19 Facts About Arminius


Arminius 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 9 AD, in which three Roman legions under the command of general Publius Quinctilius Varus were destroyed.

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Arminius learned Latin and served in the Roman military, which gained him Roman citizenship and the rank of eques.

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Etymology of the Latin name Arminius is unknown; confusion is further created by contemporary scholars who alternately referred to him as Armenus.

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In German, Arminius was traditionally known as Hermann der Cherusker or Hermann der Cheruskerfurst ("Hermann the Cheruscan Prince").

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Arminius learned to speak Latin and joined the Roman military alongside his younger brother Flavus.

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Arminius served in the Roman army between 1 and 6 AD, and received a military education as well as Roman citizenship and the status of equite before returning to Germania.

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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.

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Arminius began plotting to unite various Germanic tribes in order to thwart Roman efforts to incorporate their lands into the empire.

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Arminius saw this as the perfect opportunity to defeat Varus.

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Arminius faced opposition from his father-in-law and other pro-Roman Germanic leaders.

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Arminius died two years later, in 21 AD, murdered by opponents within his own tribe who felt that he was becoming too powerful.

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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.

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Arminius deeply grieved the capture of Thusnelda and did not marry again.

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Tacitus recorded that Arminius was "driven to frenzy" by the loss of his beloved wife.

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Arminius flew hither and thither among the Cherusci, demanding "war against Segestes, war against Cæsar.

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Arminius was not the only reason for Rome's change of policy towards Germania.

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Italicus, nephew of Arminius, was appointed king of the Cherusci; Vangio and Sido became vassal princes of the powerful Suebi, etc.

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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.

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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.

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