Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Lost Legions Of Varus

It was a catastrophe beyond the scope of imagination; an entire army of 20,000 men, slaughtered by barbarians.
More incredible still, the perpetrators of this massacre were German tribesmen, a conquered people whose own leaders had long been 'Romanised' and were at this time merely regarded as harmless pacifists.
But the Varus disaster, as it became known, became a defining moment in world history; a turning point in the fortunes of Rome. It marked the high water mark of Roman expansion eastwards in Europe.
So what had gone wrong? For in the midst of this catastrophe, it seems that the only thing the Roman leader Varus had done right was to fall on his sword when the outcome became inevitable.
As the guerrilla tactics of the Germanic tribes massacred the disciplined troops of in the dense forest of Teutoberg, everything seemed to have conspired to destroy the might and aspiration of Imperial Rome.


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