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Did West Roman empire collapse because of Attila?

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Did West Roman empire collapse because of Attila?
    Posted: 19-Oct-2006 at 21:08
In Westeuropean history it is explained that the Germans (Visigoths) made the West Roman empire collapse.
 
HOWEVER
 
Attila stormed into central Europe and pushed the Visigoths over the Danube river. Many of them settled in the West Roman empire as refugees.
 
Attila destroyed many Westroman cities and defeated their armies numerous times. Attila heavily weakened the westroman army. Attila lost the battle in Challons but the Romans still had heavy losses.
 
The year after Attila invaded Italy and the emperor panicked. He sent the Pope, his sister and gold to Attila. The Pope BEGGED Attila to leave.
 
The Westroman empire collapsed within decades of Attila's death. The Visigoths in Rome (who were there because of Attila) had sacked the weakened empire.
 
I claim that the West-Roman empire wouldn't have collapsed or would have collapsed much later without Attila's actions. Do you agree or disagree? Why do historians barely mention Attila's role in the collapse of the westroman empire?


Edited by Tamerlane - 19-Oct-2006 at 21:09
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2006 at 21:17
No, the West Roman Empire collapsed for a range of other reasons. Attila simply made existing problems worse.

The Pope did not beg Attila to leave, he persuaded him. It was beyond Attila's capabilities to take the city of Rome, he only BARELY managed to take Aquileia. His army was striken with the famine and disease which also gripped Italy, he was in no position to take so well a defended a city as Rome.

I think Attila probably sped up the destruction of the WRE by about 10-20 years because of the pressure he placed on it. But truly the WRE was collapsing from within because of its own unreliable and insufficient military, weak political structure and inability to reinvent itself as a viable state.
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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2006 at 21:24
It was not Attila, but the German tribes he pushed onto Roman territory which turned out to be fateful for the Empire. With the Huns had been dealt within only 75 years after their appearance in Europe, the same time span it took btw the Byzantines to beat the Awars decisively.

 
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2006 at 22:31
Constantine hit it on the nose.  It really was many problems that have been plaguing the empire for years.  Attila was just another barbarian threat that sped the process up. 
 
The corruption of officals, weak emperors, weak morale with the people and the real break down of the Roman military machine really did it in.  Attila may have sacked cities, and pushed deep into Rome, but Rome still stood for another twenty or so years.  All he did was weaken Rome, like all of the other barbarian invasions before him. 
 
And remember, the Huns were pushing the Gothic tribes toward the Roman empire years before Attila was born.  Perhaps if he'd lived a little longer things might have been different, but he died.  And Gun is right, it was the Gothic tribes in the end that removed the last Emperor and was really damaging both Empires decades before Attila came around.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2006 at 23:59
Originally posted by Constantine XI

No, the West Roman Empire collapsed for a range of other reasons. Attila simply made existing problems worse.

The Pope did not beg Attila to leave, he persuaded him. It was beyond Attila's capabilities to take the city of Rome, he only BARELY managed to take Aquileia. His army was striken with the famine and disease which also gripped Italy, he was in no position to take so well a defended a city as Rome.

I think Attila probably sped up the destruction of the WRE by about 10-20 years because of the pressure he placed on it. But truly the WRE was collapsing from within because of its own unreliable and insufficient military, weak political structure and inability to reinvent itself as a viable state.
Without the Huns, there wouldn't have been so many Goths in Rome. Rome would have had a much better chance to regroup. Maybe it would have continued to exist another 100 years. Fact is that a couple of decades after Attila's death, the empire collapsed and the empire was sacked by the Goths that were pushed to Rome by the Huns.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 00:03
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma

It was not Attila, but the German tribes he pushed onto Roman territory which turned out to be fateful for the Empire. With the Huns had been dealt within only 75 years after their appearance in Europe, the same time span it took btw the Byzantines to beat the Awars decisively.

