Thesis: Huns, Nomadic People and Barbarians

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[. . .] Attila remained in history as the figure traditionally associated with the end of the Roman Empire. He was among those who delivered the final blows to this weakened state already divided, gathering the benefits of decades of continuous attacks from outside combined with the fatal effects of weak, impotent leaders.

Overall, the Huns could have hardly had a positive influence on the Western world J.B. Bury, places Attila next to another frightening nomadic Chinghiz Khan: "he [Attila] was a mere conqueror who aimed at destruction and plunder; his supremacy had therefore only the effect of a devastating tornado, not that of a purifying thunderstorm which wakes nature to new life"(J.B. Bury). Thus, by posing a real threat to its very integrity, Attila hindered Roman strategies to protect its territories and to expand.

Following those who speak of a Hun rule over Roman territories, there are historians who speak of a Hun Empire. The Huns, settled North of the Danube, found in Attila and Bleda, first, then in Attila alone, a shrewd leader, fighter, and equally as importantly, a very wise negotiator. They subjected peoples and ruled over them by offering them opportunities to fight along the Hunnish army, against a common enemy: the Romans.

Even with the Romans, Attila found ways to deal besides attacking them. He befriended some and used them as best as he could in order for him to divide and conquer: "Like Rua Attila maintained friendship with Aetius [the Roman general from the western Roman Empire], at whose disposal he repeatedly placed Hunnish mercenaries. This relationship was partly brought about by personal conditions, partly by the endeavor of Attlia to divide the Roman power"(J. B. Bury).

Along the years of Attila's leadership and his attempts to weaken the Roman Empires, the Romans have not only fought him, they also joined him in the fight against other peoples. The example of the successful expeditions against the Burgundians and the Bagaudae are significant in proving that the Romans could be as cruel and merciless as their temporary allies.

The Huns proved to be an incredible force, worth fighting against what used to be the most powerful force around the Mediterranean world: the Roman Empire. Their presence had to be acknowledged as more than just another nomadic people who could pose a mild threat to the powerful Roman armies. In Attila's time, the Huns played both the roles of enemies and allies of the Romans, depending on the way the latter saw best suited to treat the relationship with this new empire. Not far from to Attila's end, the Romans were almost brought to their knees. Only Attila's sudden death put an end to what could have become a new era for what used to be the Roman Empire: the Hunnish Empire.


Kelly, Christopher. The End of Empire. Attila the Hun & The Fall of Rome. 2009, 2008. W.W. Norton & Company New York London.

Bury, J.B. The Cambridge Medieval History,

452 -- a year after his defeat in Gaul, Attila's army penetrated the Italian Peninsula: "a great many of the inhabitants of the terribly devastated country sought refuge on the unassailable islands of the lagoons along the Adriatic coast. Yet the real foundation of Venice which tradition has connected with the Hunnic invasion can only be traced back to the invasion of the Lombards"(568)(the Cambridge Medieval History, J.B. Bury).

Eastern Empire:

"For Ammianus, they were a primitive menace to be feared by all those who peaceably plowed their fields, valued the rule of law, lived permanently in settled communities, and cooked their food. Even among barbarians, Huns were the ultimate outsiders"(The End of Empire, Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome, Christopher Kelly, W.W. Norton & Company NY London 2009,2008)

" In the 35 years since Theodosius I had marched into Italy to defeat the usurpers Magnus Maximus and Eugenius, too much had changed: Rome had been sacked by Alaric, the Rhine frontier had been seriously breached, the Goths had found a new homeland in France, and the Huns had occupied the Great Hungarian Plain. The West could not be ruled from the other side of the Mediterranean; it was now too unstable and its defenses too fragile"(idem, 81). [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Huns, Nomadic People and Barbarians.  (2013, October 31).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Huns, Nomadic People and Barbarians."  31 October 2013.  Web.  19 June 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Huns, Nomadic People and Barbarians."  October 31, 2013.  Accessed June 19, 2019.