Arminius
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Arminius ( 18/17 BC – 21 AD) was a chieftain of the
Germanic
Germanic
Cherusci The Cherusci were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Germanic tribes, tribe that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany in the area of the Weser River and present-day Hanover during the first centuries BC and AD. Roman histori ...
tribe who is best known for commanding an alliance of Germanic tribes at the
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, described as the Varian Disaster () by Ancient Rome, Roman historians, took place at modern Kalkriese in AD 9, when an alliance of Germanic peoples ambushed Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius ...

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
in 9 AD, in which three
Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army, composed of 5,200 infantry and 300 equites (cavalry) in the period of the Roman Republic (509 BC–27 BC) and of 5,600 infantry and 200 auxilia in the period of t ...

Roman legion
s under the command of general
Publius Quinctilius Varus Publius Quinctilius Varus (Cremona, 46 BC – Teutoburg Forest, AD 9) was a Roman general and politician under the first Roman emperor Augustus. Varus is generally remembered for having lost three Roman legions when ambushed by Germanic tribes le ...
were destroyed. His victory at Teutoburg Forest would precipitate the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
's permanent strategic withdrawal from
Germania Magna
Germania Magna
. Modern historians have regarded Arminius' victory as one of Rome's greatest defeats. As it prevented the
Romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of langu ...
of Germanic peoples east of the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...

Rhine
, it has also been considered one of the most decisive battles in history and a turning point in
human history Human history, also called world history, is the narrative of humanity's past. It is understood and studied through anthropology, archaeology, genetics, and linguistics. Since the History of writing, invention of writing, human history has b ...
. Born a prince of the Cherusci tribe, Arminius was part of the Roman friendly faction of the tribe. He learned Latin and served in the Roman military, which gained him
Roman citizenship Citizenship in ancient Rome (Latin language, Latin: ''civitas'') was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance. Citizenship in Ancient Rome was complex and based upon many d ...
and the rank of ''eques''. After serving with distinction in the Great Illyrian Revolt, he was sent to Germania to aid the local governor
Publius Quinctilius Varus Publius Quinctilius Varus (Cremona, 46 BC – Teutoburg Forest, AD 9) was a Roman general and politician under the first Roman emperor Augustus. Varus is generally remembered for having lost three Roman legions when ambushed by Germanic tribes le ...
in completing the Roman conquest of the Germanic tribes. While in this capacity, Arminius secretly plotted a Germanic revolt against Roman rule, which culminated in the ambush and destruction of three Roman legions in the Teutoburg Forest. In the aftermath of the battle, Arminius fought retaliatory invasions by the Roman general
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was an ancient Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania. The son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia the Younger, Germanicus was born into an influential branch of the Patric ...

Germanicus
in the battles of Pontes Longi, Idistaviso, and the Angrivarian Wall, and deposed a rival, the
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people * * * that established a powerful kingdom north of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running ...
king
Maroboduus Maroboduus (d. AD 37) was a king of the Marcomanni, who were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Suebian people. He spent part of his youth in Rome, and returning, found his people under pressure from invasions by the Roman empire between the Rhine and ...
. Germanic nobles, afraid of Arminius' growing power, assassinated him in 21 AD. He was remembered in
Germanic legends
Germanic legends
for generations afterwards. The Roman historian
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...

Tacitus
designated Arminius as the liberator of the Germanic tribes and commended him for having fought the Roman Empire to a standstill at the peak of its power.
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...

Tacitus
. . "Assuredly he was the deliverer of Germany, one too who had defied Rome, not in her early rise, as other kings and generals, but in the height of her empire's glory, had fought, indeed, indecisive battles, yet in war remained unconquered. He completed thirty-seven years of life, twelve years of power, and he is still a theme of song among barbarous nations, though to Greek historians, who admire only their own achievements, he is unknown, and to Romans not as famous as he should be, while we extol the past and are indifferent to our own times."
During the
unification of Germany The unification of Germany (, ) was the process of building the modern German nation state with federalism, federal features based on the concept of Lesser Germany (one without multinational Austria), which commenced on 18 August 1866 with ad ...
in the 19th century, Arminius was hailed by
German nationalists German nationalism () is an ideological notion that promotes the unity of Germans and German-speakers into one unified nation state. German nationalism also emphasizes and takes pride in the patriotism and national identity of Germans as one nat ...
as a symbol of German unity and freedom. Following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, however, Arminius' significance was reduced in Germany due to his association with militaristic nationalism; the 2,000th anniversary of his victory at the Teutoburg Forest was only lightly commemorated in Germany.


