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13 January, 2012
Attila the Hun
|Attila: King of the Huns: The Man and the Myth|
Although his grave's location is still unknown, Attila the Hun's place in history and legend is assured, though controversial. Dubbed The Scourge of God by early Christian chroniclers but known to his intimates for his clemency and wisdom, Attila ruled for only eight years in the middle of the fifth century. In that brief space he consolidated the Hun kingdom and threatened to conquer the empires of both Rome and Constantinople. Drawing on new archaeological findings and Hungarian sources unknown in the West, prolific biographer Patrick Howarth has created the first authentic life of Attila.
|Attila: The Barbarian King Who Challenged Rome|
Attila the Hun is a household name---a byword for mindless barbarism. But to most of us the man himself, his world, and his significance are all unknown. In this stunning historical narrative, John Man reveals the real Attila.
For a crucial twenty years in the early fifth century, Attila held the fate of the Roman Empire and the future of all Europe in his hands. The decaying imperium, dominating the West from its twin capitals of Rome and Constantinople, was threatened by barbarian tribes from the East. It was Attila who created the greatest of barbarian forces. His empire briefly rivaled Rome’s, reaching from the Rhine to the Black Sea, the Baltic to the Balkans. In numerous raids and three major campaigns against the Roman Empire, he earned himself an instant and undying reputation for savagery.
But there was more to him than mere barbarism. Attila’s power derived from his astonishing character. He was capricious, arrogant, and brutal---but also brilliant enough to win the loyalty of millions. Huns thought him semi divine, Goths and other barbarians adored him, educated Westerners were proud to serve him. Attila was also a canny politician. From his base in the Hungarian grasslands, he sent Latin and Greek secretaries to blackmail the Roman Empire. Like other despots, before and since, he relied on foreign financial backing and knew how to play upon the weaknesses of his friends and enemies. With this unique blend of qualities, Attila very nearly dictated Europe’s future.
In the end, his ambitions ran away with him. An insane demand for the hand of a Roman princess and assaults too deep into France and Italy led to sudden death in the arms of a new wife. He did not live long enough to found a lasting empire--- but enough to jolt Rome toward its final fall.
In this riveting biography, John Man draws on his extensive travels through Attila’s heartland and his experience with the nomadic traditions of Central Asia to reveal the man behind the myth.
|The Huns (Peoples of Europe)|
(E. A. Thompson)
This is a history of the Huns in Europe from their first attacks on the Goths north of the Black Sea to the collapse of their central European empire after the death of the legendary Attila. In the only connected narrative account of the rise and fall of the Huns in English, Professor Thompson reconstructs their campaigns in detail from disparate and often fragmentary sources. In the process, there emerges a clear picture of their dramatic successes, and failures, against the non-Roman peoples of central and eastern Europe, and of their many invasions of the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. This dramatic narrative is punctuated by analytical chapters which chart the transformations wrought in Hunnic society by contact with the more developed world of the Roman Mediterranean. In these chapters, the author sets himself the task of explaining the sudden rise and equally sudden fall of the Huns in the fourth and fifth centuries. He finds his answer in the impact of Roman wealth upon the original social structures of the Huns. The Huns includes an Afterword by Peter Heather, Lecturer in Early Medieval History at University College London, which sets Professor Thompson's book in the broad context of recent studies on the Huns.