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Most Decisive Battle – Actium vs Teutoburgerwald (Round 2)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post

    I will be more than happy to expand on my reasoning for you but it will have to wait on my return from a brief out of town trip this evening. I also have to lay out my case why Stalingrad is a more decisive battle than Midway in another thread (promised for tomorrow evening). If you will have a little patience I hope to answer your (very good) questions before the weekend is over. I hope these answers will have the same effect on you as they had on me some years ago when I discovered them.

    Seems like you have it busy with the tournament Purist !!!
    Stalingrad vs Midway also?

    Good luck...

    PS: Nice of you for taking the time to explain ! I'll be glad to hear your response...this is what it's all about in the end, isn't it?
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam



    • #17
      I have to agree with Stratego and Torien.

      However, as is often the case in history, one man's "truth" is another man's debate.
      Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi


      • #18
        ..Actium by a mile...


        • #19
          For the Glory of Rome?

          Amongst the factors that helped shape the borders of the Roman Empire was the structure of the internal political system both during the Republican and early Imperial period. To put it succinctly Roman expansion was driven by the quest for glory and then exploiting the conquered areas for the economic benefit of those who organized the conquest and the subsequent landowners who developed the region. By the First-Century the richest areas of the Mediterranean had been absorbed along with their adjacent hinterlands and new conquests were no longer bringing in wealth that even covered the cost of the conquest and upkeep of the new provinces.

          Britain, for example, was invaded under the reign of Claudius solely to satisfy the quest for glory, even though he used the excuse of the succession crisis in the client kingdom of Cunobelin in the southeast as an excuse (I would strongly recommend David Mattingly’s “An Imperial Possession, Britain in the Roman Empire). Likewise, Trajan’s conquest of Dacia (or the greater portion it) was driven by the quest for glory and on the excuse of righting a perceived wrong where Rome got the poorer end of the deal in the last Romano-Dacian war. The invasion of Mesopotamia should need no explanation as this marked the edge of the Persian empire which, under the Sassanid Dynasty was to prove such a threat in the Third-Century that it permanently effected both the Roman military and economic structure that was to play a direct role in the final collapse of the western empire.


          The very nature of classical warfare made it logical that rivers, mountains or other natural obstacles delineated borders of empires. The Roman expansion north of the Alps and throughout Gaul followed this pattern since the movement of the vast quantities of materiel required to keep the legions supplied could not be moved solely by road. Professor Peter Heather notes (The Fall of the Roman Empire) that a legion of 5000 men required 7500 kilos of grain plus 450 kilos of fodder per day (225 metric tonnes and 13.5 tonnes respectively per month). The rivers Rhone, Seine, Loire, Meuse, Moselle and Rhine formed a set of natural “highways” within the western empire that expedited the delivery of supplies and connected Italy to Gaul for the trans-shipment of major quantities of goods for both the military and civilian trade. This same system of rivers would also form the foundation of the trade distribution system that would see the rebirth of trade after the fall of Rome and the spur the growth of medieval towns along these routes.

          More importantly, in the period immediately after conquest the local area was unable to support the large Roman garrisons required in the area until a certain level of economic recovery and ‘Romanization” had taken root. These rivers were the legions lifeline prior to the building of roads and allowed supplies to be moved from the Mediterranean to the Rhine frontier without recourse to shipping around Spain and through the Atlantic to ports in western Gaul and Belgica. With the conquest of Gaul and those parts of the Germania nearest the Rhineland, Rome had a natural and secure frontier in the northwest.


          The non-Roman world of northwest Europe was divided into two major material groups, known as the La Tene and Jastorf cultures. The former group existed in most of what we would call the Gaul, parts of modern southern Germany and Austria, parts of Hungary and Romania. The La Tene culture was noted for large villages and, more importantly, towns and larger settlements, which, due to superior agricultural methods, could support larger populations and a land owning class. The political grouping within the La Tene culture allowed for larger kingdoms with widespread use of coinage (in silver and gold) and a robust economic life involving trade in all manner of goods. This wealth shows itself in the archaeological finds within gravesites with the widespread use of gold and silver ornaments and other decorative objects. After conquest and a period of recovery these areas had the economic ‘depth’ that could be exploited through taxation and then further developed through the process of Romanization (which certainly required a land-owning class).

          The Jastorf Culture of central and northern Germania in the First-Century was lacking almost every aspect of their La Tene neighbours. Cereal agriculture was carried on at almost a subsistence level and pastoral practices (farm animals) were by far more the norm. This meant there was a far smaller quantity of food surpluses which made supporting priest/religious, land owning and trade/craft classes far more problematic. With little in the way of an advanced economic life, settlements, even villages, were quite few and far between with the tribal communities centered on the family group dispersed in small geographical areas. These small political units meant that western and northern Germania were populated by a multitude of small competing political units that were just as likely to fight each other as the Romans. More importantly to the Romans was the fact these area could not be economically exploited even if conquered and their permanent occupation would be a drain on the Imperial treasury that no emperor could countenance.

          The normal sequence of events that followed the arrival of the legion was not possible in Germania. In Gaul, when the legions would establish their bases the local populations would soon arrive with everything from prostitutes to pottery makers to metal smiths, traders and the like. Very soon the area was alive with trade both between the occupiers and the occupied but also amongst the region's population who took advantage of the benefits of the security provided by the Roman troops. None of this was possible in the heavily forested parts of Europe east of the immediate Rhine frontier and Tiberius drew the conclusion that Germania was simply not worth conquering.


          Arminius won a clever, if ‘fluky’, victory in 9 AD by temporarily uniting a large number of small tribes. However, the political disunity of Germania meant that this sort of alliance system could not last long. The Roman invasion of 15 AD was also ambushed but the Romans soundly defeated the Germani tribes, this was repeated again in 16 AD and it is worthy of note that Segestes, who accompanied the Romans, was of the Cherusci and felt his people had more to gain by being part of the empire rather than fighting it. As noted previously, Arminius was soon to be murdered by his own people by 19 AD.

          In the end Teutobergerwald did not stop the Romans from expanding east of the Rhine for the very good reason that Rome had no long-term ambitions in Germania. Economics drove the expansion of the empire and only by being able to first exploit and then develop the conquered areas could the cost of that expansion be paid for. Dacia and Britain, two of the strongest examples, had raw materials and larger populations that could be brought into the economic life of the empire. It would take some three more centuries along with the spread of more advanced agricultural practices east of the Rhine combined with the arrival of completely new, larger Germanic tribes before Germania would begin to pose a threat to the western empire.

          Thus both Adrianople and Actium must be considered more decisive battles.
          Last edited by The Purist; 29 Sep 08, 17:06.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.


          • #20
            The Romans replaced the two legions lost in the German Woods, the people backing Marcus Antonius did not get the chance.

            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


            • #21
              haha!! this is very good to read.


              • #22
                Actium or Teutoburg

                TEUTOBURG, It kept the Romans from dominating northern Europe and allowed its peoples to develope, however slow, their own cultures and identitys which in time came back to sweep Rome from the continent.



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