Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cultural Dimensions in Venezuela!

Venezuela is similar to other Latin American countries when analyzing Hofstede's Dimensions (see Latin America Hofstede Graph below), yet has unique characteristics by possessing extremes in all four Hofstede Dimensions - three on the high end of the scale and one on the low end. The first significant exception is that unlike all other Latin countries, except Panama, Venezuela's highest Dimension ranking is not Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI).


Venezuela's highest ranking Dimension is Power Distance (PDI) with an 81, compared to an average of 70 for the average of all other Latin countries. This is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the culture as a whole.


Venezuela's Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) of 76 is slightly below the Latin average of 80, indicating the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.



Venezuela has the highest Masculinity ranking among the Latin countries at 73, compared to an average of 48. This indicates the country experiences a higher degree of gender differentiation of roles. The male dominates a significant portion of the society and power structure. This situation generates a female population that becomes more assertive and competitive, although not at the level of the male population.



Venezuela has a very low Individualism (IDV) ranking at 12, compared to other Latin countries(average of 21). The score on this Dimension indicates the society is strongly Collectivist as compared to Individualist. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group





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Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society's level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society and anybody with some international experience will be aware that 'all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others'.



Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word 'collectivism' in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.



Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women's values differ less among societies than men's values; (b) men's values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women's values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women's values on the other. The assertive pole has been called 'masculine' and the modest, caring pole 'feminine'. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men's values and women's values.



Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man's search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; 'there can only be one Truth and we have it'. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions.


Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation: this fifth dimension was found in a study among students in 23 countries around the world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars It can be said to deal with Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance; values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face'. Both the positively and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B.C.; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a Confucian heritage.

Cultural Dimensions in Mexico!

Mexico is similar to many Latin countries when Hofstede's Dimensions are compared and analyzed (see Latin America Hofstede graph below).



Mexico's highest Hofstede Dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) (82), indicating the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse.


Mexico has a low Individualism (IDV) ranking (30), but is slightly higher than other Latin countries with an average 21. The score on this Dimension indicates the society is Collectivist as compared to Individualist. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group



Mexico has the second highest Masculinity (MAS) ranking in Latin America (69). This indicates the country experiences a higher degree of gender differentiation of roles. The male dominates a significant portion of the society and power structure. This situation generates a female population that becomes more assertive and competitive, although not at the level of the male population.



Another Dimension in which Mexico ranks higher than other Latin neighbors is Power Distance (PDI) with a rank of 81, compared to an average of 70. This is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily subverted upon the population, but rather accepted by the culture as a whole.


Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society's level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society and anybody with some international experience will be aware that 'all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others'.



Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word 'collectivism' in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.



Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women's values differ less among societies than men's values; (b) men's values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women's values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women's values on the other. The assertive pole has been called 'masculine' and the modest, caring pole 'feminine'. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men's values and women's values.



Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man's search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; 'there can only be one Truth and we have it'. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions.


Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation: this fifth dimension was found in a study among students in 23 countries around the world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars It can be said to deal with Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance; values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face'. Both the positively and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B.C.; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a Confucian heritage.

Cultural Dimensions!

We know we are living in a global age. Technology has brought the world much closer together. This means that people of different cultures find themselves working together and communicating more and more.

This is exciting and interesting, but it can also be frustrating and fraught with uncertainty. How do you relate to someone of another culture? What do you say, or not say, to start a conversation off right? Are there cultural taboos you need to be aware of?

Building connections with people from around the world is just one dimension of cultural diversity. You also have issues like motivating people, structuring projects, and developing strategy.

What works in one location may or may not work somewhere else. The question is, "How can I come to understand these cultural differences?" Are we relegated to learning from our mistakes or are there generalized guidelines to follow?

Fortunately, a psychologist named Dr Geert Hofstede asked himself this question in the 1970s. What emerged after a decade of research and thousands of interviews is a model of cultural dimensions that has become an internationally recognized standard.

With access to people working for the same organization in over 40 countries of the world, Hofstede collected cultural data and analyzed his findings. He initially identified four distinct cultural dimensions that served to distinguish one culture from another. Later he added a fifth dimension and that is how the model stands today.

He scored each country using a scale of roughly 0 to 100 for each dimension. The higher the score, the more that dimension is exhibited in society.
The Five Dimensions of Culture

Armed with a large database of cultural statistics, Hofstede analyzed the results and found clear patterns of similarity and difference amid the responses along these five dimensions. Interestingly, his research was done on employees of IBM only, which allowed him to attribute the patterns to national differences in culture, largely eliminating the problem of differences in company culture.

The five dimensions are:

1. Power/Distance (PD) - This refers to the degree of inequality that exists - and is accepted - among people with and without power. A high PD score indicates that society accepts an unequal distribution of power and people understand "their place" in the system. Low PD means that power is shared and well dispersed. It also means that society members view themselves as equals.

Application: According to Hofstede's model, in a high PD country like Malaysia (104), you would probably send reports only to top management and have closed door meetings where only a select few, powerful leaders were in attendance.


Characteristics:


High PD


*Centralized companies.
*Strong hierarchies.
*Large gaps in compensation, authority, and respect.

Tips

*Acknowledge a leader's power.
*Be aware that you may need to go to the top for answers


Low PD


*Flatter organizations.
*Supervisors and employees are considered almost as equals.

Tips

*Use teamwork
*Involve as many people as possible in decision making.


2. Individualism (IDV) - This refers to the strength of the ties people have to others within the community. A high IDV score indicates a loose connection with people. In countries with a high IDV score there is a lack of interpersonal connection and little sharing of responsibility, beyond family and perhaps a few close friends. A society with a low IDV score would have strong group cohesion, and there would be a large amount of loyalty and respect for members of the group. The group itself is also larger and people take more responsibility for each other's well being.

Application: Hofstede's analysis suggests that in the Central American countries of Panama and Guatemala where the IDV scores are very low (11 and 6, respectively), a marketing campaign that emphasized benefits to the community or that tied into a popular political movement would likely be understood and well-received.


Characteristics:


High IDV


*High valuation on people's time and their need for freedom.
*An enjoyment of challenges, and an expectation of rewards for hard work.
*Respect for privacy.

Tips

*Acknowledge accomplishments.
*Don't ask for too much personal information.
*Encourage debate and expression of own ideas.


Low IDV


*Emphasis on building skills and becoming masters of something.
*Work for intrinsic rewards.
*Harmony more important than honesty.

Tips

*Show respect for age and wisdom.
*Suppress feelings and emotions to work in harmony.
*Respect traditions and introduce change slowly.

3. Masculinity (MAS) - This refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles. High MAS scores are found in countries where men are expected to be tough, to be the provider, to be assertive and to be strong. If women work outside the home, they have separate professions from men. Low MAS scores do not reverse the gender roles. In a low MAS society, the roles are simply blurred. You see women and men working together equally across many professions. Men are allowed to be sensitive and women can work hard for professional success.

Application: Japan is highly masculine with a score of 95 whereas Sweden has the lowest measured value (5). According to Hofstede's analysis, if you were to open an office in Japan, you might have greater success if you appointed a male employee to lead the team and had a strong male contingent on the team. In Sweden, on the other hand, you would aim for a team that was balanced in terms of skill rather than gender.



Characteristics


High MAS


*Men are masculine and women are feminine.
*There is a well defined distinction between men's work and women's work.

Tips

*Be aware that people may expect male and female roles to be distinct.
*Advise men to avoid discussing emotions or making emotionally-based decisions
or arguments.


Low MAS


*A woman can do anything a man can do.
*Powerful and successful women are admired and respected.

Tips

*Avoid an "old boys' club" mentality.
*Ensure job design and practices are not discriminatory to either gender.
*Treat men and women equally.

