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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Attila

Attila the Hun (406-453) was called "Scourge of God" by the Romans, "Etzel" by the Germans, "Ethele" by the Hungarians and something unrepeatable by a lot of people.

Young Attila was a member of the ruling family of the Huns. His warlord dad Rugila was a major factor in the Huns' early victories over the Roman Empire.

Priscus, a historian who travelled with Maximin on an embassy from Theodosius II in 448 described Attila as a Hun but no hunk. He said he was: "Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and a swarthy complexion, showing the evidences of his origin.

The Romans complained how much Attila and his fellow Huns smelled. The Barbarians had not got into the Roman habit of bathing.

Attila was a skilled archer. He and his fellow Huns shot their arrows from horseback at full gallop with unerring accuracy.

Attila had a fairly superficial Arian Christian faith which at least helped him to maintain certain high standards of Christian morality. Most of the conquering Barbarian tribes were in fact Arian Christians, so much church property was left unransacked, as they had tremendous reference for Christian relics and treasures.

Attila indirectly founded a great city. The story goes that families fleeing Attila and his hordes ended up in a series of mudbanks within a lagoon at the head of the Adriatic Sea. They stayed there, the settlement grew and it became Venice.

Despite being short, squat, ugly Attila acquired 12 wives. Attila's 12th wife was Ildico, a beautiful German. However he died on their wedding night.

There are conflicting accounts that Attila was poisoned, had a severe nosebleed or according to the Roman Count Marcellinus "pierced by the hand and blade of his wife."

When Attila died, his troops cut his hair and slashed their faces " to mourn with blood rather than tears."

The unfortunate men who buried Attila and his treasures were put to death so that his burial place would remain unknown.

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