Battle of the Teutoburg Forest

Annex A: Battle of the Teutoburg Forest between Paderborn Plateau and Moehne Valley


A.1 The information availabe for the localization of the Teutoburg Forest Battle

A.2 Determination of the location of the summer camp

A.3 Determination of the insurrectionary tribe

A.4 Determination of the location of the ambush

A.5 The course of the battle

A.6 The connection with the Saltus Teutoburgiensis mentioned by Tacitus as the site of the battle

A.7 The grave mound built by Germanicus

A.8 The grave mounds of the Germani






A.1 The information availabe for the localization of the Teutoburg Forest Battle


Starting point for the localization of the Teutoburg Forest Battle is the infrastructure of the province Germania Magna as described  in '2. Roads'. Especially the location of the legionary fortress Aliso in the present Unna is an important indication of the site of the battle.
As the survivors of the Varus Battle fled to Aliso, Aliso must have been somewhere on the way between the site of the battle and the Rhine, as possible directly west of the battlefield, since this direction was the shortest for an escape to the Rhine. This means in reverse, that the location of the Teutoburg Forest Battle is situated east of Unna. If this location would had been situated further north or further south, from there it would have been closer the Rhine than to Unna, and the escape to Aliso/Unna would have been a detour.

Lokalisation der Varusschlacht oestlich von Aliso/Unna
Fig. A.1-1: Area to be considered for the location of the Teutoburg Forest Battle (blue) east of Aliso/Unna (yellow)

Furthermore, ancient sources on the Teutoburg Forest Battle have to be considered, so by Tacitus and Cassius Dio (Wikipedia: Sources). Especially Cassius Dio reports in detail, he appears to have the most accurate information about the battle. We learn the following:

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A.2 Determination of the location of the summer camp


Varus planned to lead the 3 legions from the summer camp at the river Weser back to the winter camp in Unna/Aliso. Therefore, when searching for the location of the camp, one must first ask, which section of the river Weser in the year 9 AD the Romans had military importance.

As the Romans probably at first have secured the economically interesting regions of Germania, ie the large Loess plains, which had already developed agriculturally also by the local population, the Weser Uplands and there the Loess areas was one of the first occupation goals. The section of the Weser between the foothills of the Warburg Boerde at Beverungen and the Boerde areas of the Ravensberg Basin near Bad Oeynhausen should therefore have been considered secured military by 9 AD.


The next target was the for agriculture also very favorable north German Plain. The control of the North German Plain is likely to have been the purpose of the Roman camp discovered in Porta Westfalica, because topographically the area around Porta Westfalica would have been an ideal location for a legionary camp. After the breakthrough of the river Weser through the Weser Hills and the Wiehen Hills from here the way is open to the North German Plain. From here targets in large parts of present-day Lower Saxony could be reached within a few days' march, and by this be bound by the mere military presence closer to the Empire.
Of course, a location more Weser downstream, right in the middle of the North German Plain, e.g. in Nienburg, would have been much more favorable, but here yet no Roman presence has been proved.
Since the provincialism of the North German Plain in the year 9 AD was probably not completed, the camps in the area at Porta Westfalica or possibly even further Weser downstream probably have been Varus' summer camps, in the winter the Romans retreated back into easier to be supplied camps near to the Rhine.

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A.3 Determination of the insurrectionary tribe


Arminius therefore had to come up with a good reason to to lure away Varus from the route. A small regional uprising lend itself very well to this. If suddenly over 20 000 Roman soldiers appear, a small uprising collapses immediately without any fighting. Varus would appear without much effort is in a positive light (on pure development work in the province one can not write such an exciting report for his boss in Rome).
Further it wouldn't have been possible to get across major military actions to the soldiers at the end of the military season in the fall.

Thus Varus was ready to make a detour from the planned route. However for the detour it was valid:

For Arminius it was therefore necessary to find a decoy (thus the supposedly insurrectionary tribe respectively also the tribe that felt threatened by the insurgents), to which a route with the above criteria led. Since this tribe respectively these tribes have played a decisive role in the Teutoburg Forest Battle, the hatred of the Romans on these tribes must have been correspondingly high, which would have made very probable exceptional actions of the Romans against these tribes during the revenge campaigns of Germanicus.
Good clues to determine these tribes therefore provides the answer to the following question:

Why the Marsi? 