Name

The
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. The entity identified by a name is called its referent. A person ...
is unknown, and confusion is further created by contemporary scholars who alternately referred to him as . In his ''History'', Marcus Velleius Paterculus mentions him as "Arminius, the son of Sigimer, a prince of the nation" and states he "attained the dignity of equestrian rank". Due to
Roman naming conventions Over the course of some fourteen centuries, the Ancient Rome, Romans and other peoples of Italy employed a system of nomenclature that differed from that used by other cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of a combination of giv ...
of the time, it is likely is an adopted name granted to him upon citizenship or in any case not his
Germanic name Germanic given name A given name (also known as a forename or first name) is the part of a personal name quoted in that identifies a person, potentially with a middle name as well, and differentiates that person from the other members of ...
. The name instead appears to ultimately be of Etruscan origin, appearing as and on inscriptions found at Volaterrae. According to another theory, that name was given to Arminius for his service in Armenia. The translation of as the
name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. The entity identified by a name is called its referent. A person ...
''Hermann'' dates from the 16th century, possibly first by
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...

Martin Luther
. In German, Arminius was traditionally distinguished as ("Hermann the Cheruscan") or ("Hermann the Cheruscan Prince"). Hermann etymologically means "Man of War", coming from the
Old High German Old High German (OHG; german: Althochdeutsch (Ahd.)) is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 750 to 1050. There is no standardised or supra-regional form of German at this period, and Old High ...
meaning "war" and meaning "person" or "man".


Biography

Born in 18 or 17 BC in
Germania Germania ( ; ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania''), or Germanic Barbaricum to distinguish it from the Roman province of the same name, was a large historical region in nort ...

Germania
, Arminius was the son of the Cheruscan chief Segimerus (German: ''Segimer''; Proto-Germanic: ''Sigimariz''; Old English: ''Sigemaer''), who was allied with Rome. Arminius learned to speak
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

Latin
and joined the Roman military alongside his younger brother
Flavus Flavus is the Latin word for yellow or blond and has given the name to many, more or less yellow, objects: * Subrius Flavus, a failed Roman conspirator against the Emperor Nero * Flavus, brother of Arminius See also

* Flavius * Flava (disam ...
. He served in the
Roman army The Roman army (Latin language, Latin: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom (c. 500 BC) to the Roman Republic (500–31 BC) and the Roman Empire (31 BC–395 AD), and its ...
between 1 and 6 AD, and received a military education as well as
Roman citizenship Citizenship in ancient Rome (Latin language, Latin: ''civitas'') was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance. Citizenship in Ancient Rome was complex and based upon many d ...
and the status of equite before returning to Germania. These experiences gave him knowledge of Roman politics and military tactics, which allowed him to successfully anticipate enemy battle maneuvers during his later campaigns against the Roman army.


Battle of the Teutoburg Forest

Around the year 4 AD, Arminius assumed command of a Cheruscan detachment of Roman auxiliary forces, probably while fighting in the Pannonian wars on the
Balkan peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weig ...

Balkan peninsula
. He returned to northern Germania in 7 or 8 AD, where the Roman Empire had established secure control of the territories just east of the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...

Rhine
, along the
Lippe Lippe () is a ''Kreis'' (Districts of Germany, district) in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford (district), Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter (district), Höxter, Paderborn (district), Paderborn, Güters ...

Lippe
and Main rivers, and was now seeking to extend its hegemony eastward to the
Weser The Weser () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without ...
and
Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landloc ...

Elbe
rivers, under
Publius Quinctilius Varus Publius Quinctilius Varus (Cremona, 46 BC – Teutoburg Forest, AD 9) was a Roman general and politician under the first Roman emperor Augustus. Varus is generally remembered for having lost three Roman legions when ambushed by Germanic tribes le ...
, a high-ranking administrative official appointed by
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...

Augustus
as governor. Arminius began plotting to unite various Germanic tribes in order to thwart Roman efforts to incorporate their lands into the empire. This proved a difficult task, as the tribes were strongly independent and many were traditionally enemies of each other. Between 6 and 9 AD, the Romans were forced to move eight of the eleven legions present in Germania east of the Rhine to crush a rebellion in the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe with various geographical and historical definitions. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the who ...

