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It seems that every society had a cadre of special forces soldiers. Of course they were all cloaked in the mystical fanaticism of some ideology or other. So the Harii were a special society of Germanic fighters who populated the mountains north of the Roman empire now in modern day Hanover.

 

The Roman historian Tacitus refers to the Harii in his Germania:

“For their part, the Harii, besides the military might in which they surpass the peoples listed above, savage as they are, enhance their inborn ferocity by trickery and timing: their shields are black, their bodies stained, they choose dark nights for battles, and thus inspire terror with the shadowy horror of a ghostly army. None of their enemies can withstand that strange and so to speak hellish sight: for in every battle the men are overcome first.”

 

Now I learn that the battle in Teutoburg Forest action lasted over three days and night. In the long defile between a forest and a mountain the Roman troops were vulnerable because they could not fight in their formations. Once the battle was pressed and the Legionnaires were divided into segments, the attacks really never stopped.

 

So at night, the Harii rubbed ashes on themselves and formed up and found the weakest Roman units and stormed their positions at night.

 

 

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