IntroductionSometimes called the “Scourge of God,” Attila the Hun cut a swath of destruction through the rapidly declining Roman Empire. Historically, the Huns have been considered a vicious and violent tribe that originated in central Asia. In Attila, they found their perfect leader. He combined ruthless military prowess with aggressive diplomatic skills to become a formidable power in Europe. After harassing and then negotiating with the Eastern Roman Empire in 451, he began a devastating attack on the Western Empire. It took a combined force of Romans and Visigoths to narrowly defeat him at the Battle of Chalons, saving Rome from complete collapse. Although Attila continued to attack Italy, he never seriously threatened Rome again before his death in 453.
- Attila inherited the throne of the Huns after the death of his uncle in 434, but he had to share power with his brother Bleda. Attila did not share well; eleven years later, he murdered his brother to take sole possession of the throne.
- Attila and his army defeated the Eastern Roman forces at the Battle of Utus and pillaged the surrounding countryside. Only the huge walls erected at Constantinople saved the Eastern Roman Empire from destruction.
- In 450, Attila received what he believed was an engraved invitation to attack the Western Roman Empire. The Emperor Valentinian III had a daughter named Honoria, who was quite headstrong. When Valentinian arranged for his daughter to marry an aged but wealthy senator, Honoria wrote a letter to Attila asking him to come and rescue her. Attila, rightly so for the time, considered this a marriage proposal and turned his armies toward Rome. He went to claim Honoria and half of the Roman Empire as her dowry.
- Attila’s demand for Honoria and the dowry did not go over well with Emperor Valentinian. As he began to gather his armies, Attila began to attack. The Western Roman army had previously been fighting the Visigoths, but fear of the Huns now brought them together against a common enemy. Their combined forces defeated Attila at the Battle of Chalons.
- Attila never did get to attack Rome. On the night of his marriage to a barbarian princess (poor Honoria was never rescued) in 453, he had too much to drink and died of a nosebleed. Historians still argue about the cause of the nosebleed.
- Attila Biography
- Battle of Chalons: Salem on History
- Huns Begin Migration West from Central Asia: Salem on History
- Huns: Salem on History
- Invasions of Attila the Hun: Salem on History
- The Early Middle Ages - Short Fiction Essay - Salem on Literature
- The Empire of Fear Review - Brian Stableford - Salem on Literature
- Who Were The Huns? - History Fact Finder
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