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Forum LockedThe Battle Of Teutoburg Forest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 17:46
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

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?
 
Al-Jassas
 
After the successes of the last century BC, the shock of a defeat of this magnitude was difficult to swallow for the hyperpower of the day.  The significance of the event was not that Roman armies were not still formidable (and that they could still venture into Germania).  It marked the furthest practical extent of Roman expansion on the European continent. 
 
Roman presence beyond the Rhine never became widespread, and the Limes Germanicus became the Rhine valley in the west, as the Danube became the limes further east.
 
Rome's center was the Mediterranean world, not the alien north with its endless forests.  After the punitive expeditions toward the Elbe, I think the Romans determined that the development of Gaul, and possibly Brittania, were worth far more than Germany....at least at that time.  In future, maybe it would change.
 
All the alternative history about "what would have happend if the Germans had been subjugated," etc., holds little attraction for me.  It didn't happen, but the Germans through the following centuries helped to preserve Roman concepts by adapting many of them, or enough of them to matter.
 
I digress, but this suff is fascinating.
 
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Mar-2008 at 20:28
Originally posted by Aurea Moguntia Aurea Moguntia wrote:

And Kalkriese is located in the Teutoburger Forest ?


Teutoburg forrest is the name for the old supposed location of the battle, whats that got to do with anything?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 08:07
Always the reason I have given to it was that it held little attraction for the Romans. Empire building is as much about what you get out if it, as conquering territory. The east was rich, better to expend you energys there. In the same vein in the period till 1815, the West Indies was seen as the most important real estate in N America, the Brits it could be argued in 1783 decided that they could live with the loss of the thirteen colonies, ut not of their posessions in the W Indies.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aurea Moguntia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 08:35
I will try one more time - the Limes did not run along the Rhein River. From near present day Bonn all the way to Regensburg = Castra Regina, a stretch of 550 kilometers, the Limes of "Germania" was far enough from any major river. Detailed maps of this limes are available at the following website.:

http://www.limesstrasse.de/index.php?id=178

In fact, most of the limes ran along the mountain ridges of heavily forested "Germania". And most of Europe incl. "Gaul" and "Britannia" was heavily forested during the Roman times. And the Limes in "Britannia" of course is aptly named Hadrian's wall. The Romans built a limes along most of the outer limits of their empire, be that North Africa, the Black Sea area or the Near East.

As happened throughout history it probably was more of an economic matter than anything else that made the Romans stop their expansion and establish these borders. There certainly was nothing special about the "German" tribes that made the Romans stop halfway through what is now Germany, just as they stopped in many other places.

Excursions outside of these borders (and incursions by neighboring tribes) were commonplace - sometimes victorious, sometimes resulting in lost battles. After all, these borders (limites) existed for hundreds of years, they were not static, there were movements of goods and people across these borders - see Arminius who recieved his education and training as part of the Roman military machine (of course that and the Teutoburger Battle happened before the Limes was built).
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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: 09-Mar-2008 at 08:36
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

Always the reason I have given to it was that it held little attraction for the Romans. 
 
In deed that is one of the main points. Impenetrable forests, few tribes , at odds among eachother. Not a covetable aim for an usurpator. The civilized world ended at the rhine banks at that time.
 
For the german soul however, the battle had a meaning during the time of nationalism and facism, as an example of strongness and defense power.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 14:58
Aurea M,
 
The link did not match any docments, but I have looked at some historical maps, and we can disagree on the matter of the "limes."
 
By the earlier 1st century (at the time of, and later than, Teutoberg) there were legionary fortified camps east of the Rhine, but none seem to have developed into locations with lasting Latin place names.  By the later 1st century, the legionary camps had been abandoned, although certainly others were temporarily constructed as military necessity dictated.  The earlier camps were along ther Lippe and the Main, and about Regenburg, that is on the Danube.
 
The more permanent settlements extended along the Rhine, which became, in effect the limes of the empire.  AFAIK, it was never decreed or official in some sense, it just developed that way.  Strategically and/or commercially important points along that valley became occupied and settled, and many of those places are cities today.  Not to say Romans, and Gallo-Romans later, didn't live beyond the Rhine, or have lands there, but it was not so common.  In the west, the Rhine became the geographic definition of the extent of "Roman" territory and the river had more economic value as a transportation route than the areas east of it.
 
Certainly Europe, away from the Mediterranean, was more forested, but Gaul, especially Aquitania and Provence, had both a more moderate climate/longer growing season, and closeness to areas where migration, and local population, could provide agricultural labor to clear and develop the land.
 
Just some thoughts.  Good discussion.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 10-Mar-2008 at 21:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 16:28
Pikeshot,
here are the romans on Limes Germanicus. Except fro a bit near modern day Netherlands the limes seems to deep inside modern Germany.
 
source.
 
