Varus (Publius Quinctilius Varus)vârˈəs, d. A.D. 9, Roman general. In 13 B.C. he was consul with Tiberius Claudius Nero (later emperor as Tiberius) and later was governor of Syria. Although unsuited for the position, he was appointed governor of Germany by Augustus. In A.D. 9, to suppress an uprising, he led three legions across the Rhine into the Teutoburg Forest, where they were massacred by the troops of Arminius. Varus himself committed suicide. This defeat was a major catastrophe for the Romans. It is said that afterward Augustus would start up from sleep, crying, "Varus, Varus, bring me back my legions!"

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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