1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arminius

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ARMINIUS, the Latinized form of the name of Hermann, or more probably Armīn (17 B.C.A.D. 21), the German national hero. He was a son of a certain Segimer, a prince of the tribe of the Cherusci, and in early life served with distinction as an officer in the Roman armies. Returning to his own people he found them chafing under the yoke of the Roman governor, Quintilius Varus; he entertained for them hopes of freedom, and cautiously inducing neighbouring tribes to join his standard he led the rebellion which broke out in the autumn of A.D. 9. Heavily laden with baggage the troops of Varus were decoyed into the fastnesses of the Teutoburger Wald, and there attacked, the completeness of the barbarian victory being attested by the virtual annihilation of three legions, by the voluntary death of Varus, and by the terror which reigned in Rome when the news of the defeat became known, a terror which found utterance in the emperor’s despairing cry: “Varus, give me back my legions!” Then in A.D. 15 Germanicus Caesar led the Romans against Arminius, and captured his wife, Thusnelda. An indecisive battle was fought in the Teutoburger Wald, where Germanicus narrowly escaped the fate of Varus, and in the following year Arminius was defeated. The hero’s later years were spent in fighting against Marbod, prince of the Marcomanni, and in disputes with his own people occasioned probably by his desire to found a powerful kingdom. He was murdered in A.D. 21.

In 1875 a great monument to Arminius was completed. This stands on the Grotenburg mountain near Detmold. Klopstock and other poets have used his exploits as material for dramas.

Much discussion has taken place with regard to the exact spot in the Teutoburger Wald where the great battle between Arminius and Varus was fought. There is an immense literature on this subject, and the following may be consulted:—T. Mommsen, Die Ortlichkeit der Varusschlacht (1885); E. Meyer, Untersuchungen über die Schlacht im Teutoburger Walde (1893); A. Wilms, Die Schlacht im Teutoburger Walde (1899); F. Knoke, Das Schlachtfeld im Teutoburger Walde (1899); E. Dünzelmann, Der Schauplatz der Varusschlacht (1889); and P. Höfer, Die Varusschlacht (1888). For more general accounts of Arminius see: Tacitus, Annals, edited by H. Furneaux (1884-1891); O. Kemmer, Arminius (1893); F. W. Fischer, Armin und die Römer (1893); W. Uhl, Das Portrait des Arminius (1898); and F. Knoke, Die Kriegszüge des Germanicus in Deutschland (1887).