Reading time: 4,352 words, 13 page, 10 to 16 minutes.
In Part 1 – we examined
Prelude to the battle
Arminius and his deception
Incompetent Roman General Varus
Ambush and massacre
In Part 2 below we examine:
The Battle’s Aftermath
Consequences of the Roman loss
Spineless Ass Media
Who Really Rules Us?
Economic Basket Cases
THE BATTLE’S AFTERMATH
Germanic tribesmen ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions in 9 AD. Dios writes, “[Emperor] Augustus, when he learned of the disaster to [Roman General] Varus, rent his garments, as some report, and mourned greatly, not only because of the soldiers who had been lost, but also because of his fear for the German and Gallic provinces, and particularly because he expected that the enemy would march against Italy and against Rome itself.” (26)
“It was a defeat so catastrophic that it threatened the survival of Rome itself and halted the empire’s conquest of Germany.” (1) In fairness, Rick Archer writes, “The mighty Roman Empire was more embarrassed than it was crippled.” (38) Unlike other restructured legions, “The legion numbers XVII and XIX were not used again by the Romans (XVIII was rebuilt under Nero, but disbanded under Vespasian.)” (3)
“More than 10 percent of the entire imperial army had been wiped out—the myth of its invincibility shattered. In the wake of the debacle, Roman bases in Germany were hastily abandoned. Augustus, dreading that Arminius would march on Rome, expelled all Germans and Gauls from the city …” (1)
“T[eutoburg]’s true significance does not rest in the defeat itself, nor in the number of Romans killed; but in Rome’s reaction … For the first time in Roman history, Rome established a defensive mindset. It literally drew the limits of the Roman empire, an empire which before 9 A.D. held none.” (40) Völuspá.org writes that, a major achievement of the Germanic warriors was the “effect on the Roman Empire: they instilled fear into a people who had believed they were invincible and unstoppable.” (39E)
The loss of these troops hurt Emperor Augustus psychologically, and he became depressed and lost confidence in his aggressive promotion of the empire’s expansion. His response indicates symptoms of a nervous breakdown. (51)
“Arminius only survived a further ten years after the death of Varus, and in 19 AD following tribal rivalries, he was assassinated by members of his own family.” (51)
They felt he tried to rule them too strictly. The Roman army returned to Germania several times, but they never conquered it. (44) “Stunned by the defeat, Rome began preparing for new campaigns into Germania which began in 14 AD. These ultimately recaptured the standards of the three legions defeated in the forest. Despite these victories, the battle effectively halted Roman expansion at the Rhine.” (17)
The loss of their troops was a significant blow to Rome, but the psychological effect it had on the empire is hard to quantify. Emperor Augustus’ reaction and the fear and panic in Rome are understandable. Rome’s conquered territories and its decadence had increased while its civic-mindedness dissipated. Consequently, they relied more and more on non-Romans (barbarians) to man their army, usually as ‘auxiliaries’. Now, Arminius, one of their most trusted auxiliaries, had turned on them and inflicted a great loss. The ‘enemy’ was literally inside their empire’s gates.
Emperor Augustus over-reacted to Varus’s defeat. Rome’s pride and hubris are evident in that the Romans never felt it necessary to learn about the Germanic ‘barbarians.’ If they had, they would have realized the tribesmen’s fiercely independent political structure prevented any long–term unity. As well, the tribesmen were logistically unable to support an invasion of Rome. (44)
Furthermore, because Rome could no longer count on her auxiliaries, “Augustus immediately instituted conscription … [among the Romans which] hit the mindset of the Roman people even harder than any other decision of Augustus regarding the Germanic barbarians because it required tremendous sacrifice.” (44)
“The defeat was one of the worst in Roman history. In sheer numbers it rates after the 50,000 to 70,000 killed by Hannibal at the Battle of Cannae in 216BC or the Battle of Arausio (7) where 80,000 soldiers were killed by the Cimbri and Teutones. It says much for the superior strategy of Arminius, superior numbers and the false sense of security that Varus had, that the Roman losses amounted to so much in comparison to the Germanic ones. More importantly though than the pure numbers was the affect it had on the Empire as it brought an end to the glory period of expansion, and effectively ended any possible hope of conquering the whole of Germania.” (51)
Some of the articles I read as well as comments on forums indicate that since Northern Europe had little wealth and resources, the Romans didn’t really want it. That’s known as ‘sour grapes.’ If the Romans didn’t want it, why did they spend so much time and money trying to conquer and develop it in the first place?
