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The Life and Death of Attila the Hun

By Yona Williams    7/8/09

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When it comes to barbarians, Attila the Hun is one of the most well known of the bunch. Ruling the largest empire in Europe (north of Rome), he was in control of land situated in central Asia, Germany, sections of France, and in the Netherlands. His rule lasted from 433 AD to 453 AD. In this article, you will learn more about the life and death of the man that drummed up fear at the very mention of his name.

If you're wondering why Attila was the most feared individual of his time, it was his reputation for starting a war just for the heck of it that sent chills up and down the backs of opposing parties. Although he ordered the construction of palaces, he was quick to abandon.

You'd think that he'd be a flashy man with many treasures and excessive habits, but in reality, Attila was described as one who chose simple clothing, wore no jewels, and enjoyed his drinks from a mug made out of wood. He found great pleasure in killing, robbing villages (and monasteries), as well as taking women for his own delights. However, this would prove his downfall in the end.

When Attila turned 47 years old in 453 AD, he decided to take a break from pillaging so that he could take a seventh wife. Following a night filled with riotous partying, Attila went to his bridal tent, where he joined his newest bride – a young Germanic woman named Ildico. The next morning, he was discovered dead with a nosebleed. It is rumored that his new wife (who was known to have a heavy hand) may have inflicted a fatal blow during a session of rough intercourse and a system full of wine. Others believe that he was poisoned.

It is recorded that Attila battled a deviated septum for quite some time, which made him susceptible to nosebleeds. Upon discovering the body of their leader, no tears were shed, but instead, blood dripped over Attila's body as his warriors drew blood from their own arms. Leaving behind no monuments, learning institutions, or museums – the bulk of Attila's empire consisted of land and property. The fear he instilled in the minds and hearts of people soon dissipated, causing his kingdom to falter soon after his death.

To learn more about Attila the Hun, browse the following facts regarding his life and legacy:

·    The location where Attila the Hun died is Tisza Valley, Hungary.

·    With no distinct first-person account of how Attila the Hun looked, we have no choice but to rely on the second-hand account that describes him as: "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 tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin."

·    Throughout Hungary, a handful of public places have been named after Attila, including 10 streets and an Attila Lane, which is located behind the Buda Castle.

·    In 452, during his travels to claim marriage to a woman named Honoria, Attila invaded and destroyed Italy. As a result of the attacks, the city of Venice was born, as residents fled to small islands located in the Venetian Lagoon.

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