Roman Soldier versus Germanic Warrior - 1st Century AD (Combat, Book 6)
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From the annals of Tacitus we get a one-sided vision of the Romano-Germanic wars. More recent scholarship, including Osprey's Teutoburg Forest Campaign book, paints a more balanced picture. Yet, there's still a lot of ground to cover on the subject.
The reigns of Augustus and his successor Tiberius saw an epic struggle between the Romans and local peoples for the territory between the Rhine and Elbe rivers in what is now Germany. Following two decades of Roman occupation, Germania Magna erupted into revolt in AD 9 following the loss of the three legions commanded by Publius Quinctilius Varus to the Cheruscan nobleman Arminius and an alliance of Germanic nations in the dense forests of the Teutoburger Wald. The Romans' initial panic subsided as it became clear that Arminius and his allies could not continue the war into Germania Inferior on the western bank of the Rhine, and Imperial troops poured into the region as the Romans decided how best to resolve the situation.
In AD 14 Tiberius' adopted son, Germanicus Caesar, quelled a mutiny among Roman forces in the area, then took his men on a quick punitive raid into Germanic territory. In the following year he snatched the wife and father-in-law of Arminius and located the site of the 'Varian Disaster', where he oversaw burial of the bones of Roman dead and erected a cenotaph. In AD 16 Germanicus set out to engage his Cheruscan adversary and defeat him decisively with a view to tipping the balance of power in the region as a prelude to restoring full Roman control over territory between the Rhine and the Elbe. By that summer, the Germanicus had tracked down Arminius to a location on the Weser River in the region of modern-day Minden. An initial engagement - called the battle of Weser River - ended in a draw when a Roman cavalry charge was repulsed by Arminius' own cavalry and Germanicus withdrew his men. Having transferred his force across the river and camped for the night, he laid out a plan for a set-piece battle with his opponent at a place called the Plain of Idistaviso.
Idistaviso was the first battle the Romans won against Arminius since Teutoburg. It proved they could beat him. Despite his unique understanding of both Roman and Germanic strategy and tactics, Arminius' failure to anticipate the Roman defence in depth, compounded by dissimilarities in arms and equipment, and confusion on the ground, made this battle particularly vicious and bloody. Better led and disciplined, and with a robust battle strategy, Germanicus' men decisively defeated Arminius'. At the ensuing battle of the Angrivarian Wall the Romans crushed the Germans again.
Featuring full-color artwork, specially drawn maps and an array of revealing illustrations depicting weapons, equipment, key locations and personalities, this study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance, and subsequent reputations of the Roman soldiers and their Germanic opponents pitched into a series of pivotal actions on the Imperial frontier that would influence Roman/German relations for decades to come.
attached to the left and right girdle assemblies by external leather straps with buckles. Worn over a woollen tunic (8), the armour allowed for full movement of the upper body and spread the 22lb weight evenly across the shoulders. A neckerchief (focale; 9) prevented chafing. Suspended from the waist belt, a protective sporran (cingulum; 10) of leather straps with metal plates protected the groin and genitals. The complete kit weighed between 25lb and 45lb, with pack equipment contributing an
slaves of the Romans, he exacted money as he would from subject nations’ (Roman History 56.18.3). He continues, ‘To this they were in no mood to submit, for the leaders longed for their former ascendancy and the masses preferred their accustomed condition to foreign domination’ (Roman History 56.18.4). Even so, the Germanic nations remained a disunited force. With roughly 30,000 legionaries and large numbers of auxilia deployed across the region, individually the German nations could not oust the
the Angrivarii who had defected to Arminius, and in the ensuing battle was dispatched to distract the Germans ahead of the main thrust by Chariovalda, and rescued the Batavians who subsequently found themselves surrounded. At the Angrivarian Wall he was tasked with a flanking attack on the Cherusci. During a raid on the Bructeri he recovered ‘the eagle standard of Legio XIX lost with Varus’ (Tacitus, Annals 1.60.3). Fittingly, he received the surrender of Segimerus – father of Arminius – at Ara
66–70; location 61, 61; map 60; return by sea after 69, 69–70; Roman artillery 63, 63, 66; Roman assault on wall 62, 66, 67 Angrivarii nation 8, 15, 29, 42, 69, 70, 73; warriors 48, 50, 58, 60, 63, 66, 67, 68 Arbalo 13, 15 Ariovistus 18 Arminius 7, 8, 13, 26, 71–72, 73, 75; at the Angrivarian Wall 57–58, 60, 67, 68; at Idistaviso 42, 44, 45, 48, 50, 54, 56; proile 38, 38; statues 38, 77; at Teutoburg Pass 29, 30, 31, 33 Arrius 39 Augustus, Caesar 7, 11, 26, 41 auxiliaries, use of: German 25–26;
and trade. When war broke out he willingly fought the Romans again, in AD 4 and 5. Four years later, now in his early 30s, he is shown here as he charges towards the enemy, wielding the lance he has trained to use since childhood. 16 © O sprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com 6 Teutoburg Pass, summer AD 9 8 7 2 5 4 Weapons, dress and equipment This man is perfectly equipped for the Germanic landscape of open fields, forests and swamps. The weapons available to a high-status Germanic