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Full Version: Oddity regarding third of Varus' legions' eagles
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"This same year, however, Sulpicius Galba overcame the Chatti, and Publius Gabinius conquered the Cauchi* and as a crowning achievement recovered a military eagle, the only one that still remained in the hands of the enemy from Varus' disaster."**

Cassius Dio, Book LX, Chapter 8.

* Cauchi presumed to mean 'Chauci'.
** The year in question was AD 41.


Given that the Chauci were apparently Roman allies at the time of the Clades Variana, what explanation can be given for the third eagle being in their possession more than thirty years later?

Were the Chauci divided, with some fighting for Rome, and some against?

Any light on the matter would be appreciated.
Salve!

I understand that Cassius Dio does not mention the Chauci, he mentions a tribe named "Maurousioi". My understanding is that "Maurousioi" was amended by scholars into "Chaukoi" because the name cannot be tied to any known Germanic tribe and it is known from other sources that Publius Gabinius conquered the Cauchi.

By a quick scan on the internet, I have found an old article by a German scholar (Bickel, Der Mythos um die Adler der Varusschlacht, RhM 92, 1944) who concludes that the story of the winning back of this eagle is a myth (based on the argument that the Chauci were unlikely to have fought the Romans in 9 AD and that Florus appears to have been unaware of the winning back of all three eagles in writing his history (we writes that one was buried by its bearer in a swamp never to be recovered)).
(06-24-2016, 01:59 PM)jho Wrote: [ -> ]Salve!

I understand that Cassius Dio does not mention the Chauci, he mentions a tribe named "Maurousioi". My understanding is that "Maurousioi" was amended by scholars into "Chaukoi" because the name cannot be tied to any known Germanic tribe and it is known from other sources that Publius Gabinius conquered the Cauchi.

The "Maurousioi" are usually found in North Africa, I think - a Berber tribe. Could be Dio made a mistake?

Suetonius says Gabinus defeated the Chauci: "(Claudius) allowed Gabinius Secundus to assume the surname of Cauchius because of his conquest of the Cauchi, a German nation" (Claudius 24.3)

So it might have been propaganda (but if the third eagle was never found, surely Dio's invention would have been obvious?)

Alternatively, by AD41 the Chauci were clearly Roman enemies - they could have captured the eagle from another tribe and held onto it as a valuable prize. They had fought the Romans before (Drusus?), so their allegiance to Rome was fairly fluid.

Alternatively again (!), Gabinius could have defeated other people besides the Chauci, and either they or some other group that had joined the Chauci in the meantime had the eagle.

(another possibility, maybe - could it have been the Chatti that Galba defeated who had the eagle, and Dio mixed up the two campaigns?)
Jens and Nathan, thank you. Nathan, your answers made me smile, because I had thought the same things!

As is so often the case with Rome then, 'we don't know, but these are things that might have happened'. In other words, I can do what I want within reason while writing my novels. Useful, but also infuriating.