Why the Marsi were in the extermination campaigns of Germanicus as first attacked and annihilated so brutally? Why was the next attack against the Chatti? Why didn't Germanicus combat the tribes involved in the Teutoburg Forest Battle one by one starting from the Rhine? The latter yet somehow would have been logical. From all tribes involved in the Teutoburg Forest Battle the settlement area of the Marsi was pretty much the furthest away from the Rhine, thus the attack on the Marsi resembled more like a commando operation deep behind enemy lines than a beginning of a war to sustainable suppression of the uprising.
The answer is that this proceeding simply corresponded to the Roman mentality. The Romans felt deeply hurt in their pride and wanted first to take revenge at the place of the ignominious defeat. Furthermore it should be clearly demonstrated to the Germani that they had to reckon again with the Romans in Germania, and that the Romans would not, shocked by the Teutoburg Forest battle, never again enter the forests of Germania.
By the Battle of the Harzhorn another revenge campaign similar to a commando operation became known, in which the Romans pursuited the Alemanni after their invasion in the Roman Empire in the year 233/234 deep into Germania.

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A.4 Determination of the location of the ambush


Looking closely at the settlements of the Marsi and the Chatti, is quickly to realize that they have well met Arminius' above mentioned criteria for the ambush.

The Romans knew the settlement area of ​​the Marsi between upper Lippe and upper Ruhr. The settlement area of ​​the Chatti bordered to the south of that of the Marsi, core areas were the plain of Fritzlar-Waber and the west Hesse depression down to the Giessen Basin, from 15 AD then also the Kassel basin. From Varus' summer camp at the Weser River, near Minden in particular (see A.2) just as well as from other possible locations for the summer camp, the 'Frankfurter Weg', also called 'Via Regia', a since the antiquity well-known tin and amber route from Bremen to Frankfurt via Minden and Paderborn, leads through the settlement areas of the Marsi and Chatti. Figure 2.3-2 shows the course of the Frankfurter Weg (Via Regia) between Minden and Korbach.

Frankfurter Weg
Fig. A.4-1: Protohistoric highway 'Frankfurter Weg' (brown) via the settlement areas of the Marsi (blue) and the Chatti (red)

Cassius Dio reports that the attack took place in dense forest ("they came upon Varus in the midst of forests by this time almost impenetrable"; Cassius Dio 56,19,5), ("coming through the densest thickets"; Cassius Dio 56, 20, 3). Even though today one cannot determine exactly where there was primeval forests in that area, but one can estimate the probability of the existence of the primeval forest.
In antiquity, because of the not very efficient farming methods those areas were settled at first that were because of the soil relatively easy to cultivate. Areas with Loess soils were thus settled first, which in reverse means that the intervening areas with less productive soils were not settled, and non-settlement or non-cultivationof the soil in Central Europe is usually accompanied by the spread of forest areas. If you look on the Soil Map of Kassel at the soils of the region concerned look, it can be seen, that the Paderborn Plateau mainly consists of flat brown earth, clayey-silty flow soil and limestone and dolomite weathering material. Flat brown soils are usually of low nutrient supply and usable field capacity, nowadays they are mostly used for forestry. As natural vegetation under the prevailing climate on  brown earth mixed forests of oak, beech and spruce would appear (Wikipedia: Braunerden). For the eastern Westphalia and the northern Hesse thus it can be deduced, that the settlement centers in the early 1st century were located in the Boerde areas surrounding the Paderborn Plateau (Hellweg Boerde, Warburg Boerde), while the Paderborn Plateau itself was forested.
Thus the first attack on the Roman baggage took place in the primeval forests of Paderborn Plateau.

Bodenuebersichtskarte Kassel
Fig. A.4-2: Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe: Soil map Kassel


Wald nördlich von Haaren
Fig. A.4-2a: Dense mixed forest at the Frankfurter Weg north of Haaren


Kalkscherben auf der Paderborner Hochflaeche
Fig. A.4-2b: Paderborn Plateau with agricultural use, limestone shards at Borchen (Wikipedia)


The routes of the prehistoric highways mostly consisted of several adjacent paths whose properties (steep climbs, path length) differed. This was also valid for the ‘Frankfurter Weg’ on the Paderborn plateau between Paderborn and Essentho, which is also referred in this section as ‘Via Regia’. The direct and shorter route from Paderborn to Essentho led through the Altenau Valley, with the disadvantage of large decline and incline on the slopes of the valley.

Via Regia kurz
Fig. A.4-3: Shorter route of the Via Regia via the Paderborn Plateau with steep slopes

However, large declines and inclines were unfavorable for a Roman Legion baggage due to the entrained wagons, this is why Varus has decided for the shortest route of the Via Regia, which did not lead through the Altenau Valley, thus the route from Paderborn via Alfen, and from there via Haaren on to Essentho. On this route too large declines and inclines are avoided.


Via Regia lang
Fig. A.4-4: Longer route of the Via Regia via the Paderborn Plateau with gentle slopes


Since the Marsi were not supposed insurrectionary, but probably as allies even had called for Varus’ help against the Chatti, Varus considered himself in the territory of the Marsi in friendly territory. For one, he thereby obviously waived a thorough own, that is Roman recon, and relied on the cavalry of the Germanic auxiliary troops, making the surprise attack by the Germani possible. Secondly, he agreed thereby also the very loose and extended marching order, which was necessary for the crossing of the dense forest areas of the Paderborn Plateau, and that enabled the disastrous defeat of the Romans.
 
