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Last hope of the West,
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This review is from: Aetius: Attila's Nemesis (Hardcover)
With two lengthy reviews here already, I'm not going to spend too much time dissecting this - there are after all many more books to get on with reading. Ian Hughes third book, after Belisarius: The Last Roman General and Stilicho: The Vandal Who Saved Rome, is an admirable history of the half century in the West up to 455 centred around Flavius Aetius. He has gone back to the primary sources, but like his earlier works it seems that here too he has married his own speculations a little too closely with the attestations in his narrative. Words such as "undoubtedly" and "possibly" abound concerning events before becoming transformed into fact.
There can also be revisionism almost for its own sake, a curse upon modern history. Take for example the incident of Justa Grata Honoria sending the ring to Attila, as precipitating the latter's invasion of Gaul. Recent historians have taken a politically correct view on this, viz. Honoria is a woman; the historians are men; the history must therefore by definition be both sexist and wrong. Hughes' spin on this seems equally risible, viz. Honoria was simply appealing to another Roman official (Attila had been flattered by the honorary title of magister militum as appeasement) after appeals to others had failed.
A welcome book, but beware of Hughes' tendency sometimes to speculation by sleight-of-hand turning into actuality.