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Anonymous

Just finished reading Adrian Goldsworthy's "The Complete Roman Army". An excellent introduction to the subject for newcomers like myself.<br>
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On the subject of the massacre at Teutoburg Wald, I have a few questions...<br>
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1) Size of the army<br>
- Varus had Legiones XVII, XVIII and XIX<br>
- The Post-Marian Legion consisted of ten cohorts, each with 482 men (80 per century, plus 1 centurion and 1 standard bearer x 6 = 1 cohort), for a total of 4,820 men per legion<br>
- Thus, three legions gives Varus 14,460 legionaries.<br>
- Varus also had three calvary alae, each consisting of 16 turmae of 30 men (480 men per alae), so that's 1,440 calvary troopers, plus standard bearers<br>
- Also, Varus had six infantry cohorts of auxiliaries, adding another 2,880 infantry (480 x 6 cohorts)<br>
- So, assuming all units were up to strength, Varus had 18,780 men, of which almost 15% were mounted calvary.<br>
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Am I correct in my calculations?<br>
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2) Size of Arminius' army?<br>
- How did the German forces wipe out such a force?<br>
<p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Your calculations seem accurate as far as combat soldiers go. There was also probably many 'camp followers' as well wives, girlfriends, merchants and so forth. so that number could blow out to many more thousand.<br>
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In my experience of military numbers, no unit I ever served in was up to full strength, usually between 70 and 85 %<br>
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<br>
Jason <p></p><i></i>
Jason's comments about the legions rarely being at full strength is accurate. These were well established legions - the archaelogical record on Legio XIX is quite extensive and goes back to the Dangstetten, where it may have shared the base with an archer unit. Thus, these were not newly recruited legions. The only legions likely to be at "full" paper strength were those newly raised.<br>
According to Dio, Vellius Paterculus, etc., Varus had sent out detachments on various duties; think of the duty rosters which have survived from later times(Egypt, Vindolanda). While not quite the same situation inside Germany, Varus appears to have believed the Germans sufficiently docile that he could send small detachments to various points - as surveying teams, "policing" duties, escorts, etc. These small detached bodies of troops, and the historians seem to indicate they were quite numerous, would have further reduced the available troops in the main legions. This does not even consider the strong probability that these detachments were mixed bodies of troops, comprised of legionaries and auxiliaries. Varus' army was very weak in numbers of both auxiliary infantry and cavalry, especially once the Germans deserted.<br>
The small detached units of Roman soldiers were massacred in the general uprising and some may have been earlier attacked as part of the necessary incentive to persuade Varus to respond as he did and go off in a direction different from one that would lead back to winter quarters along the Lippe.<br>
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Marcus Quintius Clavus/Quinton<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Avete omnes,<br>
<br>
I was always wondering why we do not know the names of he lost legions XVII, XIIX and XIX. Is it really so that the names have been established only after 9 AD or did the legions (and their names) fall under some kind of "damnatio memoriae"?<br>
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Uwe <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=uwebahr>Uwe Bahr</A> at: 12/1/04 2:18 pm<br></i>
Well, in fact we do know that Legio XIIX was lost, since that is mentioned on the Caelius stone. There are also no legiones 17-19 after 9AD, not ever again. I think a few (like 2 or 3) epigraphical traces of legio XIX exist, but they are all late Republican or early imperial. And finally, it is usually assumed that Augustus founded a complete line of legions from 1-22, so 17-19 should exist. <p>Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper</p><i></i>