 
The Huns were 'dealt' with because the Empire fragmented after Attila's death. His sons quarreled and the empire fell apart.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 00:10
Originally posted by kilroy

Constantine hit it on the nose.  It really was many problems that have been plaguing the empire for years.  Attila was just another barbarian threat that sped the process up. 
 
The corruption of officals, weak emperors, weak morale with the people and the real break down of the Roman military machine really did it in.  Attila may have sacked cities, and pushed deep into Rome, but Rome still stood for another twenty or so years.  All he did was weaken Rome, like all of the other barbarian invasions before him. 
 
And remember, the Huns were pushing the Gothic tribes toward the Roman empire years before Attila was born.  Perhaps if he'd lived a little longer things might have been different, but he died.  And Gun is right, it was the Gothic tribes in the end that removed the last Emperor and was really damaging both Empires decades before Attila came around.
Attila wasn't just another Barbarian threat. According to historians Europe had never seen such an invasion before. He was a HUUUUUUGE threat to both Roman empires. The Goths, the longtime enemies of the Romans, were crushed by the Huns and pushed out of their homelands. Some decided to join the Hunnic armies. Attila had conquered nearly all Germanian territory, something the Romans had never done.
 
There is no doubt that Attila contributed to the demise of the WRE.
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  Quote Feramez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 01:57
Originally posted by Tamerlane

In Westeuropean history it is explained that the Germans (Visigoths) made the West Roman empire collapse.
 
HOWEVER
 
Attila stormed into central Europe and pushed the Visigoths over the Danube river. Many of them settled in the West Roman empire as refugees.
 
Attila destroyed many Westroman cities and defeated their armies numerous times. Attila heavily weakened the westroman army. Attila lost the battle in Challons but the Romans still had heavy losses.
 
The year after Attila invaded Italy and the emperor panicked. He sent the Pope, his sister and gold to Attila. The Pope BEGGED Attila to leave.
 
The Westroman empire collapsed within decades of Attila's death. The Visigoths in Rome (who were there because of Attila) had sacked the weakened empire.
 
I claim that the West-Roman empire wouldn't have collapsed or would have collapsed much later without Attila's actions. Do you agree or disagree? Why do historians barely mention Attila's role in the collapse of the westroman empire?
I think the Roman Empire was going to collapse whether Atilla was involved or not.  However, Atilla definetly killed them quicker.  If he never came into the picture the empire would've collapsed much later.  The reason western historians don't mention Atilla and his role in the destruction of the Roman Empire is because the west is obsessed with the Roman Empire and every other super power the west has had in history.  They don't care for the east and Atilla came from the east.  To the west, it's like "Godforbid an easterner whooped our asses.  We're better than that, better than them."  They don't want to teach their children this.  So they teach that Atilla was a blood thirsty barbarian.  But ironcally, in movies they make Atilla look like some white boy from Europe. 
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 03:48
Originally posted by Feramez

I think the Roman Empire was going to collapse whether Atilla was involved or not.  However, Atilla definetly killed them quicker.  If he never came into the picture the empire would've collapsed much later.  The reason western historians don't mention Atilla and his role in the destruction of the Roman Empire is because the west is obsessed with the Roman Empire and every other super power the west has had in history.  They don't care for the east and Atilla came from the east.  To the west, it's like "Godforbid an easterner whooped our asses.  We're better than that, better than them."  They don't want to teach their children this.  So they teach that Atilla was a blood thirsty barbarian.  But ironcally, in movies they make Atilla look like some white boy from Europe.


Everyone in the West has heard of Attila. Westerners don't have to admit that he "whooped our asses" because in the end Attila failed in his objectives and his empire crumbled soon after.

