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.
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Who Was Attila the Hun?
Attila’s Early Life
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.
Attila the Hun, 5th-century king of the Hunnic Empire, devastated lands from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, inspiring fear throughout the late Roman Empire. Dubbed "Flagellum Dei" meaning "Scourge of God" in Latin , Attila consolidated power after murdering his brother to become sole ruler of the Huns, expanded the rule of the Huns to include many Germanic tribes and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire in wars of extraction. He never invaded Constantinople or Rome, and left a divided family following his death in Born in Pannonia, a province of the Roman Empire present-day Transdanubia, Hungary , circa , Attila the Hun and his brother, Bleda, were named co-rulers of the Huns in Upon murdering his brother in , Attila became the 5th-century king of the Hunnic Empire and the sole ruler of the Huns. Attila united the tribes of the Hun kingdom and was said to be a just ruler to his own people. But Attila was also an aggressive and ruthless leader. He expanded the rule of the Huns to include many Germanic tribes and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire in wars of extraction, devastating lands from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, and inspiring fear throughout the late Roman Empire. Attila was notorious for his fierce gaze; according to historian Edward Gibbon, he frequently rolled his eyes "as if to enjoy the terror he inspired. In , Roman Emperor Theodosius II paid a tribute—in essence, protection money—to Attila, but Attila broke the peace treaty, destroying towns along the Danube river before moving into the empire's interior and obliterating Naissus and Serdica.
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.