The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome

Christopher Kelly / Oct 18, 2019

The End of Empire Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome History remembers Attila the leader of the Huns as he was perceived by the Romans a savage uncivilized barbarian brutally inflicting terror on whoever crossed his path Drawing on original texts in

  • Title: The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome
  • Author: Christopher Kelly
  • ISBN: 9780594131014
  • Page: 292
  • Format: Hardcover
  • History remembers Attila, the leader of the Huns, as he was perceived by the Romans a savage, uncivilized barbarian brutally inflicting terror on whoever crossed his path Drawing on original texts, including first person accounts by Roman historians, and filled with visuals of Roman and Hun artifacts, historian Christopher Kelly creates a novel and quite different portraHistory remembers Attila, the leader of the Huns, as he was perceived by the Romans a savage, uncivilized barbarian brutally inflicting terror on whoever crossed his path Drawing on original texts, including first person accounts by Roman historians, and filled with visuals of Roman and Hun artifacts, historian Christopher Kelly creates a novel and quite different portrait of this remarkable man.

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    About "Christopher Kelly"

      • Christopher Kelly

        Christopher Kelly Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome book, this is one of the most wanted Christopher Kelly author readers around the world.


    1. Writing about Attila poses problems for the historian: the only sources that really exist about him were written by those considered among his fiercest enemies, namely the Romans. The Romans essentially considered everything non-Roman as "barbarian." The Huns, then, and especially Attila, are remembered in popular culture and history as vile barbarians who only cared about murder and thievery. In general, little is really known about the Huns. There are only three words that we know for sure wer [...]

    2. Excellent. I'm not sure Kelly adds much more to the story, but he tells it well. Kelly does bring you up to date as far as what recent archaeology has brought to light, but it isn't much. The Huns were not some far eastern, "yellow menace," but beyond that, there's not a lot to go on. Kelly points out that the Huns, as invaders, were parasitic, and adapted themselves, to some extent, to the peoples they conquered. In other words, Hun artifacts, intermingled with Goth artifacts, show little or no [...]

    3. An exhaustive exhausting at times historical account of a fascinating time in ancient history. This went well as a companion piece to the book on Caesar I've recently read. A great empire from its creation to its end, a behemoth so massive, it was unable to sustain itself. The book was interesting, well written and educational, which is pretty much what I look for in nonfiction. It had some strong dynamic parts, but some of it, particularly in the middle, sort of dragged and made for a long slig [...]

    4. Well done and well-researched history about Atilla the Hun and the end of the Western Roman Empire, but not without its flaws. Weird stylistic breaks happen throughout to go on page long tangents about archaeological discoveries, or how such and such Roman writer was a complete idiot. Also dips into plenty of snark about Christianity and as he calls it "civilization." This a common problem I find with modern historians: they want to challenge the status quo so much they end up sounding like a tu [...]

    5. When people hear the name Attila the Hun, thoughts and ideas immediately come to mind, both pro and con. Some think of him as a ruthless barbarian who slaughtered without thought or mercy. Others think of him as an impressive leader who was able bring an end to the greatest empire the world has ever known. Christopher Kelly, a professor of ancient history at Cambridge University and author of a couple of books on the Roman Empire, presents a complete biography in The End of Empire of Attila the [...]

    6. In the “End of Empire” Christopher Kelly insightfully dissected the stereotypical image of Attila. The narrative was readable and effective. Christopher Kelly provided a brief, but excellent summary of Attila’s diplomatic, political, and military relationship with both the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. The failed Roman policies to contain the Huns, Vandals, and so forth were explained in an easy-to-understand way. In short, “End of Empire” explored the personalities, events, and f [...]

    7. Pretty much what one wants out of a general history. Kelly is an academic historian who nevertheless manages to distill ancient history for a popular audience. This is harder than it sounds; many academic historians are simply ill- or unequipped to find compelling ways to narrate history for non-specialists. They indulge in pointless score-settling or argumentative minutiae for fellow historians or, less often, so flatten and dumb down the narrative so as to leach out whatever was interesting in [...]

