Attila († 453 ) was from 434 (as co-ruler together with his brother Bleda ) or 444/45 (as sole ruler) until his death "King" ( rex ) of the warriors' association of the Huns . The center of his sphere of influence was the area of today's Hungary , where the Huns established a short-lived empire in the 5th century, which experienced the greatest development of power under Attila, but collapsed again shortly after his death.
Attila repeatedly undertook military campaigns, which were often carried out with great severity and initially directed against Eastern Rome, but in 451/52 mainly against Western Rome. In addition, he maintained diplomatic contacts with both parts of the empire, the main aim of which was to enforce the highest possible tribute payments from the Romans, which Attila needed to hold together his loosely built multi-ethnic empire. The Romans, in turn, were interested in the most stable conditions possible in the neighboring Barbaricum in order to secure the borders. An important source for the Roman-Hunnic contacts of this time is the fragmentary historical work of the Priskos .
Basics of Hunnic rule formation
The Huns , one from Central Asia originating, probably heterogeneous composite equestrian people of unknown origin, triggered by the prevailing opinion by 375 the so-called migration of nations like she the Goths expelled and other tribes from their ancestral seats in Eastern Europe, which resulted in a wave-like movement of refugees result. Around 400 the Huns came into the immediate vicinity of the Roman Empire , and in the first half of the 5th century they established their own rulership in the Hungarian lowlands.
The Hunnic rule was very loosely structured in the form of a “ steppe empire ”. It was based essentially on the military skills of the Huns, who had not only subjugated Germanic tribal groups and Romans , but were also in contact with the Roman Empire in the west and east. In the sources, Hunnic reges (which is to be understood here only to a limited extent as “kings”) and phylarchoi (tribal leaders) are mentioned. Again and again there were (albeit limited) armed attacks by the Huns on Roman territory, often aimed at extorting money from the Romans. The sources document several Roman embassies to the Huns, such as that of Olympiodorus of Thebes in 412 to the Huns in the Danube region and the journey of Priscus to the court of Attilas in 449. In this connection there was evidently not infrequently tensions; Olympiodorus reports not only on the trip, but also on the murder of the Hun leader Donatus and the anger of the Hun king Charaton over this act.
The “classical” orientated Greek-speaking Eastern Roman historians referred to the Huns as “ Scythians ” (Skythai), referring to traditional ethnographic ideas . In the following period the term Hun was used by Greek (Byzantine) historians for groups from the Pontic steppe area north of the Black Sea, such as the Kutrigurs . A distinction must also be made between the Western Huns (in the Balkans) and the so-called Iranian Huns in Central Asia (see also the explanations in the article Late Antiquity ).
The Huns were not only opponents, but also acted as partners of Rome. The imperial courts in Milan and later Ravenna (in the west) and in Constantinople (in the eastern empire) endeavored to maintain the best possible relations with the Huns in order to prevent Hunnic advances into the empire. Attila's predecessor Rua acted several times as an opponent and partner of Rome and apparently received payments for it. The Huns were dependent on this in order to hold the ruling association together through material donations to their own followers, while the Romans were interested in the most stable conditions possible in the non-Roman Barbaricum in order to reduce the risk of hostile attacks by the Huns or tribes subordinate to them from this area
The Huns could achieve their goal of participating in the prosperity of the empire, basically as recruited mercenaries, as pillaging warrior groups or by indirect pressure and extortion of tributes. The material dependence of the Huns is quite typical of the network of relationships between equestrian peoples and the settled and state-organized communities bordering on them: As a result of their often precarious livelihood, equestrian peoples were dependent on the resources of settled societies, which resulted in a situation of tension that research calls " endemic Conflict ”. Even at the height of their power, the Huns apparently did not have an adequate material supply base or, due to the loose structure of their rule, were dependent on the distribution of booty.
Apparently Rua could be a relatively reliable partner; so he supported Flavius Aëtius in 433 , who had spent part of his youth as a hostage with the Huns. With the help of Ruas Huns, Aëtius prevailed in the western empire in the internal power struggle there, in 436 he destroyed the Burgundian empire on the Rhine with the support of Hunnic warriors . The latter process probably forms the historical core of the Nibelungen saga ; However, the Huns fighting on the Rhine at that time were probably mercenaries ( foederati ) specially recruited by the Romans .
Little is known about Attila's early years. He was probably born around 400; his father was called Mundzuk , his mother's name is unknown. Mundzuk was probably a leader of the Huns in the Balkans, together with his brothers Oktar and Rua (also called Ruga), who exercised a Hunnic double kingship for some time, but his exact position of rule is unknown. In research it is also sometimes assumed that Mundzuk had no part in the Hunnic royalty.
Rua died in 434 under unexplained circumstances. Attila, together with his brother Bleda, completed the far-reaching unification of the Huns in the Balkans, which their uncle had begun, although Attila never ruled over all Huns. In addition to special groups such as the Akatziren , who were subjugated around 448/49, the large warrior association that was subordinate to him and Bleda included very different Germanic and even smaller Iranian groups ( Alans ).
After Rua's death, the brothers concluded the treaty of Margus with the Eastern Roman Empire in 434 (the date is disputed) . The treaty clearly favored the Huns. The Romans were obliged to extradite Huns who had fled and had to allow the Huns access to markets. In addition, there was a unilateral obligation of neutrality on the part of the Romans, who were not allowed to conclude a treaty directed against the Huns with another party, as well as tributes from the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II. Instead of the 350 gold pounds that Rua had received, the Romans were now to pay 700 gold pounds a year.
The tensions between Ostrom and the Huns persisted, while Attila and Bleda gained considerable prestige. Again and again the Romans used opportunities to relieve themselves of the Hunnic pressure; payments should always only buy time. On the other hand, Attila was not interested in a large-scale face-to-face confrontation, especially since the track record of Hunnian troops in the 5th century was not exceptional. Ostrom delayed further negotiations, so Attila and Bleda carried out a major offensive against the Eastern Empire in 441/42; The occasion was the plundering of Hunnic royal tombs by the bishop of the city of Margus . Several forts and cities were conquered and looted, including strategically important places such as Viminacium , Singidunum and Sirmium , which fell in 441/42. Theodosius' advisers reacted and a provisional agreement was reached, but shortly afterwards the Romans, who had restored their border fortifications, stopped making payments.
Nevertheless, Attila, who was busy with an internal dispute, decided against a new offensive. He killed his brother Bleda in 444/45 and assumed sole rule over the Huns.
Court and empire
Attila set up his main camp in what is now the Hungarian lowlands on the Tisza , at the fulcrum between the Eastern Roman and Western Roman Empire . He consolidated his rule over the subjugated tribal groups and was able to appear stronger against the western and eastern rivers. He resided in a splendid wooden palace, which the Eastern Roman ambassador and historian Priskos described on the face of it:
“We crossed several rivers and came to a very large village. There was a stately house there, which was supposed to be larger and more beautiful than any of Attila's other residences. It was made of beams, had paneled walls and was surrounded on all sides by a picket fence, not for protection but for decoration. "
With regard to the internal conditions in the empire and at the court of Attila, only very few sources are available, primarily the representation of the price. From his descriptions it can be inferred that several dignitaries of Attila lived quite comfortably in the vicinity of the court. The noble Hun Onegesios , who held a high position at court and was a close confidante of Attila, had a stone bath house built for himself, which the Attilas family also used. As can be seen from the Priscos report, Gothic and Latin were spoken at court in addition to Hunnic. Attila evidently leaned heavily on the Mediterranean world of late antiquity , whereby he - like the Teutons in their empires - took the practice of Roman rule as a model for the government of his large, multi-ethnic empire. The king of the Huns even seems to have had a rudimentary administrative apparatus based on the Roman model; at least he had a law firm, because among other things he employed the Roman Orestes as secretary (notarius) , whose predecessor a Roman from Gaul named Constantius had acted as his predecessor.
