Romes Greatest Defeat: Massacre in the Teutoburg Forest
Book Review of Romes Greatest Defeat: Massacre in Teutoburg Forest
Instead, Murdoch stresses that Varus could reasonably assume that he could start to organize the new province's governmental infrastructure. As he was to discover, this was based on too optimistic a view on the extent to which the Germans had become pro-Roman, but the governor was a careful man. He had "what can loosely be called a counter-intelligence network of his own" p. Although this identification of the cause of the disaster is clearly inspired by the failure of the American intelligence services in the present war in Iraq as Murdoch indicates on p.
In short, this book is almost perfect. Almost : no writer is omniscient and no reviewer can resist the temptation to split some hairs. In the first place: Alexander the Great was not halted by the Jhelum but by the Beas p.
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In the second place, Flavius Josephus cannot have been a rabbi p. In his age, a rabbi was a religious teacher, well-versed in the study of the Scriptures and the oral traditions of the Pharisees, a branch of Judaism for which the Hasmonaean aristocrat Josephus never felt much sympathy. Finally, the Batavians did not occupy "the area at the mouth of the Rhine around which the modern town of Leiden is now situated" p. This was the territory of the Cananefates.
The Batavians lived more to the east, with Nijmegen Batavodurum or Oppidum Batavorum as their capital.
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This topographical error is related to another one, Murdoch's misunderstanding of what he calls "the Drusus Ditch" that "connected the Rhine with the Zuider Zee and the North Sea via the River Vecht" p. Although this was once a common hypothesis, it has been abandoned since the tombstone of Marcus Mallius, a legionary who wanted to be buried near one of Drusus' hydraulic projects, was dredged out of the Rhine east of Arnhem.
To control the entrance of the canal, the Romans built Castra Herculis, a satellite of the major legionary base at Nijmegen.
If Murdoch had used a map based on adequate palaeogeographic research, he would not have weakened the point he is trying to make: "a protected channel that avoided the open sea was [ The Romans were never comfortable sailors and the North Sea especially made them nervous". View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Over four days at the beginning of September AD 9, half of Rome's Western army was ambushed in a German forest and annihilated.
About the Author : Adrian Murdoch is a journalist specialising in history, business and geopolitical issues.
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
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Battle of Teutoburg Forest
Seller Rating:. New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. Published by The History Press Published by Sutton Publishing. Murdoch quickly offers that his work is intended for either the lay audience, or history enthusiasts who might not have an in depth familiarity with the circumstances at hand.
His style is easy and engaging, lacking the occasional pretentiousness associated with historical academia. While he may be correct that it will be initially more appealing to a general audience than one of scholarly credentials, dismissing it out of hand for this same reason would be a terrible mistake. The reader must acknowledge the depth and scope of this offering, drawn from all available ancient sources and seamlessly merged with up to date modern archaeology.
There will clearly be little new to offer regarding ancient source history of the events in question, but rarely will you be treated to a such a well organized and concise collection of these sources which are fully attributed throughout along with the impact of recent archaeology. Murdoch dedicates the first half of the book to the battle and more interestingly to the players involved as the historical accounts of the actual battle are sketchy at best, a review of personalities naturally makes a greater impact. The standard cast of characters is included, from imperial family members Augustus, Tiberius and Germanicus to the great scapegoat Publius Quinctilius Varus, the Roman governor of Germania who led 3 Roman legions to their ultimate destruction.
However, it is the Germanic iconic hero Arminius who receives the greatest attention.