An English In Kentucky


















Thursday June 20th 2019Tim Candler9


    Almost everything known about Huns comes from Roman and Greek sources. A fairly biased bunch from whom we get the word Barbarian, which means of incomprehensible babbling speech. The Huns were a pastoral people, a lifestyle that meant you moved on when pasture was difficult, no hanging around worrying about seeds and planting and stuff. The Huns had joined the great western migration of people from Central Asia. Huns settled briefly in the Caucuses and soon enough they joined the tradition of pillaging the frontiers of the Roman Empire. In the East the tradition still was that if you were really adept at pillaging, you could persuade an Eastern Roman Emperor to bribe you with gold and fabulous riches to stop, pull yourself together, try to settle down to a more respectable way of life. The Western Roman Empire had already given up with the whole bribery solution, it was far too expensive, never produced a satisfactory result and the compromise was to grant territory, give the territory autonomy and set conditions for occupying the territory, and oddly enough many pastoralist people settled down. Then if one or other group got above themselves Western Roman Leadership would sort them out through a combination of diplomatic alliances, bribes and threats of violence, and later there were things like excommunication. And it was pretty much like that in Western Europe, with the various groups vying with each other for the overall position of Big Dog until the Marshal Plan and the idea of a United States of Europe, both ideas currently being badly mauled, and it's tempting to reach into History for repetition in a search for answers to the question why, round and round endlessly, but who knows with us people, even if it's only a very remote chance we might be going somewhere, but very doubtful.



   In time Attila came to be paramount leader of the Huns who had charge of a wide territory, and were doing well for themselves. On a wild hair he gathered his clans and headed well west of the Caucuses toward what's now France. And what with one thing and another in the area of pillaging he did pretty well until the heartland of the Western Roman Empire started getting very nervous. And it so happened that in the Western Empire a Senator was planning an important political move, he'd chosen a bride. The very young girl was no big fan of the idea and in the interest of general harmony and possibly as a result of abject panic, the family decided that with Huns running amok so close to the heartland there might be a better arrangement to be made. And the girl agreed to be sent as a prospective bride for Attila. She had a letter and she had an engagement ring to give him. There might easily have been language difficulties, miscommunications and so on, but also safe to say that with their  power increasingly waning, Romans, like so many highly advantaged groups clung to a high opinion of themselves and their value long after it was warranted. Attila was delighted, of course he'd be happy to try marrying a well bred Roman, and he expected half the Western Roman Empire as dowry for his effort. Not at all what Romans had anticipated and they'd no intention of agreeing to the dowry. Aggravated Attila and his Huns felt obliged to invade the north of Italy. The Hun invasion distressed Northern Italy so badly it was struck by crop failures. For the Huns, none of whom did anything boring like the hard disciplined work of farming, this meant no food in a starving land and fortunately Attila found matters to attend to elsewhere, which is probably why the Huns never sacked Rome. Mind you, it's also possibly there was no actual benefit to Attila from killing off Rome. A major trophy, but it would be a huge responsibility and a Whale of problems that would certainly have played havoc on the free and easy pastoralist and pillaging lifestyle. Attila died on the eve of the last of his many wedding days, and after he was gone, Huns fell to quarrelling, soon afterwards they disappeared as an organized group. They were assimilated, I guess. 1300 years later the word Hun as a pejorative was first used in 1900 by the Chinese to describe ruthless German attempts to put down the Boxer Uprising and in the First World War Hun was used by the propagandists of the Western Allies to denigrate the German People.



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