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Attila the Hun & Flavius Aetius
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Attila, King of the Huns (circa 406-453 A.D.) 

In his own day he and his Huns were known as the "Scourge of God," and the devastation they caused in Gaul (what is now France) before the great Battle of Châlons in 451 A.D. became a part of medieval folklore and tradition.  One of the most feared and notorious barbarians of all time, Attila is believed to be of distant Mongol stock, he ravaged much of the European continent during the 5th century A.D. which threatened to dramatically redirect the development of Western Europe.  Attila and his brother succeeded their uncle as leaders of the Huns in 434, with Attila in the junior role until his brother's death (perhaps at Attila's hand) 12 years later. The Hun kingdom was centered in modern-day Hungary. Attila embarked immediately upon a series of wars extending Hun rule from the Rhine across the north of the Black Sea as far as the Caspian Sea. From that base he soon began a long series of saber-rattling negotiations with the capitals of the Roman Empire at Constantinople in the East and Rome in the West. In the Spring of 451, Attila forged an alliance with the Franks and Vandals and unleashed his long-threatened attack into the heart of Western Europe. After pillaging a broad swath of cities in his path, he was near obtaining the surrender of Orleans when the combined Roman and Visigoth armies under the command of the Roman General Flavius Aetius forced Attila's retreat to the northeast. 
If Flavius had not been successful in holding back the Hun invasion the whole course of Western history might have been changed. Unlike most other Barbarians of the age, the Huns were not Christians, and their respect for the Graeco-Roman Christian civilization of the Late Empire was much more limited even than that of Visigoth and Vandal.  Perhaps Rome's last great service to the West was to serve as a buffer between the Asiatic Huns and the Germanic Barbarians whose destiny was to lay the medieval foundations of the modern, western nations.  Aetius had been blamed by many Italians for not having destroyed Attila and the Huns in Gaul, but "the last of the Romans" had contributed substantially to the ruin of the once proud Barbarian nation.  Its place in the pages of history was over. 

In 452, Attila attempted to invade Rome again but withdrew after a meeting with Rome's Bishop, the Holy Roman Pontiff, Pope Leo I.  Attila died in 453.  It is told that he took a new, young, beautiful bride, a woman named Ildico, though he already had a coterie of wives.  The wedding day was spent in heavy drinking and partying, and Attila took his new bride to bed that night in drunken lust. The next morning it was discovered that he had died.  In his drunkenness he had choked to death in his own nosebleed.  The new bride was found quivering in fear in the great man's bedquarters.  It is possible, although unsubstantiated, that in a conspiracy that involved Flavius Aetius, Ildico assinated Attila.  The empire of the Huns dissipated nearly as quickly as its most famous leader. 
Flavius Aetius, Roman General (circa 396-454 A.D.) 

"Aetius, c.396-454, Roman general.  At first unfriendly to Valentinian III, he later made his peace with Valentinian's mother, Galla Placidia, and was given a command in Gaul.  An ambitious general, he was embroiled in difficulties with his rival Boniface, who defeated him near Rimini in 432. Aetius went briefly into exile among the Huns but returned in 433 and rose to be the chief ruler of the Western Empire. He defeated the Germans in Gaul, then crowned his career by commanding (451) Roman and Visigothic troops in the repulse of Attila and the Huns in the battle near the modern Châlons-en-Champagne-a battle generally said to have saved the West.  Valentinian, presumably jealous of Aetius' success, had him murdered." 

    from The History 

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