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Trauma after defeat of Varus

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

An ambush of the Germans on Roman soldiers in 9 CE
An ambush of the Germans on Roman soldiers in 9 CE

In 15 CE, a Roman punitive expedition, led by Aulus Cecina, returning to bases on the Rhine, was surrounded by the Germans. The legionnaires, despite being highly disciplined, were also very superstitious and quickly associated the facts.
They realized that their situation was very similar to that of 9 CE and quickly realized that their fate would be the same as Varus’s legionaries. Chaos prevailed in the camp: “There were no tents for the rank and file, no comforts for the wounded”. At one point, the horse jumped off the bit, scared away and knocked over a few soldiers. The Milites did not know where the confusion was coming from and decided that it was the Germans who had raided the camp and then began to flee to the gates. It seemed like there would be a rerun of the battle in the Teutoburg Forest. It was then that Aulus Caecina threw himself to the ground at the threshold of the gate. The legionaries, not wanting to trample their leader, stopped, and he gathered everyone around him and began to instruct his army, saying “their safety, lay in their arms” and that “Whereas if they fled, more forests, deeper swamps, and a savage foe awaited them”.

After his speech, Caecina launched an attack on the unsuspecting Germans, defeated them and pursued them until dusk.

Author: Mateusz Śniadach (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Ross Cowan, Legionista Rzymski 58 przed Chr.-69 po Chr
  • Tacitus, Annales I 65-67

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