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The role of drought during the Hunnic incursions into central-east Europe in the 4th and 5th c. CE

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Abstract

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThe Hunnic incursions into eastern and central Europe in the 4th and 5th c. CE have historically been considered one of the key factors in bringing the Roman Empire to an end. However, both the origins of the Huns and their impact on the late Roman provinces remain poorly understood. Here we provide a new, combined assessment of the archaeological, historical, and environmental evidence. Hunnic raids and warfare within the Roman provinces are most intensely attested for the first half of the 5th c. We propose that severe drought spells in the 430s to 450s CE disrupted the economic organization of the incomers and local provincial populations, requiring both to adopt strategies to buffer against economic challenges. We argue that the Huns’ apparently inexplicable violence may have been one strategy for coping with climatic extremes within a wider context of the social and economic changes that occurred at the time.</jats:p>

Description

Keywords

climate change, human migration, Huns, paleoclimate, Roman Empire, subsistence practices

Journal Title

Journal of Roman Archaeology

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1047-7594
2331-5709

Volume Title

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)