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Forum LockedThe Battle Of Teutoburg Forest

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    Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 08:37
One of the most significant European battles in European history, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 AD. It is little remembered today, in part because it was a catestrophic Roman defeat and the Romans did not chose to dwell on it. Armenius was the master mind behind the defeat.
What are your thoughts and opinions on such a breathtaking battle?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 08:47
Whatever else is might be, it is hardly 'little remembered'. It is one of the most famous battles around here...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 09:24
Originally posted by Aelfgifu Aelfgifu wrote:

Whatever else is might be, it is hardly 'little remembered'. It is one of the most famous battles around here...
 
Most definately.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 10:07
Penelope:
 
I don't think Rome chose not to dwell on Teutoburg.  I think a sober realization was made, not too long after the event, that the Empire had reached most of the geographical limits that it could support and defend.
 
The region around the Rhine became the extent of Rome's control on the continent, and there was not very much in the way of expansion in the next couple of centuries.  After the limits of Rome's expansion had been reached, it seems more energy was expended in civil wars and other internal matters (that were the beginning of the weakening of the Empire).
 
If that view has any merit, Teutoburg was surely a momentous event.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 10:20
Great question Penelope.

The battle was certainly significant, but decisive, as much as history has presented? Perhaps not, and I agree with you and pikeshot; frontiers of empires have to eventuate somewhere, and natural obstacles such as the Rhine and Euphrates made geographic sense.

Though Roman incursions before (Drusus) and following the Teutoburg disaster (Germanicus) showed Roman legions could enter Germania and win, I don't think Tiberius thought the gains would justify the costs etc..

I'll be happy to offer a point of view.

The Germanic lands had always been a bane for the Roman dominion. Domitian finally brought the lands on the frontier just to the east of the Rhine and just to north of the Danube under some control, and Trajan made gains against the Dacians, but not by encroaching deep into the the Germanic lands. Roman culture primarily was based on cities, and Germania, as Tacitus told us, was a wild territory of 'endless forests and forbidding swamps', without the wealth and resources that the Iberian and Gallic lands offered - lands more networked by towns and settlements than the Germanic regions. The Roman border fortifications and garrisons would lead to settlements, which would eventually lead to the cities of Cologne, Mainz, and Strasbourg - all located on the Rhine. The legion was far from history's most formidable fighting force under conditions of guerilla and counter-insurgency style fighting, at least militarily. Remember, the likes of Viriathus and Quintus Sertorius were never militarily defeated; the Romans had to purchase their murders to get rid of them, which required alliances within the regions of Iberia. Contrarily, Germany was a vast land they barely had a foothold in. However, Arminius had one of the biggest advantages in military history over Varus that day; not only was his victory aided by the element of surprise, but Varus thought a friend was guiding him. Roman legionaires always gave a good account of themselves, whether at Trebbia or Carrhae, and the Roman were nothing if not a 'can-do' people. But, again, empire boundaries must stop (or begin) somewhere, and the Elbe seemed impracticable.

Tiberius clearly identified that the campaigns before him under Drusus and the punitive expedition of Germanicus (in revenge of Teutoberger Wald), needed to be sustained from the imperial fisc. These campaigns showed the legions could beat the Germanic tribes if not ambushed or drawn into unfavorable terrain. But that very terrain seemed too much of the country east of the Rhine. Tivberius prudently decided that Roman military efforts should be applied to the eastern provinces, where greater wealth was available to be extracted for imperial coffers etc. Frontiers have to be drawn somewhere, and the Rhine made geographic sense, even if an Elbe-Danube line would shorten the frontier a bit. But even with the frontier established on the Rhine, migrations, tribal rebellions, and harsh weather kept Romanitas somewhat isolated. This similarily happened in Britain.

