Washington, September 21 (ANI): The Roman Empire might have dominated a large part of history, but few know that its rule was challenged by a warrior known as Hermann during 9 AD, who had thwarted their advance into Germany, allowing German history and culture to develop on its own.
According to a report in NU Journal, insight into this arc of the history of the Roman Empire was recently presented at a symposium at Martin Luther College in the US.
Dr. Hans Otto-Friedrich Mueller, the William D. Williams Professor of Classics at Union College in Schenectady, New York, gave a view of the battle.
Hermann, or Arminius as the Romans called him, is credited in Germany with blunting the Roman advance into Germany.
In Rome, he was considered a traitor, someone accepted as a Roman and trained as an officer in the Roman army, who then led an uprising in 9 A.D. against the three Roman legions in Germany, annihilating them all in the three-day Battle of the Teutoberg Forest that is celebrated in New Ulm, Minnesota.
An estimated 20,000 Romans were lost in the battle, an act that shocked the people of Rome and their emperor, Augustus Caesar.
The Romans sent two more expeditions into the area in the next few years, under Tiberius Caesar who later became emperor, and under the general Germanicus, but they couldn't engage the Germans in pitched battle.
There were no cities to sack and plunder, and Rome eventually decided to make the Rhine River its frontier, instead of the Elbe.
Roman Generals fought campaigns for their own profit and power, not necessarily for the state, and their troops, which shared in their plunder, gave their loyalty to their general.
Essentially, a campaign to subjugate the Germanic territory controlled by Arminius was too expensive. There was no real return to be gained.
The land was considered unsuited for much cultivation, the cattle too small, there was no gold or silver, not much commerce to be taxed.
It was easier, from a Roman security standpoint, to play the German tribes' native animosity against each other, letting them battle each other in bloody wars, rather than try to control them with Roman troops, according to Mueller.
"For the Germans, the victory gave them freedom from paying taxes to Rome and the freedom to engage in bloody battles with each other. Who's to say they wouldn't have been better off under Roman control?" said Mueller.
"Ultimately, their poverty helped preserve their liberty," he added. (ANI)