45 Facts About Attila


Attila was the leader of an empire consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, Alans, and Bulgars, among others, in Central and Eastern Europe.


Attila crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople.


Attila subsequently invaded Italy, devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome.


Attila planned for further campaigns against the Romans, but died in 453.


Attila lived on as a character in Germanic heroic legend.


The historiography of Attila is faced with a major challenge, in that the only complete sources are written in Greek and Latin by the enemies of the Huns.


Attila's contemporaries left many testimonials of his life, but only fragments of these remain.


Attila was obviously biased by his political position, but his writing is a major source for information on the life of Attila, and he is the only person known to have recorded a physical description of him.


Attila wrote a history of the late Roman Empire in eight books covering the period from 430 to 476.


Attila is a major character in many Medieval epics, such as the Nibelungenlied, as well as various Eddas and sagas.


Attila's family was from a noble lineage, but it is uncertain whether they constituted a royal dynasty.


Attila's birthdate is debated; journalist Eric Deschodt and writer Herman Schreiber have proposed a date of 395.


Attila's people were nomads who had only recently arrived in Europe.


The Huns had become a great power by the time that Attila came of age during the reign of his uncle Ruga, to the point that Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, deplored the situation with these words: "They have become both masters and slaves of the Romans".


Attila believed that he could defeat the Huns and refused the Hunnish kings' demands.


Attila then took the throne for himself, becoming the sole ruler of the Huns.


In 447, Attila again rode south into the Eastern Roman Empire through Moesia.


Attila had previously been on good terms with the Western Roman Empire and its influential general Flavius Aetius.


Aetius had spent a brief exile among the Huns in 433, and the troops that Attila provided against the Goths and Bagaudae had helped earn him the largely honorary title of magister militum in the west.


Attila accepted, asking for half of the western Empire as dowry.


Attila wrote to Attila, strenuously denying the legitimacy of the supposed marriage proposal.


Attila sent an emissary to Ravenna to proclaim that Honoria was innocent, that the proposal had been legitimate, and that he would come to claim what was rightfully his.


Attila interfered in a succession struggle after the death of a Frankish ruler.


Attila supported the elder son, while Aetius supported the younger.


Aetius moved to oppose Attila, gathering troops from among the Franks, the Burgundians, and the Celts.


The combined armies reached Orleans ahead of Attila, thus checking and turning back the Hunnish advance.


Attila decided to fight the Romans on plains where he could use his cavalry.


From Aetius' point of view, the best outcome was what occurred: Theodoric died, Attila was in retreat and disarray, and the Romans had the benefit of appearing victorious.


Attila returned in 452 to renew his marriage claim with Honoria, invading and ravaging Italy along the way.


Attila's army sacked numerous cities and razed Aquileia so completely that it was afterwards hard to recognize its original site.


Therefore, it was more profitable for Attila to conclude peace and retreat to his homeland.


Attila, hence, faced heavy human and natural pressures to retire "from Italy without ever setting foot south of the Po".


Attila withdrew from Italy to his palace across the Danube, while making plans to strike at Constantinople once more to reclaim tribute.


The conventional account from Priscus says that Attila was at a feast celebrating his latest marriage, this time to the beautiful young Ildico.


For in a dream some god stood at the side of Marcian, Emperor of the East, while he was disquieted about his fierce foe, and showed him the bow of Attila broken in that same night, as if to intimate that the race of Huns owed much to that weapon.


For so terrible was Attila thought to be to great empires that the gods announced his death to rulers as a special boon.


Attila's body was placed in the midst of a plain and lay in state in a silken tent as a sight for men's admiration.


Attila's sons "regarding the Goths as deserters from their rule, came against them as though they were seeking fugitive slaves", attacked Ostrogothic co-ruler Valamir, but were repelled, and some group of Huns moved to Scythia.


Attila was haughty in his walk, rolling his eyes hither and thither, so that the power of his proud spirit appeared in the movement of his body.


Attila was indeed a lover of war, yet restrained in action, mighty in counsel, gracious to suppliants and lenient to those who were once received into his protection.


Jordanes embellished the report of Priscus, reporting that Attila had possessed the "Holy War Sword of the Scythians", which was given to him by Mars and made him a "prince of the entire world".


Lampert of Hersfeld's contemporary chronicles report that shortly before the year 1071, the Sword of Attila had been presented to Otto of Nordheim by the exiled queen of Hungary, Anastasia of Kiev.


In 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven conceived the idea of writing an opera about Attila and approached August von Kotzebue to write the libretto.


Der Spiegel commented on 6 November 1948, that the Sword of Attila was hanging menacingly over Austria.


In Hungary, several public places are named after Attila; for instance, in Budapest there are 10 Attila Streets, one of which is an important street behind the Buda Castle.