Because of the betrayal of allies, and especially on the territory of allies, in retrospect the Romans were pretty peeved especially about the Marsi.

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A.5 The course of the battle


From the topography of the area between the Paderborn Plateau and the Moehne Valley and some basic military considerations conclusions on the course of battle can be drawn.


Day 1

The starting point of the battle was a camp in the area of Alfen on the Haar. The reason for this is that Varus wanted to cross the dense and for setting up a camp not suitable forest of the Paderborn Plateau as quickly as possible, and thus not wanted to waste a part of the first day's march with the advance to this forest.

After the morning roll call and the dismantling of the camp, the baggage marched off in direction of the Paderborn Plateau. It is assumed, that the baggage, which comprised 3 legions, 3 Alae (equestrian units) and 6 cohorts with a total of 15,000 to 20,000 soldiers, additionally 4,000 to 5,000 horse, draft- and pack animals, must have been a total of 15 to 20 km in length (Wikipedia: Battle of the Teutoburg Forest). Since such a baggage could hardly have moved through a dense forest with more than 5 km / h, the march onto the Paderborn Plateau has lasted several hours. Added to this was, that also the construction of the causeways, which was due to the entrained wagons necessary at least for the crossing of the Alme river south of Alfen for the advancement of the baggage, probably costed a lot of time.

In the early afternoon, also the end of the baggage was completely in the forest of the Paderborn Plateau.The front part of the at least 15 km long baggage had already crossed a huge part of the plateau, and was located south of the Herssweg on the Sintfeld. At this time the Germani were on the whole route of the Roman baggage in an optimal attack position. 

Varusschlacht Tag 1 nachmittags
Fig. A.5-1: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 1 afternoon, crossing of the Paderborn Plateau by the Romans (blue) and attack of the Germani (red)


The Germani stormed out of the dense forests and entangled the Legionnaires from the stretched baggage in single combats, which the Romans were mostly could not match for. Additionally there was wet and swampy ground in large parts of the combat zone. The incipient heavy rain then made ​​the situation even worse for the Romans.

Since it was a rainy September day, in the northern Sauerland (without the daylight saving time) it was latest by 7 a. m. pitch-dark, and the fighting were discontinued.
For Arminius the result of the 1st combat day was ambivalent. The Germani had afflicted the Romans pretty much, but they had not defeated them. Since it would hardly have been Arminius' plan to battle several days battle against the Romans, but to defeat the Romans in a surprise attack, he had missed his target first of all, and had to revise his strategy. Consequently, also the Germanic warriors were equipped only for one day, and had to withdraw in the direction of the Haar and to cater themselves at the end of the first day.

The Romans used the combat break also to re-establish the communication in the baggage, and by default a camp for the night was set up. Since due to the onset of darkness it was no longer possible to contract several thousand soldiers over several kilometers in the middle of the combat zone and to establish a central camp, the Romans entrenched themselves in smaller units along the combat area at theVia Regia.
Cassius Dio describes the setting up of a camp under difficult circumstances on a wooded hill ("so far as that [the setting up of the camp] was possible on a wooded mountain". This was probably the camp which Cassius Dio's informant knew about; that the setting up of only one central camp for logistical reasons has not been possible has already been mentioned above.

Varusschlacht Tag 1 abends
Fig. A.5-2: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 1 evening, setting up of field camps by the Romans along the combat area at the Via Regia (blue), retreat of the Germani towards the Haar (red)

A field camp of the 1st evening of the Teutoburg Forest Battle the remains of a 40 m x 50 m large approximate rectangular trench-wall construction at the Via Regia north of Haaren could correspond to:

Varusschlacht Marschlager
Fig. A.5-2a: Trench-wall construction at the Via Regia north of Haaren

Fig. A.5-2b: Trench-wall construction at the Via Regia north of Haaren


Close to the trench-wall construction there were several Roman military equipments:


Fig. A.5-2c: Part of a Roman short sword (Gladius Type Pompeji)


Teutoburg Forest Battle Gladius
Fig. A.5-2d: Part of a Roman short sword (Gladius Type Pompeji)


Teutoburg Forest Battle Apron Fitting
Fig. A.5-2e: Apron mount


Teutoburg Forest Battle strap fitting
Fig. A.5-2f: Strap fitting


Varusschlacht Pilumspitze
Fig. A.5-2g: Pilum head


Furthermore, according to old traditions on the Salmesfeld at Haaren a golden Roman eagle was found (Arminiusforschung: Goldadlerfund in Haaren?).