However, Attila's empire was very loosely structured and in no way administratively structured like the Roman western and eastern empires. It was organized as an association of people. Selected confidants (Huns, Teutons and some Romans) performed important functions at court and fought for influence. Such a system of rule was by no means particularly stable. The great or tribal leaders had to be bound to the ruler through rich gifts and other tokens of favor. It was primarily the big players who benefited from this; The respective tribes, whose loyalty Attila thus secured, also participated indirectly. For them, the Hunnic rule represented an alternative to the Roman rule. Grave finds indicate the “multiculturalism” of the Attila Empire. Most of the grave finds are more likely to be attributed to Germanic tribes and prove the material advantages for members of the Huns of foreign origin. Priskos also reports of individual Romans who had come to terms with the Hunnic rule.
Attila's rule was not based primarily on an inherited position, but (quite typical for the "royal dignity" in the migration period , see Heerkönig ) on his military and diplomatic skills, which not only brought him profits, but also his entourage. The ruler of the Huns was therefore dependent on a constant flow of sufficient financial resources, which he obtained through looting and, above all, in the form of Roman tribute payments. If this flow of money broke off, the situation became critical for him. Therefore, he was always under strong pressure to achieve materially usable successes with which he won prestige. To stabilize his rule he was dependent on the empire and its resources and relied on the steady influx of gold and prestige goods from the Roman empire. This area of tension was typical of the role played by nomadic equestrian groups in relation to sedentary societies; a similar example is the policy of the Chinese towards the “barbarians” in the north of their empire (see also heqin ).
In personal contact, Attila does not seem to have been uncomfortable at all. He behaved in a friendly manner towards Roman envoys, which of course did not prevent him from vehemently representing his own interests and, if necessary, enforcing them by force. Priskos reports on several confidants in Attila's environment. The notary Orestes played an important role at the Hunnenhof and was entrusted with diplomatic missions several times. Later (475) he proclaimed his son Romulus Augustulus to be the last Western Roman emperor. Attila's most important confidante was apparently Onegesios, who also performed diplomatic tasks. Following Herodotus, Priskos called the leading tribe of the Huns the "royal Scythians". In addition, various groups such as the Gepids and Ostrogoths were important in the Attila Empire. The Huns relied on the troops of subordinate Teutons for their campaigns. Another confidante of Attila was the Gepid prince Ardarich , who later profited from the collapse of the Attila Empire, revolted against the Huns and established his own short-lived empire in the Danube region. Edekon later acted in a similar way , who after the fall of Hunnic power also sought to form his own rule. With Attila's death (453) the thin unifying bond of the tribes ruled by the Huns finally died out. Like Ardarich and Onegesios , Edekon belonged to - as Priskos calls them - logades Attilas, the "chosen ones". Probably these were not officials, but rather prominent confidants of the Hun king.
Relationship to Westrom
Attila initially maintained good contacts with Westrom. The main reason for this was the politics of the Western Roman army master ( magister militum ) Flavius Aëtius , who had known the Huns well for years and had already cooperated with Rua when he had made Hunnish troops available to him for the power struggle in the western empire. Although Aëtius formally only on behalf of the Western Roman emperor Valentinian III. acted, he had real power in the western empire. From the Roman point of view, the tribute payments to the Huns, on which Attila, like Rua, was dependent, could well appear to be sensible. The Romans benefited from having a contact person in Attila who could control the groups of warriors on the other side of the Danube: as long as relations with him remained relatively good, the risk of hostile raids on Roman territory was reduced. This arrangement required the Romans to meet their payment obligations.
Perhaps the Romans left parts of Pannonia to the Huns . This is derived from a passage in Priskos and is often dated to the year 433. However, the details are unclear and the assignment is partially disputed in research. In any case, Aëtius maintained very good relations with the Huns in the following years. Despite repeated raids, Attila saw a long-term, regulated relationship with Rome as an important factor in stabilizing and supplying his loosely constructed area of rule. In 439 an association consisting of Hunnic mercenaries under the command of the Roman Litorius (formally a subordinate of Aëtius, but who seems to have competed with him) was defeated by the (Western) Goths before Toulouse . In 444/45 tensions seem to have existed between Attila and the court of Ravenna, but these did not ultimately lead to an open confrontation. Serious fighting from the Huns at that time only affected Eastern Roman territory. Aëtius benefited considerably from this state until 451. However, the relationship was never completely free of tension.
In 449 a high-ranking Western Roman embassy appeared at Attila's court, including Tatulus and Romulus, the father and father-in-law of Attila's secretary Orestes. There they met the Eastern Roman embassy to which Priscus belonged. The exact mandate of the Western Roman legation is unclear. In any case, people at the western Roman imperial court seem to have been concerned about whether the king of the Huns could still be appeased in the future. The admission of the last Gaulish Bagauden leader , the doctor Eudoxius, to the Hunnischen court in the year 448, as well as the fact that Attila was in contact with the vandal ruler Geiserich , who now ruled in the former Roman province of Africa , will have contributed to this concern . It is possible that Attila was raised honorary army master by the Western Roman emperor in 444/45, but the details are controversial in recent research. Either way, a confrontation might only be a matter of time, especially since the award of the army master's office to the Huns posed legal problems.
Relationship to Eastern Stream
The Romans in East and West seem to have largely accepted the establishment of the Hunnic sphere of influence at first, as it gave rise to hope that peace would return to the extremely troubled foothills of the empire. The relationship between Attila, whose rulership bordered directly on the Eastern Empire, and the Eastern Romans remained tense. After the offensive of 441, Attila undertook several further campaigns against Ostrom, as Theodosius II had stopped paying annual fees to the Huns (probably 444).
In 447 Attila defeated the Eastern Roman army master Arnegisclus , who fell in battle, and advanced as far as Thermopylae . The Hunnic campaigns had devastating effects on the Roman border areas in the Balkans. Several thousand prisoners are reported in the narrative sources, archaeological evidence shows that there was greater destruction during this period. Priskos reports that Naissus 449 was an abandoned city. In autumn 447 the war ended with the so-called Anatolius Peace, which is named after the Roman negotiator Flavius Anatolius. It was the greatest victory of the Huns over the Empire. Theodosius II had to commit himself in a new contract ( foedus ) to substantial annual payments to Attila: one-time 6,000 gold pounds and then 2,100 gold pounds annually. This treaty again demonstrates the economic importance of Roman tributes to the Huns. In general, economic issues seem to have played a major role in various Eastern Roman-Hunnic embassies. The tribute payments proved to be a bit of a burden for the Romans. They might appear to be a cheaper alternative to military risks, but they were associated with a loss of prestige. Attila had achieved his goal for the time being and was at the height of his power.
