Attila

Article

July 5, 2022

Attila (406-453), also known as Attila the Hun or Scourge of God, was king of the Huns from 434 until his death. He was the ruler of the Hun Empire, which stretched from the territory of today's Germany to the Ural River and from the Danube to the Baltic Sea. During his reign, Attila was the greatest enemy of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires: he invaded the Balkan Peninsula twice, crossed Gaul to Orleans before being stopped in the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields. He ousted the Western Roman emperor Valentinian III from his residence in Ravenna in 452, reached Constantinople and Rome, but was unable to capture either of these two cities. In a large part of Western Europe, he is remembered as the embodiment of cruelty and greed, thanks to the Roman sources that are not fond of him. In contrast, some historians consider him a great and noble king.

Biography

Origin and beginning of government

According to sources, Attila, the future leader of the Huns, was born around 406. His father, according to Priscus of Panium, was called Mundiuch and had a brother Ruga. Rua (or Rugila) was one of the Hun leaders (432-434). Attila also had an older brother whom the sources mention under the name Bleda (Greek: Βλήδας).

Attila's devastation of the cities of the Eastern Roman Empire

While the Western Empire had a tolerable relationship with the Hun leader, this was not the case with the Eastern Empire. The Eastern Empire was then ruled by Emperor Theodosius II, who was facing the Hunnic threat. During the dual rule of the Huns, there were only isolated incidents on the border of Theodosius' empire, but during the time of Attila, the conflicts would spread to the interior of the empire. The Eastern Roman Empire was at that time in conflict with the Vandals who conquered Carthage and with the Sassanid King Yazdergerd II who invaded Armenia in 441 AD. This allowed Attila and Bleda an open route through Illyricum into the interior of the Balkan Peninsula, which they invaded in 441. The Hun army ravaged Margus (Pozarevac) and Viminacium (Kostolac), captured Singidunum (Belgrade) and Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica), before stopping. A lull followed in 442, during which time Theodosius II summoned his army from North Africa and ordered a large amount of money to be minted to finance the war against the Huns. After he does it