Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Attila, or Etzel, born in 406 A.D., succeeded with his brother Bleda in 433 to the joint sovereignty of the Huns, then established in Pannonia. Having first made peace, and then quarrelled with the Emperor of the East, Theodosius II., they overran Thrace and Macedonia, and forced the helpless sovereign into the position of a tributary (446). Attila next procured the murder of his brother, and then collecting a huge army, estimated at half a million, set out for the Rhine. Theodoric, King of the Goths, was the nominal object of his attack, but Valentinian was well aware that his demand for the hand of Honoria would be the pretext for aggressions on the Western Empire. In 451 he defeated the Franks, crossed the Rhine, and advanced as far as Paris. As he was besieging Orleans the united forces of Goths under Theodoric, Romans under Aetius, and Franks under Merowig, beat him back to within a few miles of Chalons-sur-Marne, where a bloody battle ensued in which he was utterly defeated with the loss of a quarter of his horde. On retreat he devastated Northern Italy, and would have taken Rome but for the influence, it is said, of Pope Leo I., but more probably that he found his followers getting weary and enervated. Retiring beyond the Alps he spent some time in reorganising his power, but in an orgy on the day of his marriage with Hilda he broke a blood-vessel and died (453). He was buried in a gold coffin with immense treasure, and to prevent his grave being plundered the slaves who dug it were killed. Attila was a man of strong character, some military talent, and great ambition. His enemies called him "the Scourge of God," and his own boast was that "where his horse passed grass would not grow." At times he showed traits of savage magnanimity, and perhaps he was no worse than his contemporaries. With him the supremacy of the Huns came to an end.