In the nineteenth century, many national legends were used in this way: for example, Boudicca in Great Britain, the victory of Arminius and the Cherusci
over the legions of Varus in Germany, and the resistance of the Gallic tribes led by Vercingetorix in Alesia in the France of Napoleon III.
Born a prince of the Cherusci
tribe, Arminius had been raised in Rome as a hostage, and he received military training and became a Roman officer.
John Wilson tells the extraordinary tale of The Battle of Teutoburg forest, during which the Cherusci
tribe of Northern Germany handed the Roman army one of its greatest military defeats.
He had marched over the Rhine and into the German forest to try to bring local tribes, including the Cherusci, under Roman influence, but very few of the 25 000 men of his army escaped and he fell on his sword on the battlefield.
Far from having the precise geometry of the Roman camp as described by Tacitus, the site (4) reveals a long sinuous earthwork constructed by the Cherusci at the edge of what was then probably a dense oak and beech forest.
More interested in plundering the region for personal gain than protecting it, he quickly fell into the self-delusional trap that the Cherusci were friendly and that military preparedness to fight in this heavily wooded and hilly terrain was not a requirement.
He convinced Varus that the "loyal" Cherusci and, no doubt, the economic potential of the region, were being threatened by anti-Roman tribes in the area and in need of military protection.
In the early first century, following the disastrous defeat of Varus' three legions in the German forests by Arminius the chief of the Cherusci
, Augustus abandoned the earlier ambition of conquering Germany to the Elbe, and set limits to the empire.
The younger son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla, although his parents were divorced and his mother married Augustus just before his birth (38); served with his older brother Tiberius (later emperor) in the Alpine campaign (15); governor of the three Gauls (13); led a series of expeditions into Germany, subduing the Frisians, Chauci, Cherusci
, and Chatti, and constructing a Rhine-North Sea canal (12-9); praetor (11), proconsul (10), and consul (9); reached the Elbe River (9), but was injured in a riding accident and died a month after.
18 bc -- ad 21) Assumed to be the Latin form for Hermann, the heroic chief of the Germanic Cherusci