Balkans
, leaving Varus with only three legions to face the Germans, which was still 18,000 troops, or 6,000 men per legion. An additional two legions, under the command of Lucius Nonius Asprenas, were stationed in Moguntiacum. Arminius saw this as the perfect opportunity to defeat Varus. In the autumn of 9 AD, the 25-year-old Arminius brought to Varus a false report of rebellion in northern Germany. He persuaded Varus to divert the three legions under his command (composed of the 17th, 18th, and 19th , plus three
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms, operating as light cavalr ...

cavalry
detachments and six cohorts of auxiliaries), which were at the time marching to winter quarters, to suppress the rebellion. Varus and his legions marched right into the trap that Arminius had set for them near
Kalkriese Kalkriese is a village now administratively part of the city of Bramsche in the Osnabrück (district), district of Osnabrück, Lower Saxony, Germany. It is on the northern slope of the Wiehen Hills, a ridge-like range of hills, north of Osnabrück ...
. Arminius' tribe, the
Cherusci The Cherusci were a Germanic peoples, Germanic Germanic tribes, tribe that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany in the area of the Weser River and present-day Hanover during the first centuries BC and AD. Roman histori ...
, and their allies the
Marsi The Marsi were an Italic peoples, Italic people of Roman Italy, ancient Italy, whose chief centre was San Benedetto dei Marsi, Marruvium, on the eastern shore of Fucine Lake, Lake Fucinus (which was drained for agricultural land in the late 19 ...
,
Chatti The Chatti (also Chatthi or Catti) were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser (''Visurgis''). They lived in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of that rive ...
,
Bructeri The Bructeri (from Latin; Ancient Greek language, Greek: Βρούκτεροι, ''Broukteroi'', or Βουσάκτεροι, ''Bousakteroi''; Old English: ''Boruhtware'') were a Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe* * in Roman empire, Roman imperial tim ...
,
Chauci The Chauci (german: Chauken, and identical or similar in other regional modern languages) were an ancient Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems (river), Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ...
, and
Sicambri The Sicambri, also known as the Sugambri or Sicambrians, were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since t ...
(five out of at least fifty Germanic tribes at the time) ambushed and annihilated Varus' entire army, totaling over 20,000 men, as it marched along a narrow road through a dense forest. Recent archaeological finds show the long-debated location of the three-day battle was almost certainly near Kalkriese Hill, about north of present-day
Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Lower Saxony. It is situated on the river Hase in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutobur ...
. When defeat was certain, Varus committed suicide. The battle was one of the most devastating defeats Rome suffered in its history. Arminius' success in destroying three entire legions and driving the Romans out of Germany marked a high point of Germanic power for centuries. Roman attempts to reconquer Germania failed, although they did eventually manage to break Arminius' carefully coordinated alliance.


Roman retaliation, inter-tribal conflicts, and death

After the battle, the Germans quickly annihilated every trace of Roman presence east of the Rhine. Roman settlements such as the Waldgirmes Forum were abandoned. The vastly outnumbered Roman garrison of Aliso (present-day Haltern am See), under the command of the prefect Lucius Cedicius, inflicted heavy losses on the Germans before retreating into
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy (only dur ...

Gaul
, resisting long enough for Lucius Nonius Asprenas to organize the Roman defense on the Rhine and
Tiberius Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 14 until 37, succeeding his stepfather, the first Roman emperor Augustus. Tiberius was born in Rome in 42 BC. His father ...

Tiberius
to arrive with a new army. This prevented Arminius from crossing the Rhine and invading Gaul. Between 14 and 16 AD,
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was an ancient Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania. The son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia the Younger, Germanicus was born into an influential branch of the Patric ...

Germanicus
led punitive operations into Germany, fighting Arminius to a draw in the Battle at Pontes Longi and twice defeating him (according to Tacitus): first in the Battle of Idistaviso and later at the Battle of the Angrivarian Wall. In 15 AD, Roman troops managed to recapture one of the three legionary eagles lost in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. In 16 AD, a second eagle was retrieved. Tiberius denied the request of Germanicus to launch an additional campaign for 17 AD, however, having decided the frontier with Germania would stand at the Rhine river. Instead, he offered Germanicus the honor of a triumph for his two victories. The third Roman eagle was recovered in 41 AD by Publius Gabinius, under the emperor
Claudius Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor, ruling from AD 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudius was born to Nero Claudius Drusus, Drusu ...

