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  • It's the Fifth Century, and you're a Roman guard posted outside the city of Serdicanow

  • Sofia, the modern capital of Bulgaria.

  • It's been an uneventful day, overseeing the passage of citizens and traders through

  • the city limits, and you're settling into the night shift.

  • But that's when you hear itit sounds like thunder, but the sky is clear.

  • In the distance, something is getting closer: Horsemen, thousands of them, armoured with

  • thick, tanned leather, wielding bows and swords.

  • Your blood runs cold.

  • At the head of the army rides a warrior so legendary he can strike terror into the heart

  • of any soldier in Europe: Attila the Hun.

  • He's a man with a near-perfect record in battle.

  • He slaughters men, women, and children alike, showing no mercy.

  • Rumour has it that the sword he wields was left to him by Mars, the God of War himself.

  • Any city sacked by the Hunshis legendary nomadic warrior people, and perhaps one of

  • the most iconic and brutal cavalries of all timeis destined to be pillaged and burned

  • to the ground.

  • To many in the territories of the Roman Empireincluding the Greeks, the Balkans, the

  • Goths, and the Gaulshe's known by an even more frightening name: Flagellum Dei,

  • the Scourge of God.

  • You pray to your pantheon of Gods as Attila and his barbarian army approaches your city

  • gates.

  • There will be no escape.

  • While this is a nightmare scenario for any Roman soldier, for Attila the Hun, it was

  • a Tuesday.

  • During his tenure as the King of the Hunnic people, between 434 CE and 453 CE, he sacked

  • over a hundred cities, leaving death and destruction in his wake.

  • He earned a reputation as a fierce and terrifying warrior, a preternaturally skilled tactician,

  • and a well-respected ruler among his people.

  • But who really was this mysterious Fifth Century figure?

  • And in a history filled with bloody rulers, what singled this Hunnic King out as one of

  • the most evil men who ever lived?

  • To truly understand the so-called Scourge of God, we need to go back to the beginning.

  • While the exact date of Attila's birth is unknown, historians generally agree that it

  • happened sometime between the year 400 AD and the year 410 AD.

  • He and his older brother Bleda were born into a powerful family, as his uncle, Rugila, was

  • King of the Huns.

  • The origins of the Huns themselves are equally poorly documented.

  • They were a group of nomadic warriors based in and around Europe, but they likely descended

  • from nomadic cavalrymen hailing from China or Kazakhstan, though historians dispute which

  • one is more likely.

  • Nobody is even really sure what language the Huns spoke.

  • That's probably because, to their enemies, the language they spoke most fluently was

  • that of war and slaughter.

  • Young Attila and his brother were groomed for battle and leadership from an early age,

  • being trained in the arts of horse riding, archery, and swordsmanship.

  • They would be taught Latin and Gothic, in order to properly interface with the Romans

  • and the Goths, and attended Hun War Councils and negotiations to become well-versed in

  • the art of conflict.

  • While Attila would shape them into a living nightmare during his rule, the Huns were already

  • terrifying warriors.

  • It's reputed that they were so geared towards battle that even their horses would pitch

  • inbiting and beating enemy soldiers to death with their hooves.

  • His Uncle Rugila had given Attila quite a reputation to live up toduring his reign,

  • he terrorised the Eastern Roman Empire to such an extent that the Romans would give

  • the Huns an annual tribute to keep relations between the two kingdoms running smoothly.

  • So, when Rugila died in 433, while on campaign against Constantinopleknown these days

  • as IstanbulAttila and Bleda had their work cut out for them.

  • The two Hunnic rulers shared leadership over their already vast territory, stretching across

  • most of Central Europe, but they wanted to consolidate these territories into a more

  • united fighting force.

  • Like a lot of new rulers, the Hunnic brothers needed a little outside helpwhich, for

  • Attila and Bleda, came in the form of Aetius, the leading general of the Western Roman Empire.

  • You're probably thinking, “Wait, but I thought you said Attila the Hun terrorised

  • the Roman Empire?”

  • But the fact is, historical politics is rarely that simple.

  • The Roman Empire during its golden centuries was obscenely huge, and as a result, Attila

  • had violent relations with the Eastern Roman Empire while getting along smoothly with the

  • Western Roman Empire.

  • General Aetius had once been a hostage of the Huns, but through some carefully-planned

  • diplomacy, the Huns installed him into power in the Roman West.

  • Attila, Bleda, and Aetius lead their first ever military conquest into the territory

  • of Burgundians in France and Poland in order to solidify their grip on the region, almost

  • entirely wiping them out in the process.

  • Roman historian Prosper of Aquitaine would later write that the Huns and Aetius' forces

  • had exterminated the roots and branches of the Burgundian people, leaving nothing in

  • their wake.

  • With the help of the Huns, Aetius was also able to stomp the Visigoths and the Franks,

  • letting him maintain his rule over his territories with Attila's iron fist.

  • Meanwhile, Attila and Bleda had a major deal in the works.

  • Their first military conquests, as well as the sterling reputations of the Huns as a

  • group who should not be messed with, made the Eastern Roman Empire eager to appease

  • the two brothers.

  • Emperor Theodosius II formed the Treaty of Margus with Attila and Bledathe deal

  • being to give Attila and Bleda seven hundred pounds of gold every year in exchange for

  • peaceful relations.

  • It was basically the first Mafia protection racket, though Attila made your average mafioso

  • look like a summer camp counsellor by comparison.

  • Of course, the peace didn't lasthence why this video is calledmost evil man

  • and notmost reasonable man