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Age of Antiquity » 400 AD/CE » 434 AD/CE

Attila the Hun

When: 434 - 453 AD/CE
Where: Rome, Roman Empire, Europe

The western movement of the Huns, who were of Asiatic ethnicity, set the Germans in motion during this period. The Huns had no permanent territory, but remained an important factor in the shaping and eventual carving of the empire.

Rome was known to concede lands to the Huns at times, and even put into service their ranks. When Attila the Hun become ruler of the Huns, Germans became part of their ranks, and they proceeded to terrorize all of Europe.

In 441 AD they invaded the eastern part of the empire; in 443 AD Rome managed to put to an end to this via a large sum of gold, and annual payouts.

Under emporer Theodosius II the payouts to the Huns continued. When Marcian took over as emporer, the gold stopped flowing.

Attila was in no position to enforce the payouts, as he was busy in the West territories. Through a strange twist of events, Honoria, the daughter of Galla Placidia, regent of Rome, was willing to become his bride to spite her parents. Attila jumped on this opporunity, claimed her as his bride (he already had several others) and proceeded to demand one-half of the Roman Empire from Valentinian III (as the share of his sister).

Attila was in alliance with Gaiseric, leader of the Vandals. Gaiseric had disgraced the king of the Visigoths (by cutting hist daughter's ears off), and asked Attila to quell the situation by waging war on the Visigoths.

In 451 AD the Huns' army forged into Gaul, and captured many towns. The Romans responded with an army led by Aetius; a good portion of that army was barbarians. Attila ended up in retreat.

One year later the Attila and the Huns invaded Italy. After capturing several cities, including Aqileia, they approaced Rome. Pope Leo intervened, and convinced Attila to cancel the attack. Due to Leo's influence, or perhaps disease and famine, the Huns retreated. Attila died a year later, leading to the end of the Huns and their empire.

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History Fact of the Month
Did you know ...

The Origin of Valentine's Day?

Valentines day dates back to Roman times, when a holiday called The Feast of Lubercus was celebrated to protect shepherds and their flocks from wolves. During this time of year, goddess Juno Februata was honored by pairing boys and girls and denoting them 'partners' for a year.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 497 AD, in an effort to replace pagan holidays with Christian tradition. Although the pairing ritual was banished, romance remains the distinctive attribute of this holiday.

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