In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th and 19th Roman legions and their auxiliary troops under command of Publius Quinctilius Varus vanished in the boggy wilds of Germania. They died singly and by the hundreds over several days in a carefully planned ambush led by Arminius-a Roman-trained German warrior determined to stop Rome's advance east beyond the Rhine River. By the time it was over, some 25,000 men, women, and children were dead and the course of European history had been forever altered. "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" Emperor Augustus agonized aloud when he learned of the devastating loss. As the decades slipped past, the location of one of the western world's most important battlefields was lost to history for two millenia.