Tag Archives: huns

Attila Invades Italy – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 35 Part 3

Attila Invades Italy

Chalons was hardly a victory in the tradition of Rome.  When you look at the Roman victory over the Dacians portrayed on Trajan’s Column you see a large professional organisation using technology to wipe out a brave but outmatched enemy.  They display tactics, well drilled formations and sophisticated logistics.  It is clear that the Romans are more advanced than the people they are fighting against.  Three hundred years later we are in a world of tribal battles with both sides indistinguishable from each other.  Individual feats of arms are important – so Thorismund the son of Theodoric becomes a hero by dint of his bravery.  Men are inspired to great deeds by orations and martial music.  Omens are sought and used to influence morale.  It wasn’t really a Roman victory in anything other than name and certainly did not herald any kind of rebirth of Roman power in the west. Continue reading


Filed under Gibbon, Roman Empire

The Huns Attack – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 26 Part 2

huns attack

The origin of the Huns is obscure.  Gibbon traces it back to early first century when they were known as the Tanjou and lived on the borders of China just north of the Great Wall. This was not a coincidence. The Tanjou were a force to be reckoned with.  They had put together a vast coalition of steppe peoples via diplomacy, war and straight forward intimidation.  They had become powerful enough that they threatened to overthrow the ruling dynasty in China itself.  The first wall built by the Chinese was a specific response to this threat. Continue reading


Filed under Gibbon