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The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions: Discovering the Varus Battlefield
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The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions: Discovering the Varus Battlefield

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  91 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th & 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 ...more
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published April 1st 2005 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
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
The epic tale of a man and his metal detector. Snore.
Andrew Tollemache
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 Smith
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
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 rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Kirk Rappe
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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