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Sgt_Colon t1_j0gbwc3 wrote

Can't say I buy the article's argument that this caused the Huns to become raiders, it seems especially ignorant of the relations steppe polities had with their settled neighbours.

An easy off the bat rebuttal is that the first time the Huns appear in Roman records is them rolling over the Goths and Alans in Eastern Europe (precipitating the migration of the Greuthungi and Tervingi into the Eastern Empire) that sees regular raiding into the empire from their on in, including during the Gothic war of 376-382.

Even so, steppe polities normally raided their settled neighbours to obtain various goods that were either unobtainable or in short supply on the steppe. The steppe being largely unsuited to farming and in turn unable to support any significant industry, raiding was a common activity to gain goods and wealth, helped significantly by the hardy steppe ponies they rode enabling them to engage in lightning raids able to move quickly and at distance. This isn't to say they were shiftless brutes that knew only to steal, trade was a significant interaction with their settled neighbours, but raiding often served as a means of political leverage with their neighbours.

An example of which is the Roman-Hunnic treaty of 422 which saw the demands of an annual tribute of gold by the Roman state and the return of any Huns fleeing Hunnic territory (being political rivals/dissidents of the new king Rua), this was forced into being by raiding into Thrace during the same year. The later Treaty of Margus was little different, with the tribute in gold increase, annual markets on the border and preventing the Romans from forming any alliances with Hunnic enemies. These were rather one sided affairs, favouring the Huns by new rulers eager to secure their legitimacy; something at odds with the article's claims of mutually beneficial arrangements.

It may also be worth noting that the data gathered is only for the Hungarian basin and may not be accurate for the larger steppe area, including the other parts of Eastern Europe the Hunnic empire encompassed.

With regards to the Eurasian steppe and the Huns in specific, Hyun Jim Kim is a current and notable publishing academic whose works like The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe or The Huns are well worth reading for a current grounding.


TheHistoriansCraft t1_j0h86xs wrote

All solid points. However, I just want to add here that Harper’s “The Fate of Rome”, which tried to compile as much of the climate data as possible, argues that the steppe as a whole along what is today Kazakhstan was drying in this period. It probably forced the Huns to move rather than forced them to become raiders in the first place. We see something similar going on along the North Sea coast, with settlements slowly becoming flooded due to rising tides, possibly playing a role in migration to the British isles