|Prince and Chieftain of the Cherusci tribe|
|Died||21 AD (aged 37–38)|
Arminius (German : Hermann; 18/17 BC – AD 21) was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci tribe who is best known for commanding an alliance of Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, in which three Roman legions under the command of general Publius Quinctilius Varus were destroyed. His victory at Teutoburg Forest would precipitate the Roman Empire's permanent strategic withdrawal from Magna Germania, and made a major contribution to the eventual fall of the Western Roman Empire several centuries later. Modern historians have regarded Arminius' victory as Rome's greatest defeat. As it prevented the Romanization of Germanic peoples east of the Rhine, it has also been considered one of the most decisive battles in history, and a turning point in world history.
Born a prince of the Cherusci tribe, Arminius was made a hostage of the Roman Empire as a child. Raised in Rome, he was drafted into the Roman military at an early age, during which he was granted Roman citizenship and became a Roman knight. After serving with distinction in the Great Illyrian Revolt, he was sent to Germania to aid the local governor Publius Quinctilius Varus 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 in the battles of Pontes Longi, Idistaviso, and the Angrivarian Wall, and deposed a rival, the Marcomanni king Maroboduus. Germanic nobles, afraid of Arminius' growing power, assassinated him in AD 21. He was remembered in Germanic legends for generations afterwards.The Roman historian 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.
During the unification of Germany in the 19th century, Arminius was hailed by German nationalists as a symbol of German unity and freedom.Following World War II, however, Arminius was omitted from German textbooks due to his association with militaristic nationalism, and many modern Germans are unaware of his story; the 2,000th anniversary of his victory at the Teutoburg Forest was only lightly commemorated in Germany.
The etymology of the Latin name Arminius is unknown; confusion is further created by contemporary scholars who alternately referred to him as Armenus.Marcus Velleius Paterculus, in his Historiae, mentions him as "Arminius, the son of Sigimer, a prince of [the German] nation" and states he "attained the dignity of equestrian rank". Due to Roman naming conventions of the time, it is likely Arminius is an adopted name granted to him upon citizenship, or otherwise not his Cheruscan name; although the theory that the name alludes to prior service on the eastern frontier of the Roman empire is now largely discredited.
The German translation of Arminius as Hermann dates from the 16th century, possibly first by Martin Luther.In German, Arminius is traditionally known as Hermann der Cherusker ("Hermann the Cheruscan") or Hermann der Cheruskerfürst ("Hermann the Cheruscan Prince"). Hermann etymologically means "Man of War", coming from the Old High German heri "war" and man "man".
Born in 18 or 17 BC in Germania, Arminius was the son of the Cheruscan chief Segimerus (German: Segimer; Proto-Germanic: Sigimariz; Old English: Sigemaer). He lived in Rome as a hostage during his youth, where he learned to speak Latin and trained as a Roman military commander alongside his younger brother Flavus. He served in the Roman army between AD 1 and 6, and received a military education as well as Roman citizenship 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.
Around the year AD 4, Arminius assumed command of a Cheruscan detachment of Roman auxiliary forces, probably while fighting in the Pannonian wars on the Balkan peninsula. He returned to northern Germania in AD 7 or 8, where the Roman Empire had established secure control of the territories just east of the Rhine, along the Lippe and Main rivers, and was now seeking to extend its hegemony eastward to the Weser and Elbe rivers, under Publius Quinctilius Varus, a high-ranking administrative official appointed by 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 AD 6 and 9, 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,leaving Varus with only three legions to face the Germans. 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 AD 9, 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 legions, plus three 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. Arminius' tribe, the Cherusci, and their allies the Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci, and Sicambri (five out of at least fifty Germanic tribes at the time) km north of present-day Osnabrück. When defeat was certain, Varus committed suicide by falling on his sword. 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.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 20
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, resisting long enough for Lucius Nonius Asprenas to organize the Roman defense on the Rhine and Tiberius to arrive with a new army. This prevented Arminius from crossing the Rhine and invading Gaul.
Between AD 14 and 16, 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 AD 15, Roman troops managed to recapture one of the three legionary eagles lost in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. In AD 16, a second eagle was retrieved.Tiberius denied the request of Germanicus to launch an additional campaign for AD 17, 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 AD 41 by Publius Gabinius, under the emperor 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. It ended with Marbod fleeing to Ravenna and Roman protection, but Arminius failed to break into the "natural fortification" of Bohemia, and the war ended in stalemate.
In AD 19, Germanicus died in Antioch under circumstances which led many to believe he had been poisoned by his opponents. Arminius died two years later, in AD 21, murdered by opponents within his own tribe who felt that he was becoming too powerful.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."
Arminius married a Germanic princess named Thusnelda.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 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 states in The Annals:
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 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.
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 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 "Rome's greatest defeat"and one of the most decisive battles in history.
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, without doubt Germania's liberator, who challenged the Roman people not in its beginnings like other kings and leaders, but in the peak of its empire; in battles with changing success, undefeated in the war.
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 AD 14, 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 via the Rhône, 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, instead preferring to exert indirect influence by appointing client kings, which was cheaper than military campaigns. Italicus, nephew of Arminius, was appointed king of the Cherusci; Vangio and Sido became vassal princes of the powerful Suebi, 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, resulted in a Roman victory in AD 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.
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 National Socialist academic during World War II.
During the unification of Germany 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, 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 .
In 1808, Heinrich von Kleist wrote the play Die Hermannsschlacht ,but with Napoleon's 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 during the Third Reich.
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 Germans and many schools shunned 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 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 capitalist United States as an oppressive empire.