To hold down Germania beyond the outposts of the Rhine would have required an outlay of men and money greater than Rome could afford, being that there was trouble on the Parthian border. The empire had reached various natural boundaries of sea, desert, and the 3 great rivers of the Rhine, Danube, and Euphrates. The Rhine would remain as a political and cultural boundary far beyond Rome's influence. A huge question, and potentially fascinating discussion, is whether or not the crushing ambush of Varus' 3 legions in A.D. 9 was as decisive as many seem to feel. It definitely had a pschological effect on Augustus' view, but would it had made much of a difference? With Arminius' failure of ambushing Varus, would the Roman empire have extended to the Elbe? Did this battle truly change the course of the world? I lean towards no - I don't think it did. Germania was never going to absorbed by Rome regardless of the outcome of that battle. Bu there is much to consider, and I would need to dig into the books to clarify, or rebut, my loose opinion on this.

The Gallic campaigns of Julius Caesar paid for themselves and yielded profits above and beyond. Caesar's conquest of Gaul was one of the most impacting campaigns in history; he provided security and wealth for Rome that maybe quadrupled its currect condition regarding both. But when he sortied into Germany, via the incredible bridge he swiftly built to bridge the Rhine, he realized, among the other factors I mentioned, to hold the Rhine frontier was possible only under certain conditions, one of which was the possession (or alliance) of Britian. Caesar realized that Germanic brigands would be almost impossible to subjugate, and he also probably saw, as Tiberius certainly did 6 decades later, Rome couldn't have both, and Britian was more feasible. But Caesar created the Rhine frontier, and would have likely encroached east of the river to scout further etc. if not for the pressing political events that emerged, causing him to cross the Rubicon.

No doubt about it: the inclusion of Britian and not Germany into the Roman sphere of influence went far to determine the course of European history, and the development of Germany as a great nation of extremely cultured people belies anyone's claim that Rome was the exclusive conduit of 'civilization' into the Western World. However, I don't think that is a common claim and Roman ideas must have rubbed upon the Germanic peoples in some form.

Food for thought.

Thanks, Spartan

Edited by Spartan - 01-Sep-2006 at 11:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 23:22

Pikeshot and Spartan, thanks for the responses. I agree with you both 100%, the Rhine and the Danube to the south became in effect the boundery between Rome and the Germanic east. The Roman Emperor Germanicus led a retalitory campaign across the Rhine, but from 9 AD, Roman policy toward the Germans along the Rhine was basically one of contintment.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Theodore Felix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 23:55
Quote It definitely had a pschological effect on Augustus' view, but would it had made much of a difference? With Arminius' failure of ambushing Varus, would the Roman empire have extended to the Elbe? Did this battle truly change the course of the world? I lean towards no - I don't think it did. Germania was never going to absorbed by Rome regardless of the outcome of that battle. Bu there is much to consider, and I would need to dig into the books to clarify, or rebut, my loose opinion on this.


Although very conjectural but, we humans largely hold the belief that a single change in variables can reshape all of history.

I do believe that Rome would have at some point or another stopped or have been exhausted out of Germania. But the Teutenberg Wald battle put a large stamp that the end would not be too far away, if not immediate.

Quote But when he sortied into Germany, via the incredible bridge he swiftly built to bridge the Rhine, he realized, among the other factors I mentioned, to hold the Rhine frontier was possible only under certain conditions, one of which was the possession (or alliance) of Britian.


Or maybe it was a great political move by Caesar to shock and awe the Roman world. The entire account of the german campaign is full of propaganda that out does his general ones. It was a genius move, he builds a technologically phenomenal bridge across a torrent river, crosses into unchartered land inwhich no civilized man has ever treaded before and immediately routes(without touching)nearly 400,000 Germanic barbarians, marches for a while and returns and dismantles the bridge... All as if nothing happened.

I seriously doubt Caesar ever once thought of subjugating the Germanic tribes.
    
    

Edited by Theodore Felix - 03-Sep-2006 at 00:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Sep-2006 at 00:26
Theodore, very good points.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Sep-2006 at 10:38
Originally posted by Theodore Felix Theodore Felix wrote:

Although very conjectural but...

I made it very clear in the beginning of my post that it was merely a point of view.
Quote Or maybe it was a great political move by Caesar to shock and awe the Roman world.

