With Dr. Eireann Marshall
After its defeat of the Carthaginian empire which led to its inexorable rise to power, Rome faced few enemies or lost few wars which truly threatened its existence. Those few enemies who existed, such as Jugurtha or Mithridates, were roundly defeated in wars which only helped to increase Rome’s power. One man stands out for bringing about the largest defeat on Rome since the Punic wars, just when Rome was at the height of its power, in the age of Augustus. Arminius’ annihilation of Varus’ legions at the Teutoburg forest changed European history as Rome withdrew from Germania Magna and largely halted its imperial ambitions. So catastrophic was the loss at site now largely identified as Kalkriese that Augustus refused to replace the three legions lost and was seen hitting his head against the walls of his palace uttering “Varus give me back my legions”. This lecture explores this battle, as well as the enigmatic figure of Arminius, the leader of the Cherusci who fought so well in the Roman army that he rose to rank of eques, only to then forge an alliance of Germanic tribes which ejected Rome from his homeland.