Claudius
. Arminius also faced opposition from his father-in-law and other pro-Roman Germanic leaders. His brother Flavus, who had been raised alongside him in Rome, remained loyal to the Roman Empire and fought under Germanicus against Arminius at the Battle of Idistaviso. With the end of the Roman threat, a war broke out between Arminius and Marbod, king of the
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people * * * that established a powerful kingdom north of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running ...
. It ended with Marbod fleeing to
Ravenna Ravenna ( , , also ; rgn, Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 408 until its collapse in 476. It then served as the cap ...

Ravenna
and Roman protection, but Arminius failed to break into the "natural fortification" of
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...

Bohemia
, and the war ended in stalemate. In 19 AD, Germanicus died in
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc-gre, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou'', Koine Greek phonology#Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period, Learned ; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi ...
under circumstances which led many to believe he had been poisoned by his opponents. Arminius died two years later, in 21 AD, murdered by opponents within his own tribe who felt that he was becoming too powerful.Tacitus, The Annals 2.88 Tiberius allegedly had refused an earlier offer from a Chatti nobleman to poison Arminius: "It was not by secret treachery but openly and by arms that the people of Rome avenged themselves on their enemies."


Marriage to Thusnelda

Arminius married a Germanic princess named . Her father was the Cheruscan prince Segestes, who was pro-Roman. After the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Arminius abducted and then impregnated Thusnelda circa 14 AD. This
elopement Elopement is a term that is used in reference to a marriage which is conducted in a sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one's place of residence together with one's beloved with the intention of getting ma ...
was likely a result of a dispute between Arminius and Segestes who was against their relationship. In May 15 AD the Roman general Germanicus captured Thusnelda. At the point of her capture she was pregnant and living with her father, who had taken her back. Arminius deeply grieved the capture of Thusnelda and did not marry again. Tacitus recorded that Arminius was "driven to frenzy" by the loss of his beloved wife.Tacitus, The Annals 1.59
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...

Tacitus
states in the ''
Annals Annals ( la, wikt:annales, annāles, from , "year") are a concise history, historical record in which events are arranged chronology, chronologically, year by year, although the term is also used loosely for any historical record. Scope The natur ...
'':
Arminius, with his naturally furious temper, was driven to frenzy by the seizure of his wife and the foredooming to slavery of his wife's unborn child. He flew hither and thither among the Cherusci, demanding "war against Segestes, war against Cæsar." And he refrained not from taunts.
Thusnelda gave birth to a son named
Thumelicus Thumelicus (born 15 AD; died before 47 AD, probably in 30 or 31) was the only son of the Cherusci leader Arminius and his wife Thusnelda, daughter of the pro-Roman tribal leader Segestes. In May 15 AD, Arminius besieged Segestes at his stronghold ...
who grew up in Roman captivity. Tacitus describes him as having an unusual story, which he promises to tell in his later writings, but these writings have never been found.


Legacy

Arminius' victory against the Roman legions in the Teutoburg Forest had a far-reaching effect on the subsequent history of both the ancient
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and ear ...

Germanic peoples
and on the Roman Empire. The Romans made no further concerted efforts to conquer and permanently hold Germania beyond the Rhine and the '' Agri Decumates''. Numerous modern historians have regarded Arminius' victory as one of the most decisive battles in history, with some calling it "Rome's greatest defeat".


Rome

In the accounts of his Roman enemies, Arminius is highly regarded for his military leadership and as a defender of the liberty of his people. Based on these records, the story of Arminius was revived in the 16th century with the recovery of the histories of Tacitus, who wrote in his ''Annales II, 88'': Arminius was not the only reason for Rome's change of policy towards Germania. Politics also played a factor; emperors found they could rarely trust a large army to a potential rival, though Augustus had enough loyal family members to wage his wars. Also, Augustus, in his 40-year reign, had annexed many territories still at the beginning of the process of Romanization. Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus in 14 AD, decided that Germania was a far less developed land, possessing few villages and only a small food surplus, and therefore was not currently important to Rome. Conquering Germania would require a commitment too burdensome for the imperial finances and an excessive expenditure of military force. Modern scholars have pointed out that the Rhine was a more practical boundary for the Roman Empire than any other river in Germania. Armies on the Rhine could be supplied from the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the e ...
via the
Rhône The Rhône ( , ; wae, Rotten ; frp, Rôno ; oc, Ròse ) is a major river in France and Switzerland, rising in the Alps and flowing west and south through Lake Geneva and southeastern France before discharging into the Mediterranean Sea. At Ar ...

