After the conquest of Gaul by Julius Cesar, the Romans got confronted with a problem that had a very difficult solution, the long and hard to defend frontier that now the Empire had with the Germanic tribes’ territories. These warlike people raided the Gaulish lands continuously, causing vast destruction. In 16 BC, they even defeated a Roman army under the command of Marco Lolio, capturing the eagle of the Legio V.
All these incidents caused a reaction by the Romans. The legions crossed the Rhine and reached the Elbe river, fighting the tribes they found at their pace in some of the most bloody combats they had carried until the moment.
On 9 AD, the Roman governor of Germania, Publio Quintilio Varo, decided it was about time to subdue the Germanic tribes and crossed the Rhine with several legions, establishing their camps on the territory of an allied tribe, the Cherusci. News of a local revolt arrived and Varo decided to move there with three legions. What he didn’t know is that Arminius, the Cherusci leader, had made a secret alliance with the other Germanic tribes of the area. The Roman Army was ambushed, taking advantage of the difficult forest terrain that made their tactics and formations useless. Around 20.000 persons were slaughtered in what history came to know as the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.
Our figure depicts one of those fierce tribal warriors, armed with lance, sword and shield, possibly waiting along the rest of the Germanic force in the forest for the right moment to attack the Roman columns.