As much as we might prefer simple answers, reality is not black and white; it’s shades of gray. It would be simplistic to say that the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest was solely responsible for stopping Rome’s expansion of its empire into Central and Eastern Europe. But that was certainly one of the major nails in Rome’s coffin and a turning point in German history. Arminius’ alliances showed the Germanic tribes they could work together for a common cause. Or, as one wag said, once the toothpaste is out of the tube; you can’t put it back in again
The tribesmen’s guerilla warfare tactics and knowledge of the Roman army’s weaknesses in unfamiliar terrain taught the Romans that they were not invincible. The Germanic tribes were not highly organized and thus lacked a centralized government whose fall could result in a sudden collapse and surrender. The Romans encountered a dearth of rich targets, long logistical lines, unfavorable climate, and fearsome tribesmen, many of whom were trained in Roman tactics as Auxiliaries and now equipped with fallen Romans’ weapons and armor. The tide had turned.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE BATTLE
Some of the sources I read stated that “the Battle of the Teutoburg forest had far-reaching effects on the subsequent history of both the ancient Germanic peoples and the Roman Empire” and similar such sentiments. They make oblique references to the consequences but rarely admit them. That piqued my interest in this subject. What are they hiding? It smells like political correctness.
There seems to be a concerted effort to downplay Arminius victory. However, if Julius Caesar´s defeat of Vercingetorix after his conquest of Gaul was important for Rome, why would Arminius defeat of the Romans be of no importance?
The University of Minnesota specialist in Iron Age European archaeology, Peter S. Wells, wrote in his book The Battle That Stopped Rome, “It was one of the most devastating defeats ever suffered by the Roman Army, and its consequences were the most far-reaching. The battle led to the creation of a militarized frontier in the middle of Europe that endured for 400 years, and it created a boundary between Germanic and Latin cultures that lasted 2,000 years.” (1)
The battle of Teutoburg Forest set up the beginning of modern German national consciousness. “During the Unification of Germany in the 19th century, Arminius became hailed by nationalists as a symbol of German unity and freedom. Following World War II, however, schools often shunned the topic since it had become associated with the militant nationalism of the Third Reich, and many modern Germans have not heard about Arminius. The 2000th year anniversary of the battle was not commemorated by the German government.” (4)
The impact on language cannot be understated. Central, Northern, and Eastern European languages were not ‘Romanized’ so they retained their original languages. It is a testament to the independence and resilience of the Germans west of the Rhine, which despite being briefly ‘conquered’ by Rome they still speak German.
“If the Romans had kept the country between the Rhine and Elbe, the North Sea tribes that were later known as Saxons would have spoken Latin. The English language would -for better or worse- never have existed, and German would have been marginal. The great linguistic division of today’s western world would simply not exist without the battle in the Teutoburg Forest. But the fights were not the cause of this rift; they were a precondition.” (14)
Emory University historian Herbert W. Benario says that if the Romans had won, we would have a very different Europe. “Almost all of modern Germany as well as much of the present-day CzechRepublic would have come under Roman rule. All Europe west of the Elbe might well have remained Roman Catholic; Germans would be speaking a Romance language; the Thirty Years’ War might never have occurred, and the long, bitter conflict between the French and the Germans might never have taken place.” (1) (42)
Would the Protestant Reformation have happened if Rome had won? Would the Roman Empire have been saved from ruin if Rome had conquered all the Germanic tribes, some of whom would later sack Rome? Would there have been Bach and Goethe and Hitler? We’ll never know for certain.
