See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Varusschlacht, Kalkreise hill, Battle in the Teutoburg Forest. Roman Legions Defeated

 Tribes vs. Rome
Tribes Won -- 
Germania was Never Made Part of the Roman Empire

Battle in the Teutoburg Forest

The Northern Germanic Tribes were never conquered by Rome, Germania -- their lands -- were never made part of the Roman Empire.  What happened to stop the Roman advance.

At the archeological park and memorial at the Kalkreise hill area, at Varusschlacht, at the Teutoburg Forest, there are clues, dating from 9 ACE.  See; and the account of the Roman historian, Livius, at  There, it appears that the Roman Commander named Publius Quintilius Varus (thus the Varusschlacht) and the three legions he led, were defeated, and by decentralized Germanic tribes called "Cheruscian" led by one Arminius.

There have been other archeological claims for the location of the Varus battle, perhaps in Holland.  But in 1987, combinations of finds, including coins and military objects, led to the Kalkreis hill site here, near Osnabruck., near Vorden. Roman army, auxiliary soldiers and cavalry, an ideal site for an ambush. A nearby town, Engter (the same as "Enger?") means , and the topography fits the ambush idea.

There is this memorial, specifically mentioning this battle, and one of the legions believed to have fought here.

There is a museum, and a planned walkway around the areas of battlements, fortifications, wicker fences high, and descriptions. See Marcus Caelius, Livius site 

But a main point is how the story of this battle is presented to German children.  The displays pound home the idea, that could well be right, that this battle was suppressed by historians of the time because it was so unthinkable.  How could disciplined, well supplied Roman legions -- even three of them -- be defeated by wild tribes, as they saw it.  These barbarians had no centralized system:  they came together when they had to, rallied and fought with a fervor that mere skill in the arts of combat could not combat.  Fervor.  Emotional frenzy.  Think berserk, although the berserkers were more Norse.  Look them up.  No stopping them.  Rome was humiliated, and never forgot that they had been bested by the Germans -- clearly superior Germans in how they fought, overcoming all that Rome stood for.  

That is the lesson.  That Germans on the move are unstoppable. That Germans have an internal grit and source of such energy and ferocity and Germans are to be feared.  Rightfully so because Germans do what needs to be done to win.  Visit the exhibits.  Very nationalistic, patriotic even, although there were only loosely associated populations at the time.  They had fervor when they chose to let it loose. 

Ramparts, marsh, narrows:  the ambush

Now, the scene is a park.

And a botanical note.  This appears to be a poster alerting us that there is St. John's Wort about -- a plant used in healing, medicinal uses.  Watch where you step.

Try some for depressive moods, or agitation. 

And look for a historic pattern:  Unlikely action; predictable reaction.  The greater defeated by the "lesser" -- and the lesser suffering for it.
  • Custer defeated by Native Americans asserting rights to lands that had been set aside for them, led by Sitting Bull at the Battle of Little Bighorn; 
  • Russia and probably (perhaps, realistically, now the US and United Nations) US defeated by Afghans asserting rights to lands that had always been Afghan of one ilk or another; 
  • Iraq, fast-overwhelmed about a decade ago;  now coming back and expelling the US for its miscalculation
  • Rome's legions defeated by Germanic tribes at Varusschlacht
  • Teutonic Knights defeated by Poles at Grunewald, later Tanenburg
And what happens afterwards: the humiliated power does not forget.

Native Americans ever more deprived, led to death.  US resources and spirit gone, perhaps, in Afghanistan and the futility ; and Saxons defeated ultimately -- centuries after Varusschlacht -- by Charlemagne and the Pope; and Germany, aiming once again to "redeem" its humiliation at Grunewald, making that a major battlefield in WWI -- and prevailing, at least for a time. 

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