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Varus Doesn't Lose His Legions

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  • Varus Doesn't Lose His Legions

    Ok, short and to the point.

    Varus and his Legions are not massacred in the Teutoburg Forest - what effect does this have on Rome and her conquest of Germania and her campaigns in general? What form would Roman reprisals have taken against the German tribes and would it have done Rome any long term good?

    I would be really interested in the views of my fellow ACG's, especially as I know little about this most interesting of periods.

    Over to you.......
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    Germany was never meant to be conquered by the Romans. It wasn't their policy. They would gather vassal chieftains, reprisal raids, and exact tribute from others.
    First Counsul Maleketh of Jonov

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Delenda estRoma View Post
      Germany was never meant to be conquered by the Romans. It wasn't their policy. They would gather vassal chieftains, reprisal raids, and exact tribute from others.
      Ok, Ive learnt something there but from what I understand of the campaign, the loss of the legions had a major effect on Rome and the Roman army - if those legions had of managed to turn the tables on their attackers, what would the result for Rome have been?
      HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

      "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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      • #4
        A competent general would've gone straight to his Winter quarters, and kept a watch over the Rhine from friendly territory - Varus was lured into Arminius' trap because he was a glory-seeking idiot.

        A Roman presence East of the Rhine was the one thing which could've unified the German tribes, however temporarily, and whether or not the Romans could actually have absorbed Germany in slices the way they commonly did will have to remain a matter of speculation. Varus certainly made such a step impossible.
        Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by the ace View Post
          A competent general would've gone straight to his Winter quarters, and kept a watch over the Rhine from friendly territory - Varus was lured into Arminius' trap because he was a glory-seeking idiot.

          A Roman presence East of the Rhine was the one thing which could've unified the German tribes, however temporarily, and whether or not the Romans could actually have absorbed Germany in slices the way they commonly did will have to remain a matter of speculation. Varus certainly made such a step impossible.
          Was Varus a political appointment or did he have a military background? (I suppose I could Google him but why bother when there are real experts to hand?!)
          HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

          "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

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          • #6
            I am not an expert but my memory is that Varus was a lawyer and administrator. His appointment showed that the Romans did intend to stay and that they felt that they could announce “Mission accomplished” with the military conquest of Germany.

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            • #7
              All civil officials in Rome had experience as military commanders. It was a requirment.
              First Counsul Maleketh of Jonov

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              • #8
                True, because they were patricians and had spent some time in the Army.

                Varus wasn't a "Military Man" on the scale of someone more competent, like Julius Ceasar or Scipio Africanus.
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                • #9
                  Yet he served about the same time as them and had about the same on hand experience. He was simply less competent.
                  First Counsul Maleketh of Jonov

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mostlyharmless View Post
                    I am not an expert but my memory is that Varus was a lawyer and administrator. His appointment showed that the Romans did intend to stay and that they felt that they could announce “Mission accomplished” with the military conquest of Germany.
                    Yup, that's pretty much it.

                    The sons of patrician families did short stints as tribunes in the army before moving up through the system until they became senators. He was probably the wrong man at the wrong time, but the consequences here were unusually dire. Given an easier appointment, his governorship may well have passed without incident, or he would've fallen on his face and been recalled.
                    Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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                    • #11
                      Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

                      If Varus had made a better job of things where would that have left the wider Roman army? I am supposing that the loss of those troops must have had a psychological as well as a material effect on Rome - were future operations greatly effected by the Teutoburg disaster, had it not occured would Rome have been able to project her influence even further afield?
                      HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                      "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
                        Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

                        If Varus had made a better job of things where would that have left the wider Roman army? I am supposing that the loss of those troops must have had a psychological as well as a material effect on Rome - were future operations greatly effected by the Teutoburg disaster, had it not occured would Rome have been able to project her influence even further afield?

                        Varus took his legions where their strengths were neutralized, and was very sloppy about basic security.

                        The loss of the Eagles certain affected future operations. Recovering them was certainly a motivating factor.
                        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                        • #13
                          I remember watching a documentary on the battle years ago. The documentary showed that the Romans were already well on the way to colonising Germany but that after the disaster all Roman settlements east of the Rhine were abandoned.
                          Thus with no defeat nothing to stop the Romans conquering Germany up to the Elbe.
                          The Germans were more primitive than the Gauls so would require greater investment to make Germany productive. The further east you went the more primative they became so I can't see the Romans going any further than that.
                          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                          • #14
                            The loss of three legions - and their eagles - was catastrophic.

                            I've been to the most likely site:- Kalkreise in Hanover, just outside modern Osnabruck, where there's an exhibition which describes the, 'Punitive expedition,' mounted by Germanicus.

                            Germanicus spent five years bribing local chieftains, arranging safe passage, burying any bodies he could find, and buying back at a very hefty price, the missing eagles, which were returned to the temple of Mars Ultor, while the legions were struck from the records and never mentioned again - their dishonour could never be expunged.

                            The psychological blow to the Roman state was immense, and it became deliberate policy never to cross the Rhine again. Without this loss the Romans could easily have made friendly contact with some tribes, and made a gradual conquest as they had in Britain, but the shock at the loss of such a formidable force was a blow from which they never recovered.
                            Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
                              Ok, short and to the point.

                              Varus and his Legions are not massacred in the Teutoburg Forest - what effect does this have on Rome and her conquest of Germania and her campaigns in general? What form would Roman reprisals have taken against the German tribes and would it have done Rome any long term good?

                              I would be really interested in the views of my fellow ACG's, especially as I know little about this most interesting of periods.

                              Over to you.......
                              Would it be important to know if Varus' Legions won the battle, or still lost it? Also, if they won that battle, how bad did it go for the Germans involved? Did they get massacred instead?
                              The First Amendment applies to SMS, Emails, Blogs, online news, the Fourth applies to your cell phone, computer, and your car, but the Second only applies to muskets?

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