Relations worsened in 449 when Attila learned that Ostrom had commissioned his assassination; the plans failed early on. Priskos, who took part in an Eastern Roman delegation to Attila, reports on it. Probably in the summer of 449 the Eastern Roman chief negotiator Maximinus, whom Priskos accompanied not only on this mission, left Constantinople, accompanied by Attila's confidants Edekon and Orestes. The assassination attempt had apparently been planned and prepared in an amateurish way by the imperial eunuch Chrysaphios, a close confidante of Theodosius. Attempts had been made to win over people from Attila's environment, which failed miserably. Maximinus, who was not directly involved, could not achieve a viable compensation. In 450, Theodosius' successor, Markian, stopped making annual payments to the Huns again. This time, however, there was no Hun offensive against the Eastern Empire. Attila had to look around for a new source of money, as the devastated Balkans would hardly have given up any more booty and Markian, unlike his predecessor, was militarily competent. The rich Roman provinces of the Orient were beyond the reach of Attila's army.
Campaign to Gaul
In the Western Roman Empire, meanwhile, the sister of Emperor Valentinian III, Justa Grata Honoria , was punished for power struggles at court and (allegedly) for breaking a vow of chastity and married against her will. Now Honoria asked Attila through an intermediary for help against Aëtius and, according to Jordanes , who lived a century after the events, also made him an offer of marriage. The historicity of the story is controversial and other political considerations certainly played a role. Attila's contemporary Priscus is the main source; he also reports of Honorias calling for help to Attila, but not of an offer of marriage. Honoria had therefore turned to Attila through an intermediary, the eunuch Hyacinthus, and offered him money if he should support her against Aëtius. It cannot be ruled out that the above-mentioned Western Roman legation made contact as early as 449. Whatever the exact background to the “Honoria affair”: What is certain is that Attila now threatened Westrom with war.
However, Aëtius did not think of giving in to the Hun and thereby jeopardizing his own political position in the western empire. Thereupon Attila invaded Gaul in the spring of 451 . Another pretext he used was a dispute over the succession of a Frankish tribe. The exact route from his main camp to the west is unknown, but the invaded Gallic cities are fairly well documented. Augusta Treverorum was besieged by the Huns, Metz fell on April 7 , followed by Reims . The train went on via Troyes in the direction of Orléans , which Attila besieged in vain. In this room Aëtius confronted the Huns. Although he only had a fraction of the old Western Roman army (not least because of the lack of income from Africa and Hispania , where Germanic tribal groups had taken over), he managed to organize an effective resistance, focusing primarily on the Visigoths settled in Aquitaine . They sided with Aëtius shortly before the decisive battle, although their relationship with the army master had been strained in the past. In the battle of the Catalaunian fields , which is mostly believed to be near Châlons-en-Champagne , Aëtius fought back Attila's multiethnic army in the second half of June 451 with an equally mixed combat alliance of Romans, Visigoths and other Teutons with heavy losses. The information in this regard fluctuates, and reliable figures can hardly be determined.
Allegedly Aëtius hesitated to pursue the retreating Huns or to allow the Visigoths to do so; possibly he wanted to see both Huns and Visigoths weakened so that both sides could continue to play off against each other. In fact, Attila's withdrawal was a strategic defeat. Research emphasizes that the Huns never succeeded in defeating a large Roman army in open battle. The planned conquest of Gaul had failed. This was associated with a considerable loss of prestige for the Hun ruler.
Despite the defeat in Gaul, Attila's attacking power was clearly unbroken. He fell in Italy as early as 452 and thus in the center of the western empire. The western Roman troops had obviously suffered so high losses in the previous year that neither the Alpine passes could be defended nor the Huns could be put to battle again. Aquileia was destroyed after a long siege; According to legend, the refugees in the lagoon laid the nucleus for what would later become Venice. In addition, Milan (an imperial residence city after all), Bergamo , Padua , Verona and other cities were conquered. However, the advance soon stalled.
In the sources, an encounter between Attila and the then Pope Leo I is shown to be essential for the Hun's decision to withdraw, but it is doubted in research that the conversation had any major impact; the alleged rescue of Rome through the intervention of Leo is mostly considered a myth. This legend is unbelievable, among other things, because the sources of Attila's meeting with the Western Roman delegation, which included high-ranking imperial officials (such as the Praetorian prefect Trygetius and Gennadius Avienus, the consul of 450), in northern Italy on the Mincio River , so far from Rome locate; so it took place when the Huns had already broken off the march towards Rome. However, it is conceivable that Attila, who was under pressure to succeed, received payments from the imperial ambassadors and then decided to avoid further risks and to move away for good. In Italy, the Huns had to struggle with supply problems and epidemic outbreaks, which gave their army a lot of trouble, so that conquering Rome or Ravenna was no longer seriously contemplated. Attila's resources were exhausted. Hydatius von Aquae Flaviae also reports that Emperor Markian sent troops to Italy with which Aëtius could now resist the Huns. So Attila had to move away again without being able to show successes and larger prey that would have justified the effort. Aëtius had been able to hold his own.
Attila withdrew to his dominion in the Hungarian lowlands. His power was at its peak. Ostrom still refused the annual money and had stabilized under Markian, the Balkans had long been plundered, and the forays into Gaul and Italy had failed. For a ruler like Attila, whose power rested almost exclusively on military success and material gains, this was fatal.
Death and consequences
Little is known about Attila's last months. Priskos reports that after his return from Italy he planned to take action against the Eastern Empire. Attila had the reason for this because in 452, around the same time as his Italian campaign, eastern Roman troops attacked the Hunnic settlement area and won a significant victory there.
“This [Attila] married, as the historian Priskos reports, at the time of his death a very beautiful girl named Ildico, after having had innumerable wives, as was the custom of his people. He bonded with her and, excited too much about the wedding, lay leaning back, weighed down with wine and sleep, choking him from the blood that oozed from his nose as it was hindered in its usual flow and him by one deadly discharge from the throat. "
This description fits the picture of a barbarian ruler who allegedly lived dissolute and whose death (especially not in battle) might appear to the Romans as a punishment from God; but it contradicts the eyewitness account of the Priskos, who emphasizes Attila's moderate way of life. Other sources claim that Attila's young bride killed the Hun ruler. Johannes Malalas reports on the death of Attila on the basis of the Priscos report (the information probably came from an intermediate source), but expands this to include an alternative narrative; as a result, Aëtius himself was behind the murder of his Hunnish rival, which he had carried out by a bribed bodyguard. The later medieval tradition further adorned the death narrative.
Attila's empire only survived its end for a short time. Succession battles quickly broke out, and several of the conquered peoples renounced Hunnic rule. Without Attila's leadership, his empire collapsed within a year. His sons Ellac , Ernak and Dengizich , whom he had from several wives, did not succeed in establishing their own rulers. In the Battle of the Nedao (454/55) the Huns lost their supremacy in battle with insurgent groups. The Empire of the Huns fell apart because it was too loosely structured and too focused on the ruler. In addition, Attila had recently suffered several military setbacks. Several of his closest followers such as Ardarich and Edekon now secured parts of the empire. The consequences of the collapse of the Attila Empire may have had an impact as far as Central Asia, when groups of the Huns continued to threaten Persia.
With the break-up of the Hunnic area, the situation beyond the Roman borders was destabilized again. The groups previously controlled by the Huns again attacked Roman territory. While Eastern Rome on the Danube regained order, the difficult political and military situation in Western Rome soon worsened. Aëtius, who after Attila's death tried to have his son as son-in-law and successor to Valentinian III. enforce, was murdered in 454 by this, who in turn was killed six months later by former followers of the army master. With that, Westrom finally fell into chaos. The Western Roman Empire in Italy was extinguished in 476.
