The Battle of Teutoburg Forest Part 4

Caesar Augustus

Emperor Augustus


The Roman world was shocked. Emperor Augustus himself was said to have banged his head on the wall saying, “Quinctilius Vares, give me back my legions!!!” While one the other hand the Germanic tribes were eager a lot more joined the alliance and stopped being client kings of Rome but because the delaying action of the remaining cohorts and the sift Arval of a 5 legion strong Amy from France on the border stopped a push into Gaul. Aminius got murdered 30 years later by nobles because they were wored he was to powerful. His coalition at that time had 39 Germanic tribes out of 50 and the nobles were scared he might declare kingship and move to or make a new capital so they would lose power though cosiness’s. The coalition collapsed after his death.

The battle of Teutoburg Forest part 3

The Battle 

The legions heard of a rebellion in the northwest during their march and changed course to put it down, but it was trap! As the legions entered the Teutoburg forest (modern location unknown), a storm started, and a mist settled making it hard to see. Then suddenly thousands of Germanic warriors showered them with projectiles and engaged in combat in some places and then retreated. They did these again and again all though the day, until the Romans built a camp and settled down for the night. The following day was the same story, as the Romans marched on leaving behind the wounded. Then the weather cleared up as the rain stopped but the mist stayed. They made a camp in a fork in the road, one way leading deeper into the forest and another leading across a bridge into the lands of a friendly tribe. That night, the Roman general and Publius Quinctilius Vares committed suicide in despair. With the centurions in charge, the remaining troops (four cohorts of legions and two alae of cavalry) decided that two of the cohorts and the cavalry would go and secure the bridge [with the cavalry ridding and out to scout and to get a relief force]. However, when they crossed the bridge, they were surrounded by German infantry and cavalry and were slaughtered. The remain cohorts figured it out quickly and headed down the other way where they found a barricade. It had no troops on top, so one cohort was to dismantle a part so they could move on while the other one was to be the rear guard. The rear guard cautiously advanced until they were out of sight. That’s when the Germanic tribes struck with cavalry led by Arminius himself. They massacred the rear guard and then charged at the cohort that had grouped at the base of the barracked and destroyed it too. 

The Battle of Teutoberg Part 2

Legionary soldiers of the Roman Republic

Just Before Battle

After the Illyrian revolt was put down, it took a long time to return the legions and the financial strain on Rome was also great. This was shown in food shortages and the implementation of higher taxes across the Empire. In Germania many people who didn’t pay tax immediately got crucified. Here, the stationed legions for the first time could collect taxes, build roads and move though Germania without opposition. Then, suddenly, different tribes started to attack scouts and tax collectors all over the province. These attacks were coordinated by Arminius, who had formed a coalition of almost all of the tribes to get rid of the Romans. As three Roman legions marched from their winter camp to their summer camp, Arminius said he would collect the auxiliaries, but as soon as he was out of sight, he went to his base and rallied his forces.

Battle of Teutoburg Forest, Part 1

Tiberiius’ Invasion of Germania

The battle of Teutoburg forest in 9AD was one of the worst defeats in Roman history. It is right up there with the defeats at Cannae and Carrhae, but unlike those battles, the danger came from a Roman province, not a foreign enemy. Let’s have a look.


The idea of the conquest of Germania was a long-standing Roman dream and after a long series of attacks, consul Marcus Lupus and consul Gaius Setius put into action the first large scale invasion with 100,000 men. Arminius, who fought in these battles as an equestrian in the Roman army, was shocked at the brutality the Roman invaders used as they burnt many villages and forced tribes to pay tribute. They almost destroyed the Suebi confederation, one of the largest ethnic blocks and confederations in Germania and one of Rome’s worst enemies. Then the son of the Emperor Augustus, Tiberius, made Germania a tax paying province by the time he left to crush the Illyrian revolt [to which half the legions of the empire went], and left the command of the province to the administrator Publius Quinctilius Vares from Syria and to Aminius himself, who was by then chief of the Chiari tribe.

Polynesian Boats

The Polynesians were expert seafarers and fishermen even it is said they found America! . The type of vessel used is an outrigger canoe  which gets its stability from a pole that is lowered into the water with two other poles attached. This is called an outrigger and unlike south-east Asia that in Polynesia they don’t have two outriggers. They also made double hulled canoe and asymmetric canoe which had one longer canoe and one shorter. These were one of the first open sea going ships.

