The Battle That Stopped Rome: Emperor Augustus, Arminius, and the Slaughter of the Legions in the Teutoburg Forest Hardcover – 4 Nov 2003
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"Wells does an excellent job of weaving the few written accounts, recent archaeological evidence, and his own interpretation into a compelling story that is fluently written and well organized."
Gives the story in clear and engrossing detail.
Peter Wells conducts us to a hitherto mysterious and myth-enshrouded place....A journey well worth taking. --Robert Cowley, editor of What If?"
Gives the story in clear and engrossing detail. "
Always literate and learned....Wells is able not only to reconstruct a credible analysis of the German strategy, but also to explore the thoughts and fears of the combatants on both sides as the massacre commenced. "
Wells does an excellent job of weaving the few written accounts, recent archaeological evidence, and his own interpretation into a compelling story that is fluently written and well organized. " --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Peter S. Wells is professor of archaeology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Battle That Stopped Rome and The Barbarians Speak. He lives in St. Paul. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
He also has an awful habit of repeating himself and you will get a terrible sense of déjà vu as you read the same paragraph you know you read a few chapters earlier. For a book on the Teutoburg battle there is woefully little space given over to the event. Wells wastes far too many pages on an amateurish attempt to explain the socio-economic situation in the Roman Empire at the time of the battle. Upon reading these chapters you get the impression Wells has lifted from primary sources without really understanding what he is reading.
At one point he writes a particularly graphic description of the battlefield post-conflict. Sadly his inability read up on the local flora and fauna leads to a rather ridiculous description of local animals, including vultures feasting on the fallen.
If written by a student on Roman history, his text would be worthy of a reasonable grade as it at least shows some evidence that the author has examined the primary sources, but when you take into account the author is supposedly an expert on Roman archaeology and is a professor of Anthropology this book can only be described as an expensive doorstop.Read more ›
In a nuttshell, and regardless of whether the reader is someone with just a passing interest in this topic or a history buff (or even a historian or an archeologist), this book does not provide a satisfactory answer to any of these three questions. Besides, there are quit a few other books which are better in dealing with what happened or even strictly with the archeological evidence, as other reviewers have mentioned.
Rather than being about substance and analysis, this book is about hype, form, visual and sensational effects (preferably gory!), with the author giving a free rein to his vivid imagination. As another review (Stuart) mentioned, at times, when reading the last section (the account of the battle itself), I felt I was reading the script for a Gladiator-style movie rather than an account of a historical event. Note that I loved Gladiator. It's one of my favorite films. It's great fun and I've seen it at least half a dozen times. However, it's NOT history and it's own author had never intended it to be. Rather, it was a bit of a "pastiche" and a modernized summary of the peplums that Hollywood used to come up with in the 1960s. This book has the same feeling but it is rather disingeneously portrayed as a piece of history and archeology.Read more ›
The broad outlines of the battle are reasonably well understood. Arminius, a member of the Cherusci tribe who had served in the Roman army and had become a Roman citizen, led three legions under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus into a trap east of the Rhine. While the legions were on the march in a column that may have been over two miles long, they were ambushed by Germanic warriors. The terrain and the extended column prevented the Roman units from forming up properly, with the horrific result that 20,000 or so men (and possibly a large group of camp followers) were killed on the spot, ritually sacrificed or sold into slavery. The catastrophe cost the Roman army almost ten percent of its effective strength, revived Roman fears of an invasion by northern barbarians, and may have induced the Romans to halt the expansion of their empire at the Rhine River rather than pressing on to the Elbe.
Wells tends to dismiss ancient descriptions of the battle, arguing that classical historians suffered from the fact that they were not present at the battle, were often writing long after the fact, and were burdened by stereotyped and inaccurate notions of how the Germanic tribes fought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How gross incompetence and pride cost Rome 3 elite Legions!Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
The thesis of this book is that the battle of the Teutoburg Forest was responsible for stopping Rome's expansion. To prove this Dr. Read morePublished on 23 Sept. 2011 by Arch Stanton
I bought this book in the hope it would offer new evidence and discussion on the infamous loss of the Varus legions in the Teutoberg forest in AD 9. Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2010 by travelswithadiplomat
In the early first century BC the Romans abandoned their efforts to include the lands east of the Rhine in their empire. Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2009 by Freiburg
In AD 9 three Roman legions of about 15,000 men were massacred in the forests of Germany by local warriors. Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2008 by Adam Graham Malster
Fabulous discussion of the times, the battle and the aftermath for those of us interested in such a review. Read morePublished on 7 April 2007 by Killian
This is a workmanlike volume which serves as an introduction to what happened, but it doesn't satisfy - most of the text is context (potted early history of Rome, background to the... Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2007 by D. Harris
Having just read the paperback version of this book I must agree with the reviewer from Norwich with respect to it's poor content and structure. Read morePublished on 14 Mar. 2005 by Bernard Dee
Sorry, had i read this before Major Tony Clunns book, in Quest of the Lost Legions I would have given a high star rating, but remember, Maj Clunn actually discovered the... Read morePublished on 27 Feb. 2005 by Mr. R. J. Nichol