on this date in history.

Between September 9 and 11 in the year 9 A.D., Roman general Publius Quinctilius Varus managed to lose three full Roman legions—Legio XVII, XVIII, and XIX—to the German tribes under Arminius in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

The Roman legions were ambushed on the march, in crappy weather, in a heavily forested area on muddy ground, while stretched out in marching order over ten miles or more.  Unable to fight in the customary order of battle as cohesive large units, they were overcome piecemeal in a classic example of a defeat in detail

The Roman Army never again raised legions with the same numbers, retiring the “unlucky” numbers of the Varus legions permanently—an unprecedented act in Roman history.  As a result of the battle, Rome permanently gave up attempts for direct control of Germania east of the Rhine, leaving the Germans alone to develop their horrid, guttural language, and culinary abominations such as liverwurst and Drecksack.


19 thoughts on “on this date in history.

  1. Al T. says:

    Harry Turtledove’s “Give me back my legions” is an easy read as to what happened with good notes for more research.

  2. scotaku says:

    Just think: Had the Romans won, we would have a world without Hogan’s Heroes, and who wants a world like that?

    Not I, sir. Not I.

  3. Borepatch says:

    And sauerkraut. Mmmmm.

  4. Albert Rasch says:

    I guess you don’t like Bloodwurst either? That stuff is gooood!

    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
    PeTA: Purveyors of Stalinism

  5. perlhaqr says:

    Whoa. So it’s the 2000th anniversary of that?

    I dunno if it’s because I’m an American, or because I’ve got a modern mindset, or simply because I’m shallow… I watched the Clive Owen King Arthur the other day, which led me to wonder about certain dates and such. I started poking around wikipedia, specifically about the History of England, and had a realisation. I tend to think of Revolutionary War era stuff as “a long time ago”. The distances in time to Rome are almost incomprehensibly vast to me.

    Rome was in Brittania for twice as long as my country has even existed as a country. My sense of perspective needs some tuning up. I gotta go read some more history books.

  6. rfortier1796 says:

    But I thought Russel Crowe tore the Germans up after they sent his messenger back decapitated? There was that part where he was riding sideways…

  7. Nesselrode 5 says:

    To quote my Teutonic alter ego: Arminius? Affengeil!

  8. Tam says:

    …and that two-timing sometimes-collaborator Armini… er, “Hermann” got a big statue in honor of his achievement of keeping the east bank of the Rhein free of indoor plumbing and the Rule of Law for the next fifteen hundred years. 😉

    • Schmidt says:

      Who’d have thought that, an American libertarian snarking on this anniversary. Sort of independent, free-living tribes kicked and speared Imperial asses. Now that’s something to celebrate, no matter which empire gets embarrassed.

      ..why is German so horrid? It doesn’t sound extemely pleasant, but neither is English,, but the language has a sort of orderliness to it. Not to mention its pronounciation rules are easy as pie. And let’s face it, Germanic languages are all bad sounding.

      Especially those California accents. Now Slavic languages.. that’s a different cup of tea.

      • Marko Kloos says:

        Um, Schmidt…I’ve only been an American since 2004.

        (I’ll give you one good guess as to my nationality before naturalization. Hint: you’re allowed to make fun of your own ethnic/national origin all you want without being out of line.)

        • Schmidt says:

          I know you were a German national, once. The mug is a dead giveaway 🙂

          Good rule, except that after fifteen years of watching the tragic farce that we call politics here, I no longer have the strength to do so. The joke is not funny anymore.

          At least our thieves-in-charge don’t have any way of making wars with just one armored brigade at their disposal..

      • Tam says:

        Sort of independent, free-living tribes kicked and speared Imperial asses.

        Oh, spare me the goddam 19th Century romanticism.

        70% of the population living in total subservience to the armed third, getting their skulls nailed to trees and mistletoe shoved up their asses every solstice to appease nature gods, managed to bushwhack the volunteer army of the country that damned near invented the rule of law and the modern western concept of property rights.

        Go sell your noble savage Teutonic ubermensch bullshit to somebody who hasn’t read any history.

        • Schmidt says:

          70% living in subservience to armed third?
          That was later, in the early middle ages. In the earlier centuries, the Germanic society was much less stratified, and most of the population were freemen.

          .. I think you are confusing Celts with Germanic tribes. Germanic human sacrifices were most often captured enemy, not their own kinsmen.
          Nor did they practice crucifixion, which Romans preferred, because nailing someone to a cross wasn’t deemed a proper execution, as the condemned person died of exposure, not by someone’s hand. I have to admire that line of reasoning…

          Aren’t Anglo-Saxons damn proud of their common-law system, that is in contrast to Roman and later Napoleonic civil law common in most European countries?
          See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_%28legal_system%29#Differentiation_from_other_major_legal_systems

          Common law is based on ancient customs and previous cases, while civil law is handed from on high…

        • Tam says:

          70% living in subservience to armed third? That was later, in the early middle ages. In the earlier centuries, the Germanic society was much less stratified, and most of the population were freemen.

          Really? So all that Migration Period and earlier stuff about thralls and carls and thegns was so much claptrap?


        • Schmidt says:

          By Carls you mean ceorls, I think. Those were the so called free men, in that they weren’t obliged to obey anyone but the (elected) king.

          I’m sure Germanic tribes had some slaves, but thrall refers specifically to Viking slaves.

          Thegns were’s retainers of nobles, and probably enjoyed a better life than the ceorls. You know, being right where the wealth trickles down..

  9. MarkHB says:

    I’ve suddenly realised why my reading of history is so light. It keeps making me so gh0ds-damned angry

  10. ASM826 says:

    Everything would be different, and in ways we cannot imagine.


    No Hogan’s Heros, and even worse, no “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS”!


    • Schmidt says:

      Don’t forget no Stalag fiction. How Jews came to write and publish erotic novels set in WWII concentration camps..

      Humans are weird, take my word on that.

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