Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/145

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THE ROMAN REGIONS UNDER VARUS. 139


Germans, and it was here that the Roman captives were slain in sacrifice by the victorious warriors of Arminius.*

Never was victory more decisive, never was the liberation of an oppressed people more instantaneous and complete. Throughout Germany the Roman garrisons were assailed and cut off; and, within a few weeks after Varus had fallen, the German soil was freed from the foot of an invader.

At Rome the tidings of the battle were received with an agony of terror, the reports of which we should deem exaggerated, did they not come from Roman historians themselves. They not only tell emphatically how great was the awe which the Romans felt of the prowess of the Germans, if their various tribes could be brought to unite for a common purpose,† but also they reveal how weakened and debased the population of Italy had become. Dion Cassius says (lib. lvi., sec. 23), "Then Augustus, when he heard the calamity of Varus, rent his garment, and was in great affliction for the troops he had lost, and for terror respecting the Germans and the Gauls. And his chief alarm was, that he expected them to push on against Italy and Rome; and there remained no Roman youth fit for military duty that were worth speaking of, and the allied populations, that were at all serviceable, had been wasted away. Yet he prepared for the emergency as well as his means allowed; and when none of the citizens of military age were willing to enlist, he made them cast lots, and punished by confiscation of goods and disfranchisement every fifth man among those under thirty-five, and every tenth man of those above that age. At last, when he found that not even thus could he make many come forward, he put some of them to death. So he made a conscription of discharged veterans and of emancipated slaves, and, collecting as large a force

  • "Lucis propinquis barbarae arae, apud quas tribunes ac primorum ordinum centuriones mactaverant."—Tacitus, Ann., lib. i., c. 61.

† It is clear that the Romans followed the policy of fomenting dissensions and wars of the Germans among themselves. See the thirty-third section of the "Germania" of Tacitus, where he mentions the destruction of the Bructeri by the neighboring tribes: "Favore quodam erga nos deorum: nam ne spectaculo quidem proelii invidere: super ix. millia non armis telisque Romanis, sed quod magnificentius est, oblectationi oculisque ceciderunt. Maneat quaeso, duretque gentibus, si non amor nostri, at certe odium sui: quando urgentibus imperii fatis, nihil jam praestare fortuna majus potest quam hostium discordiam."