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View Full Version : German battlefield yields Roman surprises


SteelersMongol
01-05-2009, 10:10 PM
HANOVER, Germany (CNN) -- Archaeologists have found more than 600 relics from a huge battle between a Roman army and Barbarians in the third century, long after historians believed Rome had given up control of northern Germany.

"We have to write our history books new, because what we thought was that the activities of the Romans ended at nine or 10 (years) after Christ," said Lutz Stratmann, science minister for the German state of Lower Saxony. "Now we know that it must be 200 or 250 after that."

For weeks, archeologist Petra Loenne and her team have been searching this area with metal detectors, pulling hundreds of ancient Roman weapons out of the ground. They paint a picture of a highly organized, technologically superior Roman army beset by Germanic tribes in a forest about 80 km (50 miles) south of the modern city of Hanover.

The hillside battlefield was discovered by relic-hunters illegally searching for souvenirs of more recent wars near the town of Kalefeld-Oldenrode. One of them brought some of the items he found to Loenne, who works for the local government.

The artifacts are so well preserved that the scientists can already retrace some of the battle lines. Video Watch how the battlefield discovery could re-write history

"We believe the Germans ambushed the Romans here, but the legions quickly fired back with catapults and archers -- and then it came to a massive man-on-man onslaught," Loenne said.

The items unearthed so far include an axe, still sharp after nearly 1,800 years; horseshoes; shovels; spearheads; and dozens of arrowheads for a Scorpio, a cross between a catapult and a crossbow -- the ancient equivalent of artillery.

"With a very high speed, on a very long distance -- about 300 meters -- you can hit targets precisely," said Henning Hassman, of Hanover's archeological institute.

Researchers say the evidence suggests the tribesmen lured the Romans into the forest to keep them from making full use of those long-range weapons and draw them into hand-to-hand combat, outside of the formations the imperial troops had mastered. However, they believe the Romans ultimately prevailed.

Other relics include coins depicting the late second-century Roman emperor Commodus, depicted in the Oscar-winning Hollywood epic "Gladiator" -- a film that opens with a scene of battle against a barbarian horde that scientists say appears to be largely accurate. And Loenne said her team may have only begun to scratch the surface of the forest.

"We hope we might find fortifications and if we are lucky, maybe even battlefield graveyards," she said.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/05/germany.battlefield/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Wow. So the Romans weren't bunch of wimps who gave up on conquering Germania after one disastrous battle. As a military history-buff, I'm excited with this news. And I think they should make prequel to "Gladiator". Who here agrees with me? And what is your most favorite movie battle scenes?

tony hipchest
01-05-2009, 10:16 PM
fascinating. i woulda loved to be one of them archaeologist/treasure hunters.

as for battle scenes, nothing can top the opening of saving private ryan for me (maybe not even the ending).

Hines0wnz
01-07-2009, 12:41 PM
That is truly exciting news. I love everything about history especially in the context of the early dominating empires from many many centuries ago.


As for battle scenes I give the nudge to a more modern arena. The Mogadishu battle of Blackhawk Down was ugly and real to me because I was in country not long before it happened. It is one of the biggest single reasons why I will never give Clinton credit for anything.

Dino 6 Rings
01-07-2009, 12:45 PM
I look forward to more reseach about this discovery.

battle scene, opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, pretty insane.

edit, also enjoy the Battle of Minus Tirith in Lord of the Rings Return of the King.

Hammer67
01-07-2009, 01:41 PM
Great article...I minored in Roman British history in college...this is a fascinating find.

As for Gladiator, I know Ridley Scott has plans for a prequal already in the works, sans Russle Crowe, though.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2009, 02:01 PM
I have always enjoyed war and strategy...I guess that is why I love the x's and o's of football so much.

That is interesting news. I took some Roman civilization courses in Univ. and have to say I hated the opening scene of Gladiator. Sure, the flaming arrows make for good movies, but the Romans actually used a weighted pilum, a javelin type weapon to throw into the opposing army before engaging them with swords. Then as the enemy retreated they sent in the calvarly to cut them down. All part of divide et imperae (Divide and Conquer).

Saving Private Ryan was awesome, but I think I prefer the old school beach landings in "The Longest Day". I also love the scene in "Patton" where George C. Scott is being driven to the battlefield and tells his driver to divert to a serene meadow with some highlands. He proceeds to tell him that this is where the battlefield was, as he feels some connection with past army's fighting there.

lamberts-lost-tooth
01-07-2009, 02:03 PM
fascinating. i woulda loved to be one of them archaeologist/treasure hunters.

as for battle scenes, nothing can top the opening of saving private ryan for me (maybe not even the ending).

Totally agree...if I could do something other than what I do for a living now...I would be fascinated to be a part of this type of archeological investigation.

....loved the final battle scene in "We Were Soldiers"

beSteelmyheart
01-07-2009, 06:03 PM
That is truly exciting news. I love everything about history especially in the context of the early dominating empires from many many centuries ago.


As for battle scenes I give the nudge to a more modern arena. The Mogadishu battle of Blackhawk Down was ugly and real to me because I was in country not long before it happened. It is one of the biggest single reasons why I will never give Clinton credit for anything.

I agree, that is one of my favorite movies. It's a good glimpse into a horrible type of life for some countries of the world, even today, which is scary in itself. And then to be trapped there having to fight their way out of it was pretty intense & at times seemed like such a hopeless battle but I admire the way they stuck it out for each other.
I also loved the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan (as well as the rest of the movie). In these two movies, you can get a real feeling of what those guys really had & still have to go through & that's what makes the depictions so powerful.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-07-2009, 07:32 PM
The Mogadishu battle of Blackhawk Down was ugly and real to me because I was in country not long before it happened. .

I give you guys a ton of credit for being in places like that and doing the job. :hatsoff:
I was in the Naval reserves back in the day and only did a lot of training.

Battle scenes in Flags of our Fathers was amazing too. I remember seeing a documentary about fighting in the south pacific and the Marine told of how when it got to hand to hand and bayonets that he had to stick his thumb in a guy's eye to keep himself from getting killed. He has never forgot the sound of the screams.

stillers4me
01-07-2009, 08:46 PM
Interesting about the German battlefield. My hubby's into that stuff.....he's a nerd......but he's my nerd!

SteelersMongol
01-07-2009, 09:27 PM
fascinating. i woulda loved to be one of them archaeologist/treasure hunters.

as for battle scenes, nothing can top the opening of saving private ryan for me (maybe not even the ending).

To be honest, SPR's opening & ending was the first film that made me realize how ugly the war is. But it's still one of my most favorite movies of all time. So is "Gladiator" & "Last Samurai" (yeah, I know many of you hate Tom, but he did great job in the movie :hatsoff: & we all know it's not that easy to break into Hollywood without having a good white guy as a main character :flap:).

stillers4me
01-07-2009, 09:35 PM
I loved the Last Samurai! Breathtaking scenery and Ken Watanabe was awesome!