Rhône
,
Saône The Saône ( , ; frp, Sona; lat, Arar) is a river in eastern France. It is a right tributary of the Rhône, rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department and joining the Rhône in Lyon, at the southern end of the Presqu'île. The name deriv ...

Saône
, and Mosel, with only a brief area of portage. Armies on the Elbe, however, would had to have been supplied by extensive overland routes or by ships travelling the hazardous Atlantic. Economically, the Rhine already had towns and sizable villages at the time of the Gallic conquest. The Rhine was significantly more accessible from Rome and better equipped to supply sizable garrisons than the regions beyond. Rome chose no longer to rule directly in Germania east of the Rhine and north of the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , pa ...

Danube
, instead preferring to exert indirect influence by appointing
client king A client state, in international relations, is a State (polity), state that is economically, politically, and/or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (called the "controlling state"). A client state may variously be described as ...
s, which was cheaper than military campaigns. Italicus, nephew of Arminius, was appointed king of the Cherusci; Vangio and Sido became
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until a ...
princes of the powerful
Suebi The Suebi (or Suebians, also spelled Suevi, Suavi) were a large group of Germanic peoples originally from the Elbe river region in what is now Germany and the Czech Republic. In the early Roman era they included many peoples with their own names ...
, etc. When indirect methods proved insufficient to control the Germanic tribes beyond the Rhine, Roman emperors occasionally led devastating punitive campaigns deep into Germania. One of them, led by the Roman emperor
Maximinus Thrax Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus "Thrax" ("the Thracian";  – 238) was Roman emperor from 235 to 238. His father was an accountant in the governor's office and sprang from ancestors who were Carpi (a Dacian tribe), a people whom Diocleti ...

Maximinus Thrax
, resulted in a Roman victory in 235 at the Battle at the Harzhorn Hill, located in the modern German state of Lower Saxony, east of the Weser river, between the towns of Kalefeld and Bad Gandersheim.


Old Germanic sagas

In the early 19th century, attempts were made to show that the story of Arminius and his victory may have lived on in the Old Norse sagas, in the form of the dragon slayer Sigurd of the Völsunga saga and the Nibelungenlied. An Icelandic account states that Sigurd "slew the dragon" in the Gnitaheidr—today the suburb Knetterheide of the city of Bad Salzuflen, located at a strategic site on the Werre river which could very well have been the point of departure of Varus' legions on their way to their doom in the Teutoburg Forest. One of the foremost Scandinavian scholars of the 19th century, Guðbrandur Vigfússon, identified Sigurd as Arminius. This educated guess was also picked up by Otto Höfler, who was a prominent Nazi academic during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
.


German nationalism

During the
unification of Germany The unification of Germany (, ) was the process of building the modern German nation state with federalism, federal features based on the concept of Lesser Germany (one without multinational Austria), which commenced on 18 August 1866 with ad ...
in the 19th century, Arminius was hailed as a symbol of German unity and freedom. In Germany, the name ''Arminius'' was interpreted as reflecting the name ''Hermann'' by
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor, and Order of Saint Augustine, Augustinian friar. He is the seminal figure of the Reformation, Protestant Refo ...

