Battle of Teutoberg Forest

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okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
I think that Augustus' defining of the border had less to do with this specific defeat, and more to do with his realization of the resources needed versus what was actually feasible.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
If Varus had crushed Arminius, you dont think he would have kept going?
He perhaps would have, but I doubt he would have been able to hold onto anything he conquered.

I think the wider context of the Teutoberg Wald is sometimes overlooked. Rome had been fighting a very nasty war in Illyria/Pannonia for three years at the time; Cassius Dio claims it was the costliest war in Roman lives and money that had been fought since the Second Punic War. A draft was imposed on Rome herself for one of the only times in the 1st Century.

Rome simply didn't have the men to spare to take all of Germania, let alone begin to Romanize, and hold down the fort when the inevitable revolts began to break out.

Truthfully, I fail to see what reason Rome would have had to take over all of Germania. The Germans had more to offer as trading partners and occasional recruits into the army than they had as tax-paying subjects.

But then again, they said the same thing about the Britons too:D
 
Apr 2011
172
My whole point of the essay is the Germans defended themselves and won. The Romans sent Germanicus across to kick arminius's ass and the other romans as a symbol and thought "hey weve already got all this were just gonna waste time in germania. So we can rule them through client kings." but never the less the culture survived and expanded and it CANNOT be denied the franks and the goths expanded in ways unimaginable if the battle hadn't happened.
 

RoyalGovnaWatts

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
2,282
California
Great article, Sallah. Enjoyed it very much but I have some questions. Coming to the conclusion that the Franks would not have existed is a bit grandiose, nay? Let's speculate here:
Varus defeats Arminius, he continues his campaign and each Germanic tribe falls after the latter and the Romans occupy Germania. Skip a few centuries later to the fall of the Roman Empire...

The Huns sweep across Europe destroying and plundering much of the Roman Germanic Eastern outposts. This naturally causes uprisings as the Germans see they have a chance for independence. The Frankish tribe, which has always existed, spots the opportunity to invade Gaul and migrates west.

Just because Varus did not conquer Germania does not necessarily mean things would've played out differently.
 
Apr 2011
172
Great article, Sallah. Enjoyed it very much but I have some questions. Coming to the conclusion that the Franks would not have existed is a bit grandiose, nay? Let's speculate here:
Varus defeats Arminius, he continues his campaign and each Germanic tribe falls after the latter and the Romans occupy Germania. Skip a few centuries later to the fall of the Roman Empire...

The Huns sweep across Europe destroying and plundering much of the Roman Germanic Eastern outposts. This naturally causes uprisings as the Germans see they have a chance for independence. The Frankish tribe, which has always existed, spots the opportunity to invade Gaul and migrates west.

Just because Varus did not conquer Germania does not necessarily mean things would've played out differently.
Look at what happened to the Gauls or the Britons. they were thoroughly romanized.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
I wouldn't call the Britons as having been thoroughly Romanized. More like southern Briton 'reinterpreted' what Rome was.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
Look at what happened to the Gauls or the Britons. they were thoroughly romanized.
You give Romanization too much credit, it was a superficial thing. Many other cultures, the Greeks and the Jews, for instance, were virtually untouched by Romanization, even after many centuries of life under the Empire. The Jewish Revolts of the 1st and 2nd Centuries show that it was possible for peoples that had been under the Roman yoke for several centuries to still feel patriotic feelings.

The Franks were a confederation of west-German tribes that formed in the 3rd Century. Clovis didn't come about til the 6th.

The Teutoberg Wald was the loss of a couple of legions (that were already better needed elsewhere) to a renegade auxiliary commander, and it was avenged in the years following, under Germanicus.

The Romans had neither the means nor the practical reason to thoroughly conquer or Romanize the lands east of the Rhine. The Rhine formed a fairly cozy little boundary - and meeting place for trade - for the almost two centuries between the death of Varus and the wars of Marcus Aurelius' reign.

So no, I don't see such a clear connection between the Teutoberg Wald, and the Franks and Goths of centuries later.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
I wouldn't call the Britons as having been thoroughly Romanized. More like southern Briton 'reinterpreted' what Rome was.
Agreed. In the 1st Century Gaul was full of revolts that were apparently "patriotic" in nature. The Aedui are said to have revolted against Roman rule as late are the reign of Aurelian.

"Romanization" means the Roman soldiers stationed on your land build temples and aqueducts, and the guy who inscribes your tombstone does it in Latin.
 
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