Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/247

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Never was victory more decisive, never was the liberation of an oppressed people more instantaneous and complete. Throughout Germany the Roman garrisons were assailed and cut off; and, within a few weeks after Varus had fallen, the German soil was freed from the foot of an invader.

At Rome the tidings of the battle were received with an agony of terror, the reports of which we should deem exaggerated, did they not come from Roman historians themselves. They not only tell emphatically how great was the awe which the Romans felt of the prowess of the Germans, if their various tribes could be brought to unite for a common purpose,[1] but also they reveal how weakened and debased the population of Italy had become. Dion Cassius says (lib. lvi. sec. 23), — "Then Augustus, when he heard the calamity of Varus, rent his garment, and was in great affliction for the troops he had lost, and for terror respecting

  1. It is clear that the Romans followed the policy of fomenting dissensions and wars of the Germans among themselves. See the thirty-third section of the "Germania" of Tacitus, where he mentions the destruction of the Bructeri by the neighbouring tribes: "Favore quodam erga nos deorum: nam ne spectaculo quidem prœlii invidere: super lx. millia non armis telisque Romanis, sed quod magnificentius est, oblectationi oculisque ceciderunt. Maneat quæso, duretque gentibus, si non amor nostri, at certe odium sui: quando urgentibus imperii fatis, nihil jam præstare fortuna majus potest quam hostium discordiam."