4. Uncertainty/Avoidance Index (UAI) - This relates to the degree of anxiety society members feel when in uncertain or unknown situations. High UAI-scoring nations try to avoid ambiguous situations whenever possible. They are governed by rules and order and they seek a collective "truth". Low UAI scores indicate the society enjoys novel events and values differences. There are very few rules and people are encouraged to discover their own truth.

Application: Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions imply that when discussing a project with people in Belgium, whose country scored a 94 on the UAI scale, you should investigate the various options and then present a limited number of choices, but have very detailed information available on your contingency and risk plans. (Note that there will be cultural differences between French and Dutch speakers in Belgium!)


Characteristics


High UAI


*Very formal business conduct with lots of rules and policies.
*Need and expect structure.
*Sense of nervousness spurns high levels of emotion and expression.
*Differences are avoided.


Tips

*Be clear and concise about your expectations and parameters.
*Plan and prepare, communicate often and early, provide detailed plans and focus
on the tactical aspects of a job or project.
*Express your emotions through hands gestures and raised voices.


Low UAI


*Informal business attitude.
*More concern with long term strategy than what is happening on a daily basis.
*Accepting of change and risk.

Tips

*Do not impose rules or structure unnecessarily.
*Minimize your emotional response by being calm and contemplating situations
before speaking.
*Express curiosity when you discover differences.

5. Long Term Orientation (LTO) - This refers to how much society values long-standing - as opposed to short term - traditions and values. This is the fifth dimension that Hofstede added in the 1990s after finding that Asian countries with a strong link to Confucian philosophy acted differently from western cultures. In countries with a high LTO score, delivering on social obligations and avoiding "loss of face" are considered very important.

Application: According to Hofstede's analysis, people in the United States and United Kingdom have low LTO scores. This suggests that you can pretty much expect anything in this culture in terms of creative expression and novel ideas. The model implies that people in the US and UK don't value tradition as much as many others, and are therefore likely to be willing to help you execute the most innovative plans as long as they get to participate fully. (This may be surprising to people in the UK, with its associations of tradition!)


Characteristics


High LTO


*Family is the basis of society.
*Parents and men have more authority than young people and women.
*Strong work ethic.
*High value placed on education and training.


Tips

*Show respect for traditions.
*Do not display extravagance or act frivolously.
*Reward perseverance, loyalty, and commitment.
*Avoid doing anything that would cause another to "lose face".


Low LTO


*Promotion of equality.
*High creativity, individualism.
*Treat others as you would like to be treated.
*Self-actualization is sought.

Tips

*Expect to live by the same standards and rules you create.
*Be respectful of others.
*Do not hesitate to introduce necessary changes.

Note:
Hofstede's analysis is done by country. While this is valid for many countries, it does not hold in the countries where there are strong subcultures that are based on ethnicity of origin or geography.

In Canada, for instance, there is a distinct French Canadian culture that has quite a different set of norms compared to English-speaking Canada. And in Italy, masculinity scores would differ between North and South.

Key Points:

Cultural norms play a large part in the mechanics and interpersonal relationships at work. When you grow up in a culture you take your norms of behavior for granted. You don't have to think about your reactions, preferences, and feelings.

When you step into a foreign culture, suddenly things seem different. You don't know what to do or say. Using Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions as a starting point, you can evaluate your approach, your decisions, and actions based on a general sense of how the society might think and react to you.

Of course, no society is homogenous and there will be deviations from the norms Hofstede found, however, with this as your guide you won't be going in blind. The unknown will be a little less intimidating and you'll get a much-needed boost of confidence and security from studying this cultural model.

Apply This to Your Life:

* Take some time to review the scores by country for the various cultural dimensions Hofstede identified. Pay particular attention to the countries from which the people you deal with on a day-by-day basis come.

* In light of these scores, think about some interactions you've had with people in other countries. Does your conversation or association make more sense given this newly found insight?

* Challenge yourself to learn more about one culture in particular. If your work brings you in contact with people from another country, use that country as your point of reference. Apply Hofstede's scores to what you discover and determine the accuracy and relevance for you.

* The next time you are required to work with a person from a different culture, use Hofstede's scores and make notes about your approach, what you should be prepared to discuss, and why you feel the way you do. Afterward, evaluate your performance and do further research and preparation for the next time.

* Above all, make cultural sensitivity a daily part of your life. Learn to value the differences between people and vow to honor and respect the things that make each nation of people unique.

Mongolian war tactics!

The Mongol military tactics and organization helped the Mongol Empire to conquer nearly all of continental Asia, the Middle East and parts of eastern Europe. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first "modern" military system.

The original foundation of that system was an extension of the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols. Other elements were invented by Genghis Khan, his generals, and his successors. Technologies useful to attack fortifications were adapted from other cultures, and foreign technical experts integrated into the command structures.

For the larger part of the 13th century, the Mongols lost only a few battles using that system, but always returned to turn the result around in their favor. In many cases, they won against significantly larger opponent armies. Their first real defeat came in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, against the first army which had been specifically trained to use their own tactics against them. That battle ended the western expansion of the Mongol Empire, and within the next 20 years the Mongols also suffered defeats in attempted invasions of Vietnam and Japan. But while the empire became divided around the same time, its combined size and influence remained largely intact for more than another hundred years.
Contents

Organization and characteristics

Modern reenactment of Mongol military movement. As seen in the picture the soldiers are marching in the 10s exclusively.

Genghis Khan organized the Mongol soldiers into groups based on the decimal system. Units were recursively built from groups of 10 (Arav), 100 (Zuut), 1,000 (Minghan), and 10,000 (Tumen), each with a leader reporting to the next higher level. Tumens, and sometimes Minghans, were commanded by a Noyan, who was often given the task to administer specific conquered territories. From two to five Tumens would then form a hordu meaning army corps or field army, from which the word "Horde" is derived, under the command of the Khans or their generals (boyan).

The leaders on each level had significant licence to execute their orders in the way they considered best. This command structure proved to be highly flexible and allowed the Mongol army to attack en masse, divide into somewhat smaller groups to encircle and lead enemies into an ambush, or divide into small groups of 10 to mop up a fleeing and broken army.

Breaking tribal connections

When integrating new soldiers into the army, Genghis Khan divided the soldiers under different leaders to break up the social and tribal connections, so there was no division based on heritage of tribal alliances. Promotion was mainly based on merit. Each unit leader was responsible for the preparedness of his soldiers at any time and would be replaced if this was found lacking.

Promotions were granted on the basis of ability, not birth, with the possible exception of Genghis Khan's relatives, who were given the highest levels of command. A good example would be Subutai, the son of a blacksmith (a very honorable profession, but not normally predestined for leadership).

In the Russian and East European campaigns for example, nominal command went to Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis. Two other princes of the Blood commanded wings of that army. But all three Princes were under the operational control of Subutai. Upon receiving word of the death of Ögedei Khan (son and successor of the Great Khan himself) in 1243, it was Subutai who reluctantly reminded his three princes of their dynastic duties and ordered the Tumens to ride back home, sparing Europe from further devastating blows

Mobility

Drawing of a mobile Mongol soldier with bow and arrow wearing deel. The right arm is semi-naked because of the hot weather.

Each Mongol soldier typically maintained between 3 or 4 horses. Changing horses often allowed them to travel at high speed for days without stopping or wearing out the animals. Their ability to live off the land, and in extreme situations off their animals (mare's milk especially), made their armies far less dependent on the traditional logistical apparatus of western agrarian armies. In some cases, as during invasion of Hungary on early 1241, they covered up to 100 miles per day, which was unheard of by other armies of the time.

The mobility of individual soldiers made it possible to send them on successful scouting missions, gathering intelligence about routes and searching for terrain suited to the preferred combat tactics of the Mongols.

During the invasion of Russia, the Mongols used frozen rivers as highways, and winter, the time of year usually off limits for any major activity due to the intense cold, became the Mongols' preferred time to strike.

