Varus & Arminius
A debacle for the Roman Empire, a triumph for the Germanic tribes and a turning point in the history of the world: The Varus Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD thoroughly deserves a big monument. You can find it at Detmold in the Teutoburg Forest. And there you will find out that the Hermann monument itself has a compelling story.
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
How would the story have continued without the Roman defeat? Would there be today in Bielefeld and Hanover Roman ruins defining the town image like in Trier? What is certain is: The expansion of the Roman Empire to the North and East ended in the year 9 AD, because Germanic warriors under General Arminius defeated three elite Roman legions. Where exactly? After decades of archaeological detective work, the historical site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest was found in the Wiehen Hills - about three days march away from the Hermann monument.
The Hermann monument
At 53.5 meters high, the Hermann Monument near Detmold is therefore, and was at its inauguration, the highest statue in the Western world. The Teutoburg Forest owes this superlative to the architect and artist Ernst von Bandel, who sacrificed much of his life and all of his money to erecting this statue to the hero. In 1838 he began construction work on the 386m high Teutberg.
After initial general enthusiasm however, the generosity of donations subsided, von Bandels' assets were also quickly used up. And so the work dragged on for 37 years. Not until the summer of 1875, shortly before his death, did von Bandel witness its grand inauguration.
Asterix and history class, countless ruins and an extensive written record: We know much about the ancient Romans. And you can get to know the Germanic tribes better in the Teutoburg Forest. For example, in the archaeological open air museum in Oerlinghausen. Reconstructions of Germanic homesteads enable us to experience up close the living conditions of our ancestors from the stone age to the early middle ages.
Because in addition to information, the focus here is on seminars and hands-on programmes - for example, making fire without a lighter, bow making and other artisanal skills.
You can also "personally" get to know the Romans in the Teutoburg Forest: After decades long excavations by the Westphalian Museum of Archaeology, the Roman camp at Anreppen in Delbrück is one of the most important early Roman monuments in Germany today. Located directly on the South bank of the Lippe, it is one of the fascinating stops on the Roman-Lippe-route, a bike trail which begins at the Lippe source in Bad Lippspringe and leads past the Hermann monument in the direction of Xanten.
More finds from the time of the Romans and Germanic tribes can be seen in numerous museums of the region - for example in the Lippe State Museum in Detmold.