Henry David Thoreau

George Santayana

Keywords: history, prehistory, nomads, bedouins, global catastrophes, ancient authors, religion, mythology, Gaia theory, coming Earth changes, new millennium, natural disasters, Huns, AD 250 to AD 450, Visigoths, Mongols, Genghis Khan, Jurchen Kingdom, Vandals, Aztecs, Alans, Ostrogoths

As with all the web pages on the Living Cosmos web site, this web page is only a portion of the factual, empirical support for the ideas presented. This is basically an excerpt from the book, In Defense of Nature -- The History Nobody Told You About, which is supported by scholarly references, historical writings, mythology, religious scriptures and more. Because this book is published the full scope and references could not be presented at present, but may be made available at a later date. An attempt will be made to address queries, but not all queries can be answered.



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A Vivid Lesson of the Human Place in Nature

The Huns played a prominent role in the history of Europe and Asia during this AD 250 to 450 period. These nomads, who constantly moved to different pastures, invaded southeastern Europe shortly after wilderness-restoring quakes made rubble of many cities around the Mediterranean. The evidence indicates that there was a more worldwide devastation that sent them on a wave of ruinous migrations.

In a mere seventy years the Huns would built an enormous empire. Erupting from beyond the Volga River, they overtook the Alan Sarmatians (Alani or Alans), who occupied the plains between the Don and Volga Rivers in Russia. Next it was the Ostrogoths' Empire between the Don and Dnestr Rivers that quickly fell. In addition to this, and earlier, they struck a number of blows that would help fragment the Chinese Empire.

By 376 they had also defeated the Visgoths who lived in what is now approximately Romania. This caused the Visgoths to seek Asylum in Roman territory to the south of the Danube River. Thus, the Huns were to ultimately cause the conflict between the Visgoths and the Romans, in which the Romans suffered disastrous defeat at Adrianople (378). The Huns continued their westward advance, now with the subjugated Alans and Ostrogoths, as they drove masses of peoples into migration before them. When they were close to their own end they also invaded India, weakening the Gupta Empire that soon thereafter would also collapse. Their effects seemed to encompass the entire Eurasian continent. One can only ask a question so often ignored in our written history, why was it so easy?

It is interesting to note the characteristics of the Huns as given by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, writing around 395. They knew nothing of agriculture, but instead, herded animals in migrations to new pastures and collected wild edibles for themselves. They did not destroy wilderness to erect homes, because they had no settlements. Nor did they have kings, and possibly, not even a single overall leader before 432. This is literally what gave them strength, for while elsewhere devastating forces struck, they were at one with Nature taking part in the natural forces. Similar in many respects to the Scythians, and nomads of other times, they were part of a scene of chaos that enveloped the entire Eurasian continent and would be given credit for ending more empires, kingdoms, cultures, cities and settlements than they might have been instrumental in accomplishing. As too often occurs in our fear about past lessons in the struggle for human ascent, the Huns would be another catchall to explain away the mysterious events that ushered in the Dark Ages.

Within the half-century that followed the overthrow of the Visgoths, the Huns had extended their power over many of the Germanic peoples of central Europe. They were halted by the plague in their unopposed advance on Constantinople, and it seems that this was their only bout with disease until they became settled. The Huns' lifestyle and diet had made them more immune, and they also lived away from the disease-spreading environment of the cities.

However, their ennobled position would be undermined as their lifestyle drifted away from Nature. Eventually, the various groups of Huns were centralized under a single king in 432. Two years later, this king, Rua or Rugila, died and was succeeded by his two nephews, Bleda and Attila. The Huns were then under joint leadership, and in 436 the Burgundian Kingdom of Worms was destroyed by Attila's Huns. A peace treaty was negotiated between the joint rulers and the Eastern Roman Empire, which the Romans apparently did not honor with the agreed subsidies. This caused Attila to launch a heavy attack on the Roman Danubian frontier, advancing almost to Constantinople. Two years later, Attila murdered his brother (447) and made a second great attack on the Eastern Roman Empire, devastating the Balkans and continuing south into Greece.