Absolutley, but not exclusively. He certainly had reconnoitring/military issues in mind. He wouldn't have so extensively written of the Germanic peoples and their customs if he solely wanted to cross the Rhine, for the sake of doing so, and return. He probably wanted to show the tribal peoples, including those beyond the Roman world, that the Rhine was no obstacle to a Roman army, as well as to follow up the cavalry of the fugitives, who sought refuge across the Rhine, from a recent massacre he inflicted upon them.

Rome certainly had the capacity to militarily defeat Germanic tribes nor be somewhat successful at pacification. The events that did take place are not conclusive enough to gauge without conjecture what would have likely happened. But if German tribes wanted to substantially resist, which is a natural feeling for all encroached peoples, the Roman forces would have had a tall order in conquering Germania, even if only the land mass west of the Elbe. Let's ignore, for the sake of entertaining analysis, the economic issues taken into consideration by Tiberius, and the practicality that boundaries of empires have to end somewhere, and natural boundaries usually form the frontiers if the conquerors have not been stopped by force.

Drusus' campaigns from 12-9 B.C. were very successive, and he did win the alliance of the Batavi and Frisii (?) tribes on his western flank. He even made use of ships from the efficacious building of a canal to link the Rhine to the North Sea, which was utilized later by Germanicus when he led an expedition in 16 A.D. through the wetlands of the Netherlands to attack Arminius. The campaigns Drusus carried out against the tribes (Chatti, Suebi, Cherusci and others?) along the southern part of the Elbe were seemingly auspicious, but following his death, an unfortunate accident in which he fell from his horse and died a month or so later, the gains he made did not last at all. All the territories he invaded were completely free again, thus the tribes were probably not substantially beaten or appeased.

Germanicus' was a very capable military leader, but he was also quite impetuous and headstrong, something Tiberius was not, when it came to prudent policy. Despite Germanicus' success against Arminius in the years following the Teutoburg disaster, he was harrassed severely on his return from the site by the Cherusci, something - and this is important - that would have become quite common with augmented Roman infiltration. A year later Germanicus was serioulsy depleted by afflictions suffered from a terrible storm. But that's just trivia.

The gains did not justify the losses in the case of Germanicus, and both he and Drusus clearly illustrated that the Germans were not formidable enemies. But nobody was on a Roman army's level in drill and discipline, thus success would have to be achieved by the utilization of their uneven home terrain, which was certainly the case in Germania. To comprehend a full scale attempt at subduing Germania we can draw on what Julius Caesar himself, hardly a leader who was cautious and complacent, said about the warriors of the Germanic lands.

I don't believe that Caesar's propoganda was rife with whole tales of prevarication; only certain points were, to make his successes seem astronomical. He tells us in his Gallic Wars (Book VI) that the Germans differed from the Gauls in their way of living; their lives centered around hunting and warlike purposes. They didn't care for regulated agriculture, and no man was permitted to own land; each year the tribal leaders assigned to regional clans as much land as they thought necessary, and after a yearly 'lease', so to speak, the land had to be surrendered. This method was for the purpose to prevent farming to not impede the warlike zeal amongst the tribal warriors, and to prevent any passion of money to arise form ownership of the land, which would 'be parent of parties and of quarrels'. Caesar tells us, "...it is their aim to keep common people in contentment, when each man sees his own wealth is equal to the most powerful..." (wouldn't Karl Marx have rejoiced this attitude?).

The Germans devastated their lands which surrounded their regions to to remove 'all fear of a sudden inroad', which illustrates an understanding of some form of defensive strategy. This is paramount - how could Roman armies, if encroaching Germania to a substantial degree, be able to set up their marching camps, their very impregnability, to the fullest? True, it seems Drusus and Germanicus led more than merely raids into German territory, but never were challenged to circumvent what Caesar is describing. If German tribes starting putting up unwavering resistence, which the 2 mentioned did not completely face, it would have been extremely difficult for the Romans to gain the headway that would justify the degree of difficulty. Moreover, the not-so-close proximity of Germania and the lack of wealth of the lands, as has been mentioned, would not justify an assiduous campaign into these lands. Sorry, I mentioned to ignore that.