 
The extent of Roman frontiers has always been debated, recently it has emerged that for example the Limes Arabicus extended a lot more deeper in the Hijaz in NW S Arabia then previously thought. So
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brunodam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 19:21
Originally posted by ulrich von hutten ulrich von hutten wrote:

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.
 
I agree that the battle was very important for the Romans (Augustus complained a lot about, with his famous "Vare, redde mihi legiones"). But I disagree with the last statement of Ulrich: Italians visited the German forests as Lombard & Florentine merchants during the Renaissance.......Indeed, one of the first banks in western Germany (near Kohln) was founded by Italians in the XV century and was related to the famous "Lombard street" of London.
Anyway, I want to pinpoint two facts:
1) that Romans decided to choice the Limes based on the rivers Rhein and Danube EVEN because they rarely were frozen in winter: further east and northeast all the rivers (Elbe, Oder, etc..) get frozen in winter and so can be passed trough by an invading army.
2) that the historian Mommsen wrote that Augustus got only two "real" defeats: one in Teutoburg against the Germans and another in actual Yemen with the siege of Mariaba (capital of the Kingdom of Saba) against the Arabs. And -as a curiosity fact- both the Germans and the Arabs later conquered the northern half and the southern half of the Roman Empire.
It seems to me that Augustus was right in his complaints against Vare!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 19:43
there were two Limes in Germany, the one shown above and the latter which connected Rhien and Danube more directly. Romans before Arminius also held sway over most of western germany. eventually though, the only foothold of Romans in Germany for a significant time was modern Baden-Wrttemberg and those territories west of the Rhien and south of the Danube.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 20:13
Sparten,
 
Is the map to depict Roman presence before 9 AD?  I can't read the legend, and the link is the same as the map.  Historical maps of necessity must correspond to some time period, so that info would be helpful. 
 
As I said, the limes did not mean there were not Roman citizens further east than the Rhine.  Over hundreds of years there surely was some permanent presence on the right bank of the Rhine, but mostly not within some cordon defense of fortifications, or at all times under protection of the army.  At the time of Arminius, the claim of Rome to the land between the Rhine and the Elbe obviously could not be well defended, and that territory was not then absorbed into the empire.  The punitive expeditions were intended to send a message.  As said, the mediterranean was the economic engine of the empire.  Germania was remote, primitive and more trouble than it was worth. 
 
The maps of Rome's extent at approximately 100 AD or 120 AD show the Rhine and Danube as the actual limes.  I don't think this was ever formalized, it just developed according to the capacity and resources of the empire, and the commercial/economic value of those rivers as transportation avenues.  Yes, Rhaetia, Pannonia and Dacia were considered part of "Rome," but they were tenuously held, and by the later third, and the fourth century they were mostly defended by German troops and other foederati. 
 
The line of fortified towns that became permanent, and of the military posts, corresponded more to the lines of the two great rivers.  Even earlier, in the second, and moreso the third centuries, that line had become rather porous whether purposefully or otherwise.
 
 
       


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 09-Mar-2008 at 23:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 22:23
Originally posted by ulrich von hutten ulrich von hutten wrote:

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.
 
And also, a case unique in Roman history is the fact that the three legion numbers were never used again by the Romans after the defeat, unlike other defeats when the legions were simply restructured. It was also the biggest reason Augustus decided to staul Roman expansion. The battle in turn also allowed the "barbarians" to move to a higher stage of development and paved the way for profit from trade, and the absorbing of Roman culture. Very significant indeed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Mar-2008 at 23:58
Originally posted by Penelope Penelope wrote:

Originally posted by ulrich von hutten ulrich von hutten wrote:

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.
 
And also, a case unique in Roman history is the fact that the three legion numbers were never used again by the Romans after the defeat, unlike other defeats when the legions were simply restructured. It was also the biggest reason Augustus decided to staul Roman expansion. The battle in turn also allowed the "barbarians" to move to a higher stage of development and paved the way for profit from trade, and the absorbing of Roman culture. Very significant indeed.
 
Along that frontier region, even in the first century, it was common for Gallo-Roman merchants to trade with Germans for the needs of the Roman troops.  Their cattle were essential for meat and hides, and would have begun circulation of some money among the barbarian tribes (although that collapsed with the rest of the economy in the third century). 
 
I do think that from some of the earliest contacts, the barbarian Germans were impressed with Romans and with Romanitas.  However, with the disorder and economic collapse in the third century, they were less impressed with all of that, and, as a good part of the army, they were more interested in using their influence to get all they could out of the fisc...kind of like modern legislators.  Big%20smile
 
Teutoberg, however it may have been remembered by Germans, showed that Romans were nothing but mortals who could be overcome.  It seems unlikely that, after centuries, Teutoberg would have been much remembered by many Germans, but in 378 others did it again.
 