Martin Luther
, who saw Arminius as a symbol of the German people and their fight against Rome. ''Hermann der Cheruskerfürst'' became an emblem of the revival of German nationalism fueled by the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, such as in Caspar David Friedrich's 1812 painting ''The Tombs of the Old Heroes''.Dorothea Klein (ed.), Lutz Käppel (ed.): ''Das diskursive Erbe Europas: Antike und Antikerezeption''. Peter Lang, 2008,
p. 329
/ref> In 1808, Heinrich von Kleist wrote the play ''Die Hermannsschlacht (Kleist), Die Hermannsschlacht'', but with Napoleon's Battle of Wagram, victory at Wagram it remained in manuscript, being published in 1821 and not staged until 1860. The play has been revived repeatedly at moments propitious for raw expressions of National Romanticism and was especially popular in Nazi Germany. In 1838, construction was started on a massive statue of Arminius, known as the ''Hermannsdenkmal'', on a hill near Detmold in the Teutoburg Forest; it was finally completed and dedicated during the early years of the Second German Empire in the wake of the German victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871. The monument has been a major tourist attraction ever since, as has the Hermann Heights Monument, a similar statue erected in New Ulm, Minnesota, in the United States in 1897. The Hermann Heights monument was erected by the Sons of Hermann, a fraternal organization formed by German Americans in New York City in 1840 that flourished during the 19th century in American cities with large populations of German origin. Hermann, Missouri, a town on the Missouri River founded in the 1830s and incorporated in 1845, was also named for Arminius. Following the rise of Nazi Germany, fueled by aggressive German nationalism, and its subsequent defeat in World War II, Arminius became a lesser-known figure among West Germany, West Germans and many schools shied away from teaching his story in any detail due to its previous association with nationalism. There was, however, a somewhat different perception in East Germany. In East Germany, Arminius, based on a Marxism, Marxist reading of history, came to be seen as a revolutionary figure of sorts, leading German tribes in a fight against the Roman slaveholder society (''Sklavenhaltergesellschaft''). In the context of the Cold War, Arminius was interpreted as symbolic of socialism, with Rome being a symbol of the capitalism, capitalist United States as an oppressive empire.Tillmann Bendikowski
''Deutsche Geschichte – Mythos einer Schlacht''
Zeit Online, 2008-11-04 (German)
According to journalist David Crossland: "The old nationalism has been replaced by an easy-going patriotism that mainly manifests itself at sporting events like the soccer FIFA World Cup, World Cup." The German Bundesliga football club DSC Arminia Bielefeld is named after Arminius. The 2,000-year anniversary of the battle was also celebrated in New Ulm, Minnesota without restraint. There were mock battles between Romans and club-wielding barbarians and also a lecture series in an auditorium.


Cultural references

* ''Arminio (Biber), Arminio'' is a 1692 opera about Arminius by the Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber. * ''Arminio'' is a 1736 opera about Arminius by George Frideric Handel. * ''Arminius (Bruch), Arminius'' is an 1877 oratorio about Arminius by the German composer Max Bruch. * ''Barbarians (2020 TV series), Barbarians'' is a 2020 TV show that features a fictionalized version of Arminius as one of the central characters.


See also

* Ariovistus * Bato the Breucian * Bato the Daesitiate * Boudica * Divico * Gaius Julius Civilis * Teutobod * Vercingetorix


Citations


Sources

* * * * Dörner, Andreas, ''Politischer Mythos und symbolische Politik. Der Hermannmythos: Zur Entstehung des Nationalbewußtseins der Deutschen'' (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1996). * * von Essen, Gesa, ''Hermannsschlachten. Germanen- und Römerbilder in der Literatur des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts'' (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1998). * Kuehnemund, Richard, ''Arminius or the Rise of a National Symbol in Literature: From Hutten to Grabbe'' (New York: AMS Press, 1966). * Münkler Herfried, and Hans Grünberger: "Arminius/ Hermann als nationales Symbol im Diskurs der deutschen Humanisten 1500–1570", In: Herfried Münkler, Hans Grünberger, and Kathrin Mayer, ''Nationenbildung. Die Nationalisierung Europas im Diskurs humanistischer Intellektueller. Italien und Deutschland'' (Berlin: Akademie, 1998), pp. 263–308. * * * Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, Wagner-Egelhaaf, Martina (ed.), ''Hermanns Schlachten. Zur Literaturgeschichte eines nationalen Mythos'' (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2008). * * Wolters, Reinhard ''Die Schlacht im Teutoburger Wald: Arminius, Varus und das roemische Germanien'' (München: Verlag C. H. Beck, 2008).


External links


Arminius
at the ''Encyclopædia Britannica''
Arminius
at the ''Ancient History Encyclopedia''
"Arminius / Varus: Die Varusschlacht im Jahre 9 n. Chr."
– LWL-Institut für westfälische Regionalgeschichte (in German)
"Terry Jones' Barbarians: The Savage Goths"
– includes a portion on Arminius

(in German)
"They Need a Hero"
by Clay Risen in ''The National (Abu Dhabi), The National'', October 9, 2009 – article on modern German views of Hermann and the 2,000th anniversary of the battle {{DEFAULTSORT:Arminius Arminius, 10s BC births, 010s BC births 1st-century rulers in Europe 21 deaths, 021 deaths Ancient Roman soldiers Cherusci rulers Cherusci warriors