Date: 16 AD

Encouraged by the omen and finding the auspices favourable, he called an assembly, and explained the precautions which wisdom suggested as suitable for the impending battle. He said:

"It is not," he said, "plains only which are good for the fighting of Roman soldiers, but woods and forest passes, if science be used. For the huge shields and unwieldly lances of the barbarians cannot, amid trunks of trees and brushwood that springs from the ground, be so well managed as our javelins and swords and close-fitting armour. Shower your blows thickly; strike at the face with your swords' points. The German has neither cuirass nor helmet; even his shield is not strengthened with leather or steel, but is of osiers woven together or of thin and painted board. If their first line is armed with spears, the rest have only weapons hardened by fire or very short. Again, though their frames are terrible to the eye and formidable in a brief onset, they have no capacity of enduring wounds; without any shame at the disgrace, without any regard to their leaders, they quit the field and flee; they quail under disaster, just as in success they forget alike divine and human laws. If in your weariness of land and sea you desire an end of service, this battle prepares the way to it. The Elbe is now nearer than the Rhine, and there is no war beyond, provided only you enable me, keeping close as I do to my father's and my uncle's footsteps, to stand a conqueror on the same spot."

[Tac. Ann. 2.14]

The general's speech was followed by enthusiasm in the soldiers, and the signal for battle was given.