Attila the Hun

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Attila the Hun

Although he reigned no more than 20 years as king of the Huns, the image of Attila in history and in the popular imagination is based upon two aggressive military campaigns in the last two years of his life which threatened to dramatically redirect the development of Western Europe.

Attila and his brother succeeded their uncle as leaders of the Huns in 434, with Attila in the junior position until his brother’s death 12 years later. History has it that Attila killed him or hired someone to do the job. Attila embarked immediately upon a series of wars extending the Hun rule from the Rhine, across the north of the Black Sea as far as the Caspian Sea. From that base he soon began a long series of negotiations with the capital of the Roman Empire at Constantinople in the East and Ravenna in the West.

Finally, Attila forged an alliance with the Franks and Vandals and in the spring of 451 he unleashed a long-threatened attack into the heart of Western Europe. After pillaging a broad swath of cities in his path, he was close to obtaining the surrender of Orleans when the combined Roman and Visigoth armies arrived and forced Attila’s retreat to the northeast.

Near Troyes the opposing forces joined battle at Chalons in one of the decisive battles of European history. Though the margin of victory was slim, the Western army prevailed, precipitating Attila’s withdrawal back across the Rhine and avoiding a decisive shift in the course of political and economic development in Western Europe. Attila’s adventures in the West had not ended, however. In the following year he launched a devastating campaign into Italy.

Little is known of Attila’s early life. Only that most people associate him as being a cruel leade...

... middle of paper ... his wedding day he was found dead, drowned in his drunken ness. The empire of the Huns dissipated nearly as fast as its famous leader. In 454 the Germanic tribes revolted against the Huns, and the sons of Attila, who had quarreled among themselves, could not deal with the crisis. In a sense, the Huns were defeated.

To his disadvantage Attila probably felt that he was invincible. He not only distrusted his sons to become successor he failed to even choose a one.

One of the quotes that I thought fit Attila the Hun was this, “No republic will ever be perfect if she has not by law provided for everything, having a remedy for every emergency, and fixed rules for applying it. And therefore I will say that those republics which in time of danger cannot resort to a dictatorship, or some similar authority, will generally be ruined when grave occasions occur.”

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