Item description for The Quest For the Lost Roman Legions: Discovering the Varus Battlefield by Tony Clunn...
In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th and 19th Roman legions and their auxiliary troops under command of Publius Quinctilius Varus vanished in the boggy wilds of Germania. They died singly and by the hundreds over several days in a carefully planned ambush led by Arminius-a Roman-trained German warrior determined to stop Rome's advance east beyond the Rhine River. By the time it was over, some 25,000 men, women, and children were dead and the course of European history had been forever altered. "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" Emperor Augustus agonized aloud when he learned of the devastating loss. As the decades slipped past, the location of one of the western world's most important battlefields was lost to history for two millenia.
Fueled by an unshakeable curiosity and burning interest in the story, a British major named Tony Clunn delved into the nooks and crannies of times past. By sheer persistence and good luck, he turned the foundation of German national history on its ear. Convinced the running battle took place north of Osnabruck, Germany, Clunn set out to prove his point. His discovery of a handful of Roman coins in the late 1980s, followed by a flood of thousands of other artifacts (including weapons and human remains) ended the mystery once and for all. Today, a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art museum houses and interprets these priceless historical treasures on the very site Varus's legions were lost.
In Quest of the Lost Roman Legions is a masterful retelling of Clunn's search to discover the Varus battlefield. His well-placed, carefully conceived, and vivid writing style makes for a compelling read from the first page to the last, as he alternates between his incredible modern quest and the ancient tale of the Roman occupation of Germany that ultimately ended so tragically in the peat bogs of Kalkriese.
Tony Clunn joined the army at age 15 and served with the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. He retired in the late 1990s after twenty-two years with the rank of major, an is currently employed by the British Army in Osnaburck and Kalkriese. He was presented with the Member of the Royal Order of the British Empire in 1996 by Queen Elizabeth II.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 1.64 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2005
Publisher Savas Beatie
ISBN 1932714081 ISBN13 9781932714081
Reviews - What do customers think about The Quest For the Lost Roman Legions: Discovering the Varus Battlefield?
UNLIKE ANY HISTORICAL WORK YOU'VE EVER READ Aug 28, 2008
I found this book rather compelling and difficult to put down. If you are looking for a historical "this is how it happened" book, you must keep in mind that fewer than 20 men survived the battle so very little of what actually happened is known, only summised. Mr. Clunn mixes a good dose of how he came to search the particular locations he did, what he found, and then managed to write a plausible story of how a particular artifact may have found itself at that location on the battlefield. A rather unique approach in my opinion. Mr. Clunn wove a bit of his passion for history together with some the artifacts to create a story that gives a plausible version of what could have happened at this infamous (from the Roman perspective) battle. As an aspiring ameteur archealogist, this book was like particapating in my dream of finding something important, albeit vicariously, as Mr. Clunn walked through why he did what he did, and how the story unfolded. So my recommendation is that this book really is in a class of it's own, and is a great companion piece to some of the contemporary historical accounts of the battle. I had the privilege of walking the ground of the battlefield that Mr. Clunn helped discover after reading this book. His writings bring alive the events that happened in a way reminscent of first hand accounts.
a wonderful account May 15, 2008
Tony Clunn's wonderful account of his discovery of the long lost site of one of the Roman Army's worst defeats is both a fascinating, first-person detective story and a window onto a shadowy page of ancient history. Clunn delivers a soldier's-eye-view of the probable course of the brutal running fight that virtually annihilated the army of Varus. Perhaps even more valuably, he shows that historical truth may be unearthed not only by tenured academics but by tenacious and inspired amateurs as well.
In the footsteps of Varus lager May 2, 2008
The value of Clunn's book is making a relatively recondite subject accessible. The archeology of north Europe doesn't in some respects compare in richness with that of say the Mediterranean region, so it is interesting to see the way the important results are obtained. Admittedly Major Clunn is a minimalist writer on evertything except the retracing of footsteps out there with the metal detector. My initial impression was that this conveyed the confusion about terrain encountered by the Roman command, but given that there is a German language edition it could be the descriptions of terrain receive an impressive treatment (what with all the hin, her, darauf, schrag links and darum it could well have be using one of the strong points of German language, please, no disrespect intended.) My five stars go to the this site reviewers that brought out additional background to the events surrounding the archeological endeavors. But one comment here about the German ambassadorial efforts to export their culture. It is way too difficult to obtain German editions of the books, although again here this site comes through more than anyone else because by searching author the foreign language edition often shows up with one of the booksellers. Major Clunn's treatment of the Roman command is based on the art or science of reconstruction and I don't think that he has exceeded the bounds of established fact in piecing together either the narrative or battles. In this respect I don't consider Clunn amateur at all, but rather like our own Harold Coyle he is professional soldier and doesn't indulge in a lot of fluff. My take-away message was the character Brutus Maximus, aquilifer. Due to the detail obtained in the excavations history was actually driven back beyond what Mommsen was able to offer, and the notion of aquilifer obtains a realism not otherwise available. To me this was the happiest part of the story because of the universalism of the eagle, and to see it tied into the Roman culture.
Lost battlefield found Nov 24, 2007
A very good book, easy read, couldn't put it down. Tony Clunn goes about explaining how he found battlefield where 17, 18 and 19th legions were destroyed. He also tries to find out the probable route legions last used. Also explores other roman artifacts that were found in germany and how they might be connected to Varus. All in all a must read for those who are interested in events of 9 AD.
Excellent Sep 22, 2007
Major Clunn deserves credit for a well-written narrative - he does equally well in recounting his own explorations and in spinning out (admittedly) speculative history.
To denigrate his speculations as "historical fiction" is nonsense. All of the accounts of Varus, Arminius and this battle are almost entirely speculative (fictitious, I guess) -- for example, the expensive fiction of the Hermannsdenkmal. Perhaps we ought to allow some leeway to the man who, after untold thousands of failures and nearly two thousand years, solved the riddle of the site of that battle.
The absence of maps is a warranted critique. Yet, the absence forced me to read this book with constant reference to MS Live Earth and Google Maps. I cannot overstate how much more I learned by proceeding in this fashion -- incomparably more than I would have learned by reference to a few two-dimensional and static maps in a book. So, even in this, the author deserves my praise and appreciation.
In summary, this book provided me with one of my most enjoyable reading experiences in long time, and it is very highly recommended.