Attila the Hun was the leader of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century. He was nicknamed the “Scourge of God” for his ruthlessness in war and plundering of Europe.
He united the Huns, Alans, and Ostrogoths to form the Hunnic Empire. He was a great military leader that fought repeatedly against Eastern and Western Roman Empires.
Attila the Hun was born during in Pannonia which was a Roman Empire province in present-day Hungary. His actual date of birth is debated. Some historians believe he was born in 390, 395 or 406 C.E.
His father was Mundzuk the brother of Octar and Ruga who jointly ruled the Hunnic Empire as co-kings. As a young boy he traveled with the Huns who were a nomadic tribe. Their travels included east of the Volga River in Russia into Eastern Europe.
Attila the Hun and his brother Bleda trained in military tactics at a young age. The Huns were expert horsemen. They also used arrows and javelins while horseback riding.
He was taught Latin and other Gothic languages at a young age. In 434 C.E. after the death of his uncle Ruga the two brothers were named co-rulers of the Hunnic Empire.
Scourge of God
The two brothers worked effectively with each other to make life very hard on the Roman Empire. In 434 C.E. Attila the Hun forced the Eastern Roman Empire to begin to pay a tribute for protection.
But he broke the treaty and crossed the Danube River sacking numerous towns until he reached Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. He tried to plunder the city but high walls left the horsemen of the Hun army ineffective.
Subsequently Attila the Hun attacked the remainder of the Eastern Roman Empire army under the control of Theodosius II.
During 441 C.E. he marched on the Balkans forcing Theodosius II to pay an even greater tribute for peace. He became sole ruler of the Hunnic Empire in 445 C.E. when his brother Bleda died. Attila the Hun attacked the Roman Empire again in 447 C.E. once again demanding tribute for peace or plunder.
The Roman Empire installed two new emperors with Marcian in the eastern empire and Valentinian III in the western empire.
The two emperors refused to pay tribute to Attila the Hun. In response he gathered an army of more than 500,000 soldiers and successfully invaded Gaul which is present-day France. He was finally defeated in the Battle of Chalons.
In 452 C.E. Attila the Hun marched his sizeable army into northern Italy. He plundered many cities in Italy but did not sack Rome. It is believed that he did not sack Rome because of negotiations with Pope Leo I.
In his lifetime, Attila the Hun was instrumental in crossing the Danube River twice to inflict pain on both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. He garnered great wealth for himself and the Hunnic Empire forcing the Roman Empires to pay tribute for peace rather than plunder.
Upon his death in 453 C.E. Attila the Hun left the Hunnic Empire to his eldest son Ellac. Unfortunately, fighting between his sons for control of the vast Hunnic Empire was the demise of the Hunnic Empire.
Important facts about Attila the Hun
- Attila the Hun was the son of Mundzuk the brother of Octar and Ruga who jointly ruled the Hunnic Empire as co-kings.
- He could speak Latin and Gothic languages.
- He was named co-ruler of the Hunnic Empire with his brother Bleda in 434 C.E.
- Attila the Hun made life very difficult for the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. He was nicknamed the Scourge of God.
- He forced both sides of the Roman Empire to pay large sums of tribute for peace.
- Attila the Hun crossed the Danube River twice to plunder the lands of the Roman Empire.
- He invaded Gaul (present-day France) and Italy but did not plunder the city of Rome.
- Attila the Hun left the Hunnic Empire to his sons who fought against each other and eventually destroyed the vast Hunnic Empire.
- What was Attila the Hun’s nickname?
Scourge of God
- What areas in Europe did Attila the Hun invade?
Gaul and Italy
- What did Attila the Hun force the Roman Empire to pay for peace rather than plunder?
- Who was co-ruler of Hunnic Empire with Attila the Hun until his death?
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