; however, he too was overtaken by the Germanic cavalry and killed, according to Velleius Paterculus. The Germanic warriors then stormed the field and slaughtered the disintegrating Roman forces; Varus committed suicide.

Velleius reports that one commander, Ceionus, "shamefully" surrendered, while his colleague Eggius "heroically" died leading his doomed troops.

Around 15,000–20,000 Roman soldiers must have died; not only Varus, but also many of his officers are said to have taken their own lives by falling on their swords in the approved manner.  Tacitus wrote that many officers were sacrificed by the Germanic forces as part of their indigenous religious ceremonies. However, others were ransomed, and the common soldiers appear to have been enslaved.

All Roman accounts stress the completeness of the Roman defeat, the extremely heavy Roman casualties, and the minimal Germanic losses. That account is confirmed by the finds at Kalkriese, where, along with 6000 pieces (largely scraps) of Roman equipment, there is only one single item — part of a spur — that is clearly Germanic.

Even allowing for the fact that several thousand Germanic soldiers were deserting militiamen who wore Roman armour (which would thus show up as "Roman" in the archaeological digs), and for the fact that the Germanic tribes wore less metal and more perishable organic material, this indicates surprisingly slight Germanic losses.  The Germanic practice of burying dead Germanic warriors' battle gear with them may have contributed to the lack of Germanic relics, given the victors' ability to gather such at their leisure.

The victory over the legions was followed by a clean sweep of all Roman forts, garrisons and cities — of which there were at least two — east of the Rhine; the remaining two Roman legions, commanded by Varus' nephew Lucius Nonius Asprenas, were content to try to hold that river. One fort (or possibly city), Aliso, fended off the Germanic tribes for many weeks, perhaps a few months, before the garrison, which included survivors of the Teutoburg Forest, successfully broke out under their commander, Lucius Caeditius and reached the Rhine.
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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2009, 06:47:22 pm »





               









Upon hearing of the defeat, the Emperor Augustus, according to the Roman historian Suetonius in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, showed signs of near-insanity, banging his head against the walls of his palace and repeatedly shouting Quintili Vare, legiones redde! ('Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!').

The three legion numbers were never used again by the Romans after this defeat, unlike other legions that were restructured — a case unique in Roman history.

The battle abruptly ended the period of triumphant and exuberant Roman expansion that had followed the end of the Civil Wars 40 years earlier. Augustus' stepson Tiberius took effective control, and prepared for the continuation of the war.

The Germanic tribes, on the other hand, profited greatly from the plunder of their victory, and gradually began to move to a higher stage of development, although they were still a long way from political unification. This was apparently the goal of Arminius, however, who immediately sent Varus' severed head to Marbod, king of the Marcomanni, the other most powerful Germanic ruler, with the offer of an anti-Roman alliance. Marbod declined the offer, sent the head on to Rome for burial, and remained neutral throughout the ensuing war. Only thereafter did a brief, inconclusive war break out between the two Germanic leaders.

During the next centuries, the Germanic tribes were able to profit from trade with Rome, remain independent, and absorb those elements of Roman culture which they wanted.
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2009, 06:49:55 pm »









Though the shock at the slaughter was enormous, the Romans immediately began a slow, systematic process of preparing for the reconquest of the country.

In AD 14, just after Augustus' death and the accession of his heir and stepson Tiberius, a massive raid was conducted by the new emperor's nephew Germanicus, followed the next year by two major campaigns with a large army estimated at 70,000 men, backed by naval forces. He was able to devastate large areas and eliminate any form of active resistance, but the majority of the Germanic tribespeople fled at the sight of the Roman army into remote forests. The raids were considered a success since the major goal of destroying any rebel alliance networks was completed. After initial successes, including the capture of Arminius' wife Thusnelda, the army visited the site of the first battle.

According to Tacitus, they found heaps of bleached bones and severed skulls nailed to trees, which they buried, "looking on all as kinsfolk and of their own blood". Burial pits with remains fitting this description have been found at Kalkriese Hill.

In spite of doubts on the part of his uncle, Emperor Tiberius, Germanicus managed to raise another huge army and invaded Germania again the next year, in 16 AD. He forced a crossing of the Weser near modern Minden, suffering heavy losses, and then met Arminius' army at Idistaviso, further up the Weser, near modern Rinteln, in an engagement often called the Battle of the Weser River. Germanicus's leadership and command qualities were shown in full at the battle as his superior tactics and better trained and equipped legions inflicted huge casualties on the Germanic armies with only minor losses.

