Attila biography
Retrato por Eugène Delacroix - Public Domain

Attila biography

Attila (395 AD-453 AD) was the only king of the Huns, known in the West as “the scourge of God.” He was born in Pannonia, a vast flat area, abundant in pastures where the horses of the Huns could graze and procreate. In current geographic terms, we can place it between the southeast of Hungary and the northwest of Romania. His original tribe of China arrived in Europe after the destruction of his empire in Turkestan. This town characterized by nomadism, although each time they besieged a place, a part of them settled in it, to create their empire.

When Attila was 13 years old he was sent to Rome by order of his uncle Rugila, ruler of the Huns in the Danube, to perfect the Latin language, learn the history, customs and everything related to the Romans and their Empire. At 17 he returned with his family, ready to face the arrogant Romans. His uncle trusted Attila’s skills, he was a skilled man for war, he used diplomacy as a strategy and an excellent rider, so he commissioned him to negotiate with the Chinese who had tried to skip various Hun settlements in central Asia, Attila managed to establish peace.

With the death of Rugila; Bleda and Attila were proclaimed kings of the Hun territory. This moment was relevant because the unification of the Huna tribes represented for the Eastern Roman Empire, with Theodosius II at the head, a great problem, he preferred to lose gold and material possessions rather than men and territory. Therefore, in 435 they made a pact with the new Hun kings. In which the Romans promised to double the annual tribute in gold coins, not to make alliances with peoples enemies of the Huns, and if there were to break them, establish a free market on the banks of the Danube and deliver the Hun prisoners of war. In the year 445 Bleda died, there was a suspicion that Attila got rid of him, to be the only king.

“The longer the grass is, the better it is cut from top to bottom.” Attila

Before being named king of the Huns, Attila had already attacked the Eastern Roman Empire in 440 AD. The attack took place around ten years, during which the Roman Empire lost large areas, which today is Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. This war came to an end thanks to the good performance of the army of the Roman Empire and the decision to pay the tributes established to Attila, with this bilateral agreement manage to pacify their lands. In return, the Huns acted as collaborators of the Roman emperors, mediated as mercenaries to suppress internal convulsions and fight other barbarians, such as the Burgundians and the Franks. Even Attila was named honorary general of Gaul. But the moment of peace was broken in the year 450 when a plot was discovered to assassinate Attila, created by Theodosius II and Edeco, ambassador of the Huns in Constantinople. Knowing this, Attila decided then to launch himself militarily to conquer a portion of the western provinces.

The Hun army had developed an army of high-quality infantry, differing from other barbarian tribes on the Roman frontier for their ability to make successful sieges in fortified cities. Its success was such that in the fourth century the Huns dominated large areas between the Don, Danube and Volga rivers and the Black and Baltic seas, had subdued the Germans, Alans, and Sarmatians who lived there. For this reason, the Huns were considered by their contemporaries as a savage, voluble race, passionate about gold and good warriors. The Attila tribe was one of the most advanced in the use and manufacture of weapons.

In 452 he invaded the north of Italy, destroying Aquileia, Milan, and Padua; the horrified populations migrated from the cities and were safeguarded in the mountains or in the lagoons of the Adriatic. The Roman emperor of the West, Valentinian III, was about to succumb to Attila’s push; It was Pope Leo I who intervened and stopped the invasion, agreeing with Attila for his withdrawal in exchange for a tribute.

“Under the strong legs of Attila’s fearsome horse, grass and life did not grow again.

In the year 453 AD Atila died in his palace after the celebration of his marriage with the German Ildico, a beautiful maid that one of his sons had captured in one of his usual raids, the Hun King suffered a nosebleed suffered by a fall. Attila in his reign of 20 years contributed to the Hun peoples: the unification of the tribes, the creation of great companies of conquest, a powerful army and the remarkable growth of the empire.

Unfortunately, all this disappeared after his death, in sum there was a strong plague that left the Huns decimated and a strong attack led in 454 by Arderico, which destroyed the empire that was in the hands of the sons of Attila, forcing its withdrawal towards the Volga area. In the future, the Huns would not threaten Europe again. Attila was so important in medieval history and inspired several artists, for example, the baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi made a relief in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, which tells the time when Pope Leo I convinced Attila not to plunder Rome.

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