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Quest for the Lost Roman Legions

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  83 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
A masterful retelling of the search to discover the Varus battlefield, Clunn alternates between his incredible modern quest, and the ancient tale of the Roman occupation of Germany (based upon actual finds from the battlefield) that ultimately ended so tragically in the peat bogs of Kalkriese.
ebook, 414 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Savas Beatie (first published 1998)
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'Aussie Rick'
In Quest Of The Lost Legions: The Varusschlacht by Major Tony Clunn is one of those rare gems of a book. You don't realise just how good it is until you start. I purchased this book based on the reviews at in the United States and the United Kingdom. After I received my copy I had a quick flick through it and decided that I would read it at a later date. Over the last few months I picked up the book a few times, flicked through and decided `next time'. I am so disappointed in myself f ...more
In 9 A.D., three Roman legions were annihilated in the Teutoburg Forest in ancient Germania. This effectively stopped the Roman Empire from further expansion into the area between the Rhine and the Elbe, a decision which would eventually affect Rome when centuries later the Germanic tribes would overrun the Empire. In other words, this was the greatest military defeat during Emperor Augustus's reign, which had him screaming the immortal lines of:

Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!

This bo
This book is a must-read for Germanists and those interested in field archaeology. A fascinating story of on-the-ground German history for anyone who's lived or traveled in Germany. It is not for someone looking for a quick summary of the Varus battle. Perhaps the account is not as cogent as it would be if written by a professional author, but I am glad that the author told it in his own words. There are plenty of books written by people who've only read about Varus and Arminius. Clunn spent yea ...more
Andrew Tollemache
Apr 12, 2015 Andrew Tollemache rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read made more fascinating by reading quickly as some of Clunn's book is overly padded and distracts from the real and better story. Tony Clunn was a UK soldier stationed in Germany during the 1980s who sought to find the actual location of the battle known Germans as the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest and to the Romans as Varus's Lost Legions. In 9 AD a German tribal prince named Arminus destroyed 3 Roman legions under Varus as they headed back to their winter fortresses along t ...more
Michael K.
In the fall of AD 9, Publius Varus, governor of Germania, went off across the Rhine to teach the local tribes a lesson, but he fatally misjudged the situation and lost three entire Roman legions. As a result, the Empire’s expansion came to a halt in the north and the Rhine became the de facto boundary between the Latin and Germanic worlds (and still is). But where did the great battle take place? The general area was deducible from Tacitus, who described the disaster in some detail, based on the ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book would have been more valuable if it had concentrated on the clues that led Clunn to make his discoveries or conclusions. The story was so saturated with coin finds . . . which may be exciting for the person finding them, but it makes for boring reading. Furthermore, Clunn would tease with hints about information that he overlooked at first but that revealed important information, but then never clearly specified what that information was or what finds were the result. It's understandab ...more
Jun 23, 2010 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The epic tale of a man and his metal detector. Snore.
Dec 28, 2015 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-history
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the subject--the Roman General Varus's legendary defeat by the German warrior Arminius--but it probably wouldn't appeal to any casual readers.
Clunn does fairly well at describing his enthusiasm during his metal-detecting, even though this is not a naturally entertaining storyline. He also did well at presenting an object uncovered--such as a glob of gold, a cape clasp with a name on it, or a parade mask--and then present a fictional acco
Sep 13, 2008 Burt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Roman History
Shelves: history
The Roman general Varus lost his life, and three Roman legions in the Teutoburg forest in 9 ad. Over the course of time, the site of Varus' defeat and doomed flight have become a bit murky. Legend says where the battle took place, but there was, it appears, lively local debate about the correctness of the attribution.

Tony Clunn was stationed in Germany as a physician and developed an advanced amateur interest in the archaelogy of the battle. In his text he claims, rather persuasively, to have fo
John Knepper
Jan 16, 2014 John Knepper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome blend of historical fact verse fiction in which Tony takes you not only through his explorations and excavations of what eventually ends up being one of the greatest Roman battle discoveries in history, but also keeps you begging to read more with his fictional accounts of Marcus Aius, a real Roman centurion whose own personally engraved chain mail fasteners were discovered amongst the fields of battle. Warning - not for the casual reader.
Kirk Rappe
Dec 27, 2013 Kirk Rappe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Respectable book on the discovery of the true site of the Battle of the Teutoburger Wald where Rome suffered its greatest defeat. Tony Clunn nicely describes his discovery of coinage and artifacts near Kalkriese. The riveting account of his discovery is interspersed with a fictitious account of the events leading up to and including the battle. The historical fiction is actually better written than Clunn's description of the discovery. Most frustrating is the lack of maps. Though not quite a wel ...more
Michael Dempsey
Aug 04, 2016 Michael Dempsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent detective work researching and exploring the site of the Varusschlacht - loss of the 17th, 18th, 19th legions.
Dec 09, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating! I stumbled upon this book by accident. I was looking for books on the lost Ninth Legion, and my search popped this one up. Much like the artifacts found at the Varus battle site, this book was a treasure! The author blends a historical/semi fictional account of the ambush and running battle with the story of the actual archaeological search. He backs up his accounts of the story through the locations of various artifacts and creates a compelling vision of how the last days of those ...more
David Rude
Jun 05, 2013 David Rude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story inter-mixed with the discovery of the different battle sites was done very well. It help to put into perceptive how we'll the German tribes planned for this and how argent the Roman leader were to think that they could not be put down.
Jennifer Eckel
Feb 23, 2015 Jennifer Eckel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strategic battle that echoes through history

Very good read that blends history and archeology. Clunn is an avid amateur whose techniques brought the battle to light.
Melisende d'Outremer
Just finished and was slightly disappointed. I personally woukd have preferred the histical story retold followed by Tony's journey of discovery. The fictional account did nothing for me.
Jun 02, 2016 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed history of the ambush and slaughter of thousands of Roman soldiers at the hands of the Germanic tribes in 9 AD.
Feb 16, 2016 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this is an interesting story, as an archaeologist it even bored me.
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