ancient history has become almost synonymous with the immense significance and influence of the marvelous roman empire extending far across the european continent and lasting for centuries the romans seemed capable of doing just about anything that they put their minds to regardless of the challenge so why did they stop where they did was there a reason why rome never conquered germania the fact that germania never fell under.
the roman crown was not entirely due to a lack of trying from rome while there was a point when the romans decided to avoid the region this wasn’t the case at first initially germania was actually a target of the roman empire after securing gaul under the reign of caesar augustus around 20 bc the romans had consolidated their power in gaul and began to increase military presence throughout the rhineland this led augustus to start considering.
the prospect of expanding further and seizing germania although he was quickly forced to rethink his plan in 17 bc three germanic tribes the cecambri uzipiz and ticteri unexpectedly launched an incursion across the river into roman territory the tribes ended up running into the roman fifth legion under marcus lalius and emerged victorious which seemed to startle augustus enough that he felt the need to pause any advances into Germania.
the goal now was to increase military presence and power in gaul even more first and foremost although another scuffle soon after between the germanic tribes and lollies and his men finally pushed the invaders back across the river and force the ceasefire over the next few years the romans now put increased effort into creating a more stable and controlled environment and military control.
in gaul in 13 bc nero claudius dresses became the governor of gaul but was quickly met with a rebellion previously augustus had established a new census for tax collection which had greatly angered the locals it was now druss’s responsibility to deal with the backlash while also working to bring a new string of forts along the rhine in preparation for future expansion the first major test of rome’s newly strengthened military.
in the region came when a couple of germanic tribes the sicambri and the yuzupits returned to roman territory with another offensive drossis managed to push the attackers back and decided to follow them across the river to propel his own invasion the romans then plundered the lands of the tribes before continuing on into the modern day.
netherlands and then routed the friesians and attacked the calkins before heading back to rome a year later drussus would return to his conquering ways and pushing on until the approaching winter and dwindling supplies brought the campaign to an end sending the romans back to their own territory as they tried to return home they were attacked once again by a germanic tribe and were nearly defeated without ever reaching gaul in 10 bc dross is sent out on another campaign and managed to capture the lands of the chatty and surrounding germanic tribes then returned to rome for a short period before blazing the expansion trail.
once more the following year on the fourth offensive drustus conquered new territory and pillaged many cities of the local tribes he spread the roman border as he went and when it was finally time to travel back to rome he had carried himself an impressive reputation but on his return.
ride dresses fell off his horse and died a month later from an infection caused by the severe injury he’d sustained from the fall after drusis rome still had its sights set on germania his successor tiberius quickly launched his own campaign into germania and found immense fortune as he continued the work of drusis according to roman scholar cassio doris.
who wrote about the time period in the 6th century a.d all germans who lived between the elb and rhine had surrendered to the roman invaders this means that for a while not only did rome tried to conquer germania but the empire had actually been pretty successful in doing it so far and continued to consolidate this newly expanded territory tiberius continued to push.
through the rhineland and actually began to form friendships with some of the german tribes it appeared that rome would easily continue to stretch its border over more and more of germania with little resistance tiberius had more military bases built and began to show special favor to the koruski tribe of which one member armenius would later play.
a major role in what would happen to the romans in germania for now rome saw the german tribes as mostly conquered or allied with aside from the marco mani though a large-scale offensive had been prepared to take down the marco mani and their king maru barus the romans had to abandon this plan to instead address a revolt in illyricum as tiberius was now busy.
in the balkans the leadership of the romans in germania was given to publius quintilius varys who was left only three legions to command varys was also given armenius as an advisor and the two quickly built up trust completely unbeknownst to varys though armenius was actually working to unite the germanic tribes back home and create a shared hatred of varys and the romans this wasn’t all either as summer was ending arminius created.
a false rumor of a supposed uprising happening at a large enough scale that varys immediate action was required the night before varys left to go subdue the rebellion armenius father-in-law came to warn the roman commander he insisted that armenius was not to be trusted and that he was actually responsible for the uprising that was about to happen varys quickly blew him off and accused him of acting on a personal vendetta against arminius with that belief varys left.
the next day with arminius at his side commanding him on a detour route that he claimed would give the best positioning for an ambush at some point along the way the men separated as arminius alleged to be going out to gain support from local germanic tribes but was instead gathering his own army that he had created prior behind varys back as the romans marched along.
through a narrow gap of forest between a hill and bog completely out of any type of battle formations and barely fitting through the 60-foot wide space german troops suddenly began to arrive on the scene the romans were at a major disadvantage as the germans launched their own attack the terrain was to no aid of the roman troops.
but furthermore arminius knew their every strategy after being raised in rome as a hostage tribute from his father he knew exactly what they could and would do and was one step ahead at all times with his own commands the romans were quickly hit with significant casualties as they spent the next 24 hours trying to gain traction to fight back or simply escape varys would soon fall.
on his own sword after recognizing that there was no other way out without becoming another victim of the germans and his other commanders did the same or were struck down as they tried to flee the roman troops were left leaderless and swiftly fell to the germanic tribes in a vicious one-sided battle the conflict ended with roughly 15 000.
roman casualties and the complete removal of all things roman from east of the rhine though the surviving roman legions in germania managed to keep arminius and his troops from invading into gaul there was nothing more for them to do in germania when word reached emperor augustus it is said that he was so disturbed by the defeat that he stood shouting varys give me back my legions.
while hitting his head against a wall although there are many theories as to why this event ended rome’s conquering ambitions in germania one thing is clear augustus would not risk it again he sent his nephew germanicus to avenge the lost legions and there was surely some success at first but after defeating arminius and feeling they’d sought enough revenge.
the romans pulled back and decided to remain on their side of the rhine with the previous devastating defeat still haunting the minds of the roman leadership they decided that the potential gains of seizing all of germania did not outweigh the risks it undeniably posed while there is a multitude of reasons that may have contributed to the new roman belief that germania didn’t offer.
enough to make the risks they’d have to take to conquer it worth it there is no question as to when or what caused such a sudden shift in thought the routing at the battle of tutterberg forest completely stunned augustus and rome as a whole the betrayal of armenius the gullibility of varys and the catastrophic results of the events leading up to the conflict were enough to severely shake.
the confidence of an entire empire the proud belief that rome just may be unstoppable or even invincible was utterly shattered germanicus did his parts to pick up the pieces as well as could be done but that was all the romans could stomach germania was no longer worth conquering and would instead remain a terrifying reminder of the nightmare its tribes had so effortlessly yet unexpectedly caused.
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