Attila the Hun raided Rome due to starvation, not bloodlust, study suggests

Attila the Hun has been depicted as a bloodthirsty barbarian with an “infinite thirst for gold” and power. But a new study proposes an alternative explanation for his violent incursions: Attila may have carried out his desperate raids to save his people from drought and starvation.

Two thousand years of climate data, recorded in the rings of oak trees found around the floodplains of Central Europe’s Danube and Tisza rivers, have shown that Attila and his Huns carried out their biggest raids during very dry years, when crop yields and pastureland were sparse, meaning the attacks were likely partly driven by desperation and hunger. The researchers published their findings Dec. 14 in the Journal of Roman Archaeology (opens in new tab).

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