The Eternal Shouting Match Between Arminius and Flavus

thanks to the original author, Lenny, for contributing part of the following:

Today marks the 2000th anniversary of an event that changed the course of history:

the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest


On 09.09, in the year 9 AD, Roman army forces were moving through the forests of western Germania, around 90 km east of the Rhine River. The commander of the Roman army, Varus, believed he was passing along a safe region. The commander was also under the impression that, somewhere in the distance, there was a small Germanic rebellion to be put down. But Varus was being led into a trap by his cavalry commander, Arminius.

Years earlier, Arminius had been abducted from his Germanic tribe and trained to fight for the glory of Rome. He had earned Rome's trust and respect in battle. But no accolades could force the Germanic warrior to forget about who he was and no spoils of empire could alter his determination to free his people from Roman dictates. Thus, after years of fighting for Rome, Arminius set a trap for Varus in the Teutoburg Forest and a slaughter ensued.

By the time the ambush ended, three full Roman legions - over 20,000 soldiers - vanished in the forest at the hands of the Germanic warrior alliance. Varus committed suicide. The Romans took up a new position along the Rhine and launched a series of campaigns against Arminius and the Germanic peoples. But the Roman Empire never recovered to defeat Germania.

Rome's final campaign against the Germanic peoples came in 16 AD. At that time, the Romans had eight legions, along with auxiliary units, overland from the Rhine River, up the Ems River, and perhaps along the Weser River, too. As the Roman army approached the Weser from the west, the Germanics, led by Arminius, moved in from the east. The two sides encountered one another on a plain that the Roman historian Tacitus called "Idistaviso", which was somewhere along the Weser. Here, Arminius saw his brother, Flavus, who was still in the ranks of the Roman army. The two siblings reportedly started shouting to each other from opposite sides of the river; Arminius called on his brother to return to his tribe and Flavus made the opposite appeal, asking Arminius to make peace with a stern but forgiving Roman Empire, which Flavus claimed to be treating Arminius' captured wife and newborn son well. Tacitus portrayed this verbal exchange as a representation of the two opposing positions among the Germanic peoples - those in favor of  an alliance with Rome and those against it:
Flavus insisted on "Roman greatness, the power of the Emperor ... the mercy always waiting for him who submitted himself. ..." His brother [Arminius] urged "the sacred call of their country; their ancestral liberty; the gods of their Germanic hearths; and their mother, who prayed, with [Arminius] himself, that [Flavus] would not choose the title of Renegade and Traitor to his kindred...to the whole of his race in fact, before that of their liberator."
Flavus allegedly became so enraged by Arminius that he collected his weapons, mounted his horse and prepared to cross the river to fight his brother alone. The Roman general Stertinius stopped him. Arminius, all the while, taunted Flavus from the other bank, partly in the Germanic native tongue and "much in Latin, as Arminius had seen service in the Roman camp as a captain of native auxiliaries."

When the Romans finally crossed the river, the engagement resulted in a marginal Roman victory. However, the campaign itself proceeded as all other Roman campaigns into Germania ultimately did; with the Romans burning Germanic settlements, Germanic warriors charging the Roman legionaries in the forests and both sides exchanging blows until the Romans withdrew back across the river. The next year (17 AD), Roman Emperor Tiberius gave up trying to subdue the Germanics and the Roman field commander, Germanicus, was recalled to Rome. The border between Germania and the Roman Empire was set in stone for the next 400 years, until the collapse of the Roman Empire:



Even with eight legions, the Roman army had been incapable of breaking the spirit of the indigenous Germanic people and seizing control of Germania. Undoubtedly, the will of Arminius played an important role - Arminius was the one who united the Germanic people, organized the ambush in the Teutoburg Forest and, for seven years, led the resistance against Rome.

The struggle for national survival continues...will you betray your kinfolk and join the legions of Flavuses, or will you stand tall with the eternal spirit of Arminius?

Comments

  1. I love that the battle of weser river was marginal , lol granted the ambush in forrest was masterful against varus who didn't even know there was fight or he was betrayed until the end .

    but lets list failures of arminus

    1. it didn't stop Rome , Tiberius wasn't his brother Drusus he didn't want to expand behind rhine . and lets say Germanicus in 18 launched complete reconquest even if the romans went to elbe and held it would history been any different , the answer is no all one has to look at is Romaina (Dacia) how it went back forth .

    2. Germanicus did mange to break Arminius every tribe allied with him one by one in Germanicus Campaigns 15-17AD broke ,
    The battle of wesier river was major defeat and almost cost Arminius life .

    3. From 18AD till Arminius death he then went to war with another large tribe from what is now Czech rep. and was defeated .

    4.That his own family was split his uncle and brother were pro roman while his other uncle was with Arminius , but even afterwards his own uncle who saved his life at battle of Weser turned on him.

    5. I love the mention of Roman raids and burning of settlements as if they ment nothing . as long as roman army was in field the germans could not feed or raise crops , this effect lasted during all 3 yrs of Germanicus Campaigns but years afterward .

    If you look at it as what "if " and german was he better off from 9bc -9ad , then he was afterward I think they would said no , think like this what "if" 100yrs of roman rule Germania would been like britian ? maybe great genral would have sprung or a even a Ceasar.

    do not forget the romans held parts of Germania after withdraw of Germanicus they held west of Rhine at Helgen and along the north coast and much of southern Germania following limes of Germanicus.

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