Late antiquity and early medieval sources and evaluations
The sources are unfavorable, the reports are very sketchy and the chronology is partly controversial. In addition to archaeological finds, the narrative sources, which place the various actions in a wider context, are particularly important. Attila is usually described very gloomy in the late antique sources. This is certainly due to the extreme brutality of his campaigns, but also to the fact that the representations are mostly from the perspective of partisans of his opponent Aëtius.
The already mentioned, very well-informed contemporary historian Priskos provides a relatively unbiased account that does not gloss over the behavior of the Huns . His Greek-language work, which has only survived in fragments, was stylistically based on Herodotus and Thucydides and was thus in the tradition of classicist ancient historiography. It covered the period from 430 to 474 in eight books. Priskos stayed with an Eastern Roman embassy at Attila's court in 448/9 and is therefore an important eyewitness. A longer excerpt with its description of the processes and conditions there has been preserved. This makes it the most important source for the conditions at the Hunnenhof; the other sources mainly describe the military events.
The explanations given by Jordanes in his Latin work Getica , written around 551, are also important . Jordanes drew his information from a now lost template, according to his testimony of the Gothic history of Cassiodorus . Often he does not name his sources, but in some cases he invokes Priskos. The information given by the Jordanes is not always trustworthy; it must be taken into account that he may not have read Priskos himself, but got the information about Cassiodorus. However, some researchers assume that both Cassiodorus and Jordanes drew from the representation of the priscus. Under these circumstances it is partly unclear how accurate statements are in detail. The image of Attila in Jordanes is ambivalent, but since his work was completely preserved, it had a considerable influence on posterity. It provides a brief sketch of the ruler's character, including a description of his supposed appearance. Attila appears as a self-confident ruler who is not afraid of the Romans and who is firmly convinced of himself, which, however, leads to high spirits and ultimately to his defeat. This assessment is very likely, directly or indirectly, due to Priskos.
Otherwise, only relatively sparse and scattered source statements on Attila have survived, for example in some late antique chronicles and in Prokopios of Caesarea , who used Priskos directly or via an intermediate source , and John of Antioch (only preserved in fragments), in the histories of the early medieval bishop and Historian Gregory of Tours and with the Byzantine historian Theophanes (early 9th century).
Attila lived on as a legendary figure in numerous medieval and modern works. These include in particular the Servatius legend , the Nibelungenlied , the Völsunga saga and the Thidrek saga . In the legendary tradition, Attila appears not least in the context of the Burgundy legends, together with other legendary figures such as Dietrich von Bern . In this context, historical and mythical narratives were often fused together.
In the Nibelungenlied, written around 1200, Attila appears as Etzel , the great King of the Huns. Etzel is the common form of name Attila in medieval German literature; it must have already been well known from other stories. Etzel marries the Burgundy princess Kriemhild , who wants to take revenge on her brothers for the death of her lover Siegfried . Kriemhild's plan was created at Etzel's farm. However, this is described positively, and it is not directly blamed for the downfall of the Burgundians; rather, he is “a concerned spectator with dazed senses”.
The representation in the Old Norse works of Edda poetry is completely different . There he appears in the form of Atli more as an intriguer, as a driving force in the plot against the Burgundians, for example in the Atlilied . In most of the Edda songs he acts as an opponent of the heroes Gunnar and Hogni. The image of Attila in the Thidrek saga, where the "Hune" also plays an important role, is ambivalent and clearly distinguishable from its features in the Nibelungenlied. Attila (Atli) is the ruler of Hunaland (in today's northwestern Germany) and the second son of a Friesian king. He is lured into a trap and starved to death, and Thidrek succeeds him. In the medieval German Dietrichepik (" Dietrichs Flucht ", Hildebrandslied , " Rabenschlacht "), Attila appears as Etzel in a heroic-courtly context. There it is described how Dietrich, assumed to be heroized Theodoric the Great , goes to Etzel's court and who supports him against his enemy ( Odoacer or Ermanaric ). In Waltharius , Attila appears marginally as a glorious ruler. In the various heroic epics, Attila is emphasized differently, be it in a positive or in a negative sense. In this sense, there are very different attila images from medieval traditions.
In church tradition, Attila is described as an enemy of humanity. He was considered the "scourge of God" (flagellum Dei) , who punished the Romans for their vicious life. In the corresponding vitae of saints, such as the Vita sanctae Genovefae , it is emphasized that it was holy men and women who persuaded Attila to spare their city.
Attila appears not only in Germanic sagas, but also in Old French, Old Spanish, Hungarian and other vernacular works. For the late medieval Italian poet Dante , Attila was a destroyer; Dante had him burned in the Divina Commedia in the seventh circle of hell. In addition, numerous local Attila legends emerged, such as in Troyes , in the vicinity of which the decisive battle of 451 took place. The legend of St. Ursula also kept his name popular. Venice saw Attila's move to Italy as the immediate reason for its foundation as a result of the movement of refugees it triggered. The founding legend of a previously uninhabited Venetian lagoon appears for the first time in De administrando imperio by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII . Martino da Canale mentions the year 421 for the first time as the founding date of Venice.
In contrast to the Western and Southern European image of Attila, the historiography of the Hungarians identified the Hungarian kingship strongly with Attila from the Gesta Hungarorum of Simon von Kéza (1285), who claimed that Hungarians were descended from the Huns. This was almost a counterpart to Alexander the Great . This was due to the fact that, even after converting to Christianity in Central and Western Europe, Hungarians were still considered pagan and discredited, a tendency that only turned into the opposite with the attacks of the Ottomans . Hungary, regarded in the 16th century as a champion of the Christian West, had long accepted Attila as the ancestor of its kings. In addition, the "Scythians" - an extremely vaguely used term for all peoples from Eastern Europe - were all claimed as ancestors. To this day, the first name “Attila” is widespread in Hungary, and the name “ Ildikó ” was second in frequency in 1967 after Maria.
Prehistoric and early historical ground monuments were not infrequently associated with Attila and his Huns in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period. In the 14th century, the name "Etzelsburg" is documented for the Schirenhof Roman fort near Schwäbisch Gmünd . The Venetian island of Monte dell'Oro (Goldberg) was said to contain gold treasures that supposedly came from Attila.
The ambivalent attila image of medieval tradition has also had an impact on modern reception, in which different facets are emphasized. Napoleon threatened Venice in 1796: “Je serai un Attila pour Venise” (“I will be an Attila for Venice”), whereupon the Republic of Venice dissolved itself. In the heroic rhetoric of the 19th century, Etzel-Attila no longer played the role of the destroyer of cities, which was suitable for threats. When the Boxer uprising against colonial rule broke out in China , Kaiser Wilhelm II demanded : "Just as the Huns made a name for themselves a thousand years ago under their King Etzel, which they still seem powerful in tradition and fairy tales, so should the name" German "in China for 1000 years will be confirmed by you in such a way that a Chinese will never again dare to look peevedly at a German!" This " Hun speech " with its request "Pardon will not be given!" Prisoners are not taken! ”Used the British propaganda to defame the Germans as“ Huns ”, which in turn strongly influenced the image of Attila.