    8. Limited by lack of sources, it about as definitive as we are likely to get. The 3 stars is markdowns for improper grammar and bad sentence structure.

    9. "history should continually seek to challenge our assumptions. It should prompt us to look differently at the world and make us less assured of our own ideals and beliefs."

    10. Review from the PFS Book ClubWhat I Liked: The main strength of this book is how it's written. Kelly manages to take ancient history (filled with strange names and places nobody's ever heard of) and make it come alive through simplistic connections - he frequently points out an ancient place's closest equivalent, tries to make the names seem normal enough to follow, and goes out of his way to make the complex cultural differences between then and now plainly explained.Kelly's structure, with sho [...]

    11. Bill Veeck said that "saying Rogers Hornsby has a bad personality was like saying Attila the Hun had bad table manners." However we learn that Attila was not quite the savage barbarian that we have always believed him to be. Going all the way back to the first Greek historians, the barbarians were painted as uncouth, uncivilized, sleeping and living on their horses and in wagons and eating raw meat, well meat heated by putting it under your saddle. Of course the Huns did not have permanent settl [...]

    12. Not bad, not bad. The centerpiece of Kelly's presentation is his take on an account of Priscus, a teacher of rhetoric who found himself caught up in a diplomatic mission to the king of the Huns in the mid-5th century. Priscus later wrote of his adventure beyond the Danube, leaving history with the only surviving in-person depiction of Attila. As Kelly shows, Priscus's account is not a typical Roman screed against the barbarians; Attila comes off as a shrewd politician, his court as somewhat soph [...]

    13. Pasionat îndeosebi de istoria Imperiului Roman și de studiile clasice, istoricul Christopher Kelly a acordat o atenție surprinzătoare mărețului imperiu în studiile sale, astfel că a oferit publicului o altfel de viziune în comparație cu cea care se găsește în toate manualele de istorie: Ruling the Later Roman Empire (2006), Unclassical Traditions I: Alternatives for the Classical Past in late Antiquity și Unclassical Traditions II: Perspectives from East and West in late Antiquity [...]

    14. Having enjoyed William Napier's Attila trilogy I wanted to read a history book about Attila the Hun. Christopher Kelly's very readable and informative book has met my need and reassured me about the historical accuracy of the novels. I did however find that Kelly's book became too speculative so that I stopped reading it for several years before finally finishing it. I didn't like his overuse of modern concepts (such as asylum seekers, binge drinking, etc) to describe this remote period in order [...]

    15. Christopher Kelly's book on Attila, the Huns and their influence on the fall of the Roman empire was a good read the latter half of the book. The author tells the reader from the beginning that all the information comes from the Roman side of the story, since the Huns did not have a written record of their own history. So the first half is Roman history leading up to the Hun invasion and the second half is taken from a Roman historian who was actually present for most of the events during and af [...]

    16. A fun romp through the 5th century. The book sticks to Priscus account(roman contemporary of Attila, the main point being that Attila can hardly be seen as a primitive barbarian chieftain) and has some very interesting chapters on the shifting alliances of Gothic Kingdoms, Romans and Huns towards the end of the western roman empire. Kelly refuses to speculate on the origin of the Huns since there are no hunnic sources available. Kelly also convincingly (to me at least) rejects a Mongol origin of [...]

    17. The title can certainly be a bit misleading, but the problem with tackling a subject like Attila is the lack of recorded history of the Huns. The entire first half of the book was about the Roman empire in the generation before Attila lead his people. Even the second half of the book that actually focused on Attila is shaky at best, given that the information comes from a Roman historian - though he appears far less biased than those who were content to simply label Attila as a barbarian and lea [...]

    18. Attila the Hun, as Christopher Kelly tells it, is not the barbarian history (as recorded by the Romans) reports. Attila was foreign, which made him an enigma to the powers in Roma (and Ravenna) and Constantinople. He worship the wrong gods, seemed to espouse the wrong values, and did not seem to respect the achievements and refinements of Roman civilization. Even if that were all true, Attila had a keen understanding of what motivated his adversaries; and he ruthlessly played them against each o [...]