One final battle was fought at the Angivarian Wall west of modern Hanover, repeating the pattern of high Germanic fatalities forcing them to flee. With his main objectives reached and with winter approaching Germanicus ordered his army back to their winter camps, with the fleet occasioning some damage by a storm in the North Sea. Although only a small number of soldiers died it was still a bad ending for a brilliantly fought campaign. After a few more raids across the Rhine, which resulted in the recovery of two of the three legions' eagles lost in AD 9, Germanicus was recalled to Rome and informed by Tiberius that he would be given a triumph and reassigned to a different command.

The third standard was recovered in AD 41 by Publius Gabinius from the Chauci during the reign of Claudius, brother to Germanicus, according to Cassius Dio in Roman History Book LX {Book 60} Chapter 8. Possibly the recovered aquilae were placed within the Temple of the Avenging Mars, (Tempio di Mars Ultor), the ruins of which stand today in the Forum of Augustus by the Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome.

The last chapter of this story is recounted by the historian Tacitus, in Annales (xii.27). Around AD 50, bands of Chatti invaded Roman territory in Germania Superior, possibly an area in Hesse east of the Rhine which the Romans appear to have still held, and began to plunder. The Roman commander, Lucius Pomponius, raised a force from the Vangiones and Nemetes supported by Roman cavalry. They attacked the Chatti from both sides and defeated them, and joyfully found and liberated some of the men from Varus' legions, who had been held in slavery for 40 years.

Despite the successes enjoyed by his troops, Germanicus' campaign in Germania was in reaction to the mutinous intentions of his troops, and lacked any strategic value. In addition he engaged the very same Germanic leader, Arminius, who had destroyed three Roman legions in AD 9, and exposed his troops to the remains of those dead Romans. Furthermore, in leading his troops across the Rhine, without recourse to Tiberius, he flouted the instructions of Augustus to keep that river as the boundary of the empire, and opened himself to doubts about his motives in such independent action. These errors in strategic and political judgement gave Tiberius reason enough to recall his nephew.
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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2009, 06:53:12 pm »




               









For almost 2000 years, the site of the battle was unidentified.

The main clue to its location was an allusion to the saltus Teutoburgiensis in section i.60-62 of
Tacitus's Annals, an area "not far" from the land between the upper reaches of the Lippe and
Ems Rivers in central Westphalia.

During the 19th century, theories as to the true site of the battle abounded, and the followers of one theory successfully argued for the area of a long wooded ridge called the Osning, around Bielefeld. This was then renamed the Teutoburg Forest, and became the site of the Detmold Memorial.

Late 20th-century research and excavations at Kalkriese Hill (52°26'29"N, 8°8'26"E.) were sparked by finds by British amateur archaeologist Major Tony Clunn's discovery of coins from the reign of Augustus (and none minted later), and some ovoid leaden Roman sling shot. Clunn was casually prospecting with
a metal detector in hopes of finding "the odd Roman coin."

The excavations soon turned up more scraps of weapons and equipment, the helmet mask of a Roman officer, the bone pits, and the remains of the Germanic fortifications. As a result, Kalkriese is now perceived to be the actual site of part of the battle, probably its conclusive phase. Kalkriese is a village administratively part of the city of Bramsche, on the north slope fringes of the Wiehengebirge, a ridge-like range of hills in Lower Saxony, north of Osnabrück. The site some 70 km from Detmold was first suggested by 19th-century historian Theodor Mommsen, one of the "founding fathers" of modern research into ancient history.

While the initial excavations were done by the archaeological team of the Kulturhistorisches Museum Osnabrück under the direction of Prof. Wolfgang Schlüter from 1987 onward, after the dimensions of the project became apparent, a new foundation was created to organize future excavations, to build and run a new museum on the site, and to centralise publicity work and documentation. Since 1990 the excavations have been directed by Susanne Wilbers-Rost.

The Varusschlacht Museum ("Varus' Battle Museum") and Park Kalkriese include a large outdoor area with trails leading to a re-creation of part of the earthen wall from the battle, and other outdoor exhibits. An observation tower allows visitors to get an overview of the battle site. Most of the indoor exhibits are housed in the tower.

A second building includes the ticket center, museum store and a restaurant. The museum houses a large number of artifacts found at the site, which include fragments of studded sandals legionaries lost, spearheads, and a Roman officer's ceremonial face-mask, which was originally silver-plated. Coins minted with the countermark VAR, distributed by Varus, support the identification of the site.

Excavations have revealed battle debris along a corridor almost 15 miles from east to west and little more than a mile wide. A long zig-zagging wall constructed of peat turves and packed sand apparently had been constructed beforehand: concentrations of battle debris before it, and a dearth of finds behind it, testify to the Romans' inability to breach the German's strong defense. Human remains found here appear to corroborate Tacitus' account of their later burial.


