• After witnessing the Varus killing fields, They were furious and wanted revenge against Arminius and the Cherusci.
  • Maybe Germs had calculated this?
  • Or maybe it was an accident?
  • With the Bructeri out of reach Germanicus set out in pursuit of Arminius, who skillfully led him deeper into the pathless forests.
  • I feel like I’ve seen this movie before?
  • At last the Germans halted in a plain and Germanicus sent his cavalry forward against them.
  • But then of course More Germans appeared like magic from the woods, like Boccacio from behind the curtains in Maria’s bedroom, where they had been hiding for an ambush, and the Roman cavalry was nearly driven into a swamp 
  • Lucky for them, Germanicus thew his legions into the fray and they managed to escape.
  • And then Germs looked as his watch and said “oh shit lookit the time, I have a thing” and the Romans went back to the Rhine.
  • He took his legions back on the boats but the other poor fuckers had to march with the Cherusci at their backs.
  • Caecina had to use a causeway through the marshes built about 2 BC by L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, one of the most distinguished commanders in Germany during the time of Tiberius’ retirement at Rhodes
  • He was told to WALK QUICKLY.
  • But he had a slow-moving baggage train, and Arminius was able to easily overtake him and occupy the woods on either side of the causeway.
  • And this wasn’t Caecina’s only problem.
  • The causeway itself was in a state of considerable dilapidation and needed repairs before it could be crossed in safety.
  • In this awkward predicament Caecina made camp and divided his forces, sending some to work on the causeway while others repelled the attacks of the enemy.
  • By night, the Germans had managed to undo most of the repair work the Romans had done on the causeway.
  • And the ghost of Varus appeared to Caecina in a dream, beckoning him to destruction in the marshes.
  • Tacitus: It was a restless night for different reasons, the barbarians in their festivity filling the valleys under the hills and the echoing glens with merry song or savage shouts, while in the Roman camp were flickering fires, broken exclamations, and the men lay scattered along the intrenchments or wandered from tent to tent, wakeful rather than watchful. A ghastly dream appalled the general. He seemed to see Quintilius Varus, covered with blood, rising out of the swamps, and to hear him, as it were, calling to him, but he did not, as he imagined, obey the call; he even repelled his hand, as he stretched it over him.
  • The next day, the Romans tried to move out but some of the legions got stuck in the mud.
  • When there was maximum chaos, Arminius charged.
  • He was hoping for a repeat of his victory over Varus.
  • But this time his Germans were too eager to grab the loot and by nightfall the surviving Romans had managed to get to dry ground.
  • But they had lost their tools and tents and first aid kits in the mud,
  • And the little food they had was covered in blood and slime.
  • That night a horse broke loose and ran through the camp created a panic among the troops.
  • Thinking that the Germans had breached the defences, they made a mad rush for the gates.
  • Caecina tried to stop them, but they wouldn’t listen to orders, they were in full panic mode.
  • The only thing to stop them from running away was when Caecina threw himself across the opening.
  • The troops didn’t really want to trample their commander to death – yet – and at last listened to everyone explain it was just a runaway horse.
  • When calm was restored, Caecina gave the order for a mass sortie that would bring the army to the Rhine.
  • Whether he could have succeeded if the Germans had adhered to the admirable tactics that Arminius had employed so far must remain doubtful, but fortunately for the Romans a dispute arose between Arminius, who wanted to let the Romans leave their camp and then finish the massacre begun on the previous day, and his uncle, Inglorious Bastard, who argues they should just storm the camp and so save the booty from getting needlessly muddy.
  • I don’t know about you, Ray, but there’s nothing I hate more than muddy booty.
  • Unfortunately for the Germans, but fortunately for the Romans, the greed of the Germans was too strong and they attacked the camp.
  • At first it seemed as if it might succeed, but the legions held firm and began to fight back.
  • In fact the Romans seem to get excited about it.
  • Nothing like fighting for your booty.
  • Or WITH your body.
  • At last they had the Germans on decent level ground.
  • The German’s confidence rapidly deserted them and the day ended in a resounding Roman victory.
