The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions: Discovering the Varus Battlefieldby Tony Clunn
In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th & 19th Roman legions and their auxiliary troops under command of Publius Quinctilius Varus vanished in the boggy wilds of Germania. They died singly and by the hundreds over several days in a carefully planned ambush led by Arminius-a Roman-trained German warrior determined to stop Rome's advance east beyond the Rhine River. By the time it… See more details below
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In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th & 19th Roman legions and their auxiliary troops under command of Publius Quinctilius Varus vanished in the boggy wilds of Germania. They died singly and by the hundreds over several days in a carefully planned ambush led by Arminius-a Roman-trained German warrior determined to stop Rome's advance east beyond the Rhine River. By the time it was over, some 25,000 men, women, and children were dead and the course of European history had been forever altered. "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" Emperor Augustus agonized aloud when he learned of the devastating loss.
As the decades slipped past, the location of one of the western world's most important battlefields was lost to history for two millenia.
Fueled by an unshakeable curiosity and burning interest in the story, a British major named Tony Clunn delved into the nooks and crannies of times past. By sheer persistence and good luck, he turned the foundation of German national history on its ear. Convinced the running battle took place north of Osnabruck, Germany, Clunn set out to prove his point. His discovery of a handful of Roman coins in the late 1980s, followed by a flood of thousands of other artifacts (including weapons and human remains) ended the mystery once and for all. Today, a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art museum houses and interprets these priceless historical treasures on the very site Varus's legions were lost.
In Quest of the Lost Roman Legions is a masterful retelling of Clunn's search to discover the Varus battlefield. His well-placed, carefully conceived, and vivid writing style makes for a compelling read from the first page to the last, as he alternates between his incredible modern quest and the ancient tale of the Roman occupation of Germany that ultimately ended so tragically in the peat bogs of Kalkriese.
Tony Clunn joined the army at age 15 and served with the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. He retired in the late 1990s after twenty-two years with the rank of major, an is currently employed by the British Army in Osnaburck and Kalkriese. He was presented with the Member of the Royal Order of the British Empire in 1996 by Queen Elizabeth II.
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Tony Clunn has done an outstanding job with this book. In 9 AD, three Roman Legions under the command of P. Quintilius Varus were led into a murderous ambush by the duplicitous treachery of the German warlord Arminius whose objective was to rid his country of Roman occupation. While the location of the Varus Battlefield had been one of the great historical mysteries and a matter of conjecture for nearly twenty centuries, Major Clunn was the individual ultimately responsible for its definitive discovery. The story of how this transpired and of its significance for the subsequent course of European history makes for very compelling reading. The fact that the author is the very man responsible for its discovery makes this book, by nature of it's authenticity, the definitive work on the subject. In addition, Major Clunn draws the reader directly into the battle as it unfolds by skillfully alternating and interweaving the factual accounts of his archeological discoveries with an intriguing historical novel of how events may have unfolded during the actual battle two thousand years ago. I found myself unable to put this book down. Very highly recommended.