Barbarians is a tense new historical drama on Netflix and it is predicted to go down well with fans of La Révolution and Vikings. The series follows a group of Germanic tribes who try to put an end to the evolution of the Roman Empire. History expert Professor Peter Frankopan has spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk to explain what happened at the battle of Teutoberg Forest.
What was the battle of Teutoberg Forest?
This exciting new series follows Arminius, the leader of a Germanic alliance who happens to have a Roman military background.
In the series, his allegiance is torn between the Roman Empire which raised him and his own tribal people who have made him part of their family.
Based on true events, the series explains how the Romans were led by Publius Quinctilius Varus, and how Arminius, with his military background, could be of use to the Germanic tribes.
An official trailer has been released by Netflix and one of Arminius’ allies is heard saying: “You were born a barbarian. But they have to learn, there is only Rome.”
Arminius is then seen cutting the head off another of the barbarians, proving how his loyalty is torn between two sides.
READ MORE: Barbarians Netflix release date, cast, trailer, plot: When is it out?
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest is otherwise known as the Varian Disaster and it took place in 9 CE.
During the battle, a group of Germanic tribes ambushed a group of Roman legions. Arminius felt conflicted to offer support to both sides having gained Roman citizenship and receiving a Roman military education.
Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History at Worcester College in Oxford, explained how the battle was “one of the great military disasters in history” from a Roman point of view.
He added: “For the victors, an alliance of Germanic peoples and tribes who often did not see eye to eye, it was an astonishing example of collaboration, and of the advantages of being underestimated by one’s rivals.
“The Roman army was a formidable machine: well-trained, highly experienced and ruthless. That bred an overwhelming sense of confidence.
“The troops at Teutoburg were [led by] Varus, a brutal general who was well aware that his no-nonsense reputation won him friends and influence in Rome.
“His chronic misjudgements led to massive casualties (perhaps as high as 20,000 men dead), and perhaps just as important, a huge blow to Rome’s reputation.
“The humiliation led to Augustus, the supreme leader in Rome, banging his head against a wall in anguish. That Rome’s finest could be ambushed and destroyed by ‘barbarians’ shook Rome to the core: a huge force was later sent to take reprisals, but this was more about symbolism of revenge than achieving a great deal.
“Thereafter, the Germanic peoples were largely left to themselves – if the Teutoburg forest episode taught one lesson it was that there was not much to gain from victory, but a lot to lose in defeat.”
There is no knowing how true the series will stay to the historical events.
In the trailer, the leader of one of the Germanic tribes says: “Reiks! Will we let the Romans subjugate us or will we fight back?”
While some of the tribespeople want to join forces to fight the Romans, others only want peace and believe fighting is the wrong approach.
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Arminius is forced to pick a side as his allies warn him of how barbarians never betray their people.
The tribes then face a seemingly impossible task of uniting together to show the Romans they will not be enslaved.
Fans have commented on the trailer expressing their excitement for the new series, with one saying: “So hyped for this. I live near the Teutoburg forest.
“Also respect to Netflix for creating a historical drama in which the Romans actually speak Latin for once.”
Another fan said: “For someone who is a nerd about history especially the Roman Empire…this sends a shiver to my spine..freaking epic…I really hope season two is about Germanicus campaigns against Arminius.”
Due to Arminius’s knowledge of Roman battle tactics, he was able to lead the Romans into a trap causing catastrophic casualties.
Fans have high hopes for the series, with one saying on YouTube: “Well holy c*** that actually looked like a show that could rival Vikings on the historical drama level.”
The bloodthirsty historical drama, which is in German, is made up of six episodes and it was actually filmed in the stunning setting of Hungary.
Sabine de Mardt, president of the production company behind the series, told Variety: “We are delving into the very personal psychological conflicts of our main characters only some of which will be resolved in the first season, leaving plenty of material for seasons to come.”
With this in mind, fans can expect this series to end at a tense moment, with scope for a second season to let the events of the battle unravel further.
Barbarians airs on Netflix