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Day 2

Cassius Dio describes that the Romans on Day 2 of the fighting came to a clearing and set up camp there, on the way there they were again attacked by the Germani (Cassius Dio: "though they did not get off without loss"). In the clearing, most likely again a camp was set up by default for the night. Since this was in a clearing, the setting up of the camp shouldn't have been difficult to do, accordingly high the quality of the installation should have been, whereby possibly until today remains of the camp have been preserved. Tacitus also reports on such well set up camp: "Varus' first camp, with its broad sweep and measured spaces for officers and eagles, advertised the labours of three legions." Tacitus speaks of the firstcamp of Varus which should have been because Tacitus' informant hadn't considered the camp of the first day on the woodded hill as a camp. It is also conceivable that due to the vast battlefield Germanicus has not visited all places of battle, and Tacitus reports of the first camp that Germanicus has visited, but which was actually the second field camp. Due to the casualties of the first two days of the battle, on the evening of 2 Day the Romans actually have no longer needed a camp for 3 legions. But since the actual casualty figures certainly were not known exactly, and the Romans also had no time to figure out for how many soldiers the camp at the 2nd evening actually had to be designed, it was set up by default for 3 legions. Probably also with the disadvantage, that defense system consisting of trench and wall actually was overstretched for the number of legionnaires available for defense.

This camp would be located west of the combat area in the Alme Valley, because after the attack by the Germani Varus' only logical strategy would have been to march west towards Aliso. In fact, west of the Paderborn Plateau at Kneblinghausen there is such a camp on the hill at the streets Romecke / Am Roemerlager (Livius: Roman camp Kneblinghausen), due to non-existent remains of a palisade wall the camp has to be classified as a field camp, it was originally about 450 m × 245 m and was used only very briefly, and it was shortened by 130 m in the east. Probably it was also set up on a Germanic settlement that was destroyed by the camp. The purpose of the camp is not known (LWL: Roemerlager Kneblinghausen).
 
Thus the Romans set up the field camp at Kneblinghausen by default at the end of the 2nd day of the battle. The way to Kneblinghausen led as usual for ancient highways along paths on ridges between Afte, Alme and Möhne. As the legions due to the rigid order of march could not simply turn back, the march was resumed from the point which the head of the marching column had reached on the 1sr day, that was approximately north-east of Fuerstenberg. From Fuerstenberg the route led across the plateau north of Bleiwaesche towards the Leiberg forest and the Ringelstein forest. In the Ringelstein forest and the Leiberg forest the Germani again encountered  the Romans, after they had moved towards the Romans via the ridges between Afte, Alme and Moehne after the night on the Haar. Due to the several kilometers long route of advance from the Haar the attack on the Romans on the 2nd day began in the late morning, and the battle lasted several hours.

Varusschlacht Tag 2
Fig. A.5-3: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 2, Roman withdrawal (blue) to the west, attacks of the Germani (red)

The Germani retreated at the end of the 2nd day for the purpose of food back to the Haar, the Romans used the time until nightfall for the further advance towards west and finally reached the Kneblinghausen plateau. To avoid clearing work the camp at Kneblinghausen was set up in the clearing of the Germanic village which was destroyed by the construction of the camp. With the original dimension of 450 mx 245 m the camp could accommodate about three legions; a field camp for 3 legions, which would not have been created under combat conditions would probably have been a bit bigger.

The smelting of iron mentioned in chapter 1.1 could be the reason why it was possible the Romans in the otherwise wooded area to set up field camp Kneblinghausen. For smelting large quantities of wood are needed, so the area at Kneblinghausen was probably deforested large-scale, which allowed the westward escaping Romans to set up such a large field camp.
Also the field name of location of the camp of the 2nd day, 'Romecke' (Rome Corner), could point to an area economically developed by the Romans, s. chapter 1.4. '-ecke' is to be understood in the sense of ‘place’, similar to the Dutch 'Winkel' (Wiktionary: Ort); many place names in the area also end '-ecke’ (-corner), for example Koerbecke, Belecke, Geseke.
On the other hand, the proto-Germanic root word *rēm= ro *rōm= means dust, soot or dirt (Tower of Babel: *rōm= ), all things which result if ore is smelted. Romecke could therefore also mean soot place, and indicate ancient pollution.

Anstieg Almetal Kneblinghausen
Fig. A.5-4: Rise from the Alme valley to the Kneblinghausen plateau


Anhöhe des Römerlagers Kneblinghausen
Fig. A.5-4a: Hill of the Roman field camp at Romecke / Kneblinghausen


Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 2 evening
Fig. A.5-5: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 2 evening, Roman withdrawal (blue) to the west, setting up of the field camp Kneblinghausen (brown), retreat of the Germani towards the Haar (red)


When the Roman camp at the end of the 2nd Day was completed and the entire Roman baggage had arrived in Kneblinghausen, it became apparent that the camp was oversized with regard to the number of surviving legionaries: the number of legionaries was no longer sufficiently high to guard or defend trench and wall of the camp, and on the other hand to enable the legionnaires also a sleep break. For this reason, the east side the camp was shortened by 130 m, and the circumference of the camp accordingly reduced.

