Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/148

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

142 ARMINIUS.


haps he may have had the rare moderation of being content with the liberation of his country, without seeking to retaliate on her former oppressors. When Tiberius marched into Germany in the year 10, Arminius was too cautious to attack him on ground favorable to the legions, and Tiberius was too skillful to entangle his troops in the difficult parts of the country. His march and countermarch were as unresisted as they were unproductive. A few years later, when a dangerous revolt of the Roman legions near the frontier caused their generals to find them active employment by leading them into the interior of Germany, we find Arminius again active in his country's defense. The old quarrel between him and his father-in-law, Segestes, had broken out afresh. Segestes now called in the aid of the Roman general, Germanicus, to whom he surrendered himself; and by his contrivance, his daughter Thusnelda, the wife of Arminius, also came into the hands of the Romans, being far advanced in pregnancy. She showed, as Tacitus relates,* more of the spirit of her husband than of her father, a spirit that could not be subdued into tears or supplications. She was sent to Ravenna, and there gave birth to a son, whose life we know, from an allusion in Tacitus, to have been eventful and unhappy; but the part of the great historian's work which narrated his fate has perished, and we only know from another quarter that the son of Arminius was, at the age of four years, led captive in a triumphal pageant along the streets of Rome.

The high spirit of Arminius was goaded almost into phrensy by these bereavements. The fate of his wife, thus torn from him, and of his babe doomed to bondage even before its birth, inflamed the eloquent invectives with which he roused his countrymen against the home-traitors, and against their invaders, who thus made wax upon women and children. Germanicus had marched his army to the place where Varus had perished, and had there paid funeral honors to the ghastly relics of his predecessor's legions that he found heaped around him.† Arminius lured him to advance a little further into the country, and then assailed him, and fought a battle, which, by the Roman accounts, was a drawn

  • "Ann.," i., 57.

† In the Museum of Rhenish Antiquities at Bonn there is a Roman sepulchral monument, the inscription on which records that it was erected to the memory of M. Coelius, who fell "Bello Variano."