By the way, Attila was a blood thirsty barbarian. He galvanised the tribes allied to him through sheer terror and then attacked western civilisation, causing massive devastation. Attila and its Huns had nothing to offer to surpass Roman civilisation and the world is better for the fact that he and his warriors failed in their objectives. Their success would have reduced Europe to a primitive, tribal wasteland devoid of the vibrant drive for progress which has characterised it for much of its history once it recovered from the invasions of other barbarians.
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 03:54
Originally posted by Tamerlane

Originally posted by Constantine XI

No, the West Roman Empire collapsed for a range of other reasons. Attila simply made existing problems worse.

The Pope did not beg Attila to leave, he persuaded him. It was beyond Attila's capabilities to take the city of Rome, he only BARELY managed to take Aquileia. His army was striken with the famine and disease which also gripped Italy, he was in no position to take so well a defended a city as Rome.

I think Attila probably sped up the destruction of the WRE by about 10-20 years because of the pressure he placed on it. But truly the WRE was collapsing from within because of its own unreliable and insufficient military, weak political structure and inability to reinvent itself as a viable state.
Without the Huns, there wouldn't have been so many Goths in Rome. Rome would have had a much better chance to regroup. Maybe it would have continued to exist another 100 years. Fact is that a couple of decades after Attila's death, the empire collapsed and the empire was sacked by the Goths that were pushed to Rome by the Huns.


Ah but you asked about Attila specifically, not the Huns in general Wink

The truth is that the WRE was overextended and fundamentally no longer viable even before the Huns drove the Goths across the Danube. Remember, the WRE already had abandoned Britain before the Goths in the Balkans turned their attention to attacking the WRE. The decline in the West had already set in, and they showed no drive to reinvent themselves in a manner the ERE was later to do.

I will say though that the Huns were important for driving the Goths across the Danube, it most definitely did result in massive pressure being put on both halves of the Roman Empire.
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  Quote Turk Nomad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 12:32
Western Rome collapsed because of germanic races who kicked from their lands by Hun Turks
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  Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 13:11
Atilla the Hun wasn/t just some stupid barbarian.
 
p.s
 
'Barbarian' comes from the ancient Greek word barbaros) which meant a non-Greek, someone whose (first) language was not Greek. The word is imitative, the "bar-bar" representing the impression of random hubbub produced by hearing spoken a language that one cannot understand. To the people of ancient Greece and Rome, a Barbarian was anyone who was not of their extraction or culture.
 
 
 
He was a highly intellegent leader, great pollitician, his people management and motivational skills were excellent. They had a shared Kingship, their system of governance was more democratic than that of Rome.
 
Put simply, he outdid the Romans on every front.
 
 
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun
Wess Roberts
 
"One of the most sucessfull business books ever sold"
 
 
Victory Secrets of Attila the Hun

http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadershop/0591-7.html

 

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  Quote Turk Nomad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 13:54
Attila The Hun is one of the cleverest Turkic Leader,
 
He is my favourite after Mustafa Kemal Atatrk
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 14:03
The fact of the matter is that, to the Romans, Attila was just another serious  barbarian threat in a long line of barbarian threats that plauged the empire for years.  Yes he was a serious threat to both Empires, but so were the Gothic tribes that were also an equal threat to both Empires before that.  The Goths not only destroyed the eastern army at Adrianople, they pillaged all of Greece and sacked cities as far down as Sparta, then went on to sack Rome, something Attila never did.  I'm not trying to down play Attila's attack, its just he was simply another barbarian threat at that time.  They were all serious at that time since the Empire could barely manage itself, and so was his, just more so.
 
And when you say 'some' decided to join the Hunnic armies, i think you mean that 'many' decided, since a huge number of Attilas troops were infact Gothic and Germanic and not Hunnic.  Same thing applies for the Roman side, many were Gothic or Alans.   And yes, the Romans never conquerored the majority of the Germanic lands, this has been discussed here before.
 
And i don't think any of us ever said that Attila wasn't a big contributing factor to the dimise of the WRE, because he was, he drained the empire of many troops, disrupted trade for years and razed many cities, further damaging the peoples morale inside Roman territory.  But the contributing factors of the  WRE are many, it wasn't just Attila.
 
