Looking back from a distanceof more than 2,000 years,it's easy to see today’s worldas the inevitable result of, asAlan Bennett wrote, "onef***ing thing after another".But making history isan uncertain business,with the outcomes forthose involved just asunpredictable as in, say,modern Syria or Egypt.For this eight-page special,we travel back to AD9 anda battle that would provepivotal for Rome.This is how we imaginea newspaper for Romansoldiers may have reportedit. It is published withSEGA, whose new PCgame, Total War ROMEII, plunges players into animmaculately recreatedgolden age of the Romanempire, reﬁghting keybattles and campaigns.
Welcome toRome, AD9Caveat lector
Graham HaydayProduced for Guardian Labs to a brief agreed with SEGA. Paid for by SEGA.All editorial controlled by SEGA.
News and opinion by DouglasJackson, author of six novels set in ancientRome. Hannibal and other content by journalist and historian Dominic Wells.
Colour from Total War ROME II,except for statue image, right.BlackandwhiteillustrationsbyDaveHopkins.
Barbarians, we are coming back to make a desert of your lands
The whole of Rome knows thatthis defeat simply will not stand
oldiers of Rome, do notbe downhearted by thissetback on the Germanfrontier. Our treacherousbarbarian enemies havestabbed your comrades in theback, but soon they will reap theconsequences of their actions.Do these German forest dwellersbelieve our Emperor will turn theother cheek ? Do they think they canslink back to their huts and theirholes in the ground unchallenged?No, they have acted like thebasest of animals and like animalsthey will be hunted down.
Your comrades will have their vengeance. Emperor Augustus isalready planning the campaign thatwill destroy these murderers. Hislegions will sweep across the riverand take their swords to Rome’senemies. Death is the only fate that awaits any manbeyond the Rhine whoopposes a Romansoldier, slavery forthose who kneel beforehim. For the renegadeArminius, a man thisEmpire took to itsheart, there can be only one end: crucixion.We have all heard thestories. How our tribuneswere tortured and burnedalive. How our survivingsoldiers were tormentedhorribly by the barbarians,even their women andchildren, before beingslaughtered. What better way torepay the Cherusci, the Chatti theCauchi, the Bructeri, the Marci,the Angrivarii and the Mattiacithan by turning their lands intoa wilderness? And when thebones of its former occupantsare bleached white, what betteruse for them than as fertiliserfor the tens of thousands of Roman veterans who clear and farmit? Barbarian blood will nourishthe soil that will feed Rome for athousand generations to come.Yes, that will be the reward forevery man who helps bring justice to the rebels. Twenty-ve jugera of prime landin one of the most fertileplaces in the Empire, lledwith new opportunities.
The future is bright
And that is only the start, for it isknown that beyond Germania lieother fertile lands, lands that arecurrently wasted on their barbarianowners. Soon there will be land forall, even the meanest beggar on thecapital’s streets.But that is for the future, and abright future it will be.Can it be so easy, I hear you ask,against warriors – if we dignify them with that honourable title –who have so recently defeated threelegions of Rome’s nest soldiers?I say yes, because their victory –how the word grates – was gainedby subterfuge and deceit, by lies toldby a man whom Rome honouredwith citizenship and a place inits ranks, by cowards who foughtfrom behind trees against men whowere surprised and unready. It hasbeen proved a thousand times thatno Roman soldier need fear thebarbarian in open battle. When wenext meet these Germans there willbe no surprise and noskulking in the forest.
We will forcethem to ghton ground of our choosing;a battle wherearmour, andshields and agladius witha strong armbehind it, willguarantee victory. Your javelins willscythe the enemy down before they reach your line andthe iron of your swordswill give them a mercifulend they ill deserve.General Varus, nesoldier though he was,was fatally lulled by whispers from men hecalled friends. As hediscovered sotragically, trusting aGerman is as sensible astrusting a wolf with yourinfant child. Harder menare required to ensurethat Arminius and hislike are taught a lessonthey will never forget.Fortunately, thosemen are on hand inthis time of trial.e war in Pannonia is at an end, victory secured by Tiberius andhis nephew and brother-in-arms,Germanicus. ey march at thehead of no fewer than 15 legions,75,000 veterans blooded againstthe Illyricans and the Dalmatians,the Dacians and the Sarmatians:enemies who make the cowardly Germans look like new-born lambs.You will join these heroes whenour Emperor hurls them like a spearat our foe. You will take the ghtto the backstabbers. And you willdestroy them!
Why Teutoburg, AD9,still matters in AD2013
Arminius, a barbarianraised inRome,turned onhisimperialmasters, luringthe army intothe forestwhere histribesmenwere waiting.
Asmany as20,000 Romanswerekilled. TacitusclaimsthatRomanoﬃ cerswere sacriﬁced and theirbonescooked up inbarbarianpots.
Afterthisdefeat, the Romanslargelygave up onGermany.
The mostdevastatingdefeateversuﬀered by Rome led tothe erectionofa barrierbetweenGermanandLatinculturesthatendures. IfRomehad won, Germany and the CzechRepublic mightneverhave existed.