Arminius : biography

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Tiberius, successor of Augustus, decided that Germania was a far less developed land, possessing few villages, with only a small food surplus, and therefore was not currently important to Rome. It would require a commitment too burdensome for the imperial finances and for excessive expenditure of military force for a new achievement.

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 a brief area of portage. Armies on the Elbe, however, would have 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 sizeable garrisons than the regions beyond.Peter Heather, (2006), The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

Rome would control Germania by appointing client kings, which was cheaper than military campaigns.

Rome chose no longer to rule directly in Germania east of the Rhine and north of the Danube; Rome preferred to exert indirect influence through client kings, so Italicus, nephew of Arminius, was appointed king of the Cherusci; Vangio and Sido became vassal princes of the powerful Suebi, etc.Tacitus, Book 12 [verse 27 to 31]

Old Norse 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’s legions on their way to their doom in the Teutoburg Forest. Also one of the foremost Scandinavian scholars of the 19th century, Guðbrandur Vigfússon, identifies Sigurd as Arminius. This educated guess was also picked up by Otto Höfler, who was a prominent National Socialist academic in World War II.O. Höfler, "Siegfried Arminius und die Symbolik," Heidelberg (1961), 60–64,and also in Siegfried, Arminius und der Nibelungenhort (Vienna 1978);F.G. Gentry, W. McConnell, W. Wunderlich (eds.), The Nibelungen Tradition. An Encyclopedia (New York–London 2002), article "Sigurd".

Martin Luther

In Germany, he was rechristened "Hermann" by Martin Luther and he became an emblem of the revival of German nationalism fueled by the wars of Napoleon in the 19th century.

Another theory regarding Arminius’ Latin name is that it is based on the Latin word armenium a vivid blue, ultramarine pigment made from a stone. Thus, Arminius would have been called "blue eyes," and his brother Flavus "blondie" – as references to the stereotype physical features which the Romans assigned to their Germanic neighbors. In that case, the theory goes, "Arminius" does not necessarily have anything to do with the word and god-name "irmin", and his Germanic name could thus have been anything—Siegfried, for instance. Proponents of that theory argue that his father, too, (Segimerus, the modern form of which is "Siegmar") also bore a name with the stem "sieg," or "victorious".

German nationalism

In 1808, Heinrich von Kleist’s published, but never performed, the play Die Hermannsschlacht.Heinrich von Kleist: Die Herrmannsschlacht. Ein Drama [1808] (Frankfurt am Main and Basel: Stroemfeld-Roter Stern, 2001). It became unperformable after Napoleon’s victory at Wagram, aroused anti-Napoleonic German sentiment and pride among its readers.

The play has been revived repeatedly at moments propitious for raw expressions of National Romanticism and was especially popular during the Third Reich.

In 1839, 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 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 and named for Hermann the Cheruscan that during the nineteenth century flourished 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.

The German Bundesliga football-club DSC Arminia Bielefeld is named after Arminius.