     


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 10-Mar-2008 at 23:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aurea Moguntia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Mar-2008 at 13:55
Originally posted by ulrich von hutten ulrich von hutten wrote:

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.


I strongly object to the implied xenophobic allegations about the Italians, "they" did not come back in the 1960s but rather some Italians were invited (recruited) by the German government (as some years later were Turks). There were NO "Italians" 2000 or 1900 or 1700 years ago, and to confuse Italians with the Roman Church does discredit even to the historical Ulrich von Hutten - even though he (falsly) saw Arminius as the uniter of the German tribes defeating the Romans and von Hutten probably in the end saw himself as a reincarnation of that warrior, this time against the evil Roman Church. All this of course pure nonsense.

Modern Germany is not imaginable without the many contributions of Italy and her people over many centuries - be that in architecture, the arts, or science. The Renaissance, the dawning of the modern age, and thus modern Germany is unimaginable without Italy.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 08:50
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

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?


Depends on what sort of significance you are looking for. Whether or not it discouraged the Romans from attempting a full scale conquest of Germania is left to conjecture, most of which we have already been through here. What remains however is a battle where primitive Germanic tribesmen defeated the most advanced army in the world by clever use of tactics. As such it is significant in the same way as the Zulu's defeat of the British at Isandlwana or the Vietnamese resistance to the Mongol and American invasions. Sure, the three lost legions were expendable to the Romans just like British, American or Mongol losses were expendable, but it was still a shock for them to suffer at the hands of such a primitive foe, and this is more than evident in the Roman sources.

And no, not all the Germanic tribes became part of Rome, in fact only a small portion of the land called Germania was incorporated in the empire. They were still influenced by Roman culture though.


Edited by Reginmund - 13-Nov-2008 at 08:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Nov-2008 at 00:58
 
 
Nations generally reflect a bias in favour of their own history for various reasons.  Himmler, during the Third Reich, encouraged the S.S. through the Ahnenerbe (Ancestors Heritage) to study the greatness of the German past. Himmler wrote about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and the victory of German tribes led by Armenius over the Roman Legions of Varius. War was not the only area of research. The Ahnenerbe also studied and wrote about civil, medical and scientific matters, in many cases, with excellence and high scholarship. Nations ought to be encouraged to write about and maintain their history in a way and manner that supports the integrity of their constitutional framework during war and peace.
 
In the case of Himmler most non German historians and certain militarists (at the time) did not wish to see references to German victory in antiquity or success as it was contrary to the agenda which supported anti-German propaganda used during WWII. This was in part because of S.S. contributions to extermination programmes. However bias towards a nation, because of those who determine  or influence the outcome of military history, must not be used to detract from the value of a national history whatever the circumstances.  
 
Enno Littman was a German archaeologist and linguist who did research in Aksum, Ethiopia. He  lived during the period that Adolph Hitler ruled. Does this diminish the value of his work to international archaeology today?
 
Propaganda, as a tool of communication, was used by all countries involved in WWII to influence victory.  History as a discipline was not exempt from these circumstances. 
 
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
 
Dr. I.M. Spence-Lewis 
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. I.M. Spence-Lewis
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2008 at 12:56
And an insightful comment it is. Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Nov-2008 at 23:38
The battle of Teutoburg Forest was an remarkable battle. But not so much for the germanic gentes of those days, more for the Romans, but the greatest importance is for the people of the late 19th and early 20th century. The battle was important for the national identity of the Germans after their defeat against Napoleonic France and in their quarrel for a united nation.
 
In the year 9AD Rome didn't stand at the Rhine, they stood deep in the Germania. It was Varus attempt to install a provincia. The coastal area was under Roman control, along the Lippe river there was a line of castles until the Weser river. When Varus followed Saturninus in Germania,  Germania was quiet and peaceful. The reasons for the upcoming war you can see in Cass. Dio 56, 18, 1-2. In the campaign of 9AD the Romans lost 3 of there 5 Legions along the Rhine. So it was a severe defeat. But the defeat was not the end of Roman policy in Germania. In 10Ad Tiberius was send with 8 legions to the Rhine. In the next two years he raided in Germania. Under Germanicus, since 13AD, nothing changed. So the policy under Augustus did not change after the defeat of 9AD.
With Tiberius it changed. He thought that the campaigns were to expensive and he was jealousy of Germanicus success. So he stopped the campaigns in 16AD. But Rome was still the superpower of that region. They installed kings, they led wars and campaigns.
 
What happened for the germanic gentes. The gentes close to the Rhine were still under Roman influence, even control. Arminius tried to install a regnum of his own, which ended with his murder by his relatives.Only a hundred years later his gens, the former powerful Cherusci, were history. The Germans forgot him. Only Tacitus brought him back to them.
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