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Day 3

From Kneblinghausen out the fastest way to Aliso would have led to the northwest in the direction Haarweg / Hellweg. However this route would have guided the Romans directly toward the Germani, and a renewed confrontation Varus wanted to avoid considering his weakened legions. Varus therefore opted for an evasive maneuver and planned to reach the Haar via the ancient highway ‘Kriegerweg‘ at Ruethen, the route to the ‘Kriegerweg’ led via Heidberg and the ridge between Biber and Glenne through the Altenruethen Forest to Kallenhardt. Since no ancient highway is known on this route, the way was only a narrow path through the woods, the progress of the Romans was according laborious. The historian Cassius Dio thus describes that the Romans on the 3rd day of the battle had to traverse confusing forest again.

Varusschlacht Tag 3 morgens
Fig. A.5-6: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 3 morning, Shortening of the camp (orange), Decampment of the Romans and crossing of the Moehne at Heidberg (blue)


In the Altenruethen Forest the Germani after the overnight stay on the Haar reached again the Romans and attacked. As more and more Germanic warrior joined Arminius in the course of the battle, while the Romans were becoming weaker, the Roman break through to the Haar on the 'Kriegerweg' failed, and the Romans gave way to the west in direction to Warstein.

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest Day 3
Fig. A.5-7: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 3, March of the Romans over ridges south of the river Moehne westward (blue), Attack of the Germani in the Altenruethen Forest (red)


After several hours of fighting, the Germani retreated at the end of the 3rd day again to night camps on the Haar. The Romans marched until nightfall further westwards, approximately up to Warstein, and set up again a camp by default, even if Cassius Dio did not explicitly mention this, Dio just writes that the 4th day of the battle dawned, which had made necessary another camp at the end of the 3rd day.


Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 3 evening
Fig. A.5-7b: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 3 evening, March of the Romans in direction west / Warstein (blue), retreat of the Germani to the Haar (red)

Similar to the camp of the 2nd day also for the camp of the 3rd day a already a grubbed-up area would have been beneficial. This clearing could also have been caused by a Roman economic development (ore mining, old maps show ore deposits in the range of Romecke / Warstein), which activity also in this case today may reflect in a local or field name, similar to Romecke / Kneblinghausen.
A glance at the map shows that in fact northwest of Warstein there is another 'Romecke'.

Romecke bei Warstein
Fig. A.5-8: Romecke at Warstein

A Roman field camp has not yet been discovered here, however, this might be quite difficult. When setting up the camp, the Romans obviously haven’t put great effort in this, Tacitus reports that Germanicus found only a half-collapsed wall and a low trench in the year 15, which was set up by the battered remnants of the legions (Tacitus II 61).

Anhöhe bei Romecke/Warstein
Fig. A.5-9: For setting up a Roman field camp suitable hill at Romecke / Warstein


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Day 4

On the morning of the 4th day the Romans continued their way from Warstein towards west / Aliso; the shortest path led across ridges along the present-day Romeckeweg towards Sichtigvor, where, as the name points to, a shallow ford (German: seichte Furt) led across the Mohne.
However, as the ancient sources report, it resulted withthe Romans a big crowd and a siege. Arminius had thus managed to encircle the Romans.
For this purpose Arminius first had to stop the Romans on their march. The opportunity to do this was given in Moehne Valley between Sichtigvor and the narrow at Allagen. Here the Germani cut the Romans off to the west, while they attacked the Romans from the northern slopes of the Moehne Valley respectively defended the slopes against the Romans. The march of the Roman baggage came to a stop.

About this time of looming defeat of the Romans the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus reports, that the Roman cavalry under the legate Numonius Vala fled and deserted, however this escape failed: “Vala Numonius, lieutenant of Varus, who, in the rest of his life, had been an inoffensive and an honourable man, also set a fearful example in that he left the infantry unprotected by the cavalry and in flight tried to reach the Rhine with his squadrons of horse. But fortune avenged his act, for he did not survive those whom he had abandoned, but died in the act of deserting them.”
The failed escape indicates that it was not possible the Roman cavalry, to break through the enemy lines, because after the break through nothing had stood in the way to a escape towards the Rhine / Aliso. Since the destruction of the cavalry, a large number of horses were killed, and then decayed in place, it could be that the large amount of horse bones would be reflected locally in a place name. Since the easiest and fastest way towards the west led via the Haarweg, this place would be located north of Moehne Valley approximately at the height of the valley between Sichtigvor and Allagen, where the march of the Romans was stopped.
In fact, north of Muelheim at the Haarweg at Taubeneiche there is a place called 'Pferdefriedhof' (horse cemetery), thus it can be concluded, that the Roman cavalry on the morning of the 4th day at Muelheim tried to break out northwards out of the Moehne Valley, through the valley through which today passes the Von-Plettenberg Street, but was stopped and defeated by the Germani at the Haarweg.

