John Man's history of Attila
is a narrative history. He weaves in his own adventures in tracking down locations and museum pieces, along with the discoveries of others such as resurrecting the steppe art of bow shooting while riding. Man focuses on separating myth from fact but it willing to tell the reader about the varying myths and some of the strange origins of Hun history that have come from the likes of Deguenes and Gibbons which have gone into cultural memory despite and absence or sources.
Deguenes for instance stated that the Huns came from the Xiongnu
. There is a mix of archeological and historical evidence which suggests this is possible, but nothing that states categorically it is true
. Man is only willing to state on current known facts that:
The Huns were probably of Turkish stock, probably spoke a Turkish language (which shared roots with Mongolian), were possibly a remnant of migrating Xiongnu, had no connection with China apart from some cultural overlap, and were certainly nothing to do with the Slavic and Germanic tribes into who they so rudely barged.
The mythology of the Huns is that they broke out over the Russian Steppes and straight into the Po Valley and Rome. Tribal migration us much slower than that and the Huns established themselves for an extend period in modern day Hungary before Attila extended the Hun Empire into the Balkans, Poland and Eastern Russia.
Like the Ostrogoths and Visigoths who became a massive refugee population that put pressure on a fragile Roman Empire when the Huns forced them across the Danube and into Thrace, the Huns were Romanized to an extent. Roman Armies used mixed mercenaries of Goths and Huns against the Gauls and Germanic tribes. Attila's Empire included armies of Gepid (Germanic), Visigoth, Slavic and Alan tribes. When a Roman envoy met Attila and recorded the event they met Attila and his wife lying on a couch and eating in the Roman style. Barbarian is an overly mis-used term.
The military weapon that made the Huns so dangerous was their bows which had the ears on the end. This allowed them to fire off three arrows in six seconds - which combined with their horseback skill made them like a mobile rapid fire force. As Man notes, there was nothing with this rate of fire until the English longbowmen - who were fixed, not mobile - and then later the repeating guns of the nineteenth century.
The Huns were not unbeatable either. As they expanded eastward and south, the followed the Tigris and drew the attention of the Persian Empire. The Huns were defeated and rolled back up Syria. Attila faced the same problem in the 450s when opposing Roman Armies that were able to ally with Visigoths. This is despite Attila having a strong mixed force of Hun cavalry, Gothic soldiers and engineering assets such as siege engines. The Huns, despite their great successes, were not able to beat the might of the major Empire of the time, the Western Roman Empire, the Byzantium Empire or the Persian Empire.
Attila's other problem after his defeats in the 450s was that he had made no innovations for a permanent Hun Empire. Ghengis Khan established a bureaucracy, laws and a strict succession path. When Attila died suddenly, drowning from blood pouring out of his mouth and nose, there was the infighting of the numerous pretenders. Within a decade Attila's son led a small group of arms to Gaul asking for land as they were starving. They were killed in battle when the Gauls refused to hand over their land.
Attila's Empire was decidely impermanent. The mythology of Attila was not however. He was caught up in the propaganda of the early Christian historians and written into the drama of good and evil of the end of days being played out on earth with an omnipotent and omnipresent god. Attila became the 'scourge of good' and barbarianism of Roman propaganda to its core. Ironically Attila appears in Hungarian foundation myths and is seen as the Hungarian Charlemagne. For a man that is not well recorded in written history and who spoke a language that is lost, he entered the mythology of history and has been permanent in it ever since.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.