In A.D. 9, an army of barbarians ferociously butchered three entire Roman legions in a desolate German forest. The loss of one-quarter of its European army was a blow from which the Roman Empire never recovered. Archaeologist Peter Wells provides the first graphic details of this monumental confrontation, based on the recent discovery of the site of the massacre.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.48(w) x 8.66(h) x 0.93(d)|
About the Author
Peter S. Wells is professor of archaeology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Battle That Stopped Rome and The Barbarians Speak. He lives in St. Paul.
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations||9|
|List of Maps||11|
|2||Creation of the Legend||30|
|3||History and Archaeology of the Battle||37|
|4||Augustus: Rome's First Emperor||56|
|5||Varus and the Frontier||80|
|6||Arminius: The Native Hero||105|
|7||Warfare in Early Roman Europe: Prelude to the Battle||125|
|9||The Horror: Death on the Battlefield||177|
|10||The Victors' Celebrations||186|
|11||The Immediate Outcome||200|
|12||The Meaning of the Battle||213|
|1.||How an Archaeological Site Is Formed||221|
|2.||Roman Weapons Found at the Kalkriese Battle Site||222|
|3.||Museums, Roman Remains, and Archaeological Parks||223|
|Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading||227|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Battle That Stopped Rome: Emperor Augustus, Arminius, and the Slaughter of the Legions in the Teutoburg Forest based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
In 1979, as a boy on a visit to my Grandmother in Germany, my Father took me to see the statue of Hermann that sits on the edge of the Teutoberg Forest. At that time and later, I inquired where the location of the battle site was, to see it also. I was told that there was no location. It was like a true mystery right out of the history books. Twenty thousand men slaughtered all together in the same place with Roman armor and all the adornments and nobody knew where. No evidence was found in two thousand years. I was astounded when I saw this book on the shelf. Not only had the site been located in the intervening 25 years, but Wells gives us the most comprehensive work ever written on this battle. He doesn't go that deep into the archeological evidence. But I'm not an archeologist. Anything deeper would have been too technical and boring. Wells has woven the story together from three sources; the archeological record, Roman writers, and his general knowledge of warfare. He fills in the gaps with educated speculation. He doesn't inform us when he's doing this, so the reader has to use a critical eye. All writing about this battle is speculative though. The Germans had no writing at the time and only a handful of Romans survived. Each chapter is written like a separate article, creating some repetition. Overall, a good piece of archeological and historical detective work about a battle with repercussions that have continued to this day. Recommended for readers interested in Romans.
This must be one of the poorest history books I have ever read. The style is simplistic and the approach unprofessional. Instead of sticking to facts and laying out the archeological evidence from the various digs undertaken, the author has transposed his own images and dialogue into the book and presented it as fact. After struggling through its tedium I thought it better to leave the $25 book in the airplane magazine rack rather than carry it home! Avoid even for $3.
This is a magazine article stretched to fill a book. It is repetitious and tedious. Much of its information is pure speculation. This may be less the fault of the author than a reflection of how little we have in the way of factual information about the battle and its context. No Roman writer witnessed the battle and the Germans had no writing at that time. This is one you'll soon find for $3.00 in the back of your local used bookstore.
Arminius was not a great general, and he never achieved a place of distinction amongst Rome¿s greatest adversaries such as Hannibal or Mithradates. However, what Arminius did manage to achieve was a grand deception: betraying general Varus and the Romans, who had been his benefactors, and inflicting upon them a crushing defeat that was not won by military strategy or bravery, but by subterfuge and duplicity. During a period of German nationalistic fervor, Ulrich von Hutten, in a drama which he wrote in the 1520s, agued that Arminius deserved to be regarded as the greatest general in history¿greater, he proclaimed, than even Alexander the Great. To elevate Arminius to this heroic status clearly points to a form of self-delusion that only a country desperate to seek a national hero could produce. This supposed ¿battle than stopped Rome,¿ which took place in the Teutoberg forest in the year 9 AD, did nothing more than lure unwitting Roman soldiers into a killing field where they were butchered like trapped animals. This was treachery, not generalship. Subsequent emperors continued Rome¿s expansionist policies, conquering England in 43 AD and Dacia during the early part of the second century AD. The failure of Rome to completely conquer Germany has less to do with its defeat at the hands of Arminius than with the realization that other lands (i.e., England, Dacia, and the eastern territories) held greater economic and political advantages by virtue of their vast resources. In addition, Rome was near its limit regarding the amount of land area it could effectively control, and did not view further expansion into the German hinterland as beneficial. Given the pragmatic nature of the Roman state, and the systematic way in which Rome conquered and maintained its territories, all of Germany, not just the lands west of the Rhine, would have ultimately succumbed to Roman might, just as many other countries had done, if Rome had deemed the acquisition of these lands necessary. Wells argues that the failure of Rome to conquer the vast land area of Germany east of the Rhine was due to the Romans¿ lack of understanding of the nature of the indigenous peoples and their way of life. This hardly seems the case, as contact between the two societies over the centuries would certainly have made the Romans familiar with German tribal culture. It was due rather to the lack of economic and political advantages that could be gained from the military conquest of the region that Rome ceased to pursue her military exploits east of the Rhine, and not because of Rome¿s ignorance of the northern Germanic tribes¿ social structure or the destruction of three legions brought about by the treachery of Arminius.