“The long war set the stage for an even longer era of contact between ancient Romans and ancient Germans. For while Rome might be unable to conquer Germany, the Germans were likewise unable to overwhelm the Empire. Instead, they could, over the centuries, appropriate those elements of its culture that they wanted, at the limes [wall], the fortified borderline that stretched from Rotterdam to Vienna and beyond. And by the time they finally did pour in the Western Roman Empire and bring it down, its culture was already so familiar to them that they didn’t simply smash it, but took over much of it. European history since then has seen the continued interaction of these two cultural traditions. Europe as we know it today is the result of this war; had its outcome been different, Europe, too would have been incredibly different – too different for us even to imagine.” (18)
This battle shaped the myth of a ‘United Germany’ able to resist even the mighty Roman Empire. If Germany could do that, why not attack France which had been conquered and subjugated by the Romans?
“The battle was important. The Roman Empire met its limits. Tiberius accepted that there were areas without towns that were not predigested for Roman rule. During the next centuries, the Germanic tribes learned from Rome, and Rome learned from them. But always, Germania retained some of its independence.” (14)
Despite Arminius being relatively unknown to most people, even in modern times he has achieved distinction as the German version of the Scottish ‘Braveheart’ (10) And, he was nominated as “Badass of the Week” (6) in spite of being “another poor bastard who had bitches for in-laws … [as his father in-law] “turned over his own pregnant daughter to the Romans out of spite for her actions [marrying Arminius when she had been promised to another man]. The Romans brought her back to their capital and it is believed that she was eventually sacrificed to Jupiter. Her son was sent off to be a gladiator and died at a young age.”
“But in northern Germany, especially among the Angles and the Saxons, the old Teutonic common law continued, with its emphasis on individual rights and decentralized government. And in Scandinavia the Viking law was similar to it, in some ways even more decentralized than in Germany.
“In the late 400s A.D., after the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain, the Angles and Saxons of northern Germany and the Jutes of Denmark migrated to Britain. … these tribes established a kingdom based upon the old Teutonic common law. Britain became known as Angle-land, or England, and in keeping with Teutonic concepts of decentralized government, the land was divided into seven kingdoms…” (35)
“Hermann the Liberator not only preserved the freedom of northern Germany and Scandinavia, he made possible the transmission of the common law to England and, eventually, to America.” (35)
Would democracy have been born in the west? Would the Thirty Years War or World War I and II have happened? If Romans had won this battle, would we have witnessed the birth of the British kingdom since their forefathers belonged to the Teutonic tribes? All of these are highly unlikely to have occurred.
“The struggle against the forces of centralized power continued during the ensuing centuries, culminating with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and the American Declaration of Independence of 1776.” (35) Phil Hill writes that “Europe as we know it today is the result of this war; had its outcome been different, Europe, too would have been incredibly different – too different for us even to imagine.” (22)
The German publication, Der Spiegel is a leftish, German-hating, propaganda machine as seen in their 2009 reporting of the 2,000th non-anniversary of the Teutoburg slaughter. I say ‘non-anniversary’ because in Der Spiegel’s words, “The country is marking the 2,000th anniversary with restraint…”
Let’s have some fun skewering Der Spiegel without ‘restraint’. Their politically correct propaganda is so blatant; it’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel.
Why did Germany mark 2009 non-anniversary with restraint? “Because the myth of Hermann remains tainted by the militant nationalism that would later be associated with Hitler.” “Tainted by” and “associated” is a stretch of nuanced bullshit one would expect from the spineless and defanged propaganda German media.
My goodness, Arminius must have been psychic to have foreseen his ambush giving rise to both German nationalism and Adolph Hitler eighteen and nineteen centuries later. Ok, I’ll turn off the sarcasm now, but you can see how the history of Arminius is deliberately tainted by events for which he was obviously not responsible.
