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The Huns (Xiongnu) political history, economy and culture

The Huns were a group of nomadic herdsmen, warlike people from the steppes of North Central Asia, north of China (Mongolia) who terrorized and destroyed much of Asia and Europe from the 3rd through 5th centuries.

Origins of the Huns remain a mystery and different name. Contemporary literary sources do not provide a clear understanding of Hun origins.

The Huns seem to "suddenly appear", first mentioned during an attack on the Alans, who are generally connected to the River Don (Tanais). Scholarship from the early 20th century literature connected the sudden and apparently devastating Hun appearance as a predatory migration from the more easterly parts of the Steppe, i.e. Central Asia.

Debate about the Asian origin of the Huns has been ongoing since the 18th century when Joseph de Guignes first suggested that the Huns should be identified as the Hsiung-nu of Chinese sources.

Name Huns and barbarian by Romans.

The Chinese successfully defended themselves against the Huns in the 3rd century (the Huns were then led by Mao-tun, the first great leader and unite of the Huns). The Chinese started building their Great Wall to defend themselves against the Huns. The people of India, Persia (what is now Iran) were invaded by separate hordes of Hunnish warriors attacking on horseback.

In Europe, groups of Huns defeated the Goths (Germans) of eastern Europe, the Slavs, the Franks (French), the Roman Empire, and many others. The Huns settled in the area that is now called Hungary.

The Hun were led by a chief called the shan-yi. According to the Chinese historian Ssu-ma Chien, the shan-yi transcribed into Chinese is Ch’eng-li-Ku-t’u Shan-yi, wich the Chinese translate as “Majesty son of Heaven”. In this words may be detected Turko-Mongols roots: Ch’eng-li- is the transcription of the Turkic and Mongol word Tangri, Heaven.

The Huns kept herds of cattle, horses, goats and sheep.

Their other sources of food consisted of wild game and the roots of wild plants. For clothes they had round caps, trousers or leggings made from goat skin, and either linen or rodent skin tunics .

Upon Rugulas' death in 433, Attila (406-453) and his older brother Bleda (nephews of Rugulas) became co-leaders of the Huns. After killing his own brother in A.D. 445, Attila took control of the Huns. Attila the Hun was the most successful king of the Huns; Attila was often called the "Scourge of God."

Under Attila's rule, the Huns united and extended their territory greatly, reaching ever deeper into Europe. After a defeat at Chalons (in what is now northern France) in A.D. 451, the Huns invaded Italy (in 452), destroying much of northern Italy.

Attila died during his sleep on the night of his last wedding -- Attila had many wives. He died from a serious nosebleed (a nasal hemorrhage), but some people say that he was poisoned. After Attila's death, Attila's sons fought over who would rule the Huns. The resulting chaos was exploited by the Ostrogoths and other Germanic tribes, who used the opportunity to revolt against the Huns. The Hunnish empire soon broke apart.

 

 


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1244


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