Anonymous

The same book says that Varus lost 1/10th of all Rome's legioniares. So, if on paper Varus had 14,460 legioniares, can we assume that the entire Roman standing army was about 145,000 men?<br>
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This does not seem at all sufficient to patrol, govern, defend and expand the empire in AD 9. Once Britain was invaded, and the empire was at its maximum size in AD 200, how many legionaires were active? How many legions? <p></p><i></i>
Tacitus (Annals 4.5) states that in 23 AD, the total number of auxiliaries was the same as the total number of legionaries. Since there were about 28 legions, the total army, including navy, praetorians and city units, consisted of about 300,000 troops. The number of legions rose slightly (to 33 IIRC under Septimius Severus) and undoubtedly the number of auxiliary troops rose as well, though by how much is not clear. In 200 AD the Roman army numbered probably between 300,000 and 450,000 troops. <p>Greets<br>
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Jasper</p><i></i>
"So, if on paper Varus had 14,460 legioniares, can we assume that the entire Roman standing army was about 145,000 men?<br>
This does not seem at all sufficient to patrol, govern, defend and expand the empire in AD 9. Once Britain was invaded, and the empire was at its maximum size in AD 200, how many legionaires were active? How many legions? "<br>
<br>
But the legions were hardly the only forces at the empire's disposal. As was pointed out, there were the auxiliaries (probably more useful for conquest and oppression than administration and policing initially).<br>
Many client kings were allowed to maintain their own forces, frequently turned into auxiliaries whenever the kingdoms lapsed to imperial administration, and those would have been useable for almost any purpose locally. I don't see any client king objecting to some equestrian official breezing in and taking charge, much like the palitikal could in Anglo-India.<br>
We can also assume that at least in some places, there were local militias and/or police forces that could take over patrolling and anti-banditry operations. This may not have been an empirewide arrangement, but there is good evidence for Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor. The urban 'collegia iuvenum' and the ephebiate might also have been a possible source of muscle in real emergencies, but almost certainly had no regular military functions. It would also be interesting to see what happened to the warrior followings of nobles who integrated into Roman rule in the Balkans, Gaul and Britain. I have my suspicions that for a generation or three, these folks were a lot more martial (and a good source of recruits) than we think.<br>
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Soldiers don't have to do everything themselves. <p></p><i></i>
Just finished reading Peter S. Wells’ <em>The Battle That Stopped Rome: Emperor Augustus, Arminius, and the Slaughter of the Legions in the Teutoburg Forest</em> recently. Good overall discussion, though a few things were interesting. IIRC, the Roman sources suggest the battle lasted three days, based ostensibly on the few survivors’ “debriefings.â€ÂÂ
"Frankly what amazes me is why in the devil Augustus didn't replace these three legions."<br>
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I suspect a combination of reasons.<br>
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1) Augustus' whole programme of giovernment (so to speak his election platform) was based on peace. The empire is littered with altars to 'Pax Augusta'. That's a winning program in a country full of people who remember the civil wars very well. Holding a full-scale legionary /dilectus/ is liable to create all kinds of flashbacks of the kind the emperor doesn't want. Bear in mind that Auguistus may found a 400-year succession of emperors, but he doesn't KNOW that. As far as he knows, he may be going the way of his adoptive father yet. So, best not make waves when you don't have to. In fact, looking at the grievances voiced in the mutinies on the Rhine later it seems there weren't even enough replacements to keep existing legions up to strength.<br>
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2) Apparently, he didn't need them. The empire got along fine without the XVII, XVIII and XIX.<br>
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3) I think the defeat also got blown out of proportion, perhaps as a propaganda ploy (need a reason why Germany did not get steamrollered into submission? Well, they FIERCE...) or perhaps because it genuinely shocked Augustus. If the war had been pursued with more intelligence than vengefulness in later years - who knows? <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