Nor is Germany the only nation to engage in national pride. “The nineteenth-century witnessed the resurrection of many ancient war leaders, who were used as a symbol by nationalists: the French exploited Vercingetorix, the Belgians Ambiorix, the Dutch Julius Civilis, and the British Boudicca. The difference is that they were all defeated by the Romans; Arminius, on the other hand, was ultimately victorious.” (14)
It must have pained Der Spiegel to admit that “Interest has gradually reawakened since the discovery of the presumed site of the battle in the late 1980s.” Notice the phrase “presumed site”. After more than two decades of archeological excavation and findings, the site is no longer ‘presumed,’ and disagreements are mostly political with different districts pissing in one another’s Corn Flakes.
“The story of Arminius is a lesson in how history can be invented and turned into propaganda.” Congratulations Der Spiegel! You’ve just described every one of humanity’s major founding myths, several of which are listed below.
– the Old Testament story of the Exodus as the founding myth of Israel
– Saul/Paul inventing Christianity
— the tale of Romulus and Remus as the founding myth of Rome
– The Vikings and Columbus vying for the discovery of America
– American myths such as Paul Revere’s famous ride and Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech
– Apple computers founded in a garage
– even the Louvre’s exhibit of Star Wars’ Darth Vader
And, it’s a real stretch to blame modern nationalism on Arminius almost two millennia previous. Obviously, there’s something fishy going on here. Again, I smell the stench of political correctness.
Der Spiegel reports that “There’s no sense of glory and no program of flag-waving festivals of the sort one would expect in other nations celebrating their creation.” This should be no surprise as they admit that “… a lot of Germans don’t even know about Arminius. Many schools shunned his story after 1945 because he became contaminated by the militant nationalism that led to Hitler.” There’s that Hitler connection again!
Gisela Söger of the Kalkriese battlefield museum told SPIEGEL ONLINE that “the myth of Hermann has lost its power in modern Germany.” Of course, it has lost its power; Arminius/Hermann has been deleted from the history books! They’re just re-writing the history books to be politically correct which is far more subtle and inconspicuous than Nazi’s blatant burning of books that refuted their ideology.
Der Spiegel alleges that “The story of Arminius is a lesson in how history can be invented and turned into propaganda.” Invented? Two decades of archeological findings are an invention? Furthermore, the Romans – the losers – wrote about this battle. Why would they ‘invent’ their own failure? And, what is Der Spiegel’s suppressing and re-writing history if not the very propaganda they disparage? It’s ironic that when you point a finger, you have three fingers pointing back at you.
In many cases where Arminius and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest were mentioned, they were damned by faint praise. For example, Herwig Wolfram’s “The Roman Empire and Its Germanic People’s” was published in German in 1990 and the English translation in 1997. Arminius appears briefly only twice. He appears for the first time on page 16 in the discussion of German kings as being elected and lacking absolute power. The “liberator of Germania” (no further details provided) was assassinated “by the treachery of his own relatives…”
Arminius’ only other appearance on page 18 refers to his kingly ambitions. “The sign that Arminius … wanted to become a king as ‘dux’ (leader of the army) was not his successful defense against the Romans in the battle against Varus …” (again, no further detail provided). Defense? A major battle is now a simple ‘defense? Faint praise, indeed! There is NO mention of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest which, by the time of its English translation, had already been archeologically confirmed for a decade.
Der Spiegel admits that the Arminius/Hermann statue “became a focal point for a brand of nationalism that turned increasingly aggressive and racist and culminated in the Nazi quest to subjugate Europe and eradicate the Jews.” And, there you have it; the REAL REASON.
In Western countries, you can be imprisoned for Holocaust denial, and sometimes more than once for the same so-called ‘Hate crime’. However, no one gets put away for Hermann denial. Such self-loathing shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how our Our Insane Judeo-Christian Slave Morality has warped and twisted our culture and values.
Gisela Söger says, “I personally think this Hermann myth will pale. And I hope people in the future will take a closer look at history, question what they have learned and review the sources.” Indeed, Gisela, I too hope that people in the future will take a closer look at history, question what they have learned, review the sources and perhaps realize that their history is being re-written for nefarious propaganda purposes.
Is this article’s title, “The Germanic-Roman War that Saved Civilization” overly dramatic? It would appear so at first glance. The battle certainly did not destroy the Roman Empire which continued its long and steady decline. And, Rome wasn’t sacked until the 5th Century AD. In fact, it was sacked by the very barbarians that Rome was unable to conquer.
However, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest delineated the extent of the Roman Empire. It kept decadent Roman ‘civilization’ out of northern Europe. It kept northern Europe untamed and unexploited. It prevented the establishment of infrastructure, cities, and roads thus forming a barrier to the real destroyers of the Roman Empire who would invade later: the Islamic barbarians. This will be covered in greater detail in a future article. So, in keeping the Romans out, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest also kept Islam out. And in that sense, it did ‘save’ Western civilization, but it came at a price.
Völuspá.org writes, “At the end of World War Two, the Allied Forces took control of Germany, resulting in foreign control of the education system; since the Allied Forces had won the war, they also took the opportunity to remove the last bit of what remained of German national identification; as a result Arminius /Hermann and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest are absent from the history books of Germany itself, as well as many other nations in the world. Instead the history books would have the youth believe that there was no conflict between Rome and Germania, as the history books only mention the cooperation between the Germanic people and Romans and not the conflict and rebellions.” (39F)
They also write that the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest “featured in programming on the History Channel with the clear message: Rome is great and those northern barbarians were lucky in achieving victory. What is troublesome is the vulgar attempt by a segment of the world to brand all things German and Germanic evil. In the 21st century this has been made blatantly clear through the manipulation of the media and entertainment industry. It is not paranoia to think that this denigration is deliberate, when you review the evidence that lies before you. This propaganda is fueled by the holocaust industry that makes millions if not billions of dollars a year capitalizing on the exploitation of the Jewish people by the Nazi regime. Despite the Nazi regime having constituted a mere blip in Germanic history, it has become the only piece of Germanic history that is focused on while the rest of it is ignored or is interpreted in light of it.” (39F)
Another little-known fact is the $61.8 billion dollars Germany has paid in reparations, and that’s only up to 1998. “Because there’s no sign that German reparations payments will stop anytime soon, the Welt am Sonntag wonders if they might be ‘bottomless.’ In coming years, Finance Ministry specialists estimate, Germany will pay out an additional 24 billion marks (about $14.4 billion at a recent exchange rate) in Third Reich reparations.”
Considering there’s hardly anyone left alive from the Nazi era, one wonders how long the ‘sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children’?
There is a remarkable similarity between the countries conquered by Rome and today’s economic basket-cases. For instance, in Europe, the have-nots in the south were Romanized while the economically-powerful North was not. The similarities extend beyond Europe into the Roman conquests of the Fertile Crescent, the Mid-East, Turkey and Northern Africa.
Some countries were never thoroughly Romanized, but those listed below were (tiny countries like Monaco are omitted). Those populous countries in dire economic straits (admittedly debatable) are in bold.
Country Population in millions
United Kingdom (partly conquered) 64.1
Iraq 33.42 (2013)
Jordan 6.46 (2013)
Israel 8.06 (2013)
Egypt 82.06 (2013)
Sudan (partly conquered) 37.96 (2013)
Lybia 6.2 (2013)
Tunisia 10.89 (2013)
Algeria 39.21 (2013)
Palestine 4.17 (2013)
About 70% of (today’s) countries that had been conquered by ancient Rome are presently in financial difficulty. Calculating the percentage of the population is even more alarming. 78% of the Romanized population is in dire economic straits.
