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GuglielmoTheWalrus t1_j0gx5oa wrote

History, anthropology and related fields should probably have some integration with biology. Many of its core concepts are applicable. Homeostasis is critical to most if not all living organisms. Maintain the biological status quo as much as you can, and whenever there's a shake-up, there's contingencies to address that. And sometimes there's positive feedback loops, where variable A precipitates variable B, and variable B precipitates variable A.

Same basic concepts show up so often in history. Climate change, in this case, forces extreme measures i.e. aggressive competition for resources, extreme measures cause more instability i.e. aggressive response from previous target(s) of aggression, which leads to yet more extreme measures. In this case, Huns go raiding to make ends meet. They get resources, but Romans and others contest their raids. Huns are now in hostile territory but have an abundance of resources and more experience in warfare. Climate conditions still stink, so returning to the steppe and herding livestock doesn't work. Yet more raids ensue; further into the enemy hinterland and toward major population centers as borderlands are despoiled. Yet more conflict occurs between battle-hardened Huns and their enemies.


wildskipper t1_j0gxwdx wrote

Environmental history is a very well developed subfield of history. Environmental historians have fought for many years for the greater consideration of non-human factors in historical debate.


GuglielmoTheWalrus t1_j0h31c7 wrote

I've been out of academia for a while, but my hope is that the focus going forward emphasizes human agency in addressing those non-human factors, and the factors presented by those factors. Particular problems encourage the development of particular solutions, but a specific solution isn't a foregone conclusion since there can be multiple viable options to pursue. In the situation of the Huns, what if the Goths who crossed the Danube in 376 had been adequately supported by Roman authorities, rather than provoked? Would cooperation between Romans and Goths avert an Adrianople and subsequent fallout? Would this significantly deflate the threat posed by the Huns in the first place? I don't mean to turn this into alternative history; instead, I use this to point out how there are so many variables with differing potential outcomes.


Josquius t1_j0j00st wrote

Sure. But not many of those things were coin toss spur of the moment decisions. They came via a long chain of previous events that led people to act a certain way in particular situations.