History of Mycenaean Greece

Death Mask of Agamemnon

The Mycenaean Greek history was split into two eras. It started in around 1600BC in the Shaft Grave Era that ended in 1450BC at the collapse of the Minoan civilisation. The Shaft Grave period was when MycenaeanGreeks were the underdogs in the Aegean world with the Minoans ruling the seas while the Mycenaeans were minor trade partners. While on land they lived in simplistic citadels and they were influenced by the Minoan in ships, palaces and writing. The elite were buried in elegant shafts dug into the ground with great treasures. After the eruption of the volcanic island Theya, the Minoan civilization went into a steep decline and the with the loss of the sea domination and no army to speak of, they were quickly conquered by the militarisedMycenaeans. This started the Koine era, which was their hay day. From 1450 to 1250 they ruled the seas, built giant palaces, and fought great wars. But in 1250 the troubles started when most palaces were destroyed by natural disasters and unknown armies. However, they repaired the palaces and although they lost mastery of the sea to the sea people, they carried on until 1100 BC, when all palaces were destroyed or abandoned.

Mycenean Greece

Mycenaean World en.png

Mycenean Greece (1600-1100 BC) is the first civilization on the mainland that spread trade as far as the black sea and built giant palaces and fortifications, and famously sacked Troy. The Mycenaen Greece were a naval nation second to only the sea people going as far as the black sea and Italy. The Mycenaean Greeks had structured society with the king at the top with district captains ruling smaller districts and gave the taxes to the king then free men who were administrators, farmers, craftsmen, and merchants, and finally the slaves who did the grunt work. The main palaces were in Athens, Thebes, Orchomenus, Iolcos, Pylos, Mycenae, Elis, Menelation, and Knossos (after they invaded Crete). This is the overview for Mycenae. Tomorrow we shall look at the history of Mycenaean Greece.

Fourth Crusade part 2

We shall carry on with the fourth crusade for today.

Arrival at Constantinople

After the Venetians and crusaders conquered Zara, they set out on a long journey to Constantinople where they stopped at towns with Alexios IV’s supporters. When they got there, immediately skirmishes broke out. The most important one was when 500 knights routed 2,000 Byzantines. This secured the lands across the Bosporus strait and the safety of their forages.

The Siege of Constantinople

After the skirmishes, the siege set in. The Venetians besieged and captured the suburbs across the Golden Horn where they set up their base while the crusaders set up base on the flat ground facing the main wall of Constantinople. The Byzantines had a garrison of 15,000: 5,000 Varangians {the elite Nordic guard} and 10,000 regular garrison troops. The fighting was fierce; many times the Venetians (who were the bravest troops) thrusted into the city only to be driven back and they had to burn parts of the city to get out. These fires damaged morale and made Emperor Alexios III (Alexios IV’s uncle) look bad, so in the cover of the night he slipped away to Thrace. The officials raised Alexios IV’s father, Ivan III, back again as emperor {he had ben blinded and thrown into prison by Alexios III} and the crusaders agreed that Alexios IV became co-ruler.

The Reign of Alexios IV 

Alexios IV faced problems from the start. He had to pay the crusaders but he managed to pay only half of it. Then the Varangian also want their pay but Alexios couldn’t, so they left. The crusaders wanted the rest of their money now, but Alexios had none, so he said that when the yearly taxes arrived in 3 months time, he would pay. But the crusader couldn’t wait because the Ayyubids were just getting stronger and they needed the money and troops to make up of what they lost. The crusaders set siege to Constantinople again. Without the elite Varangian guard and with only poorly trained militia against veteran crusaders, the city fell quickly. After the sacking, the crusaders set up kingdoms and gave a lot of land to Venice. These kingdoms were eventually retaken by the Byzantines, but poor leadership and a crumbling economy led to military reliance on their vassals the Ottomans, who became their down fall. That is it for the fourth crusade; the rest of the week will be on the Bronze Age.


Fourth Crusade Part 1

The fourth crusade was the crusade that went wrong. It turned against fellow Christians, hit the Byzantines with a mortal blow, and sealed the fate of the Byzantine Empire. This week we shall do key moments in history starting with the Sack of Constantinople in 1204.

The Start

The failure of the third crusade sparked Pope Innocent III to call for the fourth crusade. The call was answered by an army assembled by Boniface Marquis of Montferrat, which was composed mostly of people from the Holy Roman empire (Germany and Austria) and France. The plan was to invade Egypt from sea and then move to Jerusalem. The crusaders paid the Venetians a whopping 85,000 marks, twice the amount Richard the Lionheart got yearly to build their ships! But when they got to Venice, it was a huge disappointment. The crusaders said they were going to bring around 40,000 people, but that was estimated on how many they thought they would recruit, and they actually ended up with having an army of only 12,000. The Venetians demanded full payment and the crusaders managed to give halve of it but there were threatened with starvation. the doge of Venice decided two bend the situation to his advantage. He said that if they conquered the city of Zara all debts would payed and the Venetians would supply the expedition. They captured and wintered there this is where the exiled prince Alexios V of byzantine who’s farther was usurped by his brother who now sat on the throne of Byzantium. he said if they help he would  

pay 200,000 marks

give 10,000 men for the crusade

send ships for transfer to Egypt

give the authority of the orthodox church to the pope

And so it was agreed. Any commander who was stalling was bribed by the Venetians, who sent troops as well.