This cannot be coincidence, yet I fail to understand the relationship between being Romanized and later having a failing economy. Is it being a tax slave or perhaps loss of liberty under Roman rule? That doesn’t make sense as Northern Europeans today are also tax slaves and their economies haven’t failed (yet). Furthermore, Romanized Italians and Greeks are notorious tax evaders so with less tax revenue extracted by corrupt and wasteful governments; more private capital is available to invest. This is a purer form of classical capitalism than the socialist Northerners have, so the Southern economies should be stronger than the North, yet they aren’t.
Every argument I mustered came up short. That is, until I read Emmet Scott’s two books: “Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy,” and “The Impact of Islam.” That’s when everything fell into place
In the 5th Century AD, several Germanic tribes; the Goths, Vandals, and Huns attacked and sacked (looted) the City of Rome. Even so, they did not destroy it. Rather than kill the goose that laid the golden eggs; they rescued and continued the Roman Empire. They eliminated the position of Emperor, installed their own king and not only stopped the Roman Empire’s decline but actually revived it. That is until Muslim barbarians arrived several centuries later. And, that will be examined more thoroughly in a future article.
Anarchy is simply the absence of government. If you want more detail, see Why I am an Anarchist which explains how we have been indoctrinated into conflating anarchy and chaos. In it I wrote, “There are many things anarchy is NOT. It is not political disorder; it is not chaos and it is not lawlessness although anarchy can arise from such conditions.”
There were about fifty Germanic barbarian tribes at the time of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Each one was fiercely independent. They could make war on one another, or they could ally to fight a common enemy as they did under Arminius. As the assassination of Arminius demonstrates, once the danger passed, it was difficult to maintain the alliance.
As I wrote above on page 3, “the Germanic tribes were not highly organized and thus lacked a centralized government whose fall would result in a sudden collapse and surrender.” The Romans might have been able to conquer all the Germanic tribes one-by-one, but it would have been time-consuming and at a cost that far exceeded the benefits.
U.S. MILITARY BASES IN GERMANY
I leave you with a question. If the Allied military bases in Germany after WW II were for protection and deterrence from an invasion of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, then why are there still dozens of U.S. military bases in Germany? If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a reply below.
August 7, 2016
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Sources and References are at the end of Part 1.
Reblogged this on Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics..
I read you whole article. Please, excuse my english writing.
Even living in Argentina, it is notorious how Arminius is an unknown figure. You get Gengis Kan or Ivan the terrible or Ragnar Lodbrok or Braveheart or Charlemaigne mentioned in movies and TV. But not Arminius.
I found your article googleing “would germany have existed without Arminius”. What I’m trying to understand is if a single man can make such a difference. As far as I read about it, the battle of Teutoburg wouldn’t even have taken place if not for his decision. As far as I read about it, only that person had the power to win that battle.
I’m thinking: China would have been united with or without the guy who was the first emperor; erase any ten names you choose and Africa would have still been enslaved by Europe; America would still be colonized (and victim of a great genocide) by Europe without the catholic kings and Columbus; etc.
But it seems the battle of teutoburg forest and all it’s great long lasting effects wouldn’t have existed if that guy, that day, had taken o different choice.
You’re right, maTías. Many historical events would have happened with or without a particular leader. If not one leader, it would have been another because historical forces don’t care who’s leading.
There are a few real leaders in history that made a difference. Alexander the Great is one. He did what no one else could have done as there was no historical impetus. Arminius is another. He saw what could be done, formed alliances, planned, waited for the right moment to strike. You’re right; the Battle of Teutoburg Forest never would have happened without Arminius.
The reason we don’t hear about Arminius is because those who we are not permitted to criticize want to keep us dumb and clueless all the better to control and manipulate us.
By the way, your English is pretty darn good.
I watched that history channel doc referenced in this essay. I found your perspective very interesting. An excellent piece of writing. Good enough for a magazine. I love history and learning something new. Thank you for your effort. It is much appreciated.
RiNS from The Burning Platform
Thank you, RiNS. Your comments are much appreciated.
I gotta learn to write shorter articles …