How Important Was The Varian Disaster For The Future of European History

Apr 2018
273
Italy
#11
Was exaggerated, some years later Romans penetrated in Germany again and defeated Arminius at Idistavisus river and recovered the eagles lost in Teutoburg forest. Romans simply abandoned the project to submit territories between Rhein and Elbe, however occupied the Agri Decumates (today Baden).
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
#12
Another major problem with the view that Teutoburg Forest 'stopped the Roman advance into Germania' is that proceeds from a flawed and historically incorrect premise that the Romans intended to conquer and annex Germania. This view is clearly contradicted by the fact Rome under Augustus largely abandoned the strategy of aggressive expansion. Augustus did not initiate any large-scale military adventures. He abandoned Caesar's and Anthony's dreams of conquering Parthia, opting instead for a diplomatic solution in the East. He did finish the long conquest of Hispania, secured Italy by taking Raetia and Noricum and Tiberius and Drusus did wage war in Illyricum, but these conflicts were primarily aimed to secure Rome from the north and the east, rather than aggressive conquest. Similarly, Rome's campaigns into Germania were primarily meant to keep the local tribes divided and to secure Gaul from their raids. To this aim, the Romans adopted a strategy of taking the fight across the Rhine, allying with some Germanic tribes against the others, but it did not mean they intended to conquer or annex the lands beyond the Rhine, much less the Elbe.
It was well understood by both Augustus and Tiberius that expansion into Germania was not feasible or sustainable.
I actually heard arguments for both sides. It is important to note that Cassius Dio wrote that the Romans established a military presence and that Romanization had started in those regions of Germania under Roman control.
"The Romans were holding portions of it — not entire regions, but merely such districts as happened to have been subdued, so that no record has been made of the fact — and soldiers of theirs were wintering there and cities were being founded. The barbarians were adapting themselves to Roman ways, were becoming accustomed to hold markets, and were meeting in peaceful assemblages."

Also, the Romans pushed all the way to the Elbe:
"Roman army with its standards was led four hundred miles beyond the Rhine as far as the river Elbe, which flows past the territories of the Semnones and the Hermunduri"
(Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Book II, 106).

It was clear that the Roman had some plans to remain in Germania. Now, whether they planned to organize a province there is in question, but they were clearly interested in having a significant presence there, however the Romanization efforts perhaps show that they were planning to annex at least some parts of the region.
 
#13
What do people mean by Romanization in this context? Because it seems to me that Romanization was less of a strategy and more of a natural process, since the empire offered many benefits to its subjects: arable land, access to Roman law as an alternative to other legal systems, membership of the Roman aristocracy, a job in imperial administration, a job in the Roman army, baths and aqueducts, etc. That's not to say that, in terms of culture, it wasn't also a two-way street. For instance, the Romans adopted gods, ideas, art, architecture, fighting styles, etc from other cultures.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
#14
What do people mean by Romanization in this context? Because it seems to me that Romanization was less of a strategy and more of a natural process, since the empire offered many benefits to its subjects: arable land, access to Roman law as an alternative to other legal systems, membership of the Roman aristocracy, a job in imperial administration, a job in the Roman army, baths and aqueducts, etc. That's not to say that, in terms of culture, it wasn't also a two-way street. For instance, the Romans adopted gods, ideas, art, architecture, fighting styles, etc from other cultures.
From these sources we see that some Germans were willing to adopt Roman culture and customs and thus integrate themselves into the Empire. It is perhaps interesting to wonder whether Roman strategy in Germania would have changed because of this: perhaps they did not mean to annex the land, but this might have changed due to these Romanized Germans.
 
#15
From these sources we see that some Germans were willing to adopt Roman culture and customs and thus integrate themselves into the Empire. It is perhaps interesting to wonder whether Roman strategy in Germania would have changed because of this: perhaps they did not mean to annex the land, but this might have changed due to these Romanized Germans.
Indeed. In addition to what Dio says, we know that many Germans served in the Roman army and held officer positions. From the third century onwards Germans were also permitted to settle within the borders on the condition that they provide recruits. They were known as Laeti.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
#16
It would also be important to note that the Romans subjugated most of Germania:
"Nothing remained to be conquered in Germany except the people of the Marcomanni, which, leaving its settlements at the summons of its leader Maroboduus, had retired into the interior and now dwelt in the plains surrounded by the Hercynian forest."
(Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Book II, 108)
 

Valens

Ad Honorem
Feb 2014
8,303
Colonia Valensiana
#17
I actually heard arguments for both sides. It is important to note that Cassius Dio wrote that the Romans established a military presence and that Romanization had started in those regions of Germania under Roman control.
"The Romans were holding portions of it — not entire regions, but merely such districts as happened to have been subdued, so that no record has been made of the fact — and soldiers of theirs were wintering there and cities were being founded. The barbarians were adapting themselves to Roman ways, were becoming accustomed to hold markets, and were meeting in peaceful assemblages."

Also, the Romans pushed all the way to the Elbe:
"Roman army with its standards was led four hundred miles beyond the Rhine as far as the river Elbe, which flows past the territories of the Semnones and the Hermunduri"
(Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, Book II, 106).

It was clear that the Roman had some plans to remain in Germania. Now, whether they planned to organize a province there is in question, but they were clearly interested in having a significant presence there, however the Romanization efforts perhaps show that they were planning to annex at least some parts of the region.
The Romans did push deep into Germania but these were expeditions waged with limited resources and manpower, not a large-scale attempt at a military occupation of the whole area. Augustus' policy was a very cautious one and not favourable towards expansion. Expanding Roman territory beyond the Rhine would come with many serious logistical problems, any province(s) that the Romans would have potentially set up in Germania beyond the Rhine would be hard to defend and demand a lot of resources which the Empire just didn't have at the time. Germania offered little return on such a costly investment - unlike Britain or Dacia, which some posters mentioned - as it was mainly covered in forests and marshes and had a rather inhospitable climate, especially to the Romans who were a Mediterranean people. It had no cities, unlike, for example, Gaul, which had been quite developed and advanced before the Roman conquest.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
#18
I have also read that the Romans constructed forts east of the Rhine and that they were abandoned in the aftermath of Teutoburg. Though it seems that some forts were already abandoned in 7 AD, perhaps showing that Teutoburg was not the only reason for the abandoning of the forts. Does anyone have more information about these forts?
 

Valens

Ad Honorem
Feb 2014
8,303
Colonia Valensiana
#19
I have also read that the Romans constructed forts east of the Rhine and that they were abandoned in the aftermath of Teutoburg. Though it seems that some forts were already abandoned in 7 AD, perhaps showing that Teutoburg was not the only reason for the abandoning of the forts. Does anyone have more information about these forts?
I re-read Tacitus' Annals recently but can't remember any such detail. Do you have a reference for it?

He describes Germanicus' war in Germania in detail following the uprising of the legions in Germanic provinces after the death of Augustus so it's possible there is some reference in his work to what you're saying.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
#20
I re-read Tacitus' Annals recently but can't remember any such detail. Do you have a reference for it?
I am afraid that I cannot find a primary source but I have read that in M. Carroll, Romans, Celts and Germans: The German Provinces of Rome.