The meeting of Attila with Pope Leo was depicted by Raphael in a wall fresco, which was designed in 1511, but was probably not completed until 1513. It still influenced Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling . In plays, operas and novels, Attila is usually portrayed negatively, often combined with a generally unfavorable depiction of the Huns. In addition, there are deliberately national tints, especially in Germany and Italy, where the nation state was not formed until the 19th century. The portrayal in some Hungarian and Turkish works is still emphatically nationalistic, where Attila is completely ahistorically appropriated. In the more recent fiction , partly psychologizing character images were designed, but the cinematic representation of the Hun is still rather one-sided.
With Pierre Corneille's Attile Roy des Huns , a five-act tragedy, a first drama about Attila came into being in 1667, in which he died, as it were, of evil himself in the form of a fit of rage. The first Attila operas were composed in the 17th century, the first with a libretto by Matteo Noris was the dramma per musica , composed by Pietro Andrea Ziani for Venice and Carlo Porsile in 1675 for Naples. Pietro Metastasio wrote the libretto for the musical drama Ezio , which was performed in Rome in 1728, and in 1752 by Handel in London. Beethoven also planned an Attila opera in 1809. The Hun also became a subject in ballet , for the first time with Gasparo Angiolini in Milan in 1781.
At the beginning of the 19th century there were several dramas in which Attila played a more or less important role. One example is the drama Held des Nordens (1810) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué . Several productions followed, mainly as part of the Nibelungen saga, such as the tragedy by Friedrich Hebbels . The romantic tragedy Attila, King of the Huns by Zacharias Werner from 1808 deals with the last years of Attila's life and projects a religious mysticism into the main characters; the piece was not particularly successful, but later served as the basis for Giuseppe Verdi's opera Attila, which premiered in 1846 (libretto by Temistocle Solera ). Here the king of the Huns and his contemporaries each became a projection screen for political and social ideas and ideals. Verdi made Aëtius the pioneer of the Italian Risorgimento , who could shout out to the “Austrian Huns”: “Avrai tu l'universo, resti l'Italia a me!” (“May you own the world, but stay Italy for me!”). Others interpreted Attila and the “invasion of the barbarians”, as the migration of peoples is called in southern Europe to this day, either as a threat to the Christian West or as a hope that the absolutist regiment would be broken up. After the failed revolutions of 1848 and 1849, the whole of late antiquity again became an era of decline and the defense against the “barbarians” and “savages”, even the “antichrist”.
Nevertheless, Attila continued to exude great fascination. In Hungarian literature, in the course of national awareness in the 19th century, his figure was again portrayed as a - quite positive - ruler figure: a central work is the epic Buda halála ( The Death of Bleda , 1863) by the poet János Arany , who wrote the two king brothers sets in typological opposition. Géza Gárdonyi's I Was Subject to the Huns ( A láthatatlan ember , 1901), a novel from the point of view of a slave and pupil of Priskos who turns into a Hunnish noblewoman at court, has had a similarly strong effect on the Hungarian view of Attila to this day Attilas falls in love and therefore joins the Huns. In the German-speaking world, this constant fascination is evident in Felix Dahn's historical work Attila from 1888 as well as clearly later in Tilman Röhrig's Die Burgunderin (2007), a novel about a young Burgundian who - similar to the main character in Gárdonyi's book - as a slave in the Empire of Attilas lives. In terms of sources, Thomas RP Mielke ventures into particularly unsafe territory with Attila, King of the Huns from 1999, a novel about Attila up to the birth of his children. As usual, Rome is decadent with him; Because he knows both worlds, Attila becomes particularly dangerous for Rome.
Fiction films even more offer Attila as a projection surface. The earliest work is by Fritz Lang from 1924 and deals with Attila in the context of the Nibelung material. The Hun King was more central in the two 1954 films Attila, the Scourge of God with Anthony Quinn and Attila, the Hun King with Jack Palance as Attila, in whose plot cultural clichés of the Cold War are woven. Both are about the campaign to Italy, with the former Sophia Loren as Honoria tries to stop Attila, which only the Pope succeeds in. In the second - in the American Sign of the Pagan - the director Douglas Sirk shows the King of the Huns as a man tormented by melancholy and self-doubt. In Attila - The Hun , the Dick Lowry in 2001 with Gerard Butler turned the Attila it comes to prophecies, personal ambition, decadence of the imperial family and the personal disappointment by the Roman policy, which causes the Huns to wage war, and at the end the imagined east, the wild ("The Huns are savages"), which unites peoples. At times the film even lets the audience take the perspective of the Huns. With Attilas and Aëtius' death the " dark age " begins .
Other works such as the computer game Total War: Attila refer to Attila as the central, formative personality of the migration period.
In modern research, there are sometimes clear differences in the assessment. In any case, the sources do not allow any actual biographical approach to the Hun ruler.
In Edward A. Thompson's 1948 book on the Huns, which is still important to this day , Attila's alleged general art is relativized and his policy towards Rome is viewed critically; this had already failed during his lifetime. Franz Altheim , who also published a multi-volume story of the Huns, presented a general account of Attila in 1951, which, however, was criticized as being problematic in terms of content and in some cases inadequate in terms of method. Helene Homeyer's work on Attila was also published in 1951 . It is a collection of translated and briefly commented excerpts from sources; Despite individual errors, the work has been received positively in research. Colin Gordon's 1960 book, which has been viewed from Anglo-American research until recently, offers a similar collection of source texts translated into English and continuously commented on.
The book Otto Maenchen-helping over the Huns, although unfinished and therefore partly incomplete, an important standard work in which the sources are critically evaluated. The study by István Bóna is important because of the strong consideration given to archaeological finds. The depiction of Gerhard Wirth , who emphasizes Attila's problematic situation after the failed campaigns of 451/52 , is more based on the history of events . One approach that has been received several times comes from Herwig Wolfram , who regards the Attila Empire as a Hunnic alternative to the Roman Empire. The Huns were on the one hand a threatening power factor, but on the other hand it was also an alternative life and culture model for the Teutons living there.
Timo Stickler emphasizes the failures of Attila's conception, its reference above all to the Western Roman Empire as a political partner and the institutionalization of his rule based on the Roman model. In this regard, the king of the Huns miscalculated. In addition, after the military setbacks in 451/52, there was a lack of financial “lubricants”. Christopher Kelly, on the other hand, regards Attila as a competent ruler who succeeded in what other Hun rulers before him (like Rua) failed: the establishment of a political complex that was quite stable over several years. Despite the ultimate failure, this was a respectable achievement, which should be appreciated apart from the exaggerated positive and negative tradition, which Attila's contemporary Priskos had also recognized.
The catalog for the 2007 exhibition Attila and the Huns in Speyer is thematically broad . There, not only the person Attila is treated in a balanced way, but also the general history of the Huns, their way of life and the history of reception. A current introduction to the history of the Huns with special consideration of the archaeological evidence is provided by Michael Schmauder's presentation from 2009. An overview of research on the "Age of Attila" - less about the person of the Hun ruler himself - is provided by the contributions in a 2015 by Michael Maas edited anthology. Klaus Rosen presented the current presentation in March 2016, describing the history of the Huns as well as attempting a biographical approach in the broadest sense.
Based on the negative connotation of Attila's historical image, other rulers than the Attilas of their time are also referred to in modern research, for example the Xiongnu ruler Liu Cong (early 4th century) and India the alchon ruler Mihirakula (early 6th century). .
Origin of name
The etymology of the name Attila has led to numerous attempts to derive it from various source languages. It does not seem to be the birth name, but possibly the reinterpretation of his Hunnish name. What is certain is that the Greek and Latin authors reproduce the name of the Hun ruler as Attila , without the exact origin being clear.
