Battle of the Catalaunian Plains

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The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (or Fields), also called the Battle of Châlons (also spelled Chalons or Chalon), took place in 451 between a coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aëtius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I on one side and the Huns and their allies commanded by Attila on the other. It was one of the last major military operations of the Western Roman Empire and marks the apex of the career of Flavius Aëtius. The battle resulted in a defeat for the Huns and considerably hindered their attempt to conquer western Europe.

Contents

Prelude

By 450 Roman control of Gaul had grown feeble, as had control over all of the provinces beyond Italy. Celtic Armorica was only nominally part of the empire. Germanic tribes prowling around Roman territory had been forcibly settled and served as foederati under their own leaders. Northern Gaul between the Rhine and Marne rivers (Gallia Belgica) had unofficially been abandoned to the Franks. The Visigoths in Gallia Aquitania were growing restive. The Burgundians near the Alps were more submissive, but likewise awaiting openings for revolt. The only parts still securely in Roman control were the Mediterranean coastline, a band of varying width running from Aurelianum (present-day Orléans) upstream along the Loire and one downstream along the Rhône River

The historian Jordanes states that Attila was enticed by the Vandals' king Gaiseric to wage war on the Visigoths. At the same time, Gaiseric would attempt to sow strife between the Visigoths and the Western Roman Empire (Getica 36.184–6).[1]

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