"Quintili Vare, legiones redde!"
Today is the anniversary of a dreadful event in which thousands perished, a day that changed the course of history forever.
The three-day Battle of Teutoburg Forest ended today in 9 AD with the utter annihilation of the Roman army under its commander Varus, at the hands of German tribes. The battle helped to establish the Rhine as one of the boundaries of the Roman empire and discouraged further Roman expansion into Northern Europe. The defeat affected the emperor of the time, Augustus, profoundly. The biographer Suetonius describes Augustus' reaction to the news of defeat:
In fact, they say that he was so greatly affected that for several months in succession he cut neither his beard nor his hair, and sometimes he would dash his head against a door, crying: "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" And he observed the day of the disaster each year as one of sorrow and mourning.A sad day indeed.