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The general's speech was followed by enthusiasm in the soldiers, and the signal for battle was given. Nor were Arminius and the other German chiefs slow to call their respective clansmen to witness that "these Romans were the most cowardly fugitives out of Varus's army, men who rather than endure war had taken to mutiny. Half of them have their backs covered with wounds; half are once again exposing limbs battered by waves and storms to a foe full of fury, and to hostile deities, with no hope of advantage. They have, in fact, had recourse to a fleet and to a trackless ocean, that their coming might be unopposed, their flight unpursued. But when once they have joined conflict with us, the help of winds or oars will be unavailing to the vanquished. Remember only their greed, their cruelty, their pride. Is anything left for us but to retain our freedom or to die before we are enslaved?"