You must log in or register to comment.

Hyphenated_Gorilla t1_j0fry4n wrote

Makes sense, with drought comes all the other ramifications. I suspect things like this influenced war more often than we know


Dutch-Gouda t1_j0fsddp wrote

Those are some suggestive tree rings if they really tell all this.


YellowApricot2 t1_j0fvnkm wrote

I seem to recall that global warming was a factor that lead to the fall of the western Roman empire.


3phase4wire t1_j0fz4ci wrote

Turns out mountains encouraged early humans to climb them


NeedsMoreSpaceships t1_j0g0w15 wrote

I recently read a book that put forward this theory so this isn't some new theory, just more supporting evidence.


WhenceYeCame t1_j0g19qn wrote

Fall of civilizations podcast suggested the Bronze Age collapse was partially caused by simultaneous volcanic eruption and droughts displacing people and triggering mass warfare in the Mediterranean.

Black skies and failed crops? Time to raze our neighbor's cities out of desperation.


ReptileBat t1_j0g1wtr wrote

We think that event was around 536 AD. A volcanic eruption may have caused a global cooling that lasted several years and devastated crops. Western Rome was technically still around but largely dissolved at this point… they would have fallen with or without the temperature shift.


grambell789 t1_j0g7hg3 wrote

I suspect the motivation was mostly that Attila sensed Rome was weakened more by the drought than he was so it was a good time to go on offense.


kdogg2077 t1_j0gazpt wrote

Did Attila need some out of the ordinary reason to attach the Roman Empire? They were wealthy but declining. They would have been a perfect target for Atilla. It's not like he was normally peaceful.


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.


ElvenCouncil t1_j0gcba4 wrote

Rome and the Persians were both still recovering from the plague (which was likely caused by natural disasters) and decided to have a generation long war of attrition. The Arabs did the same thing barbarians in the periphery had been doing for over a thousand years. Attacked when the agricultural empire was at a weak point.


ElvenCouncil t1_j0gccvm wrote

Rome and the Persians were both still recovering from the plague (which was likely caused by natural disasters) and decided to have a generation long war of attrition. The Arabs did the same thing barbarians in the periphery had been doing for over a thousand years. Attacked when the agricultural empire was at a weak point.


zeolus123 t1_j0ggkqg wrote

The only problem I have is the same problem I have with Dan Carlin, it's takes quite a bit of time to produce a 2-6 hour episode, its like I'm the worst kind of dope fiend for these podcasts.


mybestfriendisacow t1_j0ggudx wrote

Current farmer. Natural disasters destroy the land. And then nothing grows.

If there was an earth quake, the land gets disrupted (tore apart, split, etc) and you either can't plant into the empty spaces, or need to work the ground which would've taken ages to do back then with animals and small equipment. Large volcanic eruptions have the ash which smothers the land until it floats away or is worked into the ground, and the cooled magma turns into rock which you can't plant into.

Droughts don't just mean lack of water, but rock hard dry earth that you can't plant into. Too wet means plants drown, or quagmires you simply can't get into to plant. Too cold to plant on time means late crops, and if they do get going, your yeilds are reduced because of the shorter growing season.

All of this usually means weaker plants, which are more susceptible to diseases. The plants are not as nutritious, making you weaker and more susceptible to your own diseases. Diseases spread, more people get sick, especially if they're also not getting enough nutrition themselves.

Current farmers still face a lot of stuff from natural disasters. But we do get some lucky breaks now with our current technology (like weather forecasting), equipment size/strength, and how much faster we can do things. And we have also gotten better at producing higher yields of crops, and preventing plant diseases, which ensures the health of animals and people. So humans can flourish, be strong, and thrive.


FoolInTheDesert t1_j0gi3ih wrote

Gotta use your imagination and critical thinking skills on this one! Think about what happens when flood waters retreat.. the fetid rotting masses of plants and dead animals left behind among wet, festering pools of tepid water... the perfect breeding ground for disease and bacteria.