What other books exist that are dedicated to the encounter?<br>
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Is Wells' book considered reliable or suspect? <p></p><i></i>
Perhaps also the fact that when Augustus acceeded to the name 'Caesar' he was an impetuous 18 year old. By the time of the battle of Actium he was a more mature 31. By the time of the clades Variana he was an elderly man of 70. Now, whilst there is a good deal of variation in this, in my experience, 70 year olds tend to be a lot less passionate than 18 year olds, although they are still perfectly capable of complaining when things don't go their way ("Varus, give me back my legions!"). Perhaps by the time he reached 70 (which was extremely old in Roman terms) he had lost some of the drive that had led him to create the principate, the empire and the resultant Pax Augusta and was more concerned with maintaining what he created during his heyday than creating things anew. Thus he could complain about the loss of his legions but he might not have the drive to do anything about it. Add to that the comments above about retaining the pax Augusta and I don't think we need to go much further in looking for answers to the question of why the numbers XVII, XVIII and XVIIII were never used again, particularly as things became so dependent on the will of the Princeps. Remember Pliny the Younger's correspondence with Trajan - Pliny, despite being the provincial governor, seems to have needed Trajan's permission in order to carry out any activity. It would make a lot of sense for an emperor to prohibit anyone other than himself from raising armies, so if the emperor did not command it, presumably no new legions could be raised. By the time new legions did start being raised again the sequence of numbering no longer seems to have applied (much like the situation today in both the British and American armies) and new legions were simply numbered from 1 onwards.<br>
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Crispvs <p></p><i></i>
Augustus did attempt to raise troops in a hurry after the news hit Rome of the loss of three legions in Germania - but he had a real hard time finding willing recruits and had to resort to a draft. He also instituted draconian punishments for those who attempted to avoid the draft - up to and including the death penalty. One case is cited in which he ordered the execution of a father (an eques!) who cut the thumbs off the hands of his two sons to keep them out of the army. Many of the troops that were raised were organized into independent cohorts. This is a strong indication that they could not get enough to join to allow being organized as legions. Besides, Italy's best were not being included in these units. The Roman military (i.e. legionary service) was becoming a last resort occupation. Keppie mentions this factor in his book "The Making of the Roman Army" - Tiberius in 23 AD ceased to recruit for the legions from Italy because "only the vagabond and destitute had been coming forward." (Tacitus, "Annals" iv.4)<br>
Another factor was that the Varus disaster occurred on the heels of a very difficult three year campaign to subdue the rebellious Illyrians. That rebellion in 6 AD put an end to any plans to subdue the Marcomanni/Suebian tribes who had resettled in Bohemia. Tiberius had command of 12 legions gathered for the invasion of the Bohemian region, and I believe the legions further north (possibly including Legions XVII, XVIII, and XIX) were intended to push southward and catch the Marcomanni in a pincer.<br>
The Illyrians rebelled just as Tiberius was ready to launch his campaign. The Illyrians were tough fighters, many of whom had served as auxiliaries, and thus had a grasp of Roman weaknesses. Tiberius had to turn his army around and wage a brutal, long campaign - remember it took 3 years - to subdue and stamp out the rebellion. I believe that historians consider that Arminius may have served as an auxiliary commander during those rough years and seen for himself that the Roman army was not invincible.<br>
By this time, and with the addition of the loss of three legions in the dark forests of Germany, service on those northern frontiers was not attractive to many in Italy (see above)!<br>
In a sense, one can say that the "well" for the legions and service outside Italy had run dry in Italy. Manpower needs for the legions would increasingly be met from peoples outside Italy and one does see that process continue.<br>
The legions, which Tiberius had gathered for his Marcomannic campaign were redistributed, with more of them going to the Rhine, even though some had not originally been serving there. Thus a redistribution of the existing legionary force occurred, rather than a build up by replacing the lost three.<br>
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Marcus Quintius Clavus/Quinton <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

"I think the defeat also got blown out of proportion"<br>
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Well, if the US army lost 10% of its total strength today in a single battle I think this would be considered a major strategic, state risking and leadership threatening defeat.<br>
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Currently, there are 499,000 active duty Army troops, backed up by 700,000 National Guard and Army reservists. www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/m..._1-13.html Since Legionaires were considered active duty troops, let's concentrate on their contemporary US Army equivalents.<br>
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So, imagine if Bush has tell the nation that... "today, in a single battle in Iraq approximately 45,000 - 50,000 soldiers have been led by disception into a trap and almost to a man were masacared. There are few survivors. Good night and god bless America."<br>
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They'd be riots in the streets within hours, the President would be thrown out of office or worse. American society would be shaken to its core.<br>
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In short, I doubt anyone at the time could "think the defeat ...got blown out of proportion". <p></p><i></i>
This is in haste as I have to finish preparing my slides and lecture for tomorrow’s class… I don’t think we can know if the “defeat also got blown out of proportion" at the time or not. We of course were not there. How much did the “Roman Streetâ€ÂÂ
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