(Smithsonian, p 81)
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« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2009, 06:54:38 pm »









Although the majority of evidence has the 3-day battle take place in the area east and north of Osnabrück and end at Kalkriese Hill, some scholars and others adhere to older theories. Moreover,
there is controversy among "Kalkriese-adherents" as to the details.

The German historians Peter Kehne and Reinhard Wolters believe that the battle was probably in the Detmold area after all, and that Kalkriese is the site of one of the battles in 15 AD. This theory is, however, in serious contradiction to Tacitus' account.

A very large body of opinion, including the scholars at the Kalkriese Museum (Susanne Wilbers-Rost, Günther Moosbauer; also Historian Ralf Jahn and British author Adrian Murdoch, see below), believe that the Roman army did not approach Kalkriese from the south of the Wiehen Mountains (i.e., from Detmold), but rather from roughly due east, from Minden, Westphalia. This would have involved a march along the northern edge of the Wiehen mountains, and would have passed through flat, open country, devoid of the dense forests and ravines described by Cassius Dio. Their explanation of this contradiction is that Romans had a stereotyped view of Germania: Just as most Europeans and Americans, hearing the word "Arabia", think "sandy desert", so, they argue, to most Romans, the word "Germania" meant "swampy, rainy forest"; thus, Cassius Dio was, they believe, not really describing the situation, but only reflecting this stereotype. Historians such as Gustav-Adolf Lehmann and Boris Dreyer counter that the description is too detailed and differentiated to be thus dismissed.

Tony Clunn (see below), the discoverer of the battlefield, and a “southern-approach” proponent, believes that the battered Roman Army regrouped north of Ostercappeln, where Varus committed suicide, and that the remnants were finally overcome at the Kalkriese Gap.

Peter Oppitz, in "Das Geheimnis der Varuschlacht", Zagara-Verlag Edition in Kelkheim, Germany, 2006, proposes a new site in Paderborn. Upon the new reading of Tacitus, Paterculus and Florus' writings, together with the discrimination of Dio Cassius writings, the author explains that an ambush took place in the summer camp of Varus, during a peaceful meeting between the Roman commanders and the Germans.
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2009, 06:56:34 pm »












Ancient Sources



The following is a list of all known references to the battle from the literary sources of classical antiquity.

Though the account provided in the Roman History is the most detailed of these, Dio Cassius' almost two century removal from the time of the event, as well as his use of detail mentioned by no earlier author, render it much more likely to be a literary re-imagining of the battle than a reliable historical record.





Ovid, Tristia (Sorrows), poetic verses written in 10 and 11

Marcus Manilius, Astronomica, poem written in early 1st Century

Strabo, Geographia 7:1.4, geographic-themed history written in perhaps 18

Marcus Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2:117-120, history written 30

Tacitus, Annals 1.3, 1.10, 1.43, 1.55-71, 2.7, 2.41, 2.45, history written 109

Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Augustus 23, Tiberius 17-18, biographies written 121

Florus, Epitome de T. Livio Bellorum omnium annorum DCC Libri duo 2:30, history/panegyric written in early 2nd century

Dio Cassius, Roman History 56:18-24, history written in the first half of 3rd century




RETRIEVED FROM

wikipedia.org
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« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2009, 06:34:31 pm »



The statue of Arminius, or Hermann, near Detmold,
was erected in the 19th century.








                                                    Germany marks its birth with caution






David Crossland,
Foreign Correspondent
The National
August 09. 2009
KALKRIESE, GERMANY

Germany is marking the 2000th anniversary next month of a battle hailed as the birth of the nation – the bloody defeat of three Roman legions by Germanic warriors under Arminius, a young chieftain, in 9AD.

Some 10,000 to 12,000 of Rome’s finest legionnaires were slaughtered in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, which created a national myth that filled German hearts with patriotic fervour right up to the 20th century. Arminius,
the story goes, drove the Romans out of Germania and united the nation.



“This was the big bang that created Germany, according to the myth,” Tillmann Bendikowski, a historian and author of a book on the battle, said. “The historical facts disprove that but every nation wants to pinpoint its roots and will passionately grasp any opportunity to do so.”

From the 16th century, nationalists seized on Arminius, or Hermann as he became known, as a symbol of unity and freedom from such perceived enemies as the Pope, the French or the Jews. Today, Hermann is contaminated by the militant and racist nationalism that led to the Nazi period, and this year’s festivities have been muted as a result.



