Attila the Hun

Attila the Hun

Born: Unknown
Died: 453 A.D.
Nationality: Hunnish
Famous For: Ruler of the Hun Empire from 434 to 453

Attila the Hun was the leader of the barbaric warriors and considered an unstoppable conquerer. Huns were Eurasian nomads who built their kingdom with their javelin throwing and mounted archery. This king ravaged the entire land area from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. People also referred to him as the “Scourge of God” (Flagellum Dei).

Attila the Hun’s Achievements

In the course of the wars, Attila the Hun invaded the Eastern Roman Empire, though he did not attack Rome or Constantinople. Many Germanic tribes were under his rule, too. Upon his death in 453 AD, there was no single leader capable of uniting the entire tribe.

Attila was a great unifier of the Hun tribes. His birth in 406 AD in the province of Pannonia in Rome was uneventful. What was remarkable, however, was that when he was named as the co-ruler of the Huns along with his brother, Bleda, in 434 AD, he made plans and subsequently killed his brother in 445 AD. Afterwards, Attila became the sole leader of the Huns.

Attila’s Appearance

Attila the Hun was short-statured with a large head and broad chest and small eyes. He had a flat nose and a thin beard and his tanned skin was evidence to his origins. Predominant among his acts of notoriety was his penetrating and fierce gaze.

He enjoyed staring at his subjects and rolled his eyes to enjoy their fear. He also had a habit of inspiring terror in others by telling them he had the sword of the Roman God of war, Mars.

Attila the Hun as Leader

In his time, the rulers of the Eastern and Western Roman empires feared him. Though unable to invade Constantinople, he conducted numerous raids on the Balkans and suffered defeat at the battle of the Catalaunian Plains. He next turned his attention to Italy but was unable to make any headway against Rome. He died before he could conduct any more attacks against Rome.

When Rugila died in 434, it was up to the sons of his brother, Mundzuk, Attila, and Bleda to control the Hun tribes. The Huns tried to negotiate with the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius to give up the noblemen who fled to the Roman kingdom for shelter.

Attila the Negotiator

It took over a year for the negotiations to bear fruit. The Romans agreed to send the fugitives back and increased the amount of gold payment to the Huns. This money was to increase the bilateral relationship and increase the trade between the two. They also paid a sum of eight gold coins for every Roman prisoner in Hun custody.

The Huns were satisfied and returned home. This was all Theodosius needed. He immediately fortified the walls of Constantinople, which would later prove to be the deterrent that sent Attila back when he crossed the Danube.

Over the next few years, they waged a war with the Sassanid Empire and lost. They turned back to the Roman side and attacked the merchants breaking the treaty they had signed. Attila the Hun devastated the cities of Illyricum and was pacified only when the Romans handed over a priest who owned lands that Attila claimed were his.