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Varus, Quintilius

A Roman consul B.C. 13, and subsequently appointed to the government of Syria, where he acquired enormous wealth. Shortly after his return from Syria he was made governor of Germany (probably about A.D. 7), and was instructed by Augustus to introduce the Roman jurisdiction into that newly conquered country. The Germans, however, were not prepared to submit thus tamely to the Roman yoke, and found a leader in Arminius, a noble chief of the Cherusci, who organized a general revolt of all the German tribes between the Visurgis and the Weser. When he had fully matured his plans, he suddenly attacked Varus, at the head of a countless host of barbarians, as the Roman general was marching with his three legions through a pass of the Saltus Teutoburgiensis, a range of hills covered with wood, which extends north of the Lippe from Osnabrück to Paderborn, and is known in the present day by the name of the Teutoburgerwald or Lippische Wald. The battle lasted three days, and ended with the entire destruction of the Roman army. Varus put an end to his own life. His defeat was followed by the loss of all the Roman possessions between the Weser and the Rhine, and the latter river again became the boundary of the Roman dominions. When the news of this defeat reached Rome, the whole city was thrown into consternation; and Augustus, who was both weak and aged, gave way to the most violent grief, tearing his garments and calling upon Varus to give him back his legions—“Vare, Vare, redde legiones!” (Suet. Aug. 23; Suet. Tib. 16). See Arminius; Germania.

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