For the most part, Caesar felt the Germans were superior to the Gauls as warriors. The Germans had not become softened and corrupt by 'contact with civilization'. He states the Gauls had grown accustomed to defeat "...and after being conquered in many battles they do not even compare themselves in point of valor with the Germans...". Ariovistus, the leader of the Suebi, easily overcame his opponents in Gaul when he invaded and occupied in 71-61 B.C. Caesar's victory over Ariovistus in 58 B.C. was no child's play, and the Roman left wing was compromised, and only saved by the firm actions of one Publius Licinius Crassus, the son of the triumvir who fell in Parthia in 53 B.C. Caesar was in danger primarily because of sheer weight if numbers - a situation Roman armies invading Germany probably would have often been tried with.

It seems the Germans preferred cavalry. Though these mounted brigands would not be as formidable as the adept horsemen of the East, cavalry was the arm weakest in Roman armies. Remember, it wasn't the Roman legionaries who struck the decisive blows at Zama and Magnesia, but allied cavalry of the lands, or very close to, in which these great battles were fought. Caesar does seem to think that the Germanic cavalry units were no more than mounted infantry, as they apparently leapt form their horses to fight on foot, doubtless due to the terrain. They could apparently train their horses to remain in the same place, thus they could retire upon them rapidly at need (Book IV of the Gallic War).
 
Caesar built the trestle-bridge in just 10 days (near modern Coblenz). Sorry if I'm being choppy with all this information. Caesar had refused aid from the people to the south, the Ubii, in order to impress the locals of Roman ingenuity and engineereing capacity, showing he wouldn't need boats. The impression worked, but all the tribal people did was abandon their towns and seek refuge in the forests, and assemble the warriors at a central point to get ready for Caesar. In the forested territory of the Suebi, they were resolved to resist him. He refused, knowing his army was not suited to forest warfare, dismantled the bridge, and returned to Gaul.

Now, bridges such as this would have needed to be constructed on strategic points along the Rhine and possibly the Danube for a serious conquest of Germania. I seriously doubt briganding raiders would have not furiously attempted to sabotage them, even after solid completion.   

Further to the north, west near Emmerich, the tribes of the Usipetes and Tencteri, numbering about 430,000 people, had settled west of the Rhine. This number should be treated with with critical caution, as we should Caesar's claim of the numbers comprising the Gallic relief force at Alesia. But no doubt the Germanic tribes were plentiful with warriors. He massacred them before building the bridge, and part of his reason for venturing across the Rhine was to follow up the escaping cavalry. The Sugambri refused, or were unable, to surrender the fugitives.  

I realize I am mentioning events 4-5 decades before the backdrop we are discussing, but the conditions were not substantially different, and Caesar had other priorities. But he seemed to realize the handicap Roman legionaires would face if opposed by the Germanic tribes on a scale of determined resistence. He certainly would have considered conquest in these lands if he deemed it possible. He was planning to invade Parthia, certainly a formidable task, before his death.       

The disparagement of Varus, most notably form the historian Velleius, is unjust.vVarus' handling of the disturbances in Judaea was quite thorough. He was simply the wrong guy in the wrong place when he was destroyed. Some events are simply circumstantial. There was no reason for him to be untrustworthy of Arminius, who had led his people in the service of Rome, being granted both Roman citizenship and equestrian status. He even learnt Latin. His fidelity to Rome was genuine before he changed his view of Roman domination in his homeland. I think Varus did ignore warnings of Arminius' intentions, though.

The peace Tiberius achieved with one Maroboduus of the Marcomani (do I have this tribal name correct, somebody?) was soon nullified when he was driven out by his rival Catualda, who didn't favor friendship with Rome (I'm not 100% certain about this). This type of internicine would have probably been exploited by the Romans to their benefit. But would Germanic tribes conform? It's just very hard to say for sure.