Varusschlacht Tag 4 morgens
Fig. A.5-11: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 4 morning, stop of the move of the Romans in the Moehne valley (blue) by the Germani (red), escape of the Roman cavalry under Numonius Vala towards the Haarweg


When the baggage of the Romans in the afternnon of the 4rth day had dammed in the valley at Sichtigvor, the Germans succeeded via the southern slopes of the Moehne Valley in encircling the Romans. From the encirclement resulted in the valley at Sichtigvor there was no escape for the Romans.

Varusschlacht Tag 4 nachmittags
Fig. A.5-12: Teutoburg Forest Battle Day 4 afternoon, encirclement of the Romans (blue) by the Germani (red) at Sichtigvor


Möhnetal bei Sichtigvor
Fig. A.5-13: Moehne valley at Sichtigvor


Engstelle bei Allagen
Fig. A.5-14: Narrow of the Moehne valley at Allagen


Local historian Fritz Schmidt from Sichtigvor explores around the hill fort 'Loermund' and in the valley of Sichtigvor the traces of the Teutoburg Forest Battle. Besides numerous place names that point to the Teutoburg Forest Battle (e. g. 'Roemerkopf' (Romehead), 'Romecke' (Rome corner), 'Roemerstraße' (Roman street)), Fritz Schmidt has collected many archaeological artefacts over the decades.


Archaeologische Funde von Fritz Schmidt aus Sichtigvor
Fig. A.5-15: Archaeological artefacts from the Loermund at Sichtigvor

One of the most interesting finds is a slingshot bullet, which Fritz Schmidt has found in 50 cm depth on the slope of Moehne Valley at Sichtigvor when planting a tree.


Steinschleuderkugel Moehnetal Fritz Schmidt
Fig. A.5-16: Slingshot bullet from the slope of the Moehne Valley


For the course of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, it results from a starting point at the ‘Frankfurter Weg’ north of the Paderborn Plateau approximately as follows:

Verlauf der Varusschlacht
Fig. A.5-17: Course of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest with the 3 field camps (the camp resp. camps on the wooded hill (yellow), the camp of the 3 legions on the clearing (purple), the camp with the low wall of the remnant of the legions (blue)), attacks of the Germani (red)


With this determination of the location of the Teutoburg Forest Battle also the background of the campaign of Germanicus in the autumn of 14 AD against the Marsi becomes clear. The purpose of the unfavorable target of the campaign, the tribe of the Marsi far from the Rhine deep in hostile Germania, and the unfavorable time of the campaign in the autumn, where virtually all military activities were ended, was, to set an example on the 6th anniversary of the Teutoburg Forest Battle at the site of the Teutoburg Forest Battle.

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A.6 The connection with the Saltus Teutoburgiensis mentioned by Tacitus as the site of the battle


The Latin word ‘Saltus’ in English means 'wooded mountains'.
 
In ‘Teutoburgiensis’ in the Indo-European root 'teuta' included, which has the meaning ‘folk’ or ‘people’ (Wikipedia: Deutsch_(Etymologie)).

‘Burg’ has in the German language the meaning of ‘castle’.

Thus the Latin word 'Teutoburg' means  'people’s castle',  and was adopted by the Romans from the Germanic language. People’s castles respectively hill forts are fortifications, often built on hills and consisting of an earth wall and incorporated wall of palisades, in which the local population could retreat at risk of war (Wikipedia: Hill Fort).

A Saltus Teutoburgiensis therefore are wooded mountains, where there are also need to be one or more hill forts. In fact, there is a hill fort near tp each of the combat areas of the Teutoburg Forest Battle.

North of Haaren there is the Hill Fort ‚Knickenhagen‘ (Wikipedia: Haaren).

Hill Fort Knickenhagen
Fig. A.6-1: Wall of the hill fort (Teutoburg) Knickenhagen


South of Leiberg there is a Hill Fort (Alleburgen.de).


In the Altenruethen Forest there is the Hill Fort 'Schaftskoeppe‘ (Wikipedia: Wallburgen im Sauerland)

Wallburg Schaftsköppe
Fig. A.6-2: Wall of the hill fort (Teutoburg) Schaftskoeppe


On the Loermund above the Moehen Valley at Sichtigvor there is the Hill Fort with the same name (Wikipedia: Loermund).