And i'm also a bit perplexed at Feramez statement as well.  In all of my history classes that deal with Roman History and its eventual fall, from grade school all the way to college, Attila is always mentioned and is a favorite subject for papers and presentations.   So that statement was kind of a shock to me.  There are many books and articles that deal with Attila and his victory over Roman arimes and land by many Western authors, and he is ALWAYS mentioned whenever someone discusses the fall of the WRE, since he was a factor in it.
 
And to Bulldog, that is one view of Attila, there are other differing views from Historians such as Priscus that actually had dinner with Attila (he was part of a delegation from the WRE) and discribed him as silent and moody.  Not as energetic as the good Dr. Roberts would put him as.  But thats the thing about history, you can't always be sure, he could be either or both.  But he was ten times the leader that the current Emperor Valentinian was, on par with Aetius i think. 
 
And the Romans did see Attila and his Huns as Barbarians, no matter what tongue he spoke, many of them spoke Latin as well as Greek.  And i don't believe anyone here has claimed that Attila was stupid.  He must have had some smarts in order to crush armies and gain allies and be able to hold on to an Empire as vast as his, eh?  I agree with you completely that Attila was above average (especially compared to Valentinian) when it came to leading.
 
Alaric was also considered a Barbarian, even though he was Roman educated and spoke fluent Latin and had excellent leadership skills, was highly intelligent and was also nominated by his people to lead that, he didn't take over violently like so many Roman Emperors did, he was simply not Roman. 
- Cheers everyone.


Edited by kilroy - 20-Oct-2006 at 16:16
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 17:18

kilroy,

I live in Holland and at highschool we were thaught alot about the Roman empire but we were never thaught about the Huns. The reason given was that there wasn't much known about the Huns because they didn't had a written language.

In Holland you only get to know a lot about the Huns when you study history. That constitutes a small percentage of the population. The majority don't get to know him from history classes. They only get to know him from tv.
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  Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 18:24

Kilroy I agree with most of what you say except for Atilla "just being another barbarian threat". Romans knew how to deal with "outside" threats, they had great experience in the field. They would outsmart these tribes, they wouldn't even need to fight most of the time as they put them against each other, used and manipulated them, controlled them from within.

Atilla and the Huns however, were a different story, they wern't just "like the rest", they crushed all other Roman threats in the area and subdued them, they served under the Huns after their leaders were taken out and replaced with Hun leaders.
 
The Romans couldn't outsmart the HUns, the Huns outsmarted them and used tactics, strategies and new methods which suprised the them.
 
Recently there have been alot of studies into the various nations Romans called "barbarians", the German tribes were actually advanced and suited to their lifestyle, they had a culture, arts and so on and this is being investigated.
 
Hopefully the same will be done for the Huns aswell. They're simply known for Atilla and being "barbarians" and that's about it. Their lifestyles, culture, arts, if they had metal-working, pollitical and social structures, what were their advantages/disadvantages, any advancements, contributions and so on.
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  Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 19:01

Originally posted by kilroy

And i'm also a bit perplexed at Feramez statement as well.  In all of my history classes that deal with Roman History and its eventual fall, from grade school all the way to college, Attila is always mentioned and is a favorite subject for papers and presentations.   So that statement was kind of a shock to me.  There are many books and articles that deal with Attila and his victory over Roman arimes and land by many Western authors, and he is ALWAYS mentioned whenever someone discusses the fall of the WRE, since he was a factor in it.
Actually the discussion on the causes of the fall of Roman Empire varies from giving the barbarians all credit to considering the causes are entirely internal. To quote historiographies, on one side I'd mention Ferdinand Lot saying the Western Roman Empire died of "internal disease", and on the other side Andre Piganiol saying "Roman civilization didn't simply die. It was assassinated". Of course, there are many middle opinions crediting both external and internal causes to different degrees.
Fustel de Coulanges, Henri Pirenne, and more recently Karl-Ferdinand Werner, Francois Masai, Pierre Riche or Patrick Geary  are among those supporting a continuity, a transformation of the Roman Empire little affected by invasions (surely they were destructive, but arguably not more destructive in themselves than those from 3rd century).


