He called himself flagellum Dei , the scourge of God, and even today, 1, years after his blood-drenched death, his name remains a byword for brutality. Then as now, he seemed the epitome of an Asian steppe nomad: ugly, squat and fearsome, lethal with a bow, interested chiefly in looting and in rape. His real name was Attila, King of the Huns, and even today the mention of it jangles some atavistic panic bell deep within civilized hearts. Yet there are those who think we have much to learn from a people who came apparently from nowhere to force the mighty Roman Empire almost to its knees. Attila has become the barbarian of the ancient world. The Hun empire at its peak, superimposed on modern European borders. The approximate position of Attila's capital is marked by the star. Map: Wikicommons.
1. His upbringing was privileged.
1. The origin of the Huns is unknown
He was one of the greatest of the barbarian rulers who assailed the Roman Empire , invading the southern Balkan provinces and Greece and then Gaul and Italy. In legend he appears under the name Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and under the name Atli in Icelandic sagas. From to Attila was king of the Huns. He extracted a yearly tribute in gold from the Eastern Roman Empire and attacked Gaul and then Italy after the Western Roman emperor refused to marry his sister to Attila with half the Western Empire as her dowry.
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Wars with Eastern Roman Empire
He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths , and Alans among others, in Central and Eastern Europe. During his reign, he was one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans , but was unable to take Constantinople. His unsuccessful campaign in Persia was followed in by an invasion of the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire, the success of which emboldened Attila to invade the West. He subsequently invaded Italy , devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome. He planned for further campaigns against the Romans , but died in After Attila's death, his close adviser, Ardaric of the Gepids , led a Germanic revolt against Hunnic rule, after which the Hunnic Empire quickly collapsed.
At its height, the Hunnic Empire stretched across Central Europe. His date of birth is unknown but he died in A. Whether his death was natural, or whether he was murdered by his new wife, Ildico, is still a subject of debate. While his name has become synonymous with conquest and destruction, a careful look at historical records reveals a more complex picture. The Roman Empire had split in two by his lifetime, with the western half controlling little more than Italy and part of France. Also while his people amassed an incredible amount of plunder, and blackmailed the eastern half of the Roman Empire out of thousands of pounds of gold, Attila himself was said to have lived relatively simply. Bury, through Georgetown University website. His dress, too, was quite simple, affecting only to be clean.