(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge, Great Britain reconstructed the state of climate at the beginning of the 5th century on the Great Hungarian Plain using the growth rings of oaks from the Czech Republic and Bavaria.
Scientists have come to the conclusion that this period is marked by a series of extremely dry years.
It is possible that the semi-nomadic Huns were forced to raid and invade the Roman provinces because of the clear threat of famine.
Drought in the Great Hungarian Plain
According to archaeologists, between 420 and 450 AD. all the inhabitants of the Great Hungarian Plain faced serious problems.
The drought forced the Huns to abandon agriculture, move on to grazing animals and searching for new pastures.
The teeth of ancient human remains found in the Hungarian steppes suggest that the Huns changed their diet several times during their lives.
“When resource shortages become critical, the sedentary population is forced to change their way of life and switch between settled agriculture and nomadic animal grazing,” says archaeologist Susanne Hakenbeck.
The Huns quickly adapted to eating whatever food was available. But in the 5th century, apparently, none remained on the Hungarian plains.
Attila the Hun and the Great Drought
Attila the Hun, who came to power in the 430s, is often blamed for instigating the most terrible wars of the 5th century, which led to the fall of Rome.
Roman historians say that the leader of the Huns was insatiable for gold and made regular raids on their cities.
But archaeologists pay attention to the dynamics of events. Initially, relations between the Huns and Romans were mutually beneficial, but their cooperation ended in the 440s.
In dry years, when pastures were scarce, the peaceful Huns-shepherds were forced to become Huns-warriors.
They attacked the livestock of their neighbors. This transformation of the peaceful Huns into ferocious conquerors took place during the reign of Attila.
“If the dating of these events is reliable, then the most destructive raids of the Huns fall on 447, 451 and 452. That is, during extremely dry years,” the researchers write.
Scientists come to the conclusion that Attila’s attack on Rome could be the last attempt to save his people.
Attila demanded from Rome a large part of the Danube floodplain, which is an excellent place for grazing sheep, camels or horses. Researchers believe that Attila needed gold last, rather, he needed grass.
“Climate change can push people to make decisions that affect their economy, their social and political organization,” says Hakenbeck.
“These decisions are not downright rational, and their consequences will not necessarily be successful in the long run.”
Attila remained in history as a barbarian and a savage, a destroyer and a murderer. And there is enough material evidence to believe so.
But, according to archaeologists, the trees “write” a more impartial chronicle than the Roman chroniclers. And the annual rings say that Attila first of all wanted to feed his people.
How today’s climate change will affect humanity, we do not yet know.
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