The 'Clades Variana' entrance montage is made
up of a number of elements combined to
form a picture illustrating the story of the Varian Disaster.
The background image is adapted from a photo of
the site of the battle as it is today.
This shot (below) looks down the slopes of the Kalkrieser Berg into the
Niewedder Senke, north of the modern German city of Osnabrueck. I found this
photo on the University of Osnabrueck Varusschlaut site, but adjusted it slightly to remove
the more obvious modern buildings and structures in the background.
The original photo of the Kalkrieser Berg, before it was amended
The picture of the attacking Germans was then
laid over the background image. This picture
was based on a Romantic painting by Paul Ivanovitz (below) The Fury of the Goths. In this
painting, Ivanovitz seems to have gone to some effort to make the Roman equipement
accurate, but the Germans are a little fanciful. They certainly look nothing like Goths, but
his use of very early, La Tene-style equipment meant that the picture could be used to
illustrate the Clades Variana - with a little adjustment, of course.
Detail of the Ivanovitz painting The Fury of the Goths before emendation
The nineteenth century 'winged helmet' on the
chieftain in the centre of the painting was
(thankfully) removed and replaced, and the 'barbarian axe' wielded by the warrior in
front of him was also replaced with a sword. The whole image was then sharpened
and the contrast was increased so detail would not be lost when it was made
partially transparent and laid over the background photo.
The Ivanovitz image after adjustments
The Bust of Marcus Caelius
The primus pilus, or senior centurion,
of the Nineteenth Legion Marcus Caelius died in
the Varian Disaster. His bones were never recovered, but his brother Titus raised a
tombstone to him (below) featuring his bust, wearing his oak-leaf crown, torques and phalerae.
The tombstone of Centurion Marcus Caelius
The bust of Caelius was slighly damaged, with
the nose missing, parts of the face damaged
and one of his phalerae broken. These elements were digitally restored in the image of Caelius
used in the final montage (see below)
The heads of both spears are taken from a find
at Hjortsberg in Denmark, where a huge number of spears, swords and other
items were deposited in a bog as a thanks offering to the Germanic
gods for a victory in battle. The spear head used was based on the one fifth from the left in the bottom
row in the photo (below). The spear was the pre-eminent weapon of the first century Germanic
warrior, as well as being the sacred weapon of Wodanaz/Odin and the weapon used to sacrifice
human victims to him, as the Roman officers were sacrificed after the Clades Variana.
Hjortspring spearheads - note the bone spearheads in the second row
The Pillar Idols
The two pillar idols are based on two carved post-heads
from the Nydam Boat - a clinker built
Germanic ship found in Denmark. Several sources mention that the early Germans worshipped
wooden pillars topped with carved human heads. The pillar idols were constructed by taking the
Nydam heads and building them up into poles or posts.
The Nydam heads needed a lot of post-processing
to make them into the pillar idols (below).
After the cracks and brass restoration pins were erased, the left pillar was then colour-adjusted
to give it a slight mossy-green tinge. The one-eyed left hand pillar is Wodanaz/Odin - who gave up
his right eye for wisdom according to later Norse mythology. The right hand pillar is Ingaz, who
was later known as Ing, Ingi-Frey or Freyr. As a fertility god, his pillar is phallic in shape - later
images of Freyr showed him with an erect penis.
Wodanaz and Ingaz
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