    19. A fine treatment of a subject that's been given short shrift in the popular historical press. Kelly breathes a great deal of life into his study of Attila, shattering stereotypes both of the Huns and the Romans Attila regularly humiliated in his short reign. Furthermore, Kelly looks at four separate theatres (e.g. Western Empire, Eastern Empire, France, North Africa) and does a splendid job illustrating how Attila impacted each, either by active efforts or by creating trouble elsewhere. Be prepa [...]

    20. I'm really impressed with this novel. Now, normally I do not enjoy empires collapsing but I must say I underestimated Attila. My previous studies on the rise of Rome, fall of Carthage and the history of Greece made me uneasy on studying the fall of Rome. Here though I must admit I was wrong, for here I wasn't studying the fall of Rome, but the rise of the Huns and it's Alexander like collapse after the death of Attila. So in this novel I have a rise and fall that fills me with joy and sadness at [...]

    21. This is a scholarly book on the impact of Attila the Hun on the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Huns along with the other Barbaian tribes have always been portrayed as barbaric and without redeeming qualities. Kelly makes the point that, while they had gruesome characterics, so did the Romans. Attila displayed some smart diplomatic abilities in keeping the Roman Empire off balance. The conclusion was that you couldn't say one was completely good and one was evil but more that they were differe [...]

    22. A well-written and accessible history of a very significant character in Western history who has always got a bad wrap. Although it's clear the author struggles for primary sources, there's plenty of material to counter the traditional view of Attila being the barbarian bane of western civilisation. He was a shrewd international player and although he was brutal, it was at a time when almost everyone was brutal. He just wasn't Christian and he was arguably oriental. The final chapters summarise [...]

    23. This book details the part the Huns in particular Attila made in bringing down the Roman Empire in particular the Western Empire as the Eastern managed to hold on in Constantinople for a while longer. This book details how the Goths, Vandals and Huns nibbled away and took large chunks of the Roman Empire and the various treaties and maneuvering by the Emperors and their representatives during this period. An excellent layout in a readable way of the relationship between Attila and Rome.

    24. I enjoyed this so much I raced through it. Archeology and modern views of people of other cultures and races have done so much to help us understand periods and people that were previously dismissed as "barbaric." This has implications for the present day as well as for the old views of the Huns, Goths and Vandals. The first millennium AD is a fascinating and underrated period of history. Calling it the "Dark Ages" dismisses it unfairly and unrealistically.

    25. This was pretty good. I read about the Huns in Peter Heather's Fall of the Roman Empire, specifically about how the common image of them has little to do with the reality, and wanted to go a little deeper into the subject. This well, it sort of did, but not that much. It does a pretty good job of presenting the basics, but Kelly isn't the gangbusters writer that a good popularizer needs to be. Basically, this didn't add all that much to what I already knew.

    26. A solid piece of scholarship, and one that manages to debunk, trash, and re-examine several myths and misconceptions about who Attila the Hun actually was say nothing of being equally revealing of the Roman Empire in its twilight. I simply wish the writing style could have been less dry and more engaging.

    27. The book provides a very detailed and updated view of the end of the Roman Empire in the West as well as the waning years of the Eastern Empire. The fall of the Western Empire was much driven by the actions of Attila the Hun who is presented in a more favorable light than much of what has been stereotypically written about him.

    28. A lot of "perhaps", "we can imagine", "[so and so] must have" etc. But this seems inevitable when working with so relatively few contemporary sources. The middle of the book which paints the picture of an actual Roman embassy to Attila is the most interesting part. Definitely gave me a different impression of the period.

    29. I thought this looked interesting at the library, but I'm giving up on it. It is hard to stay interested in. I liked learning the history about Rome and the Huns, but it's taking too long to get to the Attila part. They keep mentioning countries that don't exist anymore and even with a map, it's hard to tell where these relate to countries today.

    30. I would have liked more ethnographic info about the Huns and less about battles and generals and such, but I guess that wasn't possible because the Huns didn't leave much behind. The Roman empire's collapse made me think a lot about America's current state of imperial over-reach. Well, at least we don't have to marry off Sasha and Malia Obama to the sons of barbarian potentates.

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