The Battle That Stopped Rome: Emperor Augustus, Arminius, and the Slaughter of the Legions in the Teutoburg Forest

W. W. Norton & Company
4
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The previously untold story of the watershed battle that changed the course of Western history.

In AD 9, a Roman traitor led an army of barbarians who trapped and then slaughtered three entire Roman legions: 20,000 men, half the Roman army in Europe. If not for this battle, the Roman Empire would surely have expanded to the Elbe River, and probably eastward into present-day Russia. But after this defeat, the shocked Romans ended all efforts to expand beyond the Rhine, which became the fixed border between Rome and Germania for the next 400 years, and which remains the cultural border between Latin western Europe and Germanic central and eastern Europe today.

This fascinating narrative introduces us to the key protagonists: the emperor Augustus, the most powerful of the Caesars; his general Varus, who was the wrong man in the wrong place; and the barbarian leader Arminius, later celebrated as the first German hero. In graphic detail, based on recent archaeological finds, the author leads the reader through the mud, blood, and decimation that was the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

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About the author

Peter S. Wells is professor of archaeology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of The Battle That Stopped Rome and The Barbarians Speak. He lives in St. Paul.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Sep 17, 2004
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780393352030
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Rome
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The peoples who inhabited Europe during the two millennia before the Roman conquests had established urban centers, large-scale production of goods such as pottery and iron tools, a money economy, and elaborate rituals and ceremonies. Yet as Peter Wells argues here, the visual world of these late prehistoric communities was profoundly different from those of ancient Rome's literate civilization and today's industrialized societies. Drawing on startling new research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Wells reconstructs how the peoples of pre-Roman Europe saw the world and their place in it. He sheds new light on how they communicated their thoughts, feelings, and visual perceptions through the everyday tools they shaped, the pottery and metal ornaments they decorated, and the arrangements of objects they made in their ritual places--and how these forms and patterns in turn shaped their experience.

How Ancient Europeans Saw the World offers a completely new approach to the study of Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe, and represents a major challenge to existing views about prehistoric cultures. The book demonstrates why we cannot interpret the structures that Europe's pre-Roman inhabitants built in the landscape, the ways they arranged their settlements and burial sites, or the complex patterning of their art on the basis of what these things look like to us. Rather, we must view these objects and visual patterns as they were meant to be seen by the ancient peoples who fashioned them.

New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Foreign Affairs, and Kirkus Reviews
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction)
Shortlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Gift Guide Selection
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection

A sweeping, "magisterial" history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists shows why Rome remains "relevant to people many centuries later" (Atlantic).

 

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

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