The 2,000-year anniversary of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, in 2009, was celebrated with restraint in Germany, avoiding "flag-waving festivals" and other gestures that might be interpreted as nationalism.According to Der Spiegel : "The old nationalism has been replaced by an easy-going patriotism that mainly manifests itself at sporting events like the soccerWorld 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.
Germanicus Julius Caesar was a popular and prominent general of the Roman Empire, 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 patrician gens Claudia. The agnomen Germanicus was added to his full name in 9 BC when it was posthumously awarded to his father in honor of his victories in Germania. In AD 4, he was adopted by his paternal uncle, Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus as Roman emperor a decade later. As a result, Germanicus became an official member of the gens Julia, another prominent family which he was related to on his mother's side. His connection to the Julii was further consolidated through a marriage between himself and Agrippina the Elder, a granddaughter of Augustus. He was also the older brother of Claudius, the father of Caligula, and the maternal grandfather of Nero.
Maroboduus, was a king of the Marcomanni, who were 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 Elbe. He led them into the forests of Bohemia, near to the Quadi who already lived nearby, and established a large alliance.
The 10s decade ran from January 1, AD 10, to December 31, AD 19.
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, described as the Varian Disaster by Roman historians, took place in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus. The alliance was led by Arminius, a Germanic officer of Varus's auxilia. Arminius had acquired Roman citizenship and had received a Roman military education, which enabled him to deceive the Roman commander methodically and anticipate the Roman army's tactical responses.
The Cherusci were an early Germanic people that inhabited parts of the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area possibly near present-day Hanover, during the first centuries BC and AD. Ethnically, Pliny the Elder groups them with their neighbours, the Suebi and Chatti, as well as the Hermunduri, as Hermiones, one of the Germanic groupings said to descend from an ancestor named Mannus. They led an important war against the Roman Empire. Subsequently, they were probably absorbed into the late classical Germanic tribal groups such as the Saxons, Thuringians, Franks, Bavarians and Allemanni.
Publius Quinctilius Varus 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 led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, whereupon he took his own life.
Legio undevigesima was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. It was founded in 41 or 40 BC by Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. It was destroyed in 9 AD in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The emblem of the XIXth legion is unknown but was probably the Capricorn like other legions levied by Augustus.
The Battle of Idistaviso, sometimes known as a first Battle of Minden or Battle of the Weser River, was fought in 16 AD between Roman legions commanded by Roman emperor Tiberius' heir and adopted son Germanicus, and an alliance of Germanic peoples commanded by Arminius. The battle marked the end of a three-year series of campaigns by Germanicus in Germania.
Segestes was a nobleman of the Germanic tribe of the Cherusci involved in the events surrounding the Roman attempts to conquer northern Germany during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus.
The Marsi were a small Germanic tribe settled between the Rhine, Ruhr and Lippe rivers in northwest Germany. It has been suggested that they were a part of the Sugambri who managed to stay east of the Rhine after most Sugambri had been moved from this area. Strabo describes the Marsi as an example of a Germanic tribe who were originally from the Rhine area, now the war-torn Roman frontier, but had migrated deep into Germania.
Thusnelda was a Germanic noblewoman who was captured by the Roman general Germanicus during his invasion of Germania. She was the wife of Arminius. Tacitus and Strabo cite her capture as evidence of both the firmness and restraint of Roman arms.
The Angrivarii were a Germanic people of the early Roman Empire, who lived in what is now northwest Germany near the middle of the Weser river. They were mentioned by the Roman authors Tacitus and Ptolemy.
Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium was the Roman colony in the Rhineland from which the German city of Cologne developed.
Germania ( was a short-lived Roman province for the duration of 16 years under Augustus, from 7 BC to AD 9. The possible capital of this province was Marktbreit -a recently discovered castrum with a nearby Canabae from the period of Emperor Augustus- located 70 km east of the "Limes Germanicus" on the River Main
Massacre in the Black Forest is a 1967 historical drama film set on the northeast frontier of the Roman Empire facing the area of Germania in A.D. 9. The film centers on Arminius, a chieftain of the Cherusci Germanic tribe, who drew three Roman legions into an ambush in the Teutoburg Forest, known as the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
Aulus Caecina Severus was a Roman politician and general who was consul in 1 BC. He was Emperor Augustus' representative in Moesia when the Great Illyrian Revolt broke out. As a result, he spent 4 years in heavy fighting against the Illyrian tribes before the revolt was suppressed by the Romans. In 14 AD he was in charge of several legions on the lower Rhine which mutinied on the death of Augustus. He was recorded as having handled this poorly, with the situation only being salvaged by the intervention of his commander-in-chief, Germanicus.
"Hermann und Thusnelda" is a poem written in 1752 by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock exalting the Cheruscan chieftain Arminius, whom Johannes Turmair and Martin Luther named Hermann in the 16th century, and his wife Thusnelda. The poem was set to music by Franz Schubert in 1815 (D 322).
Flavus was a son of a Cheruscan chief called Segimerus and a younger brother to the German leader Arminius. Flavus' real Germanic name is unknown, Flavus in Latin means "the blonde" certainly relating to the colour of his hair.
The early Imperial campaigns in Germania were a series of conflicts between the Germanic tribes and the Roman Empire. Tensions between the Germanic tribes and the Romans began as early as 17 BC with Clades Lolliana, where the 5th Legion under Marcus Lollius was defeated by the tribes Sugambri, Usipetes, and Tencteri. Rome's emperor Augustus responded by rapidly developing military infrastructure across Gaul. His general, Nero Claudius Drusus, began building forts along the Rhine in 13 BC and launched a retaliatory campaign across the Rhine in 12 BC.
Julius Segimundus was a nobleman of the Germanic Cherusci.
Mommsen referred to the Battle of the Teutoburg forest as a turning-point in world history.
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