To avoid the deadly hail of missiles, enemies would frequently spread out, or seek cover, breaking up their formations and making them more vulnerable to the lancers' charges. Likewise, when they packed themselves together, into dense square or phalanx style formations, they would become more vulnerable to the arrows. Once the enemy was deemed sufficiently weakened, the noyans would give the order and the drums would beat and the signal flags wave, telling the lancers to begin their charge. Often the devastation of the arrows was enough to rout an enemy, so the lancers were only needed to help pursue and mop up the remnants.

When facing European armies, with their emphasis on heavy cavalry, it was obviously not the Mongol's style to engage in heavy melee combat against a strong and unshaken foe, but rather picked off the heavy cavalry at long distances with their bows. In the few cases where armor actually withstood their arrows, the Mongols simply killed the Knight's horses, leaving a heavily armored man afoot, unable to go any distance. At the Battle of Mohi, the Mongols left open a gap in their ranks, luring the Hungarians into retreating through it, which resulted in their being strung out over all the countryside, and easy pickings for mounted archers who simply galloped along and picked them off, while the lancers skewered them as they fled. At Legnica, the few Teutonic, Templar and Hospitaller knights were able to make a stand dismounted, and inflicted unusually heavy casualties on the Mongols - but were killed in the end. The Mongols simply accepted the casualties, and destroyed the Knights.

Training and discipline

Most European armies consisted of a few professional men at arms, and knights, and large levies of peasants or militia. Only the Knights and the few professional fighting men trained regularly, and their training emphasized individual combat, such as jousting, rather than group combat tactics. The Mongol armies, by contrast, constantly practiced horsemanship, archery, and unit tactics, formations and rotations. This training was maintained by a hard, but not overly harsh or unreasonable, discipline.

Officers and troopers alike were usually given a wide leeway by their superiors in carrying out their orders, so long as the larger objectives of the plan were well served and the orders promptly obeyed. The Mongols thus avoided the pitfalls of overly rigid discipline and micromanagement which have proven a hobgoblin to armed forces throughout history. However, all members had to be unconditionally loyal to each other and to their superiors, and especially to the Khan. If one soldier ran from danger in battle, then he and his nine comrades from the same arban would face the death penalty together.

One unique training method that the Mongols used were huge hunting excursions organized annually on the steppe. The Mongol horsemen would make a great circle, and drive all manner of animals in towards the center. Practicing the dynamic maneuvers also to be used on a battlefield, the Mongols would trap all the animals of various types in their encirclement, and on the order of their commander, begin the slaughter. If any hunter killed any creature before the appointed time, or if one allowed an animal to escape from the ring, they would be punished. This was an excellent way for the Mongols to train, and enjoy the recreation of hunting, as well as gather huge amounts of food for massive feasts.

Mongol cavalry archery from Rashid al-Din's Universal History using the Mongol bow.

Six of every ten Mongol troopers were light cavalry horse archers, the remaining four were more heavily armored and armed lancers. Mongol light cavalry soldiers, called keshik, were extremely light troops compared to contemporary standards, allowing them to execute tactics and maneuvers that would have been impractical for a heavier enemy (such as European knights). Most of the remaining troops were heavier cavalry with lances for close combat after the archers had brought the enemy into disarray. All soldiers usually carried scimitars or axes as well.

Mongol armour was usually light — boiled leather, perhaps studded with metal beads. Heavier armed soldiers would usually be equipped with leather armor backed with metal or horn plates, or with chain mail if available. As a protection from arrows, a Mongol might wear a shirt made up of raw silk, as the threads are hard to break and this makes the cleaning of a wound easier, with a corresponding reduced risk of infection.

The Mongolian horses are relatively small, so they would lose short distance races under equal conditions. Since most other armies carried much heavier armor, the Mongols could still outrun most enemy horsemen in battle. In addition, the Mongolian horses were extremely durable and sturdy, allowing the Mongols to move over large distances quickly, often surprising enemies that had expected them to arrive days, if not weeks, later.

All horses were equipped with stirrups, which had been invented by China (Jin Dynasty) quite some time before. This technical advantage made it easier for the Mongol archers to turn their upper body, and shoot in all directions, including backwards.

The primary weapon of the Mongol forces was the Mongol bow. It was a recurve bow made from composite materials (wood, horn, and sinew), and at the time unmatched for accuracy, force, and reach. The recurve geometry allowed to make it relatively small so it could be used from horseback.

Targeted shots were possible at a range of 80 or 100 m, which determined the optimal tactical approach distance for light cavalry units. Ballistic shots could hit enemy units (without targeting individual soldiers) at distances of up to 400 m, useful for surprising and scaring troops and horses before beginning the actual attack. They used a wide variety of arrows, depending on the target and distance. Plate armor could be penetrated at close range, using special heavy arrows.

The Mongol armies traveled very light, and were able to live largely off the land. Their equipment included fish hooks and other tools meant to make each warrior independent of any fixed supply source. The most common travel food of the Mongols was dried and ground meat "Borts", which is still common in the Mongolian cuisine today. Borts is light and easy to transport, and can be cooked with water similarly to a modern "instant soup".

To ensure they would always have fresh horses, each trooper usually had 3 or 4 mounts.[1] And since most of the Mongols' mounts were mares, they could live off their horses' milk or milk products when need arose. In dire straits, the Mongol warrior could drink blood from his string of remounts.

Heavier equipment was brought up by well organized supply trains. Wagons and carts carried, amongst other things, large stockpiles of arrows. The main logistical factor limiting their advance was finding enough feed and water for their animals. In all campaigns, the soldiers took their families along with them.

The Mongols established Yam, a system of postal-relay horse stations, thus creating a mail service much like the later Pony Express of the U.S. frontier era. The Mongol mail system was the first such empire-wide service since the Roman Empire. Additionally, Mongol battlefield communication utilized signal flags and to a lesser extent, signal arrows to communicate movement orders during combat.

Weapons:

The main weapon of the Mongols were the bow and it had different kind of arrows.

Mongol sword was a slightly curved scimitar which was more useful for slashing attacks than stabbing and thrusting, making it easier to use on horseback.

Technology was one of the important facets of Mongolian warfare. For instance siege machines were an important part of Genghis Khan's warfare, especially in attacking fortified cities. The siege engines were disassembled and were carried on horses to be rebuilt at the site of the battle.

The engineers building the machines were recruited among captives, mostly from China and Persia. When they slaughtered whole populations, they almost always spared the engineers and technicians, swiftly assimilating them into the Mongol armies.

Kharash

A commonly used tactic was the use of what they called "kharash". During a siege the Mongols would drive before themselves a crowd of local residents which had the role of being an "alive board" or "human shields" as it is now known. The kharash were also forced ahead to breach walls.

Strategy

The Mongol battlefield tactics were a combination of masterful training combined with excellent communication and the ability to follow orders in the chaos of combat. They trained for virtually every possibility, so when it occurred, they could react accordingly. Unlike many of their foes, the Mongols also protected their ranking officers well. Their training and discipline allowed them to fight without the need for constant supervision or rallying, which often placed commanders in dangerous positions.

Whenever possible, Mongol commanders found the highest ground available, from which they could make tactical decisions based on the best view of the battlefield as events unfolded. Furthermore, being on high ground allowed their forces to observe commands conveyed by flags more easily than if the ground were level. In addition, keeping the high command on high ground made them easier to defend. Unlike the European armies, which placed enormous emphasis on personal valor, and thus exposed their leaders to death from anyone bold enough to kill them, the Mongols regarded their leaders as a vital asset. A general such as Subutai, unable to ride a horse in the later part of his career, due to age and obesity, would have been ridiculed out of most any European army of the time.

No one would have respected him, let alone obeyed his orders. But the Mongols recognized and respected the still powerful military mind buried within the old fat man, who after all, had been one of the Genghis Khan's most able subordinates, and so they cheerfully hauled him around in a cart.

