The File on… Arminius

2000 years ago, in AD 9, Teuton tribesmen, led by Arminius, inflicted a crushing defeat on the haughty Roman legions. Who, then, was Arminius, and what was Teuton life like at that time? Kirsten John’s portrait of Arminius reads like a gripping novel, while remaining based on historical facts all the time.

If it hadn’t been for Varus, the Roman commander, and the crushing defeat his soldiers suffered in a place called „Teutoburg Forest“, we’d only dispose of scant knowledge about Teuton life 2000 years ago, and, what’s more, about Arminius, the first Teuton the Romans ever took an interest in. After all, his victory drove home the fact that those savage tribes living between the Rhine and the Elbe were dangerous and not to be trifled with. Based on the Roman sources as well as taking into account the latest archaeological finds, Kirsten John paints a striking picture of what life was like in those Teuton villages. She shows us to what extent Roman civilization fascinated men like Arminius, who, nevertheless, stubbornly stuck to their own tradition. And she traces the life of the man himself, growing up in his country’s vast forests, embarking on a military career as a Roman soldier, only to become, eventually, their most dangerous enemy to date. His tragic love for Thusnelda, a chieftain’s daughter, is given ample space, as are his feuds with other tribes, and with members of his own tribe and family.

It is only to be wished that our history books were as exciting as this biography – in no time at all our schoolkids would turn into expert historians!

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Kirsten John

Born in 1966, Kirsten John is a publisher’s reader and freelance writer. "Schwimmen lernen in Blau", her award-winning novel, has been translated into several languages. She lives and works in Hanover and Amsterdam.

Stefanie Roth

Born in Dresden in 1969, Stefanie Roth studied illustration and graphic arts in Prague and communication design at Berlin-Weißensee’s Kunsthochschule, attending Professor Volker Pfüller’s master class. She has been freelancing as a graphic designer, illustrator and designer of books since 1997. She’s also headed the faculty of graphic design at Schwerin’s Design Schule since 2008.

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