Ferengi_Earwax t1_j0gquw7 wrote

Natural disasters cause the balance in nature to go awry. This could mean that feeding grounds for normal pests are disturbed so they seek new areas through migration. Locusts coming to areas they've never been historically reported. Small mammals who carry fleas and ticks with disease will look for the easiest food available. If hundreds of thousands of people die, and so quickly that they can't be buried properly, this now will spread disease from the decaying bodies, plus the wildlife that feeds on them. an increase in flies and other insects comes to mind which we know spread bacteria and disease. You also have no humans to clean up and keep rats and mice from getting into the grain supply. In medieval Europe and up to the plague of London in the 17th century, cats and dogs were killed as people thought they were dirty and spread disease. This makes the rat population boom. In that specific case, the plaque was spread from fleas on the rats. More rats, more plaque. Natural disasters have been spreading disease since we have existed.


Givemeurhats t1_j0gtdsf wrote

This is the link to their channel. A month or two after they do a podcast/release the audio on youtube, they make a video production of it. They're beautiful, too. Makes them worth a 2nd watch when the video comes out.

Click on the Fall of Civilizations playlist, those are all the videos. The chronological one is nice, they place the civilizations in chronological order


coachfortner t1_j0gut3g wrote

PBS’ Secrets of the Dead series did a decent analysis of climate pressures surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire in their episode, “The End of the Romans”.


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.


Buroda t1_j0h1foa wrote

They were so thirsty they destroyed Rome


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.


TheFunkyM t1_j0h55iw wrote

Yeah this was something Dan Jones was covering in Power and Thrones.

It's kind of wild how little interest historians have historically had in geography and the environmental context of history.


elmonoenano t1_j0h7o15 wrote

Kyle Harper's book, The Fate of Rome gets into the combination of pandemics and climate change in that area and the impact they might have had on end of Rome. It's not hard to imagine that the changes going on would also impact where the Huns were from.

His book isn't too long and it's very interesting to read. I'd recommend it.


Significant-Stuff-77 t1_j0h7vga wrote

That’s what I like. Science and history dovetail each other sometimes. Geography, too.

Kings and Generals made a video about the Mongols recently. Ghenghis Khan was lucky to be born in a time where the weather was suitable for the steppes.


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


Hyphenated_Gorilla t1_j0haaia wrote

Thanks, I think I have it in my library, one of those books that keeps getting buried and not read lol Not sure though my library has been shoved into boxes as my kids books replace them lol.

Collapse; how societies choose to fail or succeed" was good as well : )


Gl0balCD t1_j0hbwdg wrote

When you pull samples and see that every tree had less growth x rings ago, you can determine aspects of weather.

Weather can have a huge impact on war. D-Day occured when it did because it was a clear day. Vikings spread from Scandinavia because there wasn't enough fertile land to go around. Napoleon in Russia. Similar theories exist for the bronze age collapse. The seas around Cape Horn meant that controlling the Cape of Good Hope was crucial for controlling global trade.


Gl0balCD t1_j0hc3l7 wrote

Atilla was just an innocent Hun trying to make his way in the world.


SweetMeatin t1_j0hh1yy wrote

Pretty much every time the Steppe imposes itself on the outside world coincides with climatic problems.


blarryg t1_j0hlfxu wrote

My hypothesis is what I call "the ISIS factor". Remember when Bush dismissed the Iraqi military to unemployment while they were being ethnically cleansed? The ex-military guys joined ISIS and suddenly ISIS was a fighting force that took the world's most powerful militaries months to put down.

Now, imagine the drought and disturbances prior to the end of the bronze age. Refugees started, but they were easily put down/enslaved/whatever until the military guys of crumbling nations became refugees themselves and said, "hell with begging, let's switch to taking". They became a desperate but well trained fighting force. As former empires crumbled (refugees disrupted the trade that brought copper and tin together -- the Bronze age very literally ended) there was no "best military" left to fight these now, now militarized roving groups.


TheRealTofuey t1_j0hlg39 wrote

Even up to the pre ww2 era, farming was dramatically different than it was after. Things like the dust bowl and great depression completely changed mass farming technology and techniques in the US. Despite what people might think, the greatplains are often horrible places to grow food because the region regularly gets droughts for multiple years in a row along with years of harsh flooding.


abbyemorynsfw t1_j0ho6kb wrote

I don't think this inference is that valid the biochemical analysis of the diet is more interesting but selecting for the tree species that are over 1500 years old is a pretty major selection bias.


owoah323 t1_j0hrzb4 wrote

Makes sense why on one podcast the narrator was referring to “look at this artifact” and I was like… how am I supposed to see this?

