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Re: The Varus Film Project - West Germanic names

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  • Tim O'Neill
    ... So far I have been contacted by two novelists, both German, who are working on novels of the Clades Variana. One in particular is proving invaluable to me
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 26, 2000
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      Brian Beck wrote:
      >
      > Hails Tim,
      > It sounds a great idea. I've always been surprised that no
      > one has (as far as I know) based a novel or film on this story
      > before.

      So far I have been contacted by two novelists, both German, who are
      working on novels of the Clades Variana. One in particular is
      proving invaluable to me - she's currently driving to Kalkriese to
      take some photos of the battle site and its excavations.

      > The characters of Arminius and Varus will need to be
      > developed to give some depth to the story. The problem with
      > Hollywood when they get hold of a story like this is that, to
      > paraphrase the journalistic saying, they "never let historical
      > fact
      > stand in the way of a good spectacle".

      One of the premises of the whole project is to totally avoid the
      Hollywood idea that the audience are all idiots. This will probably
      mean the film will never get made, but I want to write a screenplay
      which tells a good story *without* changing the facts or indulging
      in nonsense (like Braveheart, The Patriot or Gladiator).

      > As to the names, Segestes - *Sigigastos, shouldn't that be
      > *Sigigastis, -i declension?

      I'll take your word for it - my 'reconstructions' probably serve
      to illustrate little but my ignorance.

      > For Arminius, another suggestion *Ermanawinjaz, lofty friend (I
      > don't
      > see the point of following Gothic spelling conventions, *Airmana-,
      > for Cheruscan).

      Again, my ignorance. Thanks for the suggestion.

      >However, having said that, I have a problem with the
      > name Arminius. Firstly, the Romans were in general fairly accurate
      > at transliterating German and Celtic names into Latin, as far as
      > their alphabet allowed. Secondly, Arminius had some Roman
      education,
      > was a Roman knight and had served for some time in the Roman army.
      > So, I feel that it is likely that Romans who knew him would have got
      > his name right. Moreover, as a Cheruscan nobleman, I feel that he
      > would have made sure that Romans he came in contact with were made
      > aware of the correct pronunciation of his name. For these reasons,
      I
      > personally believe that his Cheruscan name was Arminjaz and that the
      > name and meaning have been lost.

      I like Arminjaz - less cumbersome than my attempt. What if I wanted
      to retain my hypothetical '-mer' ending though? Would I get
      '*Ermanameraz'?

      > Another thing which has always puzzled me is that considering the
      > scale of the victory on the German side, there seems to have been no
      > Germanic folk tales or poems about Arminius or the incident which
      > survived to be recorded. I don't accept the proposition that the
      > story of Siegfried is an allegorical account of the incident.

      This was being discussed on soc.history.medieval recently. Maybe
      folk memories only go back so far. The British seem to have
      remembered Arthur (just) but forgotten Boudicca and Caractacus (sp?)
      for example.

      > Anyway, the best of luck with your project Tim. Do you have any
      > actor in mind for Arminius? Arnold Schwarzenegger perhaps??

      He'd have the right accent I suppose. *g* I was actually thinking
      of someone like Ralph Fiennes for Varus though - someone who play a
      character who is aristocratic and noble but a bit of an idiot.

      Any further help with the names from you or anyone else would be MUCH
      appreciated. It's something I really want to get right.
      Cheers and thanks for your help so far,

      Tim O'Neill
      Cheruscian Devil
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