In AD 15 Germanicus
, the Roman general
, was leading his tropps through the Teutoburger Forest on a campaign agains the Germans
. Suddenly, the Roman troops stopped in shock and surprise.
Lying on the ground was a group of skeletons
dressed in rusting Roman armour
. As Germanicus and his men gazed around in horror, they saw more skeletons amongst the trees. Everywhere there were piles of skeletons dressed in Roman armour. Germanicus knew that he had found the lost legions of Varus.
Six years earlier Governor Varus had led 15,000 Roman legionaries
to quell a rebellion
. At first, all went well as the Roman troops were guided through the dense forest
by Arminius, the chief of the Cherusci tribe. Suddenly, disaster struck. Arminius had led Varus into a trap
. Screaming German warriors
leapt from cover and fell upon the unsuspecting Romans. Varus and his men were slaughtered almost to a man. Only a few stunned survivors
staggered back to Roman territory to tell what had happened.
The terrifying defeat of Varus meant that Rome
never again tried to invade Germany. Raiding parties, such as that led by Germanicus, sometimes ventured across the Rhine
but the skeletons found by Germanicus marked a boundary beyond which the Roman Empire