The wall, besides providing a place to hide, gave them a chance to throw their spears from behind its protection, and would have kept them away from the famous Roman short swords that the Legions used with devastating effect in close combat. In his book , " The Battle That Stopped Rome", Peter S. Wells speculates that as many as 25, 000 spears could have been thrown in as little as 20 seconds. To me this seems high, but even if the Germanic warriors only threw 10,000 spears in 30 seconds, that amount of spears hurling into the confused Roman lines would have had devastating consequences for the great Roman Legions.
The first effect would have been utter confusion and possibly even panic as the Roman soldiers saw their brothers in arms falling all along their lines. Adding to the hysteria would have been the screams of the speared soldiers that would have drowned out orders that may have brought back some semblance of order to the chaos. As the wounded and dead lie along the narrow path there came a shrill yell from out of the dark forest. Arminius had let loose the full fury of his entire army. The Germanic warriors, weapons drawn, now fell upon the disorganized, and confused Roman soldiers. However, by not being able to march in battle formation, because of the limited space, the Roman Army would have found it almost impossible to form up in full battle lines. They were also hindered by the mud that lined their path, the dead beneath their feet, and the great distance the narrow path had made of the troop formations. What all this meant for the great Roman legions was that they had no chance to mount a formidible defense against the Germanic warriors.
As thousands died panic set in, and Varus finally understood the urgency of the situation. He also must have known at this point that the man that he most trusted, Arminius, had betrayed him. Varus tried his best, we must assume, to form up his troops and fight the battle as best he could. After a time he must have known that all was lost and according to ancient historians he committed suicide by falling on his sword, on the battlefield. He was later beheaded by the Germanic warriors.
The historian, Velleius Paterculus writes of the battle : " An army unexcelled in bravery, the first of Roman Armies in discipline , in energy, and in experience on the field, through the negligence of its commander, the perfidy of the enemy, hemmed in by the forests and ambuscades, it was almost exterminated to a man, by the very enemy whom it had always slaughtered like cattle."
After the battle was over the Germanic tribesmen ritually killed the remaining soldiers offeing them up to their war Gods, and even took some of the heads of some of the more prominent soldiers and nailed them to trees. The entire Teutoberg Forest where the battle had taken place became, for generations, a sacred and holy area to the local peoples. The three legion staffs were kept as war prizes to commemorate the battle and honor the Germanic warriors who died .
Where he is
Where you are unexpected.
- Sun - tzu : The Art Of War
Next : The Death Of The Great Warrior.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !