HI299 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Akatziri

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6 Feb 2016
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Friday, February 5, 2016
TheScourgeofGod:Attila
StudyingtheHuns:TheProblemofNomads
 Historiansdonotlikenomadsbecauseweasasocietyaresedentary.Itishardto
understandthembecausetheylivedsodifferently.
 Inprimarysourcestherewasageneralbiasagainstnomadsas“predators”.The
nomadstypicallydonothavetheirownprimarysources,sowecannotseethrough
theireyesandmustrelyontheaccountsofbiasedoutsiders.
 Nomadsalsocreateproblemsinarchaeology.Recentlyelitegraveshavebeen
excavated,butlittleisknownofthepoororaveragenomad.
 AnthropologiesandEthnologies(kinship,rituals,etc.,)canbehelpful,butareoften
viewedandcreatedthroughamodernperspective.
 Nomadstodayarepassivesoweassumethenomadsoflateantiquitywerepassive.
 Hunsdepictedasnomadpredators
 “Intheempirethereisasuperabundanceofeverything,including,Isuppose,
eventheimpossible”Procopiusquotingahun.
 Hunsseenaslookingtotakefromempireandleave.
TheHunsEntertheHistoricalRecord:
 AmmianusdescribedtheHunsinthe4thcenturyas“exceedingeverydegreeof
savagery”Heclaimedthattheyaterawfleshandflowers,scarredchildren’scheeksto
preventthemgrowingbeards.Heclaimedthattheirbadshoeswaswhatmadethem
refusetogetofftheirhorses.
 Thisisnotreality,Ammianusprobablynevermetahun.Hetooktheexisting
imageof‘barbarian’andscythianmotifspropagatedbyHerodotus.
 TheHunswerethefirstgroupofturkishnomadstoenterEurope
 TheyaretraditionallygiventheblameforpushingtheGothsintotheempire…no
proofforthis.
 SeenasMercenariesfromthe380s.Valentinianpaidsomehunstoattackalamanni.
Uldin:LedthefirstsubstantivegroupofhunsbyDanube.UldinhadbeenaRomanally,but
in408heseizedoneofthemajorDanubecrossingsandoccupiedoneofthefortresses.
PerceptionthatUldinhadillusionsofgrandeur.
Olympiodorus:Historianwhospokeofhunnickingsin2nddecadeof5thcentury.
Aetius:(Oneof)TheLastRomans:
 Aromangeneralwhobecameamajorplayerinthe420s,supportingausurper
emperor.HeledtherebellionwithHunauxiliaries.HatedBoniface.
 HewasexcusedfromtreasonifhetookthehunsbackoutoftheEmpire.
 Remainedloyalfortherestof420s
 Boniface:AgeneralandrivalofAetius,stationedinAfrica(importantcauseof
Grain).Hewasaccusedofcertainthings,anditwasinsistedthathecomebackto
Italytostandtrial.Aetiuswrotehimandsaidforhimnottocomebackbecausehe
wouldbekilled.Endedupbeingconvictedonabsentia.InvitedVandalsintoAfricato
defendagainstRomanattackers.Butthen,theVandalswouldnotleaveanddrove
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Bonifaceoutinstead.DefeatedAetiusin432inbattle.Bonifacediedfromwound
soonafter,hissonwasnotasgood.
 Bonifacemadeconnectionswithbarbariangroupsforhelp.Hewantedtorestorethe
Rhinefrontier.HunshelpedhimdestroytheBurgundiankingdom.
 TackledBagaudaewhowereinArmorica(Brittany).
 WantstorestoreimperialcontroltoSpain
 Peoplehehadtrustedtohandlemilitaryauxiliarieselsewheresucked.Onewaseven
executedbytheGoths.
 VandalKingGaisericattackedandsackedCarthageinAfrica.
 MakespeacewithGothsin439anddecidestofocusonVandals.
 MakesanagreementbetweenempireandGothsbutdoesnotrequireanyRoman
controlovertheGoths.ThisshowsthatRomehasacceptedtheexistenceofan
independentGothicstatewithinitsborders.
 EastunabletohelpwithVandalsbecauseofPersiaandHuns
 TriestodealwithVandalstateinsamewayastheGothicstate.
 GivesAetius10yearstodealwiththewest,builduphismilitarystrength,etc.,
 Duringthistime,BledaandAttilaweresolidifyingtheirpositionintheeasttothe
pointwheretheyweretoopowerful.
AttilaandtheRiseoftheHunnicState:
 HunsbecamesowealthythattheydidnothavetoserveRomeanylonger,theycould
havehigherambitions.
