Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/227

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
213
THE ROMAN LEGIONS UNDER VARUS.

more to do with us than the natural history of the animals which then inhabited our forests." There seems ample evidence to prove that the Romanized Celts whom our Teutonic forefathers found here, influenced materially the character of our nation. But the mainstream of our people was and is Germanic Our language alone decisively proves this. Arminius is far more truly one of our national heroes than Caractacus: and it was our own primeval fatherland that the brave German rescued when he slaughtered the Roman legions eighteen centuries ago, in the marshy glens between the Lippe and the Ems.[1]

Dark and disheartening, even to heroic spirits, must have seemed the prospects of Germany when Arminius planned the general rising of his countrymen against Rome. Half the land was occupied by Roman garrisons; and, what was worse, many of the Germans seemed patiently acquiescent in their state of bondage. The braver portion, whose patriotism could be relied on, was ill-armed and undisciplined; while the enemy's troops consisted of veterans in the highest state of equipment and training, familiarized with victory, and commanded by officers of proved skill and valour. The resources of Rome seemed boundless; her tenacity

  1. See post, remarks on the relationship between the Cherusci and the English.