I gotta watch these now


ReptileBat t1_j0hymhr wrote

One thing you learn from studying history is that it repeats itself constantly… studying Rome is fascinating because there is a large amount of similarities with early USA history.. I’m referring to the republic (509 BC - 27 BC)


brookepride t1_j0i82lf wrote

Also the diaspora of displaced people means that there is more movement and disease spreads quicker and easier. Think Spanish Flu spreading globally because of World War 1 moving armies and displaced people around.


Gvillegator t1_j0ihbml wrote

Loved that book. Mike Duncan covers this too in his podcast. He really discusses this at length in the French and Russian Revolutions. Terrible harvests because of horrible winters were likely a major factor in causing some of the issues which led to the French Revolution. The February Revolution probably doesn’t happen if it wasn’t such a nice day outside and everyone decided to get into the streets, where it just so happened that the International Working Women’s march was happening. Two of the biggest events of the last 250 years, both significantly influenced by weather.


DonBarkington t1_j0imbpo wrote

Anyone else noticed how in the last ten years every significant historical event have gotten a climate related reasoning attached to them?


LargeMonty t1_j0ip2eo wrote

You're on the right path but ISIS was over a decade after that.

Related is when occupying Japan after WWII MacArthur was sure to integrate the former Imperial military and avoided that issue. Bush, as a student of history, should have known about that. Especially given his father's WWII experience.


Zedrackis t1_j0iqrfo wrote

A lot of sense. Feeding armies by pillaging was the main way to get supplies for a very long time. Supposedly Napoleon started the trend of carting around supplies, but he also took his greatest defeat in Russia due to not being able to pillage supplies in enough quantities and the cold.

I think it was the wide spread use of the potato that really put an end to the practice. Potatoes can stay in the ground for a lot longer than other crops, forcing armies invading just after the harvest season of most crops to choose between not pillaging or picking the crops out of the ground themselves. Potatoes are native to South America.


Archmagnance1 t1_j0iur8a wrote

You would like Real Time History then. They do weekly releases of a big topic then do a mega edit at the end to make it one cohesive video.

This one on the franco-prussian war is my favorite and really highlights how technologically and tactically behind the US was in its Civil War that was starting around the same time.


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.


hurst_ t1_j0j7fqb wrote

> And we have also gotten better at producing higher yields of crops, and preventing plant diseases, which ensures the health of animals and people. So humans can flourish, be strong, and thrive.

we can do that without using animals though, along with dodging zoonotic diseases


Firstpoet t1_j0khu1f wrote

Just drift away listening to the end of the Maya etc then next day realise I listened to 3/4 of the episode. There are many episodes too. Another podcast on the Byzantine Empire or the history of the Burgundian state, both over 100 episodes.


BlueInMotion t1_j0m369k wrote

To be honest, Prussia had a couple of trials before the Franco Prussian War (against Denmark and Austria Hungary), while the U.S. didn't. So it's not a (big?) surprise, they were ready for the French.


Archmagnance1 t1_j0m4wbm wrote

The US was about 20 years behind in technology not just tactics. They didn't have to fight another major power so they didn't have to have development programs like the europeans did. Single loading bolt action rifles with paper cartridges were around for military use in continental europe since the 1850s, well before the US Civil War. They were needle rifles, with the primer right behind the bullet instead of the black powder, but much more advanced and allowed for more individual flexibility than the muzzle loaders before them. The Mauser model 1871 then came out in europe and saw adoption in the new german empire with metallic cartridges.

The next thing to come out of the US for military adoption was a conversion system for their old muzzle loaders until around 1890 IIRC.


BlueInMotion t1_j0m9xai wrote

Your right, on the technical level. Europe with its never ending wars (only be intermitted by short truces) was well ahead of the U.S. in that regard. But on the tactical level Prussia, until it started its war series, wasn't known for ability to put up a fight (Yes, Frederic the so called Great, but during the Napoleonic wars its performance was rather lackluster).

So the German High Command had its time to learn how to mobilize, equip, march, motivate, supply and prepare an army for battle. And they had an established High Command. And they had an established military culture. The U.S. didn't have a large scale war in its history until then and I don't count the Mexican - American war large scale war.


BuffaloOk7264 t1_j1d7njk wrote

Catastrophe by David Keys published in 1999 goes into this topic and develops it describing further historical repercussions. Fun book!