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Attila the Hun - Term Paper Example

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He was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. Attila became well-known as one of the most ruthless rulers that the world had ever seen, a man who refused to let…
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Attila the Hun
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The Life and Times of Attila the Hun Attila, though more commonly referred to as Attila the Hun, was born in 406 AD in Central Asia. He was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. Attila became well-known as one of the most ruthless rulers that the world had ever seen, a man who refused to let anything or anyone get in his way. Attila’s threatening countenance towards the Romans, as well as to those close to him, is what set Attila in the history books. He left behind a never-ending legacy of heartlessness and viciousness, taking down everyone that stood in the way of his personal victory.
Very little is known about Attila’s childhood except that, at the young age of twelve, he was sent to the Roman Court as a child hostage (Matyszak 14). A child of the Romans was sent to the Huns in Attila’s place. When he was twenty-seven years old, Attila’s uncle, Rugila, died and left Attila and Attila’s brother, Breda, the Empire of the Huns. Prior to Rugila’s death, to prevent the Huns from invading, Rugila made it a requirement of the Romans to annually pay the Huns money. When Attila and Breda took over the empire after Rugila’s death, the Romans ceased paying the money, prompting Attila to invade the Eastern Roman Empire. Attila’s fierceness motivated the Romans to never miss a payment again, though they had to start paying double the original amount.
After Attila’s success in making it clear to the Romans that he was the man in charge, he then decided that the same should also apply to his brother. Tired of sharing his rule, Attila and his allies murder Breda. With nobody standing in his way of being the emperor, Attila had no problem taking complete charge of his empire and the surrounding areas. To make his strength known among others, Attila raided the Eastern Roman Empire once again, in 447 AD and conquered the Thermopylae. After his success, Theodosius II, the ruler of the Roman Empire, resigned the peace treaty, though now Attila was expecting him to pay four times the original amount to prevent being invaded again.
Attila had a winning streak, one that was successful more out of evilness and threat than actual luck, but it was not meant to last. Though he instilled his terror throughout the hearts of everyone who knew him, he still met his downfall in 450 AD during a war against the Western Roman Empire. Earlier that year, Attila had received a letter from Princess Honoria of the Western Roman Empire asking for his hand in marriage so that she could escape an unwanted impending marriage. Attila declared war against the Empire to fight his way to Honoria, but the Empire, combined with the Visigoths, fought against Attila and successfully defeated him. Not only was he unable to marry the princess, but he gave up terrorizing the Romans.
Attila married in 453 AD and died that same night, though his death was not fitting for him. For a man who ruled the way he did, frightening everyone that he could, he died after choking to death during a heavy nosebleed (Kelly 322). Despite this fact, his cause of death is still unknown; he choked from the bleeding, but it is not known how he obtained the nosebleed to begin with. Attila was buried in the river Tisza, and the people who buried him were lated murdered, most likely to keep the location of the burial a secret. The Huns were divided, and the legacy of the Huns was lost after Attila died.
Attila is important to our understanding of world civilization because of the role he played in Roman society. Attila the Hun “created a loose kingdom of central Asia nomads running from Germany to China, and his invasion of Rome helped accelerate its collapse (Stearns 253)”. The fall of the Roman Empire was one of the greatest events in history, bringing about many important changes to that part of the world. To understand Attila and his atrocious rule is to understand what aided the Roman Empire in its collapse.
Works Cited
Kelly, Christopher. The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. Print.
Matyszak, Philip. The Enemies of Rome: From Hannibal to Attila the Hun. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2009. Print.
Stearns, Peter N.. World Civilizations: The Global Experience. 4th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. Print. Read More
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