  • Arminius himself escaped unscathed, but Inguiomerus was seriously wounded.
  • Serves him fucking right.
  • Meanwhile
  • Back at the Rhine base, rumours were spreading that the Germans had surrounded Caecina and were heading towards the river.
  • There was a mass panic and many of the people wanted to destroy the bridge over the river.
  • Only Agrippina, Germanicus’ wife, stopped them.
  • The stripped down naked and started dancing on the bridge.
  • Oh wait, maybe I just dreamed that.
  • Whatever she did, the bridge stayed up, which was lucky for the survivors of Caecina’s legions, as they straggled back, they were greeted by Agrippina on the bridge.
  • Maybe naked.
  • She saved lives – but Tibbo wasn’t happy about her efforts.
  • He already didn’t trust her.
  • He thought she had an unwomanly interest in the legions and this was just further proof of impatient ambition.
  • He thought she was trying to build up her popularity with the legions so she could use it against him.
  • Remember that she is daughter of Julia the Elder, his ex-wife, and Agrippa.
  • AND she’s the mother of Caligula.
  • He also felt like by her actions she had undermined HIS authority.
  • By making it look like she was more powerful than his commanders.
  • Tacitus says this paranoia was fostered by Sejanus, who was playing his own game.
  • Tacitus: A woman of heroic spirit, she assumed during those days the duties of a general, and distributed clothes or medicine among the soldiers, as they were destitute or wounded. According to Caius Plinius, the historian of the German wars, (we know him as Pliny The Elder)  she stood at the extremity of the bridge, and bestowed praise and thanks on the returning legions. This made a deep impression on the mind of Tiberius. “Such zeal,” he thought, “could not be guileless; it was not against a foreign foe that she was thus courting the soldiers. Generals had nothing left them when a woman went among the companies, attended the standards, ventured on bribery, as though it showed but slight ambition to parade her son in a common soldier’s uniform, and wish him to be called Caesar Caligula. Agrippina had now more power with the armies than officers, than generals. A woman had quelled a mutiny which the sovereign’s name could not check.” All this was inflamed and aggravated by Sejanus, who, with his thorough comprehension of the character of Tiberius, sowed for a distant future hatreds which the emperor might treasure up and might exhibit when fully matured.
  • Do you know what happened to Pliny the Elder?
  • Just before he died, Vespasian appointed Pliny fleet commander of the Roman navy.
  • On August 24, 79, he was stationed at Misenum, at the time of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed and buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • He was preparing to cross the Bay of Naples to observe the phenomenon directly when a message arrived from his friend Rectina asking to rescue her and Pomponianus – OMG rectal vagina and pompos anus.
  • He raced towards them in a fast sailed cutter.
  • Pliny’s helmsman advised turning back, to which Pliny replied, “Fortune favors the brave; steer to where Pomponianus is.”
  • He got there, rescued Pomponianus, but they couldn’t find Rectina.
  • They loaded everyone they could onto the cutter, but the winds were too strong to allow them to leave.
  • Pliny reassured his party by feasting, bathing, and sleeping while waiting for the wind to abate but finally they had to leave the buildings for fear of collapse and try their luck in the pumice fall.
  • Pliny sat down and could not get up even with assistance and was left behind.
  • They found him three days later, covered by the pumice. (very light and porous volcanic rock formed when a gas-rich froth of glassy lava solidifies rapidly)
  • Just like Pliny, Germs had some problems getting back to the Rhine too.
  • To lighten to load on his ships, he made two legions get off and walk.
  • They did okay for a while, until sudden massive storms hit and they got flooded.
  • Eventually their commander, Vitellius, managed to get most of them to higher ground and the waters receded the next day.
  • Some historians blame Germs – storms like this were not uncommon at this season, and for not having more ships.
  • But none of this seems to have hampered his popularity.
  • Gaul, Spain and Italy all offered to provide him with new weapons, horses and money.
  • And he dipped into his own pockets to provide them for his men.
  • And his concern for their welfare seems to have blunted any criticism they may have had of him for his mismanagement.
