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Arminius the Liberator

Arminius the Liberator: Myth and Ideology deals with a particular, although wide-ranging, aspect in the long reception history of Arminius the Cheruscan, commonly called Hermann. Arminius inflicted one of their most devastating defeats on the Romans in the year 9 A.D., when he destroyed three legions under the command of Varus in the Battle in the Teutoburg Forest, as it is generally called. Martin M. Winkler traces the origin and development of the Arminius legend in antiquity and in political and ideological appropriations of Arminius-Hermann since the nineteenth century. The book's central theme is the ideological use and abuse of history and of historical myth in Germany: Weimar-era nationalism, National Socialism, and the reaction to the ideological taint of the Arminius figure after 1945. The book also examines the various appearances of Arminius in art and media from the 1960s until today. Special emphasis is on the representation of Arminius in the era of visual mass media in Germany, Italy, and the U.S.: painting (Anselm Kiefer) and theater (Claus Peymann) but, most extensively, cinema, television, and computer videos.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ; Adages ; Preface ; Acknowledgments ; Introduction: History, Myth, Media ; History as Myth and Ideology ; The Fate of History in the Time of the Image ; I. From History to Myth to Ideology ; 1. Origins of Myth: Arminius in Ancient Literature and in German Scholarship ; a. Ancient Historians and Poets ; b. Modern Historians ; 2. Backgrounds to Twentieth-Century Ideology ; a. Theme and Variations: Arminius from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries ; b. Arminius' Largest Monument: The Hermannsdenkmal ; 3. Arminius in National Socialism ; a. From Nationalism to National Socialism ; b. Arminius Conscripted into <"Break-Through Battle>" ; c. Arminius and Hitler ; d. Excursus: Hitler as Coriolanus ; II. Ideological Victories: The Defeat of Varus on the German Screen ; 4. Nationalism at a Boil: Die Hermannschlacht ; a. Arminius' First Screen Appearance ; b. Patriotic Poetry at the Premiere ; c. <"Hail Arminius! Savior of Germany!>" ; d. Contemporary Reactions ; e. Critical Assessment ; 5. National Socialism: Romans and Germans in Ewiger Wald ; a. Cinema for the Volk ; b. The German Forest Defeats Rome ; c. Homo cinematicus et ideologicus Views History ; III. The Death and Resurrection of Ideology ; 6. Historical Myth on Screen in the 1960s: With and Without Ideology ; a. Romans and Barbarians ; b. The Liberator Liberated from Ideology: Il massacro della foresta nera ; 7. Against Ideology: History Exorcised ; a. Anselm Kiefer and the Cleansing of Myth ; b. Claus Peymann: The Empty World ; c. Arminius on the Postmodern Screen: Die Hermannsschlacht ; d. Background: Hermann and Tacitus in German Humor ; e. Screen Comedy: Hermann the Bavarian and the Fall of Rome ; 8. After Ideology: History as Infotainment ; a. Home Schooling: History Lessons on Television ; b. Armin's Arminius: History for Kids ; c. Sir Arminius, the Toff ; 9. History Without Ideology: Media and Spectacle ; a. Parallel Heroic Narratives: Novels and Films ; b. Will Arminius Conquer the Screen Again? ; c. Arminius Animated ; 10. Arminius in the New World ; a. George Washington as American Arminius ; b. Arminius and White Supremacy ; Appendices ; 1. The Chief Ancient Accounts of the Defeat of Varus ; a. Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History 2.117.2-120.5 ; b. Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.30 [4.12.29-39] ; c. Cassius Dio, Roman History 56.19-22.2 ; 2. The Lyrics of Die alten Deutschen ; 3. Paul Warncke, Vorspruch zum Hermannsfilm ; 4. The Main Texts of the Program Book for Die Hermannschlacht ; 5. Two Poems Addressing Hitler During His Election Campaign ; 6. The Nazi-Era Lyrics of Gab's darum eine Hermannschlacht? ; 7. Text Excerpts: Hermann and the Hitler Youth ; Bibliography ; Index

About the Author

Martin M. Winkler is University Professor and Professor of Classics at George Mason University. He is the author or editor of several books and has published many articles on Roman literature, the classical tradition, and especially classics and cinema.


the book will be a useful contribution to classical reception literature, but also to the history of ideas and the social history of propaganda, of which it is a study in its own right. * Richard Warren, The Journal of Roman Studies * The book is very well organised, well written, nicely illustrated and a pleasure to read. It provides a comprehensive overview of ways in which the story of Arminius has been understood and transformed for many different purposes from the sixteenth century to today. It leads the reader to think about other instances of heroes of the past, some more real than others, such as Boudica, King Arthur and Robin Hood, all of whom have been used and transformed over the centuries ... Winkler's book provides an excellent series of examples that can help us to think critically about the process of presenting the past. Winkler presents readers with an eclectic, far-ranging work beginning with the earliest Roman accounts of Arminius and ending with twenty-first century movies ... Winkler's careful argumentation rewards the patient reader and his insightful film critiques will be of interest to scholars from a number of disciplines. Historians in particular will benefit from Winkler's ability to look beyond scholarly treatments of Arminius to his reception in popular culture. For these reasons, Arminius the Liberator will stand as an important addition to the literature on the modern appropriation of the remote past, providing a much-needed glimpse into the ways in which antiquity lives on - for better or for worse - in the modern imaginary. * J. Laurence Hare, German History * This is a fantastic compendium of material concerning Arminius, bound together with cogent argumentation and composed in a most agreeable style, and should be of interest for both its specific subject and its broader lessons concerning the transformation of history into myth... The text is lavishly illustrated with photographs, reproductions of film posters and programs, and still images from films, all of which complement the vivid discussion of their imagery and representation. * Matthew Taylor (Beloit College), Phoenix: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada. *

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