The Battle of Teutoburg Forest was a critical battle in the history of the Roman Empire and in the formation of the German state. This battle took place during the reign of Augustus in 9 AD during the time of the Roman Empire expansion. The fall of the Romans in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest was the consequence of several mistakes and strategic blunders by the Roman general Varus and his superiors in Rome. This paper will outline these mistakes as well as the strategic advantages that Arminius exploited on behalf of the Germanic tribes that successfully pushed back the Romans from the forest. The defeat at Teutoburg devastated the Roman emperor Augustus, who, as a result, lost his willpower to pursue the continued expansion of the Roman empire. The strategic mistakes and Roman miscues at Teutoburg had far-reaching ramifications beyond the battle itself.
II. Body Section One
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest was between two very distinct and separate cultures. The Romans, led by Varus under the reign of Augustus, were fighting on behalf of the Roman Empire, aiming to conquer all Barbarian lands and folding them into their empire. The German warriors represented a culturally less developed region that was not interested in becoming a part of the Roman empire. These disparate tribes also possessed local knowledge about the landscape and were motivated by a desire to keep the invading armies out of their land.
The Romans made strategic blunders in the lead up to this battle the first of which included the appointment of Publius Quinctilius Varus to serve as the general of the Roman army, and equipping him with an army that was not suited to the terrain of the forest.
When Augustus was determining who would serve as general, he chose an ill-qualified man that prove to be detrimental to the result of the battle. In Augustus' search for a general, he looked no further than his own extended family. Varus was the husband of Augustus’ grandniece and served as governor in Syria. He possessed no experience or talent as a military commander which made him ill-qualified as a general to the powerful Roman Army .iA5 At age 55, Varus was characterized as a soft, complacent, avaricious, indolent, and vain man whose knowledge of military tactics derived from the talk and gossip of his subordinates.iiC3 Varus also possessed a mindset that proved to be extremely fatal? to the outcome of the battle. He underestimated the difficulty of his task and relied on his belief that “his wife’s fond and careful uncle, wouldn’t have sent him to Germany unless the work was easy”iiiC5 Another one of Varus’ faults was the belief that his army was invincible, and that the barbarians were an easy target.ivC4
Another element that contributed to the defeat of the Roman army was the experience and skill of Varus’ opponent, Arminius, King of Cherusci, an extremely competant general whose background included intimate knowledge of Roman military tactics. Arminius...