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Teutoburg Civilians
#1
I am wondering what happened to the civilians that accompanied the Varus legions during the massacre. I know that there were civilians with the army, and that in this instance, if current theories are to be believed, Varus was marching out of his summer camp for the season, with the intent of putting down a reported rebellion on the way to his Rhine bases. The civilians, many being family members of the legionaries, would presumably have gone with them.

Is there any evidence or even speculation as to what their ultimate fate was?  Would they have stuck with the Legions to the bitter end or would they have been abandoned at some point to their own fate?  If they were left, at what point was that?

To my own mind, the best candidates for the civilians being abandoned would be the second camp after the first ambush.  They would have been left with the wounded and the burned baggage train as the army left under the cover of darkness. The other thought would be the third camp where the last of the cavalry under Vala rode out to their doom, and the Legions knew things were near hopeless.

I have seen some accounts say that Arminius left the civilians alone, not wanting to slow his own forces with captives.  This makes some sense to me as his army was expected to by highly mobile to strike the Roman column wherever it went. I have seen other accounts say that they were killed and/or captured by Arminius and the survivors sold into slavery. None of the main English language sources really say one way or another.

Does anyone have any sources, or even speculation on the topic?  Any ideas would be welcome.
Daniel DeVargas
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#2
I doubt that any source discusses their actual fate. Some civilians would be Germanic hangers-on no doubt, and they would probably have made themselves scarce after the first attacks. Now Romans or Roman-dependents would have stood little chances of escape from deep within enemy territory. Maybe some decided to sit it out, expecting death or slavery. But if the civilians were related to soldiers, I would not expect them to leave these people behind. So they might have stuck with the column, or even more likely, be killed before the end came.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#3
Excellent question. When I visited there 2 years ago- no mention or speculation was made as to their fate. I assume their end wasn't any different than the Legionnaires though. In the mind of the German, a Roman is a Roman. I just think that was how it was then.
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