Excuse the long title, but I thought I'd present you something unusual today. To do this I'm afraid some lengthy explaining is in order.

In Germany there is a long-running and venerable kids' educational TV show called "Sendung mit der Maus". They have been around since the 70s and do a lot of explaining of everyday occurences, and also some more odd stuff, one of which I want to present today. It is an actual reenactment of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.


To make it short, when the Romans started their incursion of the northern parts of Germany, the Germanic tribes didn't take kindly to it, and they met much resistance in form of guerilla attacks. The most well-known and decisive of these attacks was the eponymous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where the Germanic warriors utterly crushed three entire Roman legions of 15000+ soldiers, none of whom returned home. Yup, you don't mess with us!

This battle is very important historically because it dealt a major blow to the Roman Empire, once and for all putting a definite halt on their expansionism on German grounds. This also has the continued effect of effectively stopping German romanization, meaning the Germanic dialect that evolved into modern German is spoken to this day, preventing the adoption of vulgar latin as official language as was the case in France.

Now for the actual material. The producers of the Sendung mit der Maus thought they'd recreate the impressive force the Romans sent into the Teutoburg Forest, never to return. The Roman general was called Varus, which is why the battle is also known as Varusschlacht. He had three Roman legions at his disposal, which adds up to at least 15000 soldiers, though it could easily have been up to 20000. All of these soldiers were completely eradicated and Varus committed suicide. Upon being informed of the loss, Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus is reported to have said,

"Varus, give me back my legions!"

Well, he got them back, some 2000 years late. Armin Maiwald, the Boss of the Sendung mit der Maus team at that time, and 7 of his assistants, spent a whole three weeks assembling 16500 actual Playmobil Romans. They then went to a military area where they would be undisturbed, and got busy setting up the entire army train which was about 20km long originally. It is quite an impressive sight. And, it has been uploaded to YouTube recently! So if you can endure half an hour of listening to German, you may watch the material here.



It starts with Armin telling the story behind the Hermannsdenkmal, a monument erected in honor of Arminius, the Germanic military leader who was in charge of the Cherusci attack on the Romans. Funnily enough, they both share the same name.


Then you get some authentic Germanic warriors parading about, and some history lessons on them and the Roman incursion. ALL the material was shot in the exact same area where the battle(s) happened, so you can't get any more authentic than this!

Anyone who's interested in history, Romans, or simply toy soldiers should definitely take a look! Please enjoy!