Intelligence and Planning

The Mongols carefully scouted and spied out their enemies in advance of any invasion. For instance, prior to the invasion of Europe, Batu and Subutai sent spies for almost ten years into the heart of Europe, making maps of the old Roman roads, establishing trade routes, and determining the level of ability of each principality to resist invasion. They made well educated guesses as to the willingness of each principality to aid the others, and their ability to resist alone or together.

Also, when invading an area, the Mongols would do all that is necessary to completely conquer the town or cities such as diverting rivers from the city/town, closing supplies to the city and waiting for its inhabitants to surrender, gathering civilians from the nearby areas to fill the front line for the city/town attack before scaling the wall, and pillaging the surrounding area and killing some of the people, then letting some survivors flee to the main city to report their losses to the main populace (subtle use of psychological war), simultaneously draining the resources of the city with the sudden influx of refugees.

Psychological warfare and deception

The Mongols used psychological warfare successfully in many of their battles, especially in terms of spreading terror and fear to towns and cities. They would often offer an opportunity for the enemy to surrender and pay tribute or have their city ransacked and destroyed. They knew that sedentary populations were not free to flee danger, as nomad populations were, and also knew that destruction of their cities was the worst loss a sedentary population could expect. When cities accepted the offer they were spared, but were of course required to support the conquering Mongol army with manpower, supplies, and other services.

If the offer was refused, however, they would invade and destroy the city or town, but allow a few civilians to flee and spread terror by reporting of their loss. Those reports were an essential tool to incite fear in others. Their reputation for terror was so great, there were tales of lone Mongol soldiers riding into villages and killing the inhabitants one by one without resistance, as it was known that to resist was to bring forth the whole of the Mongol army.[3] However, both sides often had a similar if differently motivated interest in overstating the enormity of the reported events: the Mongols' reputation would increase and the townspeople could use their reports of terror to raise an army. For that reason, specific data (eg. casualty figures) given in contemporary sources needs to be evaluated carefully.

The Mongols also used deception very well in their wars. For instance, when approaching a mobile army the units would be split into three or more army groups, each trying to outflank and surprise their opponents. This created many battlefield scenarios for the opponents where the Mongols would seem to appear out of nowhere and that there were seemingly more of them than in actuality. Flanking and/or feigned retreat if the enemy could not be handled easily was one of the most practiced techniques. Other techniques used commonly by the Mongols were completely psychological and were used to entice/lure enemies into vulnerable positions by showing themselves from a hill or some other predetermined locations, then disappearing into the woods or behind hills while the Mongols' flank troops already strategically positioned would appear out of nowhere from the left, right and/or from their rear. Also during the initial states of battlefield contact, while camping in close proximity of their enemies at night they would feign numerical superiority by ordering each soldier to light at least five fires, which would appear to the enemy scouts and spies that their force was almost five times larger than it actually was.

Another way the Mongols utilized deception and terror was by tying tree branches or leaves behind their horses and letting the foliage drag behind them across the ground; by traveling in a systematic fashion, the Mongols could create a dust storm behind hills, in order to create fear and appear to the enemy to be much larger than they actually were, thereby forcing the enemy to surrender. Because each Mongol soldiers had more than one horse, they would let the prisoners and the civilians to ride their horses for a while before the conflict also to fake numerical superiority.

The Mongols commonly practiced the feigned retreat, which is perhaps the most difficult battlefield tactic to execute. This is because a feigned rout amongst untrained troops can often turn into a real rout if an enemy presses into it.[5] Pretending disarray and defeat in the heat of the battle, the Mongols would suddenly appear panicked and turn and run, only to pivot when the enemy was drawn out, destroying them at their own leisure. Once this feigned retreat became known to the enemy, they retreated for days or weeks to falsely convince the chasers that they were defeated and only to charge back once the enemy has their guards down or retreated back to join their main formation.

Ground tactics

The tumens would typically advance on a broad front, five lines deep. The first three lines would be comprised of horse archers, the last two of lancers. Once an enemy force was located, the Mongols would try to avoid risky or reckless frontal assaults (in sharp contrast to their European and Middle-Eastern opponents). Instead they would use diversionary attacks to fix the enemy in place, while their main forces sought to outflank or surround the foe. First the horse archers would lay down a withering barrage of arrow fire. Additional arrows were carried by camels who followed close by, ensuring a plentiful supply of ammunition.

Approach and engagement

Mongols didn't make direct approach against their enemies since any instance against more armored European fighters by the less armored Mongol force would be disastrous.

Flanking

Mongols in battle of Mohi split into more than three separate formations and one formation under Subutai flanking the opponent from the right

In all battlefield situations, the troops would be divided into separate formations of 10, 100, 1,000 or 10,000 depending on the requirements. If the troop split from the main force is significant like 10,000 or more they would be handled over to a significant or second in command leader while the main leader concentrates on the front line. The leader of the Mongols would generally give the tactics used to attack the enemy. For instance the leader might say when seeing a city or town, "500 to the left and 500 to the right" of the city and those would be relayed to the 5 units of 100 soldiers and they would try to flank or encircle the town to the left and right.

Encirclement and opening

The main reason for this is to encircle the city so that they cannot escape and to obviously overwhelm from both sides. If situation deteriotated on one of the fronts or sides, the leader from the hill directed the army to support the other. If it appears that there is going to be significant loss, the Mongols would retreat to save their troops and would engage the next day or the next month after having studied the enemies tactics and defences in the first battle or again send a demand to surrender after inflicting some form of damage. There is no fixture on when and where units should be deployed, but it was dependent on the circumstances during the battle and the flanks and groups had full authority on what they should do at the moment of battle like supporting other flanks or doing their own feigned retreat as conditions seem appropriate in small groups of 100 to 1000 as long as the battle commences according to the general directive and the opponents are eliminated.

Feigned retreat

If a certain flank is being overwhelmed they are generally ordered to contain the situation by withdrawing and supporting the main force or flank or execute the feigned retreat as situations permit. Withdrawal of a certain flank would generally give a wide opening on the side, which the enemies can use to escape or fight. If the enemy escapes they would give chase, which usually results them being killed because the Mongols are more mobile and again executive feigned retreat on the routed enemies or again create flank on the escaped units on a much smaller scale of like 50 to 100. Once the mobility of the army was reduced by constant firing of arrows and movement and have their horses killed under them, in the end the close combat heavily armed units would finish them off by sword or the whole unit would overwhelm them.

Splitting and disorganization

The main objective of the Mongols was to create disorganization in its enemies when they will become more vulnerable and take away their advantages in this case horse and supply as much as possible, which then the Mongols can take as long as they want to finish their opponents off. Another main purpose was to split enemies into many different pieces. If a flanks' feigned retreats jeopardizes the overall troop strength, they are not ordered to feigned retreat on their own but to join the side that is taking a heavy toll, which is why the communication (in this case messenger) was very critical. On the other hand, the flank taking a heavy toll might do feigned retreat on their own if they are not suppose to expect support from the other flanks. As long as the casuality is low, Mongol armies were allowed to do as much feigned retreat as they want, which would create the situation that there will be multiple feigned retreats in one battle and by splitting the enemies. For instance, if two flanks do feigned retreat, there would be two feigned retreats on two enemy units. Of those two flanks, the units inside the flanks might want to create another flank, which would create in total 4 flanks and possibly another 4 feigned retreats at the same time and so on. The safest technique for Mongols to keep the casualty low was to withdraw completely or more commonly feigned retreat since there isn't much difference between the two since the Mongols are more mobile and can attack at will.

Against more mobile armies such as the Turkic armies, which their mobility and arms are similar, the Mongols would also strategize how they should engage them like creating more flanks and more distances between the separate units and general discipline of its army.

