Wikipedia and Britannica show this bust in their articles about Arminius:

Bust of Arminius, according to Britannica.com

The caption in Wikipedia says:

This Roman sculpture of a young man is sometimes identified as Arminius.

The description in Wikimedia Commons is this:

German, so called Arminius. Cast in Pushkin museum after original in Dresden

Besides being found in Dresden (I guess), What reasons have led some historians to identify this as Arminius?

Doesn't look much barbarian to me (what, no moustache?)

  • 2
    Note that Arminius was not a "barbarian" by any meaning of the word. He was a Roman citizen, equestrian, spoke fluent latin, and served as military commander in the Roman army.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 3, 2016 at 9:56
  • You're right, @DevSolar. I thought of that only after posting my question :/. The answer provided is still excellent though.
    – Brasidas
    Nov 3, 2016 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


The earliest reference I've found to this bust is from 1854, in the section 'Supposed Bust of Arminus' of The Ruins and Museums of Rome: A Guide Book for Travellers, Artists, and Lovers of Antiquity by Emil Braun.

The author states that apperently this bust was earlier identified with Cecrops, but

The supposition of a professional archaeologist which reached me indirectly, that this bust may represent the hero of the Teutonic civil war struck me as a highly suggestive idea.

The author agrees that

The abundant hair the incipient down on the chin the rather massive cheekbones announce the son of the North.

The article also states that the bust was originally found near Naples, and the Britanica article lists it as in the Capitoline Museum, so I don't find any significance to the Dresden reference, unless that is its current location.

The consensus seems to be that the hair is too un-Roman like, and in fact, if you look closely, the trace of that 'barbarian' mustache is visible over the lip. Some more recent works such as Four Days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg by Jason R. Abdale discuss that this may have been a more generic image of the 'Germanic Barbarian' type.

  • +1 Thanks for the great answer, @user2448131. I'll wait a bit before accepting it, for now I eliminated the Dresden comment.
    – Brasidas
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:20

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