Evan Schultheis reconsiders the evidence for Attila the Hun’s most famous battle, the climax of his invasion of the Western Roman Empire that had reached as far as Orleans in France. Traditionally considered one of the pivotal battles in European history, saving the West from conquest by the Huns, the Catalaunian Fields is here revealed to be significant but less immediately decisive than claimed. This new study exposes over-simplified views of Attila’s army, which was a sophisticated and complex all-arms force, drawn from the Huns and their many allies and subjects. The ‘Roman’ forces, largely consisting of Visigoth and Alan allies, are also analysed in detail. The author, a reenactor of the period, describes the motives and tactics of both sides. Drawing on the latest historiography and research of the primary sources, and utilizing Roman military manuals.
Hydatius, the late Western Roman writer and author of a chronicle of his own times states:
The Huns broke the peace and plundered the Gallic provinces. A great many cities were taken. On the Catalaunian Plains, not far from the city of Metz, which they had taken, the Huns were cut down in battle with the aid of God and defeated by general Aetius and King Theoderic, who had made a peace treaty with each other. The darkness of night interrupted the fighting. King Theoderic was laid low there and died. Almost 300,000 men are said to have fallen in that battle.