Who was Attila The Hun?

Attila (406–453), also known as Attila the Hun, ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire which stretched from Germany to the Ural River and from the River Danube to the Baltic Sea (see map below). During his rule, he was one of the most fearsome of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires' enemies: he invaded the Balkans twice and marched through Gaul (modern France) as far as Orleans before being defeated at the Battle of Chalons. He refrained from attacking either Constantinople or Rome. His story that the Sword of Attila had come to his hand by miraculous means, was reported by the Roman Priscus.

In much of Western Europe, he is remembered as the epitome of cruelty and rapacity. In contrast, some histories and chronicles describe him as a great and noble king, and he plays major roles in three Norse sagas.

The origin of the Huns has been the subject of debate for centuries. It can be said with general agreement that they may have been a confederation of Turkic and Ugric tribes, many of them nomadic horsemen.

Their united power appeared or began to form in Europe in the 400s. They achieved military superiority over their neighbors by their readiness for battle, unusual mobility, and weapons, including the composite bow.

Shared kingship

The death of Rugila (also known as Rua or Ruga) in 434 left his nephews Attila Dragomer and Bleda (also known as Buda), the sons of his brother Mundzuk, in control over all the united Hun tribes. At the time of their accession, the Huns were bargaining with Byzantine emperor Theodosius II's envoys over the return of several renegades (possibly Hunnic nobles not in agreement with the brothers' leadership) who had taken refuge within the Byzantine Empire. The following year Attila and Bleda met with the imperial legation at Margus (present-day Požarevac) and, all seated on horseback in the Hunnic manner, negotiated a successful treaty: the Romans agreed not only to return the fugitives, but also to double their previous tribute of 350 Roman pounds (ca. 115 kg) of gold, open their markets to Hunnish traders, and pay a ransom of eight solidi for each Roman taken prisoner by the Huns. The Huns, satisfied with the treaty, decamped from the empire and returned to their home in the Hungarian Great Plain, perhaps to consolidate and strengthen their empire. Theodosius used this opportunity to strengthen the walls of Constantinople, building the city's first sea wall, and to build up his border defenses along the Danube.

The Huns remained out of Roman sight for the next few years as a Hunnic force invaded the Sassanid Empire. A defeat in Armenia by the Sassanids caused them to abandon this attempt and return their attentions to Europe. In 440 they reappeared in force on the borders of the Roman Empire, attacking the merchants at the market on the north bank of the Danube that had been established by the treaty. Crossing the Danube, they laid waste to Illyrian cities and forts on the river, among them, according to Priscus, Viminacium, which was a city of the Moesians in Illyria. Their advance began at Margus, for when the Romans discussed handing over the offending bishop, he slipped away secretly to the Huns and betrayed the city to them.
The Huns in battle with the Alans, Johann Nepomuk Geiger, 1873. The Alans, an Iranian people who lived north and east of the Black Sea, were dislocated by the Huns during the early Migration Period and settled throughout the Roman Empire.

As Theodosius had conquered the river's defences, the Vandals, under the leadership of Geiseric, captured the Western Roman province of Africa with its capital of Carthage in 440 and the Sassanid Shah Yazdegerd II invaded Armenia in 441. Stripping the Balkan defenses of forces requested by the West Romans, in order to launch an attack on the Vandals in Africa (which was the richest province of the Western empire and a main source of the food supply of Rome) left Attila and Bleda a clear path through Illyria into the Balkans, which they invaded in 441. The Hunnish army, having sacked Margus and Viminacium, took Singidunum (modern Belgrade) and Sirmium before halting. A lull followed in 442 and during this time Theodosius recalled his troops from Sicily and ordered a large new issue of coins to finance operations against the Huns. Having made these preparations, he thought it safe to refuse the Hunnish kings' demands.

Attila responded with a campaign in 443. Striking along the Danube, the Huns overran the military centres of Ratiara and successfully besieged Naissus (modern Niš) with battering rams and rolling siege towers—military sophistication that was new to the Hun repertoire—then pushing along the Nisava River they took Serdica (Sofia), Philippopolis (Plovdiv), and Arcadiopolis. They encountered and destroyed the Roman army outside Constantinople and were stopped by the double walls of the Eastern capital. A second army was defeated near Callipolis (modern Gallipoli) and Theodosius, now without any armed forces to respond, admitting defeat, sent the court official Anatolius to negotiate peace terms, which were harsher than the previous treaty: the Emperor agreed to hand over 6,000 Roman pounds (ca. 2000 kg) of gold as punishment for having disobeyed the terms of the treaty during the invasion; the yearly tribute was tripled, rising to 2,100 Roman pounds (ca. 700 kg) in gold; and the ransom for each Roman prisoner rose to 12 solidi.

Their demands met for a time, the Hun kings withdrew into the interior of their empire. According to Jordanes (following Priscus), sometime during the peace following the Huns' withdrawal from Byzantium (probably around 445), Bleda died (killed in a hunting accident arranged by his brother, according to the classical sources), and Attila took the throne for himself, and became the sole ruler of the Huns.

Sole ruler:

In 447 Attila again rode south into the Eastern Roman Empire through Moesia. The Roman army under the Gothic magister militum Arnegisclus met him in the Battle of the Utus and was defeated, though not without inflicting heavy losses. The Huns were left unopposed and rampaged through the Balkans as far as Thermopylae.

Constantinople itself was saved by the intervention of the prefect Flavius Constantinus who organized the reconstruction of the walls that had been previously damaged by earthquakes, and, in some places, to construct a new line of fortification in front of the old. An account of this invasion survives:

"The barbarian nation of the Huns, which was in Thrace, became so great that more than a hundred cities were captured and Constantinople almost came into danger and most men fled from it. … And there were so many murders and blood-lettings that the dead could not be numbered. Ay, for they took captive the churches and monasteries and slew the monks and maidens in great numbers"

—Callinicus, in his Life of Saint Hypatius

In the west

In 450 Attila had proclaimed his intent to attack the powerful Visigoth kingdom of Toulouse, making an alliance with Emperor Valentinian III in order to do so. He had previously been on good terms with the Western Roman Empire and its de facto ruler Flavius Aëtius. Aëtius had spent a brief exile among the Huns in 433, and the troops Attila provided against the Goths and Bagaudae had helped earn him the largely honorary title of magister militum in the west. The gifts and diplomatic efforts of Geiseric, who opposed and feared the Visigoths, may also have influenced Attila's plans.

However Valentinian's sister was Honoria, who, in order to escape her forced betrothal to a Roman senator, had sent the Hunnish king a plea for help – and her engagement ring – in the spring of 450.

Though Honoria may not have intended a proposal of marriage, Attila chose to interpret her message as such. He accepted, asking for half of the western Empire as dowry. When Valentinian discovered the plan, only the influence of his mother Galla Placidia convinced him to exile, rather than kill, Honoria. He also wrote to Attila strenuously denying the legitimacy of the supposed marriage proposal. Attila, not convinced, sent an emissary to Ravenna to proclaim that Honoria was innocent, that the proposal had been legitimate, and that he would come to claim what was rightfully his.

The general path of the Hun forces in the invasion of Gaul, leading up to the Battle of Chalons.

Attila interfered in a succession struggle after the death of a Frankish ruler. Attila supported the elder son, while Aëtius supported the younger.[

Attila gathered his vassals—Gepids, Ostrogoths, Rugians, Scirians, Heruls, Thuringians, Alans, Burgundians, among others and began his march west. In 451 he arrived in Belgica with an army exaggerated by Jordanes to half a million strong. J.B. Bury believes that Attila's intent, by the time he marched west, was to extend his kingdom – already the strongest on the continent – across Gaul to the Atlantic Ocean.

