Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/261

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
247
ARMINIUS.

of enemies, that we know his exploits.[1] His countrymen made history, but did not write it. But his memory lived among them in the lays of their bards, who recorded —

The deeds he did, the fields he won,
The freedom he restored.

Tacitus, writing years after the death of Arminius, says of him, "Canitur adhuc barbaras apud gentes." As time passed on, the gratitude of ancient Germany to her great deliverer grew into adoration, and divine honours were paid for centuries to Arminius by every tribe of the Low Germanic division of the Teutonic races. The Irmin-sul, or the column of Herman, near Eresburg, the modern Stadtberg, was the chosen object of worship to the descendants of the Cherusci, the Old Saxons, and in defence of which they fought most desperately against Charlemagne and his christianized Franks. "Irmin, in the cloudy Olympus of Teutonic belief, appears as a king and a warrior; and the pillar, the 'Irmin-sul,' bearing the statue, and considered as the symbol of the deity, was the Palladium of the Saxon nation, until the temple of Eresburgh was destroyed by Charlemagne, and the column itself transferred to the monastery of Corbey, where,

  1. See Tacitus, "Ann." lib. ii. sec. 88; Velleius Paterculus, lib. ii. sec. 118.