Wilhelm Grimm's thesis that the term “Attila” comes from the Gothic language, which is well documented in the Visigoth translation of the Bible by Wulfila and represents the diminutive of atta (= father), found the greatest acceptance . The name would therefore have to be translated as "little father". Since the Goths and the Huns often came into contact with each other after 375 and there are known cases of Goths with Hunnic names and Huns with Gothic names, this explanation is considered plausible. According to the law , the name form Etzel used in the Middle High German Nibelungenlied can be derived from the previous form Attila . It is also possible that the originally Hunnic name Attilas was only interpreted accordingly by the Goths and originally sounded in the sense of "rider".
A hypothesis , mainly represented by Turkish Turkologists , derives the name from Old Turkish (Old Turkish ata = father; cf. Ataturk ). This interpretation is highly controversial outside of Turkey, especially since it is very uncertain whether the Huns were a Turkic people at all; in any case, the Huns of Attila were not an ethnically homogeneous association. But even in the case of a derivation from an Altaic language, especially since hardly anything of the Hunnic language has actually survived and therefore an Altaic name origin is very uncertain, other name derivations are possible.
Attila is still a popular name in Hungary and Turkey today. It is written Attila in Hungary , Atilla or Atila in Turkey .
Source editions and source collections
- Pia Carolla (Ed.): Priscus Panita. Excerpta et fragmenta. de Gruyter, Berlin 2008. [alternative price edition to Roger Blockley's, which partially arranges the fragments differently and counts as this and takes possible additional fragments into account]
- John Given: The Fragmentary History of Priscus. Attila, the Huns and the Roman Empire, AD 430-476. Evolution Publishing, Merchantville NJ 2014. [Current English translation of all fragments of the Priscus based on the edition by Pia Carolla]
- Colin D. Gordon: The Age of Attila: Fifth-Century Byzantium and the Barbarians. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1960 ( online version ). [Excerpts from the most important historians of the 5th century who described the events in the West in English translation]
- Attila and the Huns. Book accompanying the exhibition. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Theiss, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-2114-5 (richly illustrated exhibition catalog with scientific, easily readable articles on archeology, history and reception).
- Henning Börm : Westrom. From Honorius to Justinian (= Kohlhammer-Urban pocket books. Vol. 735). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-17-023276-1 (current description that Attila understands as one of several warlords like Aëtius or Geiserich who vied for power and influence in the Roman Empire).
- Hyun Jin Kim: The Huns. Routledge, New York 2016 (current, but not unproblematic work in individual conclusions on the origin and role of the Huns).
- Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2015, ISBN 978-1-107-63388-9 (current collection of specialist articles on numerous aspects of this period).
- Otto Maenchen-Helfen : The world of the Huns. Origin, history, religion, society, warfare, art, language. German-language edition provided by Robert Göbl . VMA-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-928127-43-8 (German first: Vienna 1978; standard work on the Huns, but in places incomplete and partly outdated).
- Mischa Meier : History of the Great Migration. Europe, Asia and Africa from the 3rd to the 8th centuries. Beck, Munich 2019 (basic, comprehensive and up-to-date presentation of the "migration of peoples" from a global perspective).
- Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-89678-342-4 (richly illustrated introduction).
- Timo Stickler : The Huns (= Beck'sche series 2433 CH Beck Wissen ). Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-53633-5 (brief, informative introduction).
- Edward A. Thompson : The Huns. Revised and with an afterword by Peter Heather . Blackwell, Oxford 1999, ISBN 0-631-21443-7 (reprint of the 1948 edition with a new afterword).
- Bruno Bleckmann : Attila, Aetius and the “end of Rome”. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire. In: Mischa Meier (Ed.): They created Europe. Historical portraits from Constantine to Charlemagne. Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-406-55500-4 , pp. 93-110.
- Jörg Fündling : Hordes against the West? Attila (approx. 400-453). In: Stig Förster , Markus Pöhlmann , Dierk Walter (eds.): Warlords of world history. 22 historical portraits. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54983-7 , pp. 93-109.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire. Bodley Head, London 2008, ISBN 978-0-224-07676-0 .
- Klaus Rosen : Attila. The horror of the world. Beck, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-69030-3 . ( Technical discussion at sehepunkte )
- Gerhard Wirth : Attila. The Huns and Europe (= Kohlhammer-Urban pocket books. Vol. 467). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1999, ISBN 3-17-014232-1 .
- Matthias Däumer: Attila. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (eds.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 127-138.
- Matthias Hardt: Attila - Atli - Etzel. About the change in the memory of a Hun king in the European Middle Ages. In: Behemoth. A Journal on Civilization 2, 2009, pp. 19-28.
- JB Bury (1928): The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians. A Series of Lectures. (English; PDF download, 603 kB)
- Otto Seeck : Attila . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity science (RE). Volume II, 2, Stuttgart 1896, Col. 2241-2247.
introduction see (with notes on recent research) Attila and the Huns. Book accompanying the exhibition. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007; Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Darmstadt 2009; Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007.
The previously often assumed connection between the Huns and the Xiongnu mentioned in Chinese sources is very controversial today and is mostly doubted, see for a summary Walter Pohl: Huns. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . 2nd Edition. Volume 15, Berlin / New York 2000, pp. 246-261, here p. 248; Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 31; Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Darmstadt 2009, pp. 50-53; Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, pp. 21-24; see also Nicola di Cosmo: Ancient China and its Enemies. Cambridge 2002, p. 163ff. Today it is only represented very sporadically, in a weaker form, for example, Étienne de La Vaissière: The Steppe World and the Rise of the Huns. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, pp. 175–192 and Hyun Jin Kim: The Huns. New York 2016, p. 6ff. (not a biological link, but a political and cultural heritage). According to recent research, the name Hunne itself is more likely to be understood as a prestigious name for a heterogeneously composed group, since in various sources very different groups of the steppe zone have been summarized under it, see Timo Stickler: The Hunnen. Munich 2007, p. 24ff.
- See introductory Walter Pohl : Die Völkerwanderung. 2nd Edition. Stuttgart 2005.
- For a summary of the formation of the Hunnic rule, see Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, p. 51ff .; Christopher Kelly: Neither Conquest Nor Settlement: Attila's Empire and Its Impact. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, p. 193ff.
- Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, p. 57ff.
- Olympiodoros, fragment 18 (based on the edition Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum , Paris 1851). See also Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 90f.
- Cf. Walter Pohl: The Avars. 2nd Edition. Munich 2002, p. 21ff.
- See above all Thomas Barfield: Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China. Cambridge (MA) / Oxford 1989.
- Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, p. 12ff.
- See on his person Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire (= Vestigia . Vol. 54). Munich 2002.
- Cf. Alexander Demandt : Die Spätantike. 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 2007, pp. 187f.
- Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 97ff.
- Cf. Herwig Wolfram : Die Goten. 4th edition Munich 2001, p. 259.
- Priskos, Fragment 1.1 (Edition Pia Carolla). On the contract see also Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, pp. 87-89 (who, however, dates the contract to the year 439); Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 106ff .; Raimund Schulz: The development of Roman international law in the fourth and fifth centuries AD Stuttgart 1993, p. 110ff.
- Cf. Christopher Kelly: Neither Conquest Nor Settlement: Attila's Empire and Its Impact. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, here p. 205f.
- On the problematic dating see Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Die Welt der Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 80ff.