Many Germans do not even know his story nowadays because schools refrained from teaching it after 1945. But interest has been reawakened by the discovery of the presumed site of the battle in the late 1980s, and there has been intense media coverage of the man and the myth this year.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor, visited the battlefield near the village of Kalkriese in north-western Germany in May to open an exhibition on the warlike ways of Germanic tribes. Some 400 actors in rough leggings and Roman armour re-enacted scenes from the battle in June.
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« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2009, 06:41:23 pm »










A bombastic, 53-metre high monument to Hermann erected in the 19th century, when Germany consisted of dozens of states and was striving to unite, testifies to the power of the cult. The statue holding its 7m sword in the air and glaring ominously towards France became a rallying point for nationalists.

The hero featured in more than 50 operas and plays and was portrayed as a blonde, muscle-bound warrior in the art and literature of the 19th century. The myth was aided by a lack of known facts – there are no eyewitness accounts of the battle because the Romans were all killed and the Germans had no written culture.



The truth does not live up to the legend, though. Far from uniting the German nation, Hermann did not even manage to unite his own tribe, the Cherusci, and was killed by relatives a few years after the battle.

Besides, the more than 50 Germanic tribes were the forefathers of many European nations, not just the Germans. And the battle was not the only factor that led Rome to abandon plans to turn Germania east of the river Rhine into a Roman province. Undeterred by the defeat, Roman legions repeatedly struck deep into hostile Germania after 9AD and won major victories there.



But Roman histories do indicate that the battle shook the empire. Three of Rome’s 28 legions were wiped out and excavations at Kalkriese have confirmed the scale of the defeat by revealing evidence that the Roman dead were thoroughly stripped. “We have been finding traces of plundering rather than of fighting,” said Susanne Wilbers-Rost, the chief archaeologist at the site. Her work has gained international attention because it is providing insights that can be applied to battlefields of all ages.



“The excavations have revealed small items torn off when the Germans were stripping the Romans as they lay dead or wounded.

“Things like buckles, hinges, connecting parts of body armour and chain mail. You can only imagine this kind of brutal stripping of the dead when the defeat was total,” she said.

“The Germans had all the time in the world, although the stench of the corpses must have soon been terrible. But they weren’t disturbed.”
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« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2009, 06:43:07 pm »









The most sensational find, an iron face mask from a Roman cavalryman’s helmet, also reveals signs of plunder – the silver foil was roughly torn off it.

Eight pits containing the bones of men aged 20 to 45 have been found, with many skulls showing gaping holes from fatal blows. The pits tally with a Roman account of how legions under commander Germanicus discovered the battlefield in 16AD and buried the heaps of bleached bones they found. The soldiers also found skulls nailed to trees.



Some historians still dispute that Kalkriese is the battlefield but after 20 years of excavation, they are in the minority. The more than 5,000 artefacts found, ranging from spear tips to ornate tableware exhibited in a well-devised museum at the site, paint a conclusive picture of a devastating ambush on a Roman column that was not prepared for trouble.

Why else would it have been transporting luxury goods and dining sofas, as well as ample cash? Also, none of the 1,600 coins found were minted after 9AD.



Traces of fighting were found in a wide area around Kalkriese, which ties in with accounts by Roman historians that the battle raged for four days and began with ambushes on the thin column of legionnaires and supplies that stretched 15km as they marched along narrow forest paths.

They were commanded by Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman general, and were heading south to spend the winter in a base by the Rhine.



Arminius, the commander of a troop of Germanic cavalry attached to the Roman army as auxiliaries, is believed to have led Varus into a trap by persuading him to make a detour to put down a rebellion.

Varus trusted Arminius and agreed to change course. Arminius, intent on launching a revolt that would help him found his own kingdom, rode off with his unit to join up with fighters from other tribes hiding in the forests and launched a series of ambushes.



The legionnaires, used to fighting battles in open ground using their shields, spears and swords, were not able to use their tactics in the forest.

After days of guerrilla-style attacks up and down the column, the battle is believed to have culminated at Kalkriese, a bottleneck between a hill and a moor where Varus fell on his sword rather than be captured.

“We should be glad that the battlefield wasn’t found in the 18th or 19th century, let alone during the Nazi period, because it would have become a pilgrimage site for German nationalists,” said Mr Bendikowski.



Two world wars have left Germans deeply cautious about national myths.

An easy-going, peaceful patriotism has replaced the old brand of aggressive nationalism, and today’s interest in Arminius mainly reflects curiosity about what really happened in that fateful September 2,000 years ago.

“The myth of Hermann will continue to pale,” said Mr Bendikowski. “What will remain of him will be the experience of a historical myth.



“We will remember how a nation tried to invent itself and how history was constructed. It will help us to understand ourselves and other nations better.”



dcrossland@thenational.ae
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