The ultimate fate of the Huns should be taken as one of the greatest lessons in history. It must be realized that they were first a people who were without homes, property, any knowledge of agriculture, and had no kings. In short, they were mostly at peace with Nature and each other. However, they did not remain that way. First came the healing forces of wilderness-restoring events in which the Huns took part by bringing ruinous blows, often fatal, to the civilized world. Over time, huge sums of gold were acquired as a result of treaties with the Romans, as well as by way of plunder and selling prisoners back to the Romans. This wealth changed the character of Hun society. Leadership became hereditary in Attila's family. Attila had absolute power in both war and peace, administering his huge empire by means of "logades" (picked men) whose main function was governing subject peoples, and collecting food and tribute from them. From a co-equal, shepherd-like people who lived a simple country life, migrating from pasture to pasture, they now were a sedentary empire that lived mainly on tributes and food from subjugated peoples. They were now exploiting Nature and their fellow humans.

As a result, when the period under review closed, the fortune of the Huns changed dramatically. In 451, Attila invaded Gaul but was defeated by the Romans and Visgoths in the Battle of Chalons; Attila's first and only defeat. The surviving Huns in Europe were beginning to be reduced in numbers by plagues and food shortages as they invaded Italy and sacked several cities (452). Attila died in 453, his many sons dividing up his empire, which resulted in immediate quarreling among themselves. Their division would cause their subjects to revolt. A combination of Gepidae, Ostrogoths, Heruli and others routed the Huns in a great battle in Pannonia. In addition, they invaded northern and central India repeatedly while engaging in these events. Finally, the Eastern Roman Empire closed the frontier to the Huns, who ceased to play any significant part in history, gradually disintegrating as a social and political unit.

The whole thing seemed like a shortened history of China and Rome, but it was the Huns, while working with Nature, that helped collapse these empires. Their strength was unbeatable while maintaining life, destroying longstanding civilizations, but when they became civilized, they, too, were destroyed. In fact, most of their collapse occurred shortly after this period came to its close (mostly 451-453). It makes one wonder who were the "barbarians" and why we like the word "civilized" to describe something human that's supposed to be good.

There are many examples that are very similar to the Huns. The bedouins of the Arab/Islamic conquests took over more than two-thirds of the Eurasian continent, even though they were militarily inexperienced. And the reason for the conquests are stated in the Holy Quran: "And were it not for Allah's repelling some men with others, the Earth would certainly be in a state of disorder; but Allah is Gracious to the creatures."(2:251). Like the Huns, they were nomadic people that closed the pages of history for many an empire, city and settlement, only to collapse after they became an empire.

Another example is the Mongols. Again, they were nomadic people who conquered all but the peninsulas of the Eurasian continent, and the only people in history to conquer all of China. Their story, like all stories of the nomadic conquerors, reveals that something widespread had made the civilized world relatively easy to conquer. Genghis Khan had been a slave in the Jurchen Kingdom and his relatives had been viscously nailed to wooden donkeys, after which they told Genghis to retaliate until he had no fingers. Yet, it took 30 years to conquer the Jurchens who were hit by hurricanes, floods, droughts, pestilence, bad harvests, uprisings, civil disorder, plagues and severe famines. However, it only took roughly fifty years for the Mongols to stretch their conquests from the Pacific coast to the borders of the Crusades, ravaging an area encompassing more than two thirds of the entire Eurasian continent! Later, they too would collapse as they became an empire.

There are many stories such as these that are all too similar to be coincidence. Examples range from the Vandals to the Aztecs. In Defense of Nature addresses the effects of these nomadic peoples, and those they conquered and ravaged at times when global events are evident in the archeological and geological records, and in the writings and mythology of the times.

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