Roman city captured by Attila the Hun found


The bustling harbour of Altinum near Venice was one of the richest cities of the Roman empire. But terrified by the impending invasion of the fearsome Germanic Emperor Attila the Hun, its inhabitants cut their losses and fled in AD452, leaving behind a ghost town of theatres, temples and basilicas.

Altinum was never reoccupied and gradually sunk into the ground. The city lived on in Venetian folk tales and historical artefacts but its exact position, size and wealth gradually faded into obscurity.

Now, using aerial photography of the region, Italian archaeologists have not only located the city, but have produced a detailed map revealing its remarkably intact infrastructure and showing it to be slightly larger than Pompeii.

The abandonment of the city and its subsequent preservation makes it an archaeological time capsule, a unique find in Roman heritage. “It’s extremely unusual for a town to go out of use like this and that is what makes it absolutely invaluable for achaeologists. It gives a full profile of what the town looked like without the imposition of modern infrastructure,” said Dr Neil Christie, a specialist in the Roman empire at the University of Leicester.


The Hun were not Germanic although they occupied parts of Germany. According to Wikipedia:


The Huns were a group of nomadic pastoral people who, appearing from beyond the Volga, migrated into Europe c.AD 370 and built up an enormous empire in Europe. Their main military technique was mounted archery. They were possibly the descendants of the Xiongnu who had been northern neighbours of China three hundred years before[1] and may be the first expansion of Turkic people across Eurasia[2][3][4][5][6]. The origin and language of the Huns has been the subject of debate for centuries. The leading current theory is that their leaders at least may have spoken a Turkic language.

This comports with my recollection of their origin. It is not clear to me why people continue to call them German other than the fact that they used it as a base of operations when they were messing with the rest of Europe.


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