On April 7, he captured Metz. Other cities attacked can be determined by the hagiographic vitae written to commemorate their bishops: Nicasius was slaughtered before the altar of his church in Rheims; Servatus is alleged to have saved Tongeren with his prayers, as Saint Genevieve is to have saved Paris.

Lupus, bishop of Troyes, is also credited with saving his city by meeting Attila in person.

Aëtius moved to oppose Attila, gathering troops from among the Franks, the Burgundians, and the Celts. A mission by Avitus, and Attila's continued westward advance, convinced the Visigoth king Theodoric I (Theodorid) to ally with the Romans. The combined armies reached Orleans ahead of Attila, thus checking and turning back the Hunnish advance. Aëtius gave chase and caught the Huns at a place usually assumed to be near Catalaunum (modern Châlons-en-Champagne). The two armies clashed in the Battle of Chalons, whose outcome is commonly considered to be a Pyrrhic victory for the Visigothic-Roman alliance. Theodoric was killed in the fighting and Aëtius failed to press his advantage, according to Edward Gibbon and Edward Creasy because he feared the consequences of an overwhelming Visigothic triumph as much as he did a defeat. From Aëtius' point of view, the best outcome was what occurred: Theodoric died, Attila was in retreat and disarray, and the Romans had the benefit of appearing victorious.

Invasion of Italy and death:

Raphael's The Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila shows Leo I, with Saint Peter and Saint Paul above him, going to meet Attila

Attila returned in 452 to claim his marriage to Honoria anew, invading and ravaging Italy along the way. The city of Venice was founded as a result of these attacks when the residents fled to small islands in the Venetian Lagoon. His army sacked numerous cities and razed Aquileia completely, leaving no trace of it behind. Legend has it he built a castle on top of a hill north of Aquileia to watch the city burn, thus founding the town of Udine, where the castle can still be found. Aëtius, who lacked the strength to offer battle, managed to harass and slow Attila's advance with only a shadow force. Attila finally halted at the River Po. By this point disease may have broken out in Attila's camp, thus helping to stop his invasion.

At the wish of Emperor Valentinian III, Pope Leo I, accompanied by the Consul Avienus and the Prefect Trigetius, met Attila at Mincio in the vicinity of Mantua, and obtained from him the promise that he would withdraw from Italy and negotiate peace with the emperor. Prosper of Aquitaine gives a short, reliable description of the historic meeting. The later anonymous account, a pious "fable which has been represented by the pencil of Raphael and the chisel of Algardi" (as Gibbon called it) says that the Pope, aided by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, convinced him to turn away from the city, promising Attila that if he left in peace, one of his successors would receive a holy crown.

Priscus reports that superstitious fear of the fate of Alaric—who died shortly after sacking Rome in 410—gave him pause.

After Attila left Italy and returned to his palace across the Danube, he planned to strike at Constantinople again and reclaim the tribute which Marcian had cut off. (Marcian was the successor of Theodosius and had ceased paying tribute in late 450 while Attila was occupied in the west; multiple invasions by the Huns and others had left the Balkans with little to plunder.) However Attila died in the early months of 453. The conventional account, from Priscus, says that at a feast celebrating his latest marriage to the beautiful and young Ildico (if uncorrupted, the name suggests a Gothic origin) he suffered a severe nosebleed and choked to death in a stupor. An alternative theory is that he succumbed to internal bleeding after heavy drinking or a condition called esophageal varices, where a hemorrhoid in the lower part of the esophagus ruptures leaving the person to choke on his/her own blood.

Another account of his death, first recorded 80 years after the events by the Roman chronicler Count Marcellinus, reports that "Attila, King of the Huns and ravager of the provinces of Europe, was pierced by the hand and blade of his wife."

The Volsunga saga and the Poetic Edda also claim that King Atli (Attila) died at the hands of his wife, Gudrun.

Legend says that he was laid to rest in a triple coffin made of gold, silver, and iron, along with some of the spoils of his conquests. His men diverted a section of the river Tisza, buried the coffin under the riverbed, and then were killed to keep the exact location a secret.

His sons Ellac (his appointed successor), Dengizich, and Ernakh fought over the division of his legacy, specifically which vassal kings would belong to which brother. As a consequence they were divided, defeated and scattered the following year in the Battle of Nedao by the Ostrogoths and the Gepids under Ardaric.

Ardaric, who was once Attila's most prized chieftain, turned against the feuding brothers when he felt that they were treating the nations they ruled as slaves.

Attila's many children and relatives are known by name and some even by deeds, but soon valid genealogical sources all but dry up and there seems to be no verifiable way to trace Attila's descendants.

This hasn't stopped many genealogists from attempting to reconstruct a valid line of descent for various medieval rulers.

One of the most credible claims has been that of the khans of Bulgaria (see Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans).

There is no surviving first-person account of Attila's appearance. Priscus described Attila as:

"Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin"

Attila is known in Western history and tradition as the grim flagellum dei (Latin: "Scourge of God"), and his name has become a byword for cruelty and barbarism.

Some of this may have arisen from confusion between him and later steppe warlords such as Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane). All are considered to be cruel, clever, and blood-thirsty lovers of battle and pillage. The reality of his character is probably more complex.

The Huns of Attila's era had been mingling with Roman civilization for some time, largely through the Germanic foederati of the border, so that by the time of Theodosius's embassy in 448 Priscus could identify two primary languages among the Huns, Gothic and Hunnic, with some people knowing Latin and Greek.

Priscus also recounts his meeting with an eastern Roman captive who had so fully assimilated into the Huns' way of life that he had no desire to return to his former country, and the Byzantine historian's description of Attila's humility and simplicity is unambiguous in its admiration.

The origin of Attila's name is not known with confidence, because very little is known about Hunnic names.

In the Hunnic language Danube-Bulgarian, the etymology "oceanic (universal) [ruler]" has been proposed. Also the word possibly originates from Turkic Atyl/Atal/Atil/Itil meaning water, river (also, ancient name of Volga river) with adjective suffix -ly. (Compare also Turkic medieval notable title atalyk - "senior as father").

This is correlating to the fact that the Polish Chronicle is using Attila's name as Aquila bearing the Latin aqua inside.

Others believe that the name may have connection to Hungarian ítélet meaning judgement or Old-Turkic via the loandword in Gothic (or Gepid) atta ("father") and the diminutive suffix -ila.

Attila was not a rare name in Central Europe prior to Attila making his mark on history; the historical record shows numerous persons with the name preceding him. 'Attila' has many variants: Atli and Atle in Norse, Ætla, Attle and Atlee in English, Attila/Atilla/Etele in Hungarian (all the three name variants are used in Hungary; Attila is the most popular variant), Etzel in the German Nibelungenlied, or Attila, Atila or Atilla in modern Turkish.

Who was Alexandro Magnus, or Alexander The Great?

(356-323 B.C.)

...was king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history. He conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered. This great general and king made possible the broadly developed culture of the Hellenistic Age.

HIS BOYHOOD

Alexander was born in Pella, Macedonia, the son of Philip of Macedon, who was an excellent general and organizer. His mother was Olympias, princess of Epirus.
She was brilliant and hot-tempered. Alexander inherited the best qualities of both his parents. But he was even more ambitious than his father. He wept bitterly when he heard of Philip's conquests and said, " My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do." Alexander's mother taught him that Achilles was his ancestor, and that his father was descended from Hercules. Alexander learned by heart the Iliad, a story about the deeds of Achilles. He carried a copy of the Iliad with him, and Achilles became Alexander's model .

Even as a boy Alexander was fearless and strong. He tamed the beautiful and spirited Bucephalus, a horse that no one else dared to touch or ride. Later, this famous steed carried him as far as India, where it died. Alexander then built the city of Bucephala on the Hydaspes River in memory of his beloved horse. Philip was so proud of Alexander's power over the horse that he said, "O my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee."

