Attila the Hun

Attila the Hun



Attila is thought to have been born around AD 406. In AD 434, when he was about 30 years old, he and his brother Bleda succeeded to the Hunnic lordship after the death of their uncle. Despite the lust for plundering riches, the record reflects that Attila’s tastes were modest. He was not interested in the luxuries of Roman life. He ate meat on a wooden plate. His cup was wooden, while guests had silver goblets. His dress was simple, but clean. Observers noted that he was not easily entertained.  His aim was nothing less than total conquest.  It was said that he thought that he was meant to conquer the world. When a shepherd brought Attila a sword he’d found in a field, Attila convinced himself it was the Sword of Mars [god of War] and that it was a sign that his supremacy was somehow ordained.



These nomadic mounted archers descend from steppes of Central Asia with lightning speed and ferocity. Huns are dark-haired, their cheeks ritually scarred from childhood. They fight, eat, negotiate and even sleep on horseback.  The later Huns under Attila were technological marvels for their age. They also had infantry, and were capable of constructing huge siege-engines to assail the walls of strongly fortified towns. They hold their common council on horseback. They discuss matters of state collectively.


Range: Central Asia, Eastern Europe & the Caucasus


Image: Feast of Attila, 1870, the scene depicted is from fragment 8 of Priscus’ Byzantine History.