Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/242

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legionaries, fully armed with helmet, cuirass, greavesy and shield; who were skilled to commence the conflict with a murderous volley of heavy javelins, hurled upon the foe when a few yards distant, and then, with their short cut-and-thrust swords, to hew their way through all opposition; preserving the utmost steadiness and coolness, and obeying each word of command in the midst of strife and slaughter, with the same precision and alertness as if upon parade.[1] Arminius suffered die Romans to march out from their camp, to form first in line for action, and then in column for marching, without the show of opposition. For some distance Varus was allowed to move on, only harassed by slight skirmishes, but struggling with difficulty through the broken ground, the toil and distress of his men being aggravated by heavy torrents of rain, which burst upon the devoted legions, as if the angry gods of Germany were pouring out the vials of their wrath upon the invaders. After some little time their van approached a ridge of high woody ground, which b one of the offshoots of the great Hercynian forest, and is situate between the modern villages of Driburg and Bielefeld. Arminius had caused barricades of hewn trees to be

  1. See Gibbon's description (vol. i. chapter 1) of the Roman regions in the time of Augustus; and see the description in Tacitus, "Ann." lib. i. of the subsequent battles between Cæcina and Arminius.