sabato 26 novembre 2005

Clades Variana

Ci stiamo preparando tutti per il 2000esimo anniversario di uno degli eventi più importanti della storia dell'umanità. Nel 9 DC Publius Quinctilius Varus perse tre legioni, e la vita, nella foresta di Teotoburgo, determinando la fine della politica di espansione romana in Germania.

"Varus and the three legions XVII, XVIII, and XIX were somewhere near the river Weser (perhaps near modern Minden) when he learned of an insurrection in the west. He decided to return to the Rhine and make a detour through the rebellious area. The only road led through a small strip of accessible land; to the south, there were the inaccessible hills of the Teutoburg forest, and to the north, marshes made progress difficult. It was the perfect place to trap the heavy legionaries.

And so it happened. The three marching legions were a long line, easily exposed to attacks from the hills. North of modern Osnabrück, archaeologists have excavated a part of the battlefield (called Kalkriese), and many military objects were found. Other objects attest to the presence of civilians. All in all, some 20,000 people were massacred. Like his father, Varus killed himself.

The first reports of the disaster, which became known as the Clades Variana, reached Rome five days after the news of Tiberius' Pannonian victory. It is said that the emperor Augustus, on hearing the story, was unable to sleep and paced up and down through his house, exclaiming "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!"

Publius Quinctilius Varus.

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