Barbarians (original title: Barbaren) is a 2020 German historical war drama television series created by Andreas Heckmann, Arne Nolting and Jan Martin Scharf and starring Laurence Rupp, Jeanne Goursaud and David Schütter.
The series is a fictional account of events during the Roman Empire’s occupation of Germania, and the resulting rebellion of the Germanic tribes led by Arminius.
The series was renewed for a second season on 10 November 2020 and aired on 21 October 2022.
The story takes place during the Roman occupation of Magna Germania in 9 AD, where the Germanic tribes are oppressed by the empire’s heavy taxes and demands for tribute. Attempts to form a unified Germanic resistance are hampered by petty in-fighting between the tribal chieftains, and the selfish aspirations of certain tribesmen desiring peace with Rome.
Arminius, an eques in the Roman Imperial army, is a Cherusci who was given away as a hostage to Rome when he was a child, along with his younger brother Flavus, by his father Segimer to ensure peace between his tribe and Rome. He returns to Germania to help Publius Quinctilius Varus maintain order in the region. Upon seeing the atrocities inflicted by Roman soldiers on his former people, he becomes the new chieftain of the Cherusci tribe, and ignites a rebellion by finally uniting the tribes with the help of Thusnelda and Folkwin Wolfspeer, his two best friends during childhood. These events eventually culminate in a massive ambush of three Roman legions at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where the Germanic people emerge victorious.
A year after Varus’ defeat, a new Roman general gets settled in Germania as Ari seeks to become king of all the tribes – but a rival stands in his way, and Ari is once again confronted by his Roman past. His brother has joined the Roman side to punish Ari for his betrayal of Rome. While Thusnelda and Ari try to unite the tribes against Rome, Folkwin makes a sinister challenge to the gods.
- Laurence Rupp as Arminius.
- Jeanne Goursaud as Thusnelda.
- David Schütter as Folkwin Wolfspeer.
- Gaetano Aronica as Varus.
- Bernhard Schütz as Segestes.
- Nicki von Tempelhoff as Segimer.
- Ronald Zehrfeld as Berulf.
- Eva Verena Müller as Irmina.
- Nikolai Kinski as Pelagios.
- Valerio Morigi as Metellus.
- Urs Rechn as Kunolf the Brukteer.
- Mathis Landwehr as Eigil.
- Jeremy Miliker as Ansgar.
- Sergej Onopko as Hadgan.
- Matthias Weidenhöfer as Golmad.
- Florian Schmidtke as Talio.
- Denis Schmidt as Rurik.
- Sophie Rois as Seeress Runa.
- Arved Birnbaum as Albarich.
The shooting took place in Budapest from 12 August to 30 November 2019. The series was produced by the German Gaumont GmbH, a subsidiary of the French Gaumont (producers Sabine de Mardt, Andreas Bareiss and Ranier Marquass).
Christian Stassinger was in charge of the camera. Esther Walz was responsible for costume design, Thomas Stammer for the production design and Iris Baumuller for the casting. The first four episodes were staged by Austrian director Barbara Eder, and the final two episodes directed by Irishman Steve St. Leger, who had also worked on Vikings. During the production, the makers of the television series took advice from historians.
At the start of the series, Netflix advertised in Bielefeld with the text Nobody conquers the Teutoburg Forest. This is an allusion to the chants by DSC Arminia Bielefeld. Arminus is the namesake of the football club.
Season 01 aired on 23 October 2020 and Season 02 on 21 October 2022.
- Academic response was mixed, although the plot’s historical deviations were criticised.
- The actors depicting the German tribespeople in the series speak in German (albeit Modern German) but this series is notable as one of the only historical dramas of its kind in which dialogue for the Roman characters is all spoken in classical Latin.
- The people in this series are shown using stirrups.
- However, stirrups were not used at the time.
- The Goths, for instance, used them against the Romans with great effect, about 300-400 years after the time this series is set.
- Series 01 (2020):
- Episode 01: Wolf and Eagle.
- Episode 02: Vengeance.
- Episode 03: On the Edge.
- Episode 04: A New Reik.
- Episode 05: Treason.
- Episode 06: The Battle.
- Series 02 (2022):
Production & Filming Details
- Barbara Eder … (4 episodes, 2020).
- Steve Saint Leger … (2 episodes, 2020).
- Andreas Bareiß … executive producer (6 episodes, 2020).
- Marlow De Mardt … line producer (6 episodes, 2020).
- Sabine de Mardt … executive producer (6 episodes, 2020).
- Rainer Marquass … executive producer (6 episodes, 2020).
- William Pruss … supervising producer: gaumont france (6 episodes, 2020).
- Adam Ruzsinszki … co-producer (6 episodes, 2020).
- Sidonie Dumas … executive producer (1 episode, 2020).
- Christophe Riandee … executive producer (1 episode, 2020).
- Andreas Heckmann … (created by) (7 episodes, 2020-2021).
- Arne Nolting … (created by) (7 episodes, 2020-2021).
- Jan Martin Scharf … (created by) (7 episodes, 2020-2021).
- Ali N. Askin … (6 episodes, 2020).
- Maurus Ronner … (6 episodes, 2020).
- Christian Stangassinger … (6 episodes, 2020).
- Charles Ladmiral … (3 episodes, 2020).
- Christoph Brunner … (2 episodes, 2020).
- Ueli Christen … (2 episodes, 2020).
- Karin Hartusch … (2 episodes, 2020).
- Lucas Seeberger … (2 episodes, 2020).
- Christian Lonk … (1 episode, 2020).
- Stine Sonne Munch … (1 episode, 2020).
- Production: Gaumont and Netflix.
- Distributor(s): Netflix.
- Release Date:
- Series 01: 23 October 2020 (Internet).
- Series 02: 21 October 2022.
- Running Time: 41-51 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: German.
- Language: German, Latin, and English (subtitles).