History Highlights, Notes on German Culture

Rome’s attempts to subjugate Magna Germania were permanently halted after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD

This ancient Roman manufactured brass head represents a Teutonic warrior from the era 10 B.C…it was found by archeologists in Germany, along with a silver Roman cavalry face mask. Both items are believed to be from the Teutoburg Forest battle field in Germania Magna. In the background, a Roman Legion SPQR standard, representing the three Legions that were destroyed by German warriors in 9 AD.

Ancient Rome’s persistent attempts to subjugate Magna Germania were permanently halted after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD… After this decisive German victory, the Emperor Augustus, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, was so shaken that he stood butting his head against the walls of his palace, repeatedly shouting: “Quintili Vare, legiones redde!“ (‘Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!’). Augustus ordered a Roman withdrawal from all of Magna Germania (completed by AD 16) and established the boundary of the Roman Empire as being the Rhine and the Danube.

The battle took place in the Teutoburg Forest in Magna Germania, which was the larger territory east of the Rhine River and outside of the smaller Roman controlled Germania Inferior. Romans named the event “clades Variana”, the Varian disaster, and Germans know it as either the Varusschlacht, Schlacht im Teutoburger Wald, or the Hermannschlacht. The battle occurred when Hermann of the Cherusci, known also by his Roman name Arminius, caused the Roman commander to pursue German warriors into an elaborate trap. The alliance of Germanic tribes that Hermann had temporarily unified was waiting. With strategically perfect timing, over a period of 3 days, they repeatedly ambushed three powerful Roman Legions led by Roman Governor Publius Quinctilius Varus.

All Roman accounts stress the severity of the defeat… Roman casualties have been estimated at 15,000–20,000 dead. The Roman commander, Varus, whose name and deeds were well known because of his ruthlessness and crucifixion of insurgents, committed suicide when he realized all was lost.

Teutoburg Forest was a pivotal clash, which ended Roman expansion into northern Europe.

“Der siegreich vordringende Hermann” (The victorious forward surging Arminius), painted 1870-1873, by Peter Janssen
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest…by Otto Koch, 1909

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