  • Tacitus: And that he might also soften the remembrance of the disaster by kindness, he went round to the wounded, applauded the feats of soldier after soldier, examined their wounds, raised the hopes of one, the ambition of another, and the spirits of all by his encouragement and interest, thus strengthening their ardour for himself and for battle.
  • Officially the campaign was declared a success.
  • Caecina and two others were awarded Triumphal ornaments.
  • They got the dress and privileges traditionally granted to a triumphator, without the elaborate triumphal procession through Rome at the head of his troops.
  • They could wear triumphal dress in public: the corona triumphalis (a gold coronet fashioned in the shape of a laurel wreath with dangling gold ribbons); an ivory baton; the tunica palmata (a tunic embroidered with palm-leaves); and the toga picta (“painted toga”), a toga which was dyed entirely purple with embroidered gold border, a robe believed originally to have been the official dress of the Roman kings.
  • The only other Romans entitled to wear these garments were the emperor himself, the two Consuls in office and other magistrates when presiding over games.
  • In addition, a bronze statue of the beneficiary of triumphal honours was erected in the Forum of Augustus.
  • The beneficiary also had the right to display a further statue of himself in triumphal attire in the vestibule of his own house, which could also be displayed by his descendants.
  • Tacitus: The title of “father of his country,” which the people had so often thrust on him, Tiberius refused, nor would he allow obedience to be sworn to his enactments, though the Senate voted it, for he said repeatedly that all human things were uncertain, and that the more he had obtained, the more precarious was his position. But he did not thereby create a belief in his patriotism, for he had revived the law of treason, the name of which indeed was known in ancient times, though other matters came under its jurisdiction, such as the betrayal of an army, or seditious stirring up of the people, or, in short, any corrupt act by which a man had impaired “the majesty of the people of Rome.” Deeds only were liable to accusation; words went unpunished.
  • And Tacitus goes on to explain how accusations of treason became a tactic people used against each other.
  • But how Tiberius wasn’t ruthless about them – at first:
  • Tacitus: It will not be uninteresting if I relate in the cases of Falanius and Rubrius, Roman knights of moderate fortune, the first experiments at such accusations, in order to explain the origin of a most terrible scourge, how by Tiberius’s cunning it crept in among us, how subsequently it was checked, finally, how it burst into flame and consumed everything. Against Falanius it was alleged by his accuser that he had admitted among the votaries of Augustus (like a monk or nun), who in every great house were associated into a kind of brotherhood, one Cassius, a buffoon of infamous life, and that he had also in selling his gardens included in the sale a statue of Augustus. Against Rubrius the charge was that he had violated by perjury the divinity of Augustus. When this was known to Tiberius, he wrote to the consuls “that his father had not had a place in heaven decreed to him, that the honour might be turned to the destruction of the citizens. Cassius, the actor, with men of the same profession, used to take part in the games which had been consecrated by his mother to the memory of Augustus. Nor was it contrary to the religion of the State for the emperor’s image, like those of other deities, to be added to a sale of gardens and houses. As to the oath, the thing ought to be considered as if the man had deceived Jupiter. Wrongs done to the gods were the gods’ concern.”
  • Then there was the incident of Marcellus, proconsul of Bithynia, was accused of treason by his quaestor, Caepio Crispinus – he had placed his own statue above those of the Caesars, and had set the bust of Tiberius on another statue from which he had struck off the head of Augustus. At this the emperor’s wrath blazed forth, and, breaking through his habitual silence, he exclaimed that in such a case he would himself too give his vote openly on oath, that the rest might be under the same obligation. There lingered even then a few signs of expiring freedom. And so Cneius Piso asked, “In what order will you vote, Caesar? If first, I shall know what to follow; if last, I fear that I may differ from you unwillingly.” Tiberius was deeply moved, and repenting of the outburst, all the more because of its thoughtlessness, he quietly allowed the accused to be acquitted of the charges of treason. As for the question of extortion, it was referred to a special commission.
  • Sounds fairly moderate.
  • Let’s hope he stays that way.