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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Scene of the Defeat of Varus
By Tacitus (56–c. 120 A.D.)
From the ‘Annals’: Translation of Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb

NOT far hence lay the forest of Teutoburgium; and in it the bones of Varus and the legions, by report still unburied.  1
  Germanicus upon this was seized with an eager longing to pay the last honor to those soldiers and their general; while the whole army present was moved to compassion by the thought of their kinsfolk and friends, and indeed, of the calamities of wars and the lot of mankind. Having sent on Cæcina in advance to reconnoitre the obscure forest passes, and to raise bridges and causeways over watery swamps and treacherous plains, they visited the mournful scenes, with their horrible sights and associations. Varus’s first camp, with its wide circumference and the measurements of its central space, clearly indicated the handiwork of three legions. Further on, the partially fallen rampart and the shallow fosse suggested the inference that it was a shattered remnant of the army which had there taken up a position. In the centre of the field were the whitening bones of men, as they had fled or stood their ground, strewn everywhere or piled in heaps. Near, lay fragments of weapons and limbs of horses, and also human heads, prominently nailed to trunks of trees. In the adjacent groves were the barbarous altars on which they had immolated tribunes and first-rank centurions. Some survivors of the disaster who had escaped from the battle or from captivity, described how this was the spot where the officers fell, how yonder the eagles were captured, where Varus was pierced by his first wound, where too by the stroke of his own ill-starred hand he found for himself death. They pointed out too the raised ground from which Arminius had harangued his army, the number of gibbets for the captives, the pits for the living, and how in his exultation he had insulted the standards and eagles.  2

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