Herman and Thusnelda - George Upton

Hermann was a chieftain who defeated the Roman army at the battle of Teutoburg Forest, a defeat which ultimately drove the Romans from Germany. This story of his life is based on historical accounts but also romanticizes the Norse gods and legends that animated the German heroes.

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[Book Cover] from Herman and Thusnelda by George Upton
Varus invading Germany.


[Title Page] from Herman and Thusnelda by George Upton
[Copyright Page] from Herman and Thusnelda by George Upton

Translator's Preface

This beautiful story of Herman (or Arminius) and Thusnelda covers only that period of his life from his youthful days to the defeat of Varus, the Roman general, in the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 A. D., and his union with Thusnelda, daughter of Segest, who was loyal to her fatherland, notwithstanding her father's treachery. Five years later, the Romans, having recovered from their terrible defeat by Herman, again took the offensive against the Germans. Germanicus crossed the Rhine and defeated the Marsi. During the next year he again invaded Germany, and Thusnelda fell into his hands and was sent prisoner to Rome. This only served to increase Herman's anger. He influenced several tribes to join him, and another battle was fought in the Teutoburg Forest. Although Herman was not victorious, Germanicus was forced to retreat. In the following year Germanicus won fresh victories, but the Romans were finally driven from Germany. Herman was then forced to protect his country from the treacherous designs of Marbod, who is mentioned several times in the story. He declared war against him, broke up his Marcomannian Kingdom, and drove him out of Germany. Shortly after this event, some of the German chiefs conspired against Herman, and he was assassinated in his thirty-seventh year.

The story of Herman and Thusnelda, as far as it goes in this little volume, is one of extraordinary interest. The strong contrast between Herman, the German hero, and his brother Flavius, who became a degenerate and a Roman; the thrilling description of the march of Varus and his army; its defeat and his self-destruction—a defeat so overwhelming that the Emperor Augustus exclaimed in despair, "Varus, Varus, give me back my legions"; the references to the gods and Valhalla; the stirring side-story of The King's Daughter and the Dragon; the lovely romance of Euria, the water nymph; and the constant allusions to the customs and superstitions of those days, combine to form a story which deserves the attention of every young person, and may not be without interest for the elders.

G. P. U.

CHICAGO, June, 1907.

[Contents] from Herman and Thusnelda by George Upton


The following is a chronological statement of the most important events in the Life of Herman:

18 B.C. Birth.
6 A.D. Entered the Roman military service.
8 Returned to Germany and organized a revolt against the Romans.
9 Defeated Varus in the Teutoburg Forest.
10 Married Thusnelda.
14 Germanicus defeated the Marsi.
15 Thusnelda captured and sent to Rome.
16 Romans driven from Germany by Herman.
18 Herman defeats Marbod and expels him from Germany.
21 Conspiracy of German chieftains. Herman assassinated.