Originally Posted by TranterUK
Another interesting 'what if' is the defeat of three Roman Legions under Varus by the (German) Arminius in AD 9. Despite winning and getting the Romans to withdraw it has been suggested by doing so a more fractured Europe was the result. This then led to hundreds of years of dispute and war that may have been largely avoided.
When he heard the news of Varus' defeat in the Teutoberger Wald, Caesar Augustus is said, by Seutonius, to have torn open his toga and cried out in great anguish, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" ("Quinctili Vare, legiones redde!"). The Romans never again seriously attempted to challenge the German tribes across the Rhine and Danube rivers. Perhaps if they had, and done so successfully as they did in Gaul, the whole history of the later Roman Empire might have been different, for it was the Germans who were most responsible for defeat of the Empire in the 5th Century.