USU 1320: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2013
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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With the record of what-really-happened deriving entirely from those they attacked, the Huns leave behind many important questions about their role in Western Civilization, above all, why they attacked Europe at all. And history is simply mute on that all-important issue, casting a dark and impenetrable pall over them since to hear only from their victims and not the Huns themselves leaves scholars with a picture of mindless carnage and wanton destruction. If there was a reason underlying all the bloodshed, only a Hun can say.

So unless some Mongol "Anecdota" surfaces unexpectedly, historians have no way of answering the great questions concerning the Huns, such as why they invaded Europe. Speculation is all we're left with, though sometimes even that can be enlightening. For instance, when confronted with this very question—why would a people travel thousands of miles across bleak terrain to attack Europe, a land they couldn't really be sure was worth attacking or, frankly, even existed?—one of today's pre-eminent Mongol historians said it all came down to this, "They wanted to get away from their wives." And when their wives kept following them, presumably they just kept going. That would, indeed, explain why they made it all the way to Europe, and it may well be the answer we're looking for. Still, it would be helpful to hear it from a Hun.

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