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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kassel - and the Fairy Tale Road. German Prefab Tourist Routes.

2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Grimm's Fairy Tales.  Bremen is at the northern end of Germany's tourist-friendly Fairy Tale Road: move south from the Musicians at Bremen, standing on each other to see into the robbers' house; and find Hamelin, and the Pied Piper, then Sababurg with its Sleeping Beauty castle (others are found in other countries), Kassel and the Grimm Museum, Waldeck and Marburg where the famous medieval university -- the first Lutheran university --  still lures. The Brothers Grimm attended there.  Frankfurt, near where the brothers Grimm were born, is at the southern end.  Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the eldest of the five Grimm children, were sent to live in Kassel with their aunt, when their father died and their mother was in dire straits.

Following any prefab tourist road is good for the nervous, and useful as a side benefit for the rovers. The Financial Times lays it all out at its Life & Arts section p. 9, from April 21-22, 2012.  See also

Other kits for travel:

 These get overwhelming.  Best to go, and see what happens in your path.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Itineraries: After the fact: 2006, 2010 (as part of larger Scandinavian trip)

Germany is ideal for trips that include other countries.  Do the central-south on one circular trip, begin and end in Frankfurt; then, second trip, begin and end in Copenhagen.  We veered down from Denmark to Germany in the north, enjoyed the Baltic areas of Germany, then boarded an overnight car-ferry back to Scandinavia, this time to Sweden, ultimately back to Copenhagen.  In this way we have enjoyed two improvised road trips in Germany, and without repeats.   Towns and places follow in summary. Itinerary road trip 2006, itinerary road trip 2010.

A thematic undercurrent in Germany is the violence of war, and the Holocaust against not only Jews, but other minorities, conditions;  a study in means of persuasion to convince people it is justified, and then the fairy tales and castles, with their lessons of rewards for ingenuity, time lapses for justice to be done. 

2006:  Frankfurt, Marburg, Fritzlar, Kassel, Wartburg, Weimar and Buchenwald, Wittenberg, Potsdam, Berlin, Dresden, Chemnitz, Bamburg, Nurnberg, Regensburg, Altotting, Berchtesgaden, Munich, Oberammergau, Garmisch, Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Schongau, Wies-Kirche, Augsburg, Dinkelsbuhl, Rothenburg, Wurzburg, Schwabisch Hall, Heidelberg, Speyer, Trier, Aaachen, Koln, Burg Eltz, Koblenz, Rhine castles, Mainz and Frankfurt.

2010:  From Denmark.  Hamburg, Bremen, Verden, Osnabruck, Teutoburg (Varusschlacht), Hanover, Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp at Loheide, Luneburg, Schwerin, Rostock (and ferry overnight to Trelleborg, Sweden)

See also

Kalkreise. Varusschlacht. Germanic Chieftain Arminius and Roman General Varus. Clades Variana

Varus' Battle. Battle of Teutoborg Forest.
Roman General, Varus, and Turncoat Germanic Chieftain, Arminius.
An insurgency.
Clades Variana: The Varus Battle.
Many names to research, many spellings.


Famous battles assume a place in history for their strategy and impact; with individual identities and roles often subsumed.  Here, focus on the Roman general Varus, in 9 CE, who, with his three legions, was defeated by Arminius and local Germanic tribes.  Varusschlacht.  Kalkreise. Search all the terms.  A broad overview is found at Archeology Magazine, not only as shown below in 1992, but in 2005 with a review of books on the topic.  See Saga of the Lost Roman Legions, Nov-Dec 2005, review of book on how the site was located, identified;  by Tony Clunn, The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions.  One Marcus Aius emerges as a Roman soldier, killed, and identified through a clasp for armor with his name.  Other fictional elements may be less reliable; the review is only available by archive order.  Think Afghanistan, Russia and America fallen before local dedicated chiefs and their loyal tribes against incursion. 

This was a case of ambush; our account building on an earlier post,  The ambush stemmed from the betrayal of the Romans, by one who had set himself out as an ally of Rome.  A book have depicted it:  The Quest for the Lost Roman Legion, by Tony Clunn in 2005, see; and an earlier article, "Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Sept-Oct 1992, Archeology Magazine. The magazine's archives do not reach back to 1992, however.

Weather -- rains; difficult terrain;  and thousands of Germanic tribesmen, all laid out in an interpretation combining archeological finds with a story line in fiction about one Marcus Aius, whose name is actual and stems from the finding of a unique cloak clasp.

Varusschlacht.  The Varus Battle; Clades Variana

  • Varus -- Publius Quinctilius Varus.  After years of service in various parts of the Roman Empire, see biography at, Varus became governor of Germania, perhaps in 6 BCE.   By 9 CE, Rome was again planning a campaign against Bohemia (Czechia) and, with Germania under Roman control, had imposed taxes and tribute obligations upon the Germanic tribes of the area, as was customary.  The tribes sought freedom, conspired against the Romans, and united under Arminius.  His father-in-law betrayed them, but was not believed.  Varus at the time had 3 legions, heard of another insurrection, and headed to meet it.  That meant passing through forest and marsh areas, with only a narrow road accessible through.

The area is north of Osnabruck, between the Elbe and the Rhine. The first reports are known as the Clades Variana.


Arminius was a chieftain of the Cheruscian Tribe, see He had been an auxiliary to the Romans from 1-6 CE, learning military skills as part of the Roman effective absorption and use of indigenous persons.  Whether Arminius joined with intent to use those skills against Rome is not clear.  Perhaps Arminius had already earned Roman citizenship status, see site.  The area, however, was subject to intertribal conflict, warfare, and machinations for power, and Arminius some 15 years later was killed by members of his own extended family.

He came to embody Germany unity and independence, however, and for that the battle is largely known to Germans at the site now.  

Some 20,000 people died, the Romans, strung out in a line, were slaughtered, and Varus committed suicide. The Germans decapitated the body, hoping to incite more Germans to join the effort to oust Rome.  However, that failed, and the head was returned to Rome and Augustus buried it in his own family mausoleum.

Although later treaties were made, the Romans never regained the area between the Elbe and the Rhine at Kalkreise.  See also overview at