One of the most recognised names in history, Attila the Hun was a fighter who really made the headlines. Earning a reputation in the Roman Empire as a force to be reckoned with, Attila the Hun led his army into numerous battlefields, fighting for his right to take on the world. While he is considered as one of the fiercest warriors in history, very little else is really remembered about Attila the Hun, with many people knowing the conqueror by his name alone. To understand more about the leader, then, we must journey back several thousand years and take a closer look at life on the battlefield under his watch.
While his name evokes a sense of savagery, Attila the Hun was a relatively privileged individual, having been brought up amidst the most powerful family north of the Danube river. It is because of this fact that Attila received such an in depth training for life on the battlefield; from a young age, he was instructed in horse care, sword fighting and archery. Thanks to this upbringing, Attila was able to speak both Gothic and Latin, which is what enabled him to interact with the Romans when he came into power.
Despite all signs pointing the opposite way, Attila did initially try to invoke peace between his people and the Romans. Trying to negotiate a treaty with the Eastern Europeans, the leader lived relatively peaceably with his neighbors for some years. Wars erupted only years down the line, after a treaty was claimed to have been broken.
It was only after several years in power that Attila became Attila the Hun as he is known today. As well as killing his own brother in order to rise to power, the leader invaded Gaul in order to win a wife, taking the Western Empire as his new wife’s dowry. The storming of the Huns throughout Europe became so advanced that even after the Romans stopped the advancements of their opposition, they were forced to live under strict treaty rules.
Despite his thirst for power, however, Attila the Hun didn’t grow a taste for wealth. The ruler is believed to have lived a relatively humble life, eating simple food off wooden plates while his guests dined lavishly. Choosing modest dress, the leader overlooked the trappings of riches and gold, apparently focusing on the task ahead of his above all else.
A man feared for his conquests of Europe, Attila the Hun was a great deal more complex than the history books give him credit for. Simply by taking a closer look at the leader, we can begin to understand what might have motivated him in his moves and how a leader in the 5th century AD might have lived.