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 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.
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.
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.