- Priskos, Fragment 2 (Edition Pia Carolla). Priskos does not go into detail there as to which graves were actually involved.
- Alexander Demandt: The late antiquity. 2nd Edition. Munich 2007, p. 202.
- Cf. with documents on the war of 441/42 Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 115f.
- On the problem of dating Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Die Welt der Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 77.
- Priskos, Fragment 8 (Edition Pia Carolla). Translation after Ernst Doblhofer : Byzantine diplomats and Eastern barbarians. Sections of the Priskos and Menander Protector selected from the Excerpta de legationibus by Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos. Graz 1955, p. 40f.
- Priskos, Fragment 8 (Edition Pia Carolla). See also Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 148ff.
- Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 123 and p. 127f.
- summary, for example, Peter J. Heather : Empires and Barbarians. The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Oxford et al. 2009, pp. 228-230. Cf. also Jaroslav Tejral: The Attila Empire and the Germanic gentes in the Central Danube region . In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 106-115, here pp. 110-113.
- See also Rene Pfeilschifter: Die Spätantike. The one God and the many rulers. Munich 2014, p. 161f.
- See Kai Vogelsang : History of China. 3rd revised and updated edition, Stuttgart 2013, pp. 144 and 151.
- See Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Darmstadt 2009, p. 127f.
- See for example Priskos, Fragment 1.1 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Jaroslav Tejral: The Attila Empire and the Germanic gentes in the Central Danube region . In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 106-115.
- Cf. on them Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 186f.
- See Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 106ff.
- Priskos, Fragment 7 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Overview at Otto Maenchen-Helfen: The world of the Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, pp. 64-66; Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 106ff.
- See Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 114; Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 88f.
- Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 116ff.
- Hrvoje Gracanin: The western Roman embassy to the court of Attila in AD 449. In: Byzantinoslavica 61, 2003, pp 53-74 assumes that the embassy with Honoria affair stands of 451 in conjunction.
- Chronica Gallica for the year 448.
- See Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Darmstadt 2009, p. 122; Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 125f.
- See Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 117ff.
- A comprehensive overview is offered by Walter Pohl: Byzanz und die Huns. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 184-193.
- Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 123.
- Noel Lenski: Captivity among the Barbarians and its Impact on the Fate of the Roman Empire. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, pp. 230–246, here pp. 232ff.
- Priskos, Fragment 8 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Priskos, Fragment 5 (Edition Pia Carolla). See Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, pp. 107f .; Otto Maenchen-Helfen: The world of the Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 92f .; Walter Pohl: Byzantium and the Huns. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, here pp. 186–188; Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, p. 73.
- Walter Pohl: Byzantium and the Huns. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, here p. 188.
- See Noel Lenski: Captivity among the Barbarians and its Impact on the Fate of the Roman Empire. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, pp. 230–246, here p. 237f.
- Priskos, Fragment 8 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, p. 127.
- Cf. Dariusz Brodka: Priscus of Panion, Chrysaphios and the power of the eunuchs. In: Eos 106, 2019, pp. 77ff.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, p. 123ff.
- Jordanes , Getica 224. Maenchen-Helfen considered the whole story to be completely implausible and at best for court gossip: Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Die Welt der Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 98.
- Henning Börm, for example, advocates a historical core: Westrom. Stuttgart 2013, p. 81ff.
- Priskos, Fragment 62 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- On the Honoria affair, cf. in detail now Mischa Meier : A Contest of Interpretation: Roman Policy toward the Huns as Reflected in the "Honoria Affair" (448/50) . In: Journal of Late Antiquity 10 (2017), pp. 42–61.
- Cf. generally Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, p. 177ff .; Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 196ff.
- Priskos, Fragment 16 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Gregory of Tours , Historiae 2,6. The date is also accepted in recent historical research.
- See Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 136.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, pp. 187ff.
- Alexander Demandt: The late antiquity. 2nd Edition. Munich 2007, p. 188; Raimund Schulz: Generals, warriors and strategists. War in antiquity from Achilles to Attila. Stuttgart 2012, p. 408.
- Perhaps on June 20, see Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 140, note 749.
- Cf. Bruno Bleckmann: Attila, Aetius and the “end of Rome”. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire. In: Mischa Meier (Ed.): They created Europe. Munich 2007, here p. 105.
- Christopher Kelly: Neither Conquest Nor Settlement: Attila's Empire and Its Impact. In: Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015, here p. 207.
- Otto Maenchen-Helfen: The world of the Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 97ff.
- See Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Darmstadt 2009, p. 150; Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 149.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, pp. 206f.
- See Peter Heather: The Fall of the Roman Empire. London et al. 2005, p. 333ff.
- Hydatius, Chronicon for the year 453.
- Priskos, Fragment 19 (Edition Pia Carolla).
- Hydatius, Chronicon for the year 452.
- On its end and the fall of the Huns, see for example Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 226ff.
- Jordanes, Getica 254. Translation slightly modified from: Jordanes. The Gothic story. Translated, introduced and explained by Lenelotte Möller. Wiesbaden 2012.
- Marcellinus Comes , Chronicle sub anno 454.
- Malalas 14.10.
- Cf. Matthias Hardt : Attila - Atli - Etzel. About the change in the memory of a Hun king in the European Middle Ages. In: Behemoth. A Journal on Civilization 2, 2009, pp. 19–28, here p. 22f.
- Otto Maenchen-Helfen: The world of the Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, p. 107ff.
- See Edward A. Thompson: The Huns. Oxford 1999, p. 226ff.
- Cf. Mischa Meier: The end of the Western Roman Empire - an event in Chinese history? Effects of mobility in a Eurasian perspective. In: Historische Zeitschrift 311, 2020, pp. 275 ff.
- Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 233f.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, pp. 209ff.
- Barry Baldwin: Priscus of Panium. In: Byzantion 50, 1980, pp. 18-61; Warren Treadgold : The early Byzantine Historians. Basingstoke et al. 2007, p. 96ff.
- See Wolf Liebeschuetz: Making a Gothic History: Does the Getica of Jordanes Preserve Genuinely Gothic Traditions? In: Wolf Liebeschuetz: East and West in Late Antiquity. Leiden / Boston 2015, pp. 101–134, here p. 122f.
- Cf. Dariusz Brodka: Attila, Tyche and the battle on the Catalaunian fields. An investigation into the historical thinking of the Panion Priscus. In: Hermes 136, 2008, pp. 227–245, here p. 237ff.
- Jordanes, Getica 182: [...] of small stature, broad chest, rather large head, tiny eyes, weak beard and gray hair, flat nose, dark skin - these were the signs of his parentage. Translation after: Jordanes. The Gothic story. Translated, introduced and explained by Lenelotte Möller. Wiesbaden 2012.
- For historical thinking at Priskos regarding Attilas see Dariusz Brodka: Attila, Tyche and the battle on the Catalaunian fields. An investigation into the historical thinking of the Panion Priscus. In: Hermes 136, 2008, pp. 227–245.
- Dariusz Brodka: Attila and Aetius. To the Priskos tradition at Prokopios von Kaisareia. In: J. Styka (Ed.): From Antiquity to Modern Times. Classical Poetry and its Modern Reception. Krakau 2007, pp. 149–158.
- A brief summary of the most important sources is provided in the article John Robert Martindale: Attila. In: The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (PLRE). Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1980, ISBN 0-521-20159-4 , pp. 182-183.