Hillfort (Teutobug) Loermund
Fig. A.6-3: Wall of the hill fort (Teutoburg) Loermund


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A.7 The grave mound built by Germanicus


According to Tacitus, Germanicus set up a grave mound for the fallen soldiers of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest nearby: "And so, six years after the fatal field, a Roman army, present on the ground, buried the bones of the three legions; and no man knew whether he consigned to earth the remains of a stranger or a kinsman, but all thought of all as friends and members of one family, and, with anger rising against the enemy, mourned at once and hated. At the erection of the funeral-mound the Caesar laid the first sod, paying a dear tribute to the departed, and associating himself with the grief of those around him." (Tacitus I 62)

In this grave mound in 15 AD Germanicus let bury the remains are fallen of the Teutoburg Forest Battle, which means in the hill the remains of an estimated 10000 to 20000 people were collected, correspondingly large and imposing was the hill. For Germanicus' soldiers the setting up the grave mound was a pretty depressing and demoralizing task, accordingly Germanicus was also criticized by Tiberius: "But Tiberius disapproved, possibly because he put an invidious construction on all acts of Germanicus, possibly because he held that the sight of the unburied dead must have given the army less alacrity for battle and more respect for the enemy, while a commander, invested with the augurate and administering the most venerable rites of religion, ought to have avoided all contact with a funeral ceremony". (Tacitus I 62)

Furthermore, Tacitus reports that the grave mound was destroyed by the Germans again in the further course of the war: "Still, they had demolished the funeral mound just raised in memory of the Varian legions,as well as an old altar set up to Drusus." (Tacitus II 7). As with the 'destruction' of the hill probably a desecration and looting of it was meant, and not its removal to the original ground level, the remains of the grave mound should still to be found near the combat area .

To determine the location of the hill, it is advisable to impute to Germanicus because of his Roman mentality very practical reasons for selecting the location of the grave mound. The Teutoburg Forest Battle was a four-day march battle, onto a corresponding large area of ​​the bones of the fallen have distributed, that is large parts of the area between the Paderborn Plateau and the Moehne Valley:

Kampfgebiet der Varusschlacht
Fig. A.7-1: Combat area of the Teutoburg Forest Battle on which the remains of the fallen were distributed (blue); approximate middle of the combat area near to the Haarweg southwest of Bueren / east of Hemmern (red) 


To keep the effort in collecting the remains as low as possible, a location for the grave mound aproxemately in the middle of the combat zone would have been advantageous, that is in about southwest of Bueren. Since Germanicus wanted to honor the memory of the fallen with the grave mound, the hill also had to be apparent, so he had to be located near a road where people passed and could see it well. Thus the grave mound was located near the main traffic route of that area, the 'Haarweg'.
After the destruction of the grave mound then, over a long period human remains were scattered around the grave mound, or came over the years until their final decomposition also repeatedly to the daylight, what is possibly still reflected today in a corresponding place- or field name.
A place that meets the above criteria for the location is the 'Knochenberg' (Bone Hill) east of the fort 'Spitze Warte' (section 3.2) at Hemmern:

Knochenberg oestlich von Hemmern
Fig. A.7-2: 'Knochenberg' (Bone Hill) east of Hemmern

On the 'Knochenberg' there is a hill:

Varus Grabhügel
Fig. A.7-3: Hill on the Knochenberg

Fig. A.7-4: Hill on the Knochenberg


Varus grave-mound
Fig. A.7-5: Hill on the Knochenberg

Fig. A.7-6: Hill on the Knochenberg

The shape of the hill is oval, it is about 120 m long and 80 m wide, the height is about 5 to 6 m [1]. The longer side of the hill is aligned with the Haarweg.
A sample revealed that the hill and the surrounding area of the hill consist of different soils. While one finds whitish-gray soil in the area around the hill, the hill itself consists of yellowish soil, partly marbled reddish.

Boden des Grabhuegels
Fig. A.7-7: Soil of the hill


Boden der Umgebung des Grabhuegels
Fig. A.7-8: Soil around the hill

Thus the hill on the 'Knochenberg' corresponds with high probability to the grave mound built by Germanicus for the fallen soldiers of the 17th, 18th and 19th legion.

The soil for the grave mound was removed with a high probability on the south side of the 'Knochenberg' above the 'Aschetalweg' (ash valley road). There you can still see the troughs caused by the removal of the soil.

Erdmulde am Knochenberg
Fig. A.7-8a: Trough at the southern slope of the 'Knochenberg' above the 'Aschetal'

A sample showed that the soil around the troughs is the same yellowish soil like that of the grave mound.

Erdreich unterhalb des Knochenbergs
Fig. A.7-8b: Soil around the troughs

Besides the large oval hill on the 'Knochenberg' there is also a small, round hill, about 20 meters in diameter and 3 m height:

Drusus Altar
Fig. A.7-9: Presumed Drusus altar

Fig. A.7-10: Presumed Drusus altar

Tacitus mentions the grave mound built for the legions of Varus and an older altar built for Drusus one after the other, which could possibly indicate a close proximity of the two objects: "Still, they had demolished the funeral mound just raised in memory of the Varian legions, as well as an old altar set up to Drusus. He restored the altar and himself headed the legions in the celebrations in honour of his father; the tumulus it was decided not to reconstruct." (Tacitus II 7) It is therefore be examined whether the smaller hill on the 'Knochenberg' could correspond to the remains of the altar built to Drusus.

