Atilla, leader of the Hunnic Empire in 434 A. D. , is most famous for sacking many towns in Eastern Europe, and in Rome particularly. He was a fierce fighter, and was known to be as savage as they get. He was a constant nuisance to Rome never leaving them completely alone in his thirst for money, and power. It seemed as if Attila could not be satisfied with any amount of money, and was definitely never satisfied with the state of his empire always wanting more expansion. Attila saw his first taste to power in 434 A.
D. after the death of his uncle Rugila (“Heritage History”). He and his brother, Bleda, were both next in line to control the Hun tribes. Attila’s men were scattered, and a few disagreeing nobles fled to Rome to seek refuge. Attila’s first important move as a leader was the negotiation for his men back. Bargaining with the Eastern Roman Emperor Attila received his men back, 350 Roman pounds, and open trade with Roman merchants. The deal was looked at as an early success for Attila (“Heritage History”).
I think that the first deal between Attila and Theodosius II was a mistake on the Roman Emperors part. I think that this gracious and kind act on the part of the Romans opens the door for Attila’s greed and hunger. Theodosius should have recognized the death of the Hunnish empires leader, been stern with Attila, and maybe even threaten to wipe him out. After all they were in disarray, were not truly unified, and would have been an easy target to take out at the time. Instead he helped the Hun’s have an opportunity to grow, and come back wanting more.
Theodosius obviously did recognize the Huns to be a threat, because when the Huns did recede, as a part of the treaty, he began reinforcing his walls as if he was getting ready for an attack (“Heritage History”). The Romans did not see the Huns for about five years, and then in 440 A. D. , after being defeated in Armenia, Attila set his eyes to Rome. First he laid waste to the merchants that had been setup as a part of the treaty, and then he began attacking forts alongside the river of Danube (“Heritage History”). Attila broke the first treaty between him and Theodosius, and it actually ended up working out better for Attila.
Soon after Attila began pillaging through Eastern Rome the Vandals began an attack on Carthage, the wealthiest city in Rome. Troops were called away to help stop the attack in Carthage, leaving a big void for Attila and his brother to run through in 441 A. D (Gordon). In 442 A. D. Theodosius recalled his troops from Sicily, believing that he could stop Attila and beat the Huns. Theodosius had a chance to reason with Attila before he sent all his troops to oppose him, but his pride forced him to refuse Attila’s demands (Gordon).
It would have looked better for him if he would have just met the demands, because he was defeated by Attila twice just outside of Constantinople. Attila never actually breached the walls at Constantinople, but he did come very close. The city was well guarded with two sets of walls around it. Theodosius admitted his defeat around 443 A. D. and had to meet the harsh demands of Attila. Attila received roughly 6,000 pounds of gold from the Romans, and charged them a yearly tribute (Gordon). To say that Attila was a problem for the Romans is to say the least, he was very close to overrunning them and ending their existence.
Attila, satisfied with what the treaty had brought him, withdrew himself back into the heart of his empire to plot more about how to take over the Romans. It was during this time, around 445 A. D. , that his brother Bleda is mysteriously murdered (“Heritage History”). Not much is recorded as to the actual cause of death, but it is a well-accepted notion that Attila had him killed so that he could have absolute power. Attila, having all the power to himself now, began another campaign against Rome in 447 A. D. He would face a former adversary Arnegisclus in the Battle of Utus.
Even though Attila had beaten Arnegisclus in the 443 campaign, the Battle of Utus was a fierce and bloody one for both sides (“Heritage History”). Severe losses took place on both sides, however the Huns came out victorious. Arnegisclus was knocked down from his horse, and was eventually killed while on foot. Attila in 450 A. D. decides to make and alliance with Valentinian III, a Western Roman Emperor, and attack the Visgoths. Attila had be diplomatically bribed towards the alliance, and he had a good relationship with one of the emperor’s general Aetius (“Heritage History”).
Things looked to finally be smoothed out between Attila and the Romans, but then Valentinian’s sister ruined it all. Honoria was the name of Valentinina’s sister, and when she was displeased with her arranged marriage, she called out for Attila to take her hand in marriage. Attila took the proposal very seriously and accepted, and was angered when Valentinian told him that his sister was not being genuine (“Heritage History”). Attila began making his way through the Roman Empire sacking cities on his way. Aetius began drawing his army to make a stand against Attila, and they met sound where around Orleans for the Battle of Cataluanum.
This battle is said to be one of the most important battle in the history of Europe and Christianity, because if Attila would have clearly won then he could have annihilated Roman culture, and Christianity could have been lost (Gordon). In the battle both sides suffer heavy losses, but the Huns are said to be the victors even though it wasn’t much of a victory. The damage done was enough to slow Attila and his army down from making their way to France. Attila, still wanting to claim his bride, sets for Italy (Gordon). There are a few different stories as to why Attila did not end up attacking Italy.
One is that Bishop of Rome Leo I met personally with Attila asking him to withdraw his army from Italy. What I think was the most reasonable answer for the withdrawal was the fact that Attila had suffered major losses, and it was said that his armies were suffering from disease and starvation (“Heritage History”). Whichever story is true Attila withdrew either way vowing to return. On his way home from Italy, Attila marries a young girl named Iidko, and on the morning after his wedding he is found dead, in a bed of blood.
The story is that Attila after a night of drinking suffered a massive nosebleed while lying down in his bed, and he drowned in his own blood. There are more theories on the actual cause of death of Attila. Some think that there was foul play, and that his newly wed wife killed him in his sleep, and some think he had a massive hemorrhage causing internal bleeding. After the death of Attila the Hunnic Empire was passed onto his sons, but there was much arguing over who had the most power. After a year or two the Huns were no longer an empire, and were blended into Germanic tribes across Europe.
Attila the Hun took the Hunnic Empire farther than it ever dreamed to go, and thankfully, to us Christians, he was stopped eventually. Gordon, Richard. “STOPPING ATTILA The Battle Of Chalons. ” Military History 20. 5 (2003): 34. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. “Victory Secrets Of Attila The Hun. ” Success 40. 2 (1993): 42. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. “Battle of Chalons: Attila the Hun versus Flavius Aetius. ” Military History. (2006): n. page. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. . “Attile the Hun. ” Heritage History. Heritage History, 2007. Web. 11 Oct 2012. .