- For the following see Matthias Däumer: Attila. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (eds.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 127-138. See also Matthias Hardt: Attila - Atli - Etzel. About the change in the memory of a Hun king in the European Middle Ages. In: Behemoth. A Journal on Civilization 2, 2009, pp. 19-28; Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, p. 336ff .; Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016, p. 248ff.
- Ursula Schulze: The weeping king and his disappearance in the darkness of oblivion. King Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and in the lament. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 336-347.
- Ursula Schulze: The weeping king and his disappearance in the darkness of oblivion. King Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and in the lament. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 336–347, here p. 337.
- Ursula Schulze: The weeping king and his disappearance in the darkness of oblivion. King Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and in the lament. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 336–347, here p. 338.
- Brief overview from Hermann Reichert: Attila in Old Norse Poetry. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 348-357.
- Cf. Joachim Heinzle: Introduction to Middle High German Dietrichepik. Berlin 1999.
- Cf. Matthias Hardt: Attila - Atli - Etzel. About the change in the memory of a Hun king in the European Middle Ages. In: Behemoth. A Journal on Civilization 2, 2009, here pp. 23-28.
- Matthias Hardt: Attila - Atli - Etzel. About the change in the memory of a Hun king in the European Middle Ages. In: Behemoth. A Journal on Civilization 2, 2009, here p. 21f.
- Dante, Divina Commedia 12, 134.
- Cornelia Herberichs: The Virgin and the King of the Huns. Attila in the legend of Ursula. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 358-367.
- Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio. Edited by Gyula Moravcsik . 2nd, revised edition. Washington (DC) 1985, chapter 28.
- Marcus Jörger: The external and self-perception in Janós Thuróczy's Chronica Hungarorum compared to the discourse of the "Turkish threat" in the 15th century , in: Joachim Laczny, Jürgen Sarnowsky (eds.): Perception and reception. Perception and interpretation in the Middle Ages and in modern times , V&R unipress, Göttingen 2014, pp. 173–212, here: pp. 180 f.
- Elke Gerr: The big name book , 12th edition, Hannover 2011, p. 263.
- Ermolao Paoletti: Il fiore di Venezia ossia i quadri, i monumenti, le vedute ed i costumi veneziani. Volume 1. Fontana, Venice 1837, p. 105 . Similar to Fabio Mutinelli: Lessico veneto. Venice 1851, p. 270 .
- Amable de Fournoux: Napoléon et Venise 1796-1814. Éditions de Fallois, Paris 2002, p. 402.
- Complete text of the unofficial version ( Memento from December 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Deutsches Historisches Museum.
- Cf. Herbert Pahl: Attila and the Huns in the mirror of art and literature. In: Attila and the Huns. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007, pp. 369-373, here pp. 372f.
- Cf. in summary Arne Zerbst: Schelling and the fine arts. Munich 2011, pp. 197-199.
- Cf. Matthias Däumer: Attila. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (eds.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 132-136.
- Matthias Däumer: Attila. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (eds.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 137.
- Markus Engelhardt : Verdi and others. Parma 1992, pp. 161-258, here p. 164 f.
- Markus Engelhardt: Verdi and others. Parma 1992, pp. 161-258, here p. 172.
- Markus Engelhardt: Verdi and others. Parma 1992, pp. 161-258, here pp. 166 f.
- Peter Jelavich: Werner, Zacharias. In: McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama , Vol. 5, 2nd ed. New York 1984, pp. 137 f.
- Dirk Böttger: Verdi & Wagner: the antipodes of the opera. Berlin 2013, p. 106 f.
- Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 2.
- Anja Weber: Life in the shadow of the covered wagon? On the representation of the Hunninnen in the film , in: Christoph Ulf, Robert Rollinger (Ed.): Women and gender. Images - roles - realities in the texts of ancient authors of the Roman Empire. Böhlau, Vienna and others 2006, pp. 139–166, here p. 160.
- Edward Thompson: A History of Attila and the Huns. Oxford 1948; New edition: The Huns. Oxford 1999.
- History of the Huns. 5 volumes. Berlin 1959–1962. However, the work is not a coherent presentation, but a collection of individual contributions with a focus on Central Asia; see Walter Pohl: Huns. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . 2nd Edition. Volume 15, Berlin / New York 2000, pp. 246-261, here p. 246.
- Franz Altheim: Attila and the Huns. Baden-Baden 1951.
- See the review by Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Attila and the Huns by Franz Altheim; Attila. The king of the Huns represented by his contemporaries. A contribution to the assessment of historical greatness by H. Homeyer. In: Gnomon 24, 1952, pp. 500-504.
- Helene Homeyer: Attila. The king of the Huns represented by his contemporaries. Berlin 1951.
- See the review by Edward A. Thompson in: The Classical Review. New Series 3, 1953, p. 217.
- See the reviews of Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Attila and the Huns by Franz Altheim; Attila. The king of the Huns represented by his contemporaries. A contribution to the assessment of historical greatness by H. Homeyer. In: Gnomon 24, 1952, pp. 500–504, here p. 504 and John Michael Wallace-Hadrill in: The Journal of Roman Studies 43, 1953, p. 170.
- Colin D. Gordon: The Age of Attila: Fifth-Century Byzantium and the Barbarians. Ann Arbor 1960 ( online version ).
- Otto Maenchen-Helfen: The world of the Huns. Vienna 1978; used here in the new edition (Wiesbaden 1997). The German edition is preferable to the American edition from 1973, as it also includes material from Mannchen-Helfen's estate.
- István Bóna: The Empire of the Huns. Budapest 1991.
- Gerhard Wirth: Attila. The Huns and Europe. Stuttgart et al. 1999.
- Herwig Wolfram: The Empire and the Germanic Peoples. Between antiquity and the Middle Ages. Berlin 1990, p. 183.
- Timo Stickler: The Huns. Munich 2007, p. 99f.
- Christopher Kelly: Attila the Hun. London 2008, p. 221ff.
- Attila and the Huns. Book accompanying the exhibition. Published by the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer. Stuttgart 2007.
- Michael Schmauder: The Huns. A riding people in Europe. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2009.
- Michael Maas (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Attila. Cambridge 2015.
- Klaus Rosen: Attila. The horror of the world. Munich 2016.
- René Grousset : The steppe peoples. Munich 1970, p. 99.
- Robert Göbl: Documents on the history of the Iranian Huns in Bactria and India. Volume 2. Wiesbaden 1967, p. 68; Upendra Thakur: The Hunas in India. Varanasi 1967, p. 132.
- introduction see Heinrich Beck: Attila. § 8 (The Name). In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . Volume 1. Berlin / New York 1973, p. 470. Cf. now also Magnús Snædal: Attila. In: Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20, 2015, pp. 211-219.
- Cf. Magnús Snædal: Attila. In: Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20, 2015, here pp. 212–215.
- Cf. Herwig Wolfram: Die Goten. 4th edition. Munich 2001, p. 258, which also refers to Attila and Bleda.
- See also Otto Maenchen-Helfen: Die Welt der Huns. Wiesbaden 1997, pp. 261-263.
- So at least Magnús Snædal: Attila. In: Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20, 2015, here p. 216f.
- See Timo Stickler: Aëtius. Scope of design for a master in the late Western Roman Empire. Munich 2002, p. 92 with note 469.
- Cf. Magnús Snædal: Attila. In: Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20, 2015, here p. 216f.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Etzel (only in medieval literature)|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||King of the Huns|
|DATE OF BIRTH||4th century or 5th century|
|DATE OF DEATH||453|