Lokation des Varus-Grabhuegels
Fig. A.7-11: Varus grave mound (yellow), Haarweg (blue), presumed Drusus altar (red)


Varus grave mound Drusu altar
Fig. A.7-11a: Varus grave mound and presumed Drusus altar (TIM-online)


When looking from the 'Haarweg' on the 'Knochenberg' one can still clearly see the Varus grave mound in the course of the line of the treetops:

Blick vom Haarweg auf den Knochenberg
Fig. A.7-12: View from the 'Haarweg' on the 'Knochenberg' (Bone Hill) with the Varus grave mound (red arrow)


On the Varus grave mound there is a torn out root of a fallen tree, which has carried out from about 50 cm to 100 cm depth partially geometrically shaped stones to the surface.

Ausgerissene Baumwurzel auf dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-13: Torn out tree root on the grave mound


Steine aus dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-14: Geometrically shaped stones from the grave mound


Stein aus dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-15: Geometrically shaped stone from the grave mound


Fig. A.7-16: Geometrically shaped stone from the grave mound


Stein aus dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-17: Geometrically shaped stone from the grave mound


Steine aus dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-18: Geometrically shaped stones from the grave mound


Steine aus dem Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-19: Geometrically shaped stones from the grave mound


Stein aus dem Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-20: Geometrically shaped stones from the grave mound

In addition to the stones torn out of the ground by the roots of the fallen tree, in the grave mound there are also stones which are still arranged in a relatively well recognizable masonry-like structure: 

Steine im Varus Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-20a: Masonry-like arranged stones in the grave mound


The geometrically shaped stones from the Varus grave mound represent with high probability the remains of a tomb which was located on the hill, similar to the tombs of other Roman grave mounds:


Roemischer Grabhuegel Kipp Siesbach
Fig. A.7-21: Roman grave mound in the forest district "Kipp" at Siesbach


Querschnitt roemischer Grabhuegel
Fig. A.7-22: Cross section of a Roman grave mound

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A.8 The grave mounds of the Germani


Since also the Germani suffered casualties during the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, and it was due to the number of casualties logistically difficult and due to the several days lasting combats, the subsequent looting of the battlefield, and the subsequent several days lasting march home because of the incipient decay for hygiene reasons impossible to transport the killed Germanic warriors to their own tribal territory and to bury them  there, as already described by Friedrich Koehler [1] Germanic grave mounds located near to the battlefield are another important indicator of the location of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Since most Germanic warriors likely have died in the attack on the Paderborn Plateau due to the at this time still very powerful Roman soldiers, many Germanic graves should be found at the Via Regia. Actually there is a Germanic burial ground located 5 kilometers north of Haaren right on the Via Regia.
Wikipedia (Haaren):
“The overall 97 hills have diameter of 16 m to 20 m and are up to two meters high. 1904 an exit of a forest way was created and thereby a grave mound was severed. Under different thick soil and clay layers, a 18.5 cm piece of a short sword and … were excavated. … A settlement associated to the burial ground was not found.

Grabhuegel bei Haaren
Fig. A.8-1: Germanic grave mound at the Frankfurter Weg north of Haaren


Grabhuegel Paderborner Hochflaeche
Fig. A.8-2: Germanic grave mound at the Frankfurter Weg north of Haaren


Also in the other combat areas of the Teutoburg Forest Battle there are Germanic grave mound fields, e. g. in the Altenruethen Forest:

Grabhuegel Altenruethener Wald
Fig. A.8-3: Germanic grave mound in the Altenruethen Forest


To a Germanic grave mound also to the following hill on a spur above the combat area in the Moehne Valley at Sichtigvor could correspond:

Germanischer Grabhuegel im Moehnetal
Fig. A.8-4: Presumed germanic grave mound above the Moehne valley at Sichtigvor


Fig. A.8-5: Presumed germanic grave mound


The hill is circular, with a diameter of about 12 to 15 m and a height of about 3 m. A sample revealed that the hill and the surrounding area of the hill consist of different soils. While one finds whitish-gray, partly marbled reddish soil in the area around the hill, the hill itself consists of yellowish soil.

Vergleich des Erdreichs
Fig. A.8-5a: Soil of the hill (left) and around the hill (right)


Germanische Grabhuegel entlang des Kampfgebietes der Varusschlacht
Fig. A.8-6: Germanic grave mound fields (yellow, red) in relation to the combat areas of the Teutoburg Forest Battle (blue)

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