HIS YOUTH

When Alexander was 13 years old, he became the pupil of Aristotle. He was always eager to learn. Aristotle inspired the talented youth with a great love for literature. He took part in sports and daily exercise to develop a strong body. Aristotle also inspired in Alexander a keen interest in other countries and races of people, and in animals and plants. Alexander's education was not all from books. He talked with ambassadors from many foreign countries, and with other noted persons at his father's court. When he was only 18, he commanded part of Philip's cavalry at the battle of Chaeronea. Alexander also acted as his father's ambassador to Athens.

Alexander was 20 when he became king of Macedonia. The Greek other states had grown restless under Macedonian rule. While Alexander was away making war on some barbarian tribes in the north, someone spread a story that he was dead. The people in the city of Thebes revolted and called upon the people of Athens to join them. Alexander soon appeared before Thebes with his army. His soldiers stormed the city. Every building in Thebes was destroyed, except the temples and the house of the poet Pindar. About 30,000 inhabitants were sold into slavery. Alexander's action broke the spirit of rebellion in the other Greek states.

CONQUEST OF PERSIA

The ambitious young king then turned his thoughts to conquering Persia. This had been part of his father's plan before him. He crossed the Hellespont with an army of 35,000 soldiers in the spring of 334 B.C. He had very little money, and gambled on a quick victory. The Persians met him on the banks of the Granicus River.
Alexander stormed across the river with his cavalry. This victory opened all Asia Minor to him. Only Halicarnassus withstood a long siege.

In 333 B.C., Alexander became seriously ill. But he recovered and marched along the coast into Syria. The king of Persia, Darius III, raised a large army. He fortified a riverbank near Issus behind Alexander. Alexander turned north and routed the Greek and Persian heavy infantry with his phalanx. He captured the king's camp, including Dairus' wife and mother. His gallantry toward them was his finest act. Alexander then marched south into Phoenicia and captured Tyre after a seven-month siege. The city was on an island, but Alexander built a causeway out to it, so that it is now a peninsula. About 8,000 Tyrians were slain and 30,000 sold into slavery. Alexander's victory over Tyre is sometimes considered his greatest military achievement. The whole region then submitted to him except Gaza, where a brave Persian governor resisted for three months. Gaza eventually suffered the same fate as Tyre.

Alexander next went to Egypt. The Egyptians welcomed him as a deliverer, because they hated their harsh Persian rulers. Alexander founded a city on a strip of land between Lake Mareotis and the Mediterranean Sea. This city, Alexandria, became a world center of commerce and learning. While it was being built, Alexander made the long, dangerous march to the temple and oracle of Zeus-Ammon, in the Libyan desert. Alexander was told that he was the son of the god and would conquer the world.

THE BATTLE OF ARBELA

Alexander turned again to the Persian front in 331 B.C. Darius had collected an enormous army, including the famous heavy cavalry of the Iranian steppe, and many chariots with scythelike knives protruding from the wheels. The Persians smoothed and cleared a vast level plain near Arbela, east of the Tigris River. The Persian cavalry outflanked Alexander's left and captured his camp. But, with a charge which he led himself, Alexander routed Darius, and the Persian Army retired to the east. The battle of Arbela is also known as the Battle of Gaugamela. It is considered on of the most decisive battles in history.

The city of Babylon surrendered, and Alexander easily captured the Persian cities of Susa and Persepolis. These cities yielded him vast treasures of gold and silver. All the inhabitants of Persepolis were either killed or sold into slavery. Alexander burned Persepolis in revenge for the Persian burning of Athens in 480 B.C.

Alexander crossed the Zagros Mountains into Media in 330 B.C. Darius had fled there, and was soon afterward killed by his own nobles. His death left Alexander king of Asia. He marched on, against only local opposition from tribespeople, and occupied the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. Continuing to the east, he set up Iranian nobles as new local governors, but they revolted after he left. Alexander swung south into Arachosia (southeast Persia) and then north into Afghanistan, founding cities to serve as garrisons and centers of administration. He entered Bactria and Sogdiana, behind the Hindu Kush mountain range, and marched as far as the Jaxartes River. It took two years to pacify the region. Alexander married Roxane, the daughter of a Sogdian baron.

In Sogdiana, Alexander lost his temper and killed a close friend, Clitus, in a drunken quarrel. This cost him the sympathy of his Macedonian troops. There were plots against his life, and he executed several prominent people.

VICTORY IN INDIA

Alexander reinforced his troops with Iranians and reached the rich plains of India in 326 B.C. He defeated an Indian prince, Porus, in this region (now part of Pakistan) and planned to march to the Ganges River. But his army mutinied. Alexander then sailed down the Indus River to its mouth, and led his army west across the terrible desert of Gedrosia, in present-day Pakistan and Iran. His fleet under Nearchus sailed along the coast to the Persian Gulf. Both the army and the fleet returned together to Susa.

Alexander then became busy with the organization and administration of his empire. At the height of his power, his realm stretched from the Ionian Sea to northern India. He planned to make Asia and Europe one country and combine the best of the East with the West. He chose Babylon as his capital city.

To achieve his goal, Alexander encouraged intermarriages, setting an example by marrying a Persian princess himself. He placed soldiers from all the provinces in his army. He introduced a uniform currency system throughout the empire and promoted trade and commerce. He encouraged the spread of Greek ideas, customs, and laws into Asia. When he heard that some of his provincial officials ruled unjustly, he replaced them. To receive recognition as the supreme ruler, he required the provinces to worship him as a god.

HIS DEATH

Alexander had vast plans, including his governmental reorganization and an expedition to Arabia. But he was taken seriously ill with malaria at Babylon. The simple
remedies of the day did not help him. He died on June 13, 323 B.C. His body was placed in a gold coffin and taken to Memphis, in Egypt. Later it was carried to Alexandria, and placed in a beautiful tomb.

Alexander left no choice for a successor. His only son, Alexander IV, was born after Alexander's death. As a result, Alexander's leading generals became governors of various areas and fought among themselves for control of the Empire. But no single leader emerged, and by 311 B.C. the empire split into independant states or monarchies.

Who was Moshe Dayan?

Moshe Dayan was born on Kibbutz Degania Alef near the shores of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in pre-Mandate Palestine. His parents were Shmuel and Devorah, Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. He was the second child to be born on the kibbutz (after Gideon Baratz). He was named Moshe after Moshe Barsky, the first member of the kibbutz to be killed in an Arab attack.

Soon after, his parents moved to Nahalal, the first Moshav to be established. He attended the Agricultural School there. At the age of 14, he joined the newly formed Jewish militia known as the Haganah. In 1938 he joined the Palestine Supernumerary Police and became a company commander. One of his military heroes was the British pro-Zionist officer Orde Wingate, whom he served as second-in-command.

World War II

He was arrested by the British in 1939 (when the Haganah was outlawed), but released after two years in February 1941, as part of Haganah cooperation with the British during World War II.

Dayan was assigned to a small Australian-Palmach-Arab reconnaissance task force, formed in preparation for the Allied invasion of Syria and Lebanon and attached to the Australian 7th Division. Using his home kibbutz of Hanita as a forward base, the unit frequently infiltrated Vichy French Lebanon, wearing traditional Arab dress, on covert surveillance missions.

On 7 June, the night before the invasion, the unit crossed the border and secured two bridges over the Litani River. When they were not relieved as expected, at 04:00 on 8 June, the unit perceived that it was exposed to possible attack and — on its own initiative — assaulted a nearby Vichy police station, capturing it in a firefight. A few hours later, as Dayan was using binoculars they were struck by a French bullet, propelling metal and glass fragments into his left eye and causing it severe damage. Six hours passed before he could be evacuated and Dayan lost the eye. In addition, the damage to the extraocular muscles was such that Dayan could not be fitted with a glass eye, and he was forced to adopt the black eyepatch that became his trademark.