 AttilaandBledaraidedintotheBalkansasmuchastheywanted,threatened
Constantinopleandwerepaidsignificantsubsidyasaresult.
 AttilamurderedBledain444ADandtookoverfullcontroloftheHuns.Inthesame
yearhecapturedPannonia.Verystrategicarea.
Akatziri:Hunnictribethathadmorethanoneking.Attilafosteredtensionsbetween
kings.DefeatedpartyrantoRome,Attilaswoopedintodefendtheotherside…he
presentedhimselfasanalternativetoRome.
 449PriscusofPaniumvisitedAttila.
 TributeEmpirewaspayingtotheHunsincreasedexponentiallyinmid5thcentury.
Tributecouldhavesupported33,000adultHuns.Theyhadagoodthinggoingon.
 RomeandPersialikequarrellingsiblings,coolsdownsotheEasternEmpiredoesnot
havetoworryaboutfightingontwofronts,canstopgivingAttilatribute.
 AttiladoesnotattempttoattacktheEasternEmpireyet.
 Fortificationofconstantinopleistooformidable.
 Highwalls,surroundedbywater.Hunshadnonavy.
 MoveagainstWesternEmpireisspurredonbyexpansionandweaknessofthe
Westernempire.
 Honoria:ValentinianII’ssister.Caughtwithalover,forcedtomarryanolder
man.ShesentaringtoAttilaandsaidshewantedtomarryhiminstead.Attila
wasecstatic,becausehewantedhalftheempireasherdowry.Justastory.
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TwinInvasions:
 451AttilamarchedwestanddestroyedseveralRomancitiesincludingGaul.
 Aetiuscreatedacoalitionarmy
,allfoederatiexceptfortheGoths.TheGothswere
wellentrenchedinsouthernGaulthattheysawthemselvesasthenewowners,sothey
weremerelydefendingtheirhome.NotmanyactualRomansinthearmy…limitanei
(bordersoldiers).Franks,Burgundians,Boucaudae(Armoricans),randomCelts.The
coalitionarmydroveAttilabackforquitesometime.
BattleofChalon/BattleoftheCatalonianPlains:Bigbattle,butnot300,000
casualtieslikeHydatiusclaimedinhiswritings.TheKingoftheGothswaskilledand
theGothsreturnedhome,makingitimpossibleforthecoalitionarmytofollowthe
beatenAttila.
 In452Attilahadtofollowupwithasecondattack.HeinvadedItaly.Aetiuscouldnot
defendItaly.AttilaburnedMulanandAquileia.
 SermonsaysthatmanycitizensescapedfromtheinvasionbecausetheHuns
weresobusypillaging.
 FoundingofVenicebyAquileanrefugees.
 AttilaissaidtohavemetwithPopeLeooutsideofRome,whoconvincedhimtoturn
backandseeksettlementwithRome.
 Itwasprobablynot
themeetingwiththePopethatmadeAttilaturnback.
 Sicknessamongsthismen,southernItalynotahealthyplace.
 Mostlikelyareactiontoanotherguy,alsonamedAetius(workedfor
theEasterncourt),whotookhistroops,attackedacrosstheDanube
andstartedraidingAttila’sheartland.
Aftermath:
 In453Attiladrinkstoexcessonenight,hasanosebleedanddiesinhissleep.Atleast
thisisthestorytoldofhisdeath.Couldhavealsobeenpoisoning.
 Hisempirehadbeensomewhatcentralized,buthadnocentralbureaucracy.
 OnceAttilawasdeadtheHun’ssubjectpeopleroseupanddefeatedAttila’sheirsat
theBattleoftheriverNedaoin454.
 InsameyearAetiushimselfismurderedbyEmperorValentinianhimselfandthe
courtEunuch,probablybecausehedidnotstopAttila’sinvasion.
 ValentinianIIIwentaroundtoAetius’barbarianfriendsandsaideverythingwould
remainthesame.
 In455ValentinianIIImurderedwhilepracticingarcherybytwoofAetius’
bodyguardswhosurvived.
 Thingsgotohellinahandbasket.
PriscusofPanium:AdiplomatfromConstantinoplewhowroteafirsthandaccountofthe
Huns.Heneededtowriteaproperaccount,unliketheclergymenwhowroteaboutBarbarians
fromamoralperspective.PriscusacknowledgesthatmanyoftheHunswerehighlycultured.
Attilawasdepictedasgrim,modest,serious,determined…veryRoman.Priscustryingto
paintaprecisepicture,everydetailhasmeaning.