Edited by Chilbudios - 20-Oct-2006 at 19:05
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 22:43

Well, here in America, we are taught about Attila, and just about everyone that goes through school has to eventually take a basic world history course which would include the fall of the Roman Empire, so many around here have at least heard of Attila. 

It's to bad Holland doesn't mention him in its highschool history course. 
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 22:48
Originally posted by Bulldog

Kilroy I agree with most of what you say except for Atilla "just being another barbarian threat". Romans knew how to deal with "outside" threats, they had great experience in the field. They would outsmart these tribes, they wouldn't even need to fight most of the time as they put them against each other, used and manipulated them, controlled them from within.

Atilla and the Huns however, were a different story, they wern't just "like the rest", they crushed all other Roman threats in the area and subdued them, they served under the Huns after their leaders were taken out and replaced with Hun leaders.
 
The Romans couldn't outsmart the HUns, the Huns outsmarted them and used tactics, strategies and new methods which suprised the them.
 
Recently there have been alot of studies into the various nations Romans called "barbarians", the German tribes were actually advanced and suited to their lifestyle, they had a culture, arts and so on and this is being investigated.
 
Hopefully the same will be done for the Huns aswell. They're simply known for Atilla and being "barbarians" and that's about it. Their lifestyles, culture, arts, if they had metal-working, pollitical and social structures, what were their advantages/disadvantages, any advancements, contributions and so on.
 
Alright, i'll concede.  You made a good point, the Romans did infact know how to deal with many traditional outside threats but the Huns did bring with them a rather different method of fighting that wasn't traditional to the Romans. 
 
And i've read quite a bit up on the Germanic and Gothic tribes, towards the end of the Empire, they were very much like the Romans and not as 'barbarian' as many think.  Good post bulldog.


Edited by kilroy - 20-Oct-2006 at 23:18
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  Quote kilroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2006 at 22:54
Originally posted by Chilbudios

Originally posted by kilroy

And i'm also a bit perplexed at Feramez statement as well.  In all of my history classes that deal with Roman History and its eventual fall, from grade school all the way to college, Attila is always mentioned and is a favorite subject for papers and presentations.   So that statement was kind of a shock to me.  There are many books and articles that deal with Attila and his victory over Roman arimes and land by many Western authors, and he is ALWAYS mentioned whenever someone discusses the fall of the WRE, since he was a factor in it.
Actually the discussion on the causes of the fall of Roman Empire varies from giving the barbarians all credit to considering the causes are entirely internal. To quote historiographies, on one side I'd mention Ferdinand Lot saying the Western Roman Empire died of "internal disease", and on the other side Andre Piganiol saying "Roman civilization didn't simply die. It was assassinated". Of course, there are many middle opinions crediting both external and internal causes to different degrees.
Fustel de Coulanges, Henri Pirenne, and more recently Karl-Ferdinand Werner, Francois Masai, Pierre Riche or Patrick Geary  are among those supporting a continuity, a transformation of the Roman Empire little affected by invasions (surely they were destructive, but arguably not more destructive in themselves than those from 3rd century).
 
I'm not sure i get your point, i've been saying all along that the WRE didn't die solely because of barbarian invasion, but of many reasons, like civil war, corruption in the government, lack of a real means of succession for the Emperor.  Break down of formal military training and reliance on barbarian mercenaries to fill the ranks.  Economic problems, such as the break down of internal trade due to the civil wars, devaluation of the Roman coin due to inflation etc..
 
-Cheers everyone.
 


Edited by kilroy - 20-Oct-2006 at 22:54
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