In the years immediately following, the disability caused him some psychological pain. Dayan wrote in his autobiography: "I reflected with considerable misgivings on my future as a cripple without a skill, trade, or profession to provide for my family." He added that he was "ready to make any effort and stand any suffering, if only I could get rid of my black eye patch. The attention it drew was intolerable to me. I preferred to shut myself up at home, doing anything, rather than encounter the reactions of people wherever I went."

Military commander

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Dayan occupied various important positions, first as the commander of the defense in the Jordan valley; he was then given command over a number of military units on the central front. He was extremely well-liked by Israel's founding Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion and became his protégé, together with Shimon Peres (a future Prime Minister and President).

After the war, Dayan began to rise rapidly through the ranks. From 1953 to 1958, he was the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. In this capacity, he personally commanded the Israeli forces fighting in the Sinai during the 1956 Suez Crisis. It was during Dayan's tenure as Chief of Staff that he delivered his famous eulogy of Roi Rutenberg, a young Israeli killed in 1956.

On taking over command, based on Ben Gurion's three-year defense program, Dayan carried out a major reorganization of the Israeli army which, among others, included:


* Strengthened combat units at the expense of administrative 'tail'.
* Raising the Intelligence and Training Branches of the Israeli Army.
* Surrendering the activities of stores and procurement to the
civilian Ministry of Defense.
* Revamping the mobilization scheme and ensuring earmarking for adequate
equipment.
* Starting a military academy for officers of the rank of major and above.
* Emphasized strike forces (Air Force, Armour) and on training of Commando
battalions.
* Developed GADNA, a youth wing for military training.




In 1959, a year after he retired from the IDF, Dayan joined Mapai, the leftist party in Israeli politics, then led by David Ben-Gurion. Until 1964, he served as the Minister of Agriculture. Dayan joined with the group of Ben-Gurion loyalists who defected from Mapai in 1965 to form Rafi. The Prime Minister Levi Eshkol disliked Dayan; however, when tensions began to rise in early 1967, Eshkol appointed the charismatic and popular Dayan as Minister of Defense in order to raise public morale and widen his government's support by establishing a unity government.

Six Day War (1967)

Although Dayan did not take part in most of the planning before the Six-Day War of June 1967, his appointment as defense minister contributed to the Israeli success.

He personally oversaw the capture of East Jerusalem during the 5 June-7 June fighting. Following the war, Dayan, whose virtues did not include modesty, invested in public relation efforts to take credit for much of the fighting. During the years following the war, Dayan enjoyed enormous popularity in Israel and was widely viewed as a potential Prime Minister. At this time, Dayan was the leader of the hawkish camp within the Labor government, opposing a return to anything like Israel's pre-1967 borders. He once said that he preferred Sharm-al-Sheikh (an Egyptian town on the southern edge of the Sinai Peninsula overlooking Israel's shipping lane to the Red Sea via the Gulf of Aqaba) without peace to peace without Sharm-al-Sheikh. He modified these views later in his career and played an important role in the eventual peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

In a 1976 interview by Israeli journalist Rami Tal, Dayan claimed that 80 percent of the cross-border clashes between Israel and Syria in the years before the war were a result of Israeli provocation. He said, "I made a mistake in allowing the Israeli conquest of the Golan Heights. As defense minister I should have stopped it because the Syrians were not threatening us at the time." In the same interview, he also outlined how deliberately a tractor was sent to plow the land in the demilitarized zone near the Golan Heights to provoke Syrians start shooting, followed by the Israeli strike leading to this war. It finally resulted in the Israeli capture of the Golan Heights and the much needed agricultural land nearby.

Yom Kippur War (1973)

After Golda Meir became Prime Minister in 1969 following the death of Levi Eshkol, Dayan remained Minister of Defense. He was still in that post when the Yom Kippur War began catastrophically for Israel on 6 October 1973. As the highest-ranking official responsible for military planning, Dayan may bear part of the responsibility for the Israeli leadership having missed the signs for the upcoming war.

In the hours preceding the war, Dayan chose not to order a full mobilization or a preemptive strike against the Egyptians and the Syrians.

He assumed that Israel would be able to win easily even if the Arabs attacked and, more importantly, did not want Israel to appear as the aggressor, as it would have undoubtedly cost it the invaluable support of the United States (who would later mount a massive airlift to rearm Israel, a major turning point of the war).

Following the heavy defeats of the first two days, Dayan's views changed radically; he was close to announcing "the downfall of the "Third Temple" at a news conference, but was forbidden to speak by Meir. Moshe Dayan further backed from high level political role, and turned publicly as symbol for Israel independence and hope for a Third Temple to be built.

Dayan suggested options at the beginning of the war, including a plan to withdraw to the Mitleh mountains in Sinai and a complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights in order to carry the battle over the Jordan, abandoning the core strategic principles of Israeli war doctrine, which says that war must be taken into enemy territory as soon as possible.[citation needed] The Chief of Staff, David Elazar, objected to these plans and was proved correct. Israel broke through the Egyptian lines on the Sinai front, crossed the Suez canal, and encircled the 3rd Egyptian Army. Israel also counterattacked on the Syrian front, successfully repelling the Jordanian and Iraqi expeditionary forces and shelling the outskirts of Damascus, ending the war on favorable terms.

Foreign Minister in the Likud Government

According to those who knew him, the war deeply depressed Dayan. He went into political eclipse for a time. In 1977, despite having been re-elected to the Knesset for the Alignment, he accepted an offer to become Foreign Minister in the new Likud government led by Menachem Begin. He was expelled from the Alignment, and sat as an independent MK. As Begin's foreign minister, he was instrumental in drawing up the Camp David Accords, a peace agreement with Egypt. Dayan withdrew in 1980 (joined by Ezer Weizman, who then defected to Labor), because of a disagreement with Begin over whether the Palestinian territories were an internal Israeli matter (the Camp David treaty included provisions for future negotiations with the Palestinians; Begin, who didn't like the idea, did not put Dayan in charge of the negotiating team). In 1981 he founded a new party, Telem, which advocated unilateral separation from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Legacy

Dayan was very complicated and controversial; his opinions were never strictly black and white. He had few close friends; his mental brilliance and charismatic manner were combined with cynicism and lack of restraint. Ariel Sharon noted about Dayan:

"He would wake up with a hundred ideas. Of them ninety-five were dangerous; three more were bad; the remaining two, however, were brilliant"

Dayan combined a kibbutznik's secular identity and pragmatism with a deep love and appreciation for the Jewish people and the land of Israel --but not a religious identification. In one recollection, having seen rabbis flocking on the Temple Mount shortly after Jerusalem was captured in 1967, he asked "what is this? Vatican?" Dayan later ordered the Israeli flag removed from the Dome of the Rock, and gave administrative control of the Temple Mount over to the Waqf, a Muslim council. Dayan believed that the Temple Mount was more important to Judaism as a historical rather than holy site.

Dayan was also an author and an amateur archaeologist, the latter hobby leading to some controversy as his amassing of historical artifacts, often with the help of his soldiers, broke a number of laws. Moshe Dayan's habit of pilfering newly discovered archaeological sites, before arrival of the Antiquities Authority and State-authorized archaeologists, once almost cost him his life and left him with a slight permanent impairment. Shortly after the Six-Day War Dayan heard of a new archaeological find near Holon, due south of Tel Aviv. Not wanting to arouse suspicion, he entered the dig alone, and started to look for artifacts, when suddenly the entire dig caved in upon him, burying him alive. Only a hand remained visible. Shortly thereafter, a group of playing kids passed and saw a human hand protruding from the caved-in hole in the ground. They managed to dig him out alive, but due to possible oxygen deficiency in his brain, he remained with a speech impairment during the rest of his life, as well as with a partially paralyzed hand. Upon his death, his extensive archaeological collection was sold to the state of Israel.