OK, for Aemilianus' question concerning Teutoburger Wald - that of a Roman victory. 2 things are certain: Augustus' whole German policy would not have been shattered at the time, and the territory east of the Rhine would not have not been immediately lost. But it would need to be a decisive victory for Varus; a tactical withdrawal, stalemate, or even Pyrrhic victory would have lost the Roman holdings in the region. To reiterate, Roman culture was based on cities (ie, colonization), and the Germanic peoples on the fringe of the Empire were comparitively civilized, but the bulk of the Germanic peoples, in the east and north, were not. The Celts throughout Iberia, Gaul, and Britain were somewhat urbanized. The restless German tribes of the northern and eastern regions of Germania, the 'bulk' I just mentioned, were not.     

The bulk of Germania not already incorporated into the Empire would probably never been absorbed by Rome, no matter what happened at the Teutoburger Wald. With Varus' victory, Roman hegemony, at best, would have furthered towards the Elbe and Weser from the districts they had already subdued, but not much, and a massacre would have, in all likelihood, occured upon a Roman army on the march if they attempted the conquest too far east and north. The forests provided both cover and viable launching points for harrassing raids etc. Germania was too big, too forested, the warriors too tough, and the lands did not offer what was important to sustain such a vast conquest. This is what the British faced with the American colonies; as long as resistence was imminent, the vast land could not be contained militarily. Of course, Germania wasn't quite that big. Now, back to the point of economization; draining the imperial treasury for a dubious conquest was simply not worth the risk. Doing so would have compromised the solidarity of the other frontiers, if money and troops were poured into Germany.

An important question is whether the Germanic peoples beyond Roman suzerainty would have cooperated with each other to put up the resistence necessary to thwart Roman armies. They certainly could have beaten back the legionaires, provided they avoided conventional engagements in open terrain. But only in relative conjunction with each other. Germanicus narrowly avoided disaster when he faced such a predicament after defeating Arminius in open battle. Interestingly, that very cooperation did indeed occcur in the 5th century, which saw the downfall of the Western Roman Empire from these very people from Germania (for the most part). But it certainly didn't endure, as chiefs began killing each other.

This is all hindsight though; in the recent years before the Teutoburger Wald, the territory between the Rhine and the Weser was considered to be prettty much subdued, though not totally conquered. With the exception of a defeat at the hands of the Sugambri in 16 B.C., the Romans had bettered all Germanic forces since Caesar's first incursions over the Rhine. The Romans were wary of the potential for trouble from the Germanics, but they were not considered a formidable enemy by any means.

It is certainly a tough hypothesis to pinpoint. Much depends on the attitude of the Germanic peoples, which may or may not have been significantly disparate. Rome's major talent was absorbing peoples into their realm. If a confederated German resistence was applied, then no way - Rome would not have been able to conquer the lands, even the regions west of the Elbe. If, contrarily, they came across many Friends, which was the case in many regions just beyond the Rhine and Danube, than much of Germany could have been pacified. But if they had, concern and vigilance would have sprouted from the Hunnic peoples to the east of Germania.

Thanks, Spartan
    
    


Edited by Spartan - 03-Sep-2006 at 17:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 03:30
I do think of the battle of Teutoburg Forest is overrated in importance. If one takes a closer look at the map attached (to the next post, so as not to deform the tables Big smile), it becomes quite evident that the Roman had no intention of expanding further east. As you move east, the land mass widened dramatically, covering an area far too extended for the roman to man effectively.
 
It was not the Roman didn't have the capability to conquer all the barbarians of Germania, it was just Germania was open to the east to barbarian invasion (The Hun were among the many Eastern Barbarians that subdued the germanics at one time or another); any efforts to bring this area under Roman dominion would therefore be ilogical. So the roman decided to create a more or less symbolic barrier called the Limes line that hugged the Rhine, forming a bottle-neck, a very defensible position.
 
 


Edited by Quetzalcoatl - 05-Sep-2006 at 03:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2006 at 03:43
Quote For the most part, Caesar felt the Germans were superior to the Gauls as warriors. The Germans had not become softened and corrupt by 'contact with civilization'. He states the Gauls had grown accustomed to defeat "...and after being conquered in many battles they do not even compare themselves in point of valor with the Germans...". Ariovistus, the leader of the Suebi, easily overcame his opponents in Gaul when he invaded and occupied in 71-61 B.C. Caesar's victory over Ariovistus in 58 B.C. was no child's play, and the Roman left wing was compromised, and only saved by the firm actions of one Publius Licinius Crassus, the son of the triumvir who fell in Parthia in 53 B.C. Caesar was in danger primarily because of sheer weight if numbers - a situation Roman armies invading Germany probably would have often been tried with.
 
Utter nonsense, anti-french propaganda by the anglos. Either Caesar is a chronic liar or his words had expressly been distorted by the Anglo-saxons and germanophiles to further their pretentious claims of superiority over the Gauls.


Edited by Quetzalcoatl - 05-Sep-2006 at 03:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aurea Moguntia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2008 at 14:02
The location of the Battle of the Teutoburger Forest is questionable.

The Rhein certainly was not the "natural" border of the empire, in fact most of the Rhein river was well within the realm of the empire.

There certainly were tribes in what is now Germany but it is also questionable if they were "German" tribes.

And these tribes provided much of the manpower for the empire's legions. Arminius himself was a Roman officer trusted by Varus.
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All I know is that the Romans go Pwnd
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Mar-2008 at 19:23
Originally posted by Aurea Moguntia Aurea Moguntia wrote:

The location of the Battle of the Teutoburger Forest is questionable.
 


not at all, the location at Kalkriese is pretty much established fact.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aurea Moguntia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 02:55
And Kalkriese is located in the Teutoburger Forest ? That definitely is NOT a fact. As to the exact location and the significance of that battle - these are all under discussion - the only item that does not seem to be in question is the year "9" that marks 2009 - next year - the bi-millenium of that event.
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Hello to you all
 
Sorry my friends but ever since I read about this battle I have never been able to comprehend its significance. All the Germanic tribes became part of Rome and affected by it one way or another. Only 3 legions were lost from 50 Rome had and Germanicus lead a successful punitive action that regained Roman honour and if I am mistaken, the Romans took the same lands Arminius was defending later on, so could some one please explain why it so so significant?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 06:55

Some would also argue that Roman army marched along the northern edge of the Wiehen mountains, passing through flat, open country, devoid of the dense forests and ravines described by Cassius Dio. They claim that "the romans had a stereotyped view of Germania".

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aurea Moguntia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 11:51
The battle of the Teutoburger Forest is no more important than many other battles the Romans fought. The tribes of what the Romans called Germania had soon forgotten about it. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that German historians and rulers placed greater significance upon this battle - probably because that was the time the many tribes of Germany were FINALLY united (Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871) and Arminius was made out to be a German hero uniting his people. He was neither German nor did he unite his people. At that time there were no Germans or for that matter French, or Brits, or Italians, etc, etc.

A huge (86 meters) monument to Arminius - Hermann in modern German - was dedicated in 1875 - it depicts an Arminius in a way he probably never looked. But it served the purpose of the rulers of the time - mainly the new German emperor Wilhelm I to link himself to an imagined greater German past. Never mind that it took almost 900 years after Arminius - with the end of the Carolingian dynasty - before the idea of Germany came up and it took another thousand years before Germany became a nation state (1871).

Wilhelm I and his grandson Wilhelm II tried to recreate many historical buildings, events, and/or persons to what they at the time thought these to have been, by no means limited to traditional things/persons German see the "recreated" Roman post Saalburg, outside Frankfurt.

This process has been described as "historicism" - here is a definition:

"The Art & Architecture Thesaurus defines: "Historicism: General theory that emphasizes the importance of history as a standard of value or as a determinant of events. Also refers specifically to the self-conscious revival of or reliance upon historical styles in art and architecture." Synonyms: historism, storicismo. Related terms: archaism, antiquarianism ("Interest in or devotion to things of the past, especially of ancient times. The term implies admiration of a style or object simply because it is old."

(remembering Dr. Watson)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ulrich von hutten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 16:13
The battle was very important and obvious much impressive for the Romans. It was the last time the Italians visited the German forests for about 1955 years, when they came back in the 1960s as alien-workers.

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