Attila The Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman


  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Attila The Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Christopher Kelly
  • English
  • 01 February 2018

12 thoughts on “Attila The Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire

  1. I. J. Sutton I. J. Sutton says:

    I bought this book a little while ago and have recently reread it I enjoyed it so much As someone who s been bought up with the notion that Attila the Hun was little than a thuggish neanderthal this work totally changed my view of him Instead, the author shows the Hunnish empire as influenced by Rome than determined to be its antithesis.Using Byzantine sources, I was taken into the very heart of Attila s world and totally surprised by it, not least the Huns adroit political and diplomatic cunning I particularly enjoyed the section on the botched attempt on Attila s life by Byzantine agents under the orders of a particularly well described and thoroughly unpleasant sounding eunuch of the empires court.A refreshing new look at the Barbarian leader, which is far convincing than the usual tale of brutish primitives in mouse skin clothes eating raw meat Highly recommended.


  2. Roman Citizen Roman Citizen says:

    Chris Kelly is upfront about the lack of historical resources relating to Attila, but presents what IS known lucidly and indeed occasionally entertainingly The point of a good history book is to change your perception of a person or event by giving you the facts you don t actually know, and this book succeeds admirably in that task One is left with the distinct impression that Attila was a lot complex and competent than most people think.


  3. Stijn Van Impe Stijn Van Impe says:

    Well written and well researched book on the Huns and Atilla Sometimes a bit sketchy due to lack of sources Well worth the read.


  4. Mr. P. W. Marshall Mr. P. W. Marshall says:

    A lot is said about Attila and his life, his life as a child in a Roman town, perhaps AQUILEIA.The author also goes into the relationship had with Aetius the Roman General, and heStates that Aetius gifted the lands in present day Hungary to Attila He also states thatAetius could have completely destroyed Atillas army at Chalons but he did not do so.The following year ATTILLA marches into the Roman Empire and destroys many towns,Including AQUILEIA What he does not go into enough detail is why he was not opposed byAetius at this time AQUILEIA was so very rich and strong, and so well defended, but little is said about the siege,Who commanded the Roman City how large was the Roman troop deployment in AQUILEIA allThese facts are missing.No mention is made of what was being done by the Romans to deal with this march by Attila to Rome,Other than that he decided to turn back after his meeting with Pope Leo close to Mantova Is there no documentPrepared by the religious authority at the time documenting this event and stating what was said We have it on record that Bishop Ambrose when asked by the population of AQUILEIA why the synagogues were burnt down in AQUILEIA, replied by saying it was Divine providence.Peter Marshall


  5. Michael Oulton Michael Oulton says:

    excellent book


  6. Lindy U Lindy U says:

    Interesting book


  7. Margarida Carneiro Margarida Carneiro says:

    This book has met my expectations and I would recommend it to any history lover who may be interested in the fall of the Roman Empire.


  8. K J K J says:

    I was most disappointed, I wanted to understand about Atilla and his tribe This book is about Romans and like a shallow, slow text book Atilla and his gang are hardly mentioned and then only superficially.I gave up about 3 4 through so perhaps the last 1 4 has in it.I have no idea why the author has put Atilla in the title.Gave it one star because the system won t allow a zero.


  9. Malleus Maleficarum Malleus Maleficarum says:

    The Huns are the quintessential bogeymen of European history the very name draws up images of hordes of Asiatic savages on horseback, plundering and pillaging in a senseless bloodlust driven by their deepest innate instincts, men drawn to violence by simple hatred of the idea of civilization It is perhaps a testament to the successful literary propaganda of the Roman Empire and its institutional the Christian Church that this is the image of the Huns that has endured in our imaginations even than a millennium after the Hunnic menace ceased to operate in the Hungarian Plain Christopher Kelly s book is a much needed balancing view of the Hun as a mindless slave to his basic instincts and is one of the most coherent and cogent studies of how exactly the Huns operated in the fragmented European polity of the 5th century He profiles the man who exemplified the Hunnic threat, Attila the Hun, and successfully showcases that the man, and his tribe, were far complex than the simple black and white portraits that many ancient writers would have us believe.Having said that, this is not a book about revisionism gone wild and the author isn t trying to paint Attila as a misunderstood 5th century Pannonian Gandhi, a man who was trying to bring peace in a world of war and violence Christopher Kelly sees the Hunnic Empire of Attila for what it was a giant extortion racket, run with the aim of extracting and distributing booty to subordinate warlords for buying loyalty and men for the next round of raiding However, the author challenges the simplistic view of the Huns as unthinking savages who were violent for the sake of violence and makes it clear that many of Attila s raid were extremely well thought through gambits taking into account the geopolitical realities of the Roman Empire and its increasingly numerous fault lines.One of the very first lines of enquiry in the book made me sit up Attila was not a child of the wild steppes of Eurasia, but was most likely born in the Hungarian plains after the Huns had moved into Pannonia and adopting a settled lifestyle The Hunnic Empire was also based on local, opportunistic alliances with strongmen of various Germanic tribes while it is well known that Hunnic raids forced groups of the Greuthungi and Tervingi to flee, there were many Gothic federations that remained in their former homelands and their elites found associating with the Huns a profitable exercise It was through these war bands that the Huns were able to leverage their skills in archery and mounted combat to become a truly terrifying force The aims of the Hunnic state were very clear avoid direct and all out war with Rome, focus on carrying out spectacular and devastating raids in the hinterlands of the Empire and force the Empire to sue for peace at a price attractive enough to rule out the incentive for Rome to make total war.Given this comfortable little parasitic relationship, it s hard not to agree with the author s central thesis the Huns never wanted to destroy or overthrow Rome they had too much to lose They had no bureaucratic machinery and no will either to take over the burden of administering a vast Empire They simply wanted in on the nice little gravy train that sucked wealth from Europe towards Rome and Constantinople Hence, in what is quite ironic on the part of a group that supposedly was antithetical to the very concept of civilization, the Huns were as often allies of Rome against other unruly and insurgent groups like the Goths and the Bagaudae However, these were no ideological alliances the Huns were only ever looking to extract a good price for their war campaigns Attila had no permanent allies, only permanent interests he threatened the Eastern Roman empire and moved his armies in a campaign of devastation through the Balkans, forced the Empire to sue for peace and pay subsidies and then once Constantinople was secure enough, he and his armies moved West through France, spreading destruction in their wake All his campaigns, in the grand Hunnic tradition, were gambits to take advantage of Roman pre occupation elsewhere The Huns struck the Eastern Empire everytime their forces were stretched on either the Persian front or getting ready to fight the Vandals in North Africa Similarly, he took advantage of the chaos in the Western half to move through France, till he was fought to a stalemate by a Roman Visigothic alliance Subsequently, judging the likelihood of Visigothic intervention to be low, he moved to attack Italy It s quite clear that these are hardly the acts of a wild barbarian but the well thought through campaigns of a savvy politician.The above fact is brought out most lucidly in the middle third of the book the first giving the background of Hunnic presence in Pannonia and the last third focusing on the unraveling of the empire after Attila s death which is a retelling of the memoirs of Priscus of Panium, a writer of antiquity who was part of an embassy that doubled as an assassination plot from Constantinople to Attila s court It is a matter of supreme irony that the Attila who emerges in this account written 1500 years ago is a far nuanced personality than the image that has endured to this day Priscus was a quintessential Roman, convinced of the supremacy of Roman civilization and the inferiority of the barbarians However, Priscus saw firsthand a court and a king that was far less savage and far in control of himself than the stereotypical barbarian Priscus final account, while still extolling the virtues of Roman ness, acknowledged that the enemies of the Empire were not all that different from the Empire themselves.In the final analysis, the story that the author paints is an honest and balanced portrayal of a fascinating personality, who might well have been lost to history if he had not imprinted himself on the minds of generations to come It is easy to forget how short Attila s reign was he and his brother Bleda became leaders of the Huns in 434 AD, Attila became sole ruler sometime in 440 AD and he was dead in 453 AD and the Empire he created unraveled so spectacularly afterwards that in less than a decade, his sons were either dead or lost to history However, as the author says, Attila s actions reverberated through the century and while he had no intention of destroying the Roman Empire, his gambits were responsible for providing an almighty shove that pushed it over the edge If not for Attila and the Huns, the Eastern Empire would not have had to call off its planned campaign against the Vandals in North Africa and might have even taken back the lucrative province from them, thus easing the fiscal pressure on the Empire that was a major factor for its demise The author states an uncomfortable truth a major reason for the fall of the Western Empire was the willingness and eagerness of the East to pass on its problems to the West If not for Attila s French campaign in the 450s, the Emperor Valentinian and Aetius would not have acknowledged Visigothic suzerainty over France laying the foundation of the Visigothic kingdom and putting the final nail in the coffin of the rump state that the West had become Attila is one of the few men in history, who changed history through not just his direct actions, but also the dominoes he set in motion His story deserves a careful reading and this book is a fantastic place to start.


  10. B. Smith B. Smith says:

    I have been unclear about the origins of Attila versus Ghengis Khan I read the Khanna bio first the this Both are well written and interesting.


  11. Bob of gulf point Bob of gulf point says:

    Very good biog of one of the greats I suppose I would have liked about his strategy but the sources are quite weak of course.


  12. Richard Sherman Richard Sherman says:

    Explains the background of the period and cultures to give the story context and show the significance of the famous events of Atilla s life.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Attila The Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire Attila the Hun godless barbarian and near mythical warrior king has become a byword for mindless ferocity His brutal attacks smashed through the frontiers of the Roman empire in a savage wave of death and destruction His reign of terror shattered an imperial world that had been securely unified by the conquests of Julius Caesar five centuries before This book goes in search of the real Attila the Hun For the first time it reveals the history of an astute politician and first rate military commander who brilliantly exploited the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman empire We ride with Attila and the Huns from the windswept steppes of Kazakhstan to the opulent city of Constantinople, from the Great Hungarian Plain to the fertile fields of Champagne in France Challenging our own ideas about barbarians and Romans, imperialism and civilisation, terrorists and superpowers, this is the absorbing story of an extraordinary and complex individual who helped to bring down an empire and forced the map of Europe to be redrawn forever


About the Author: Christopher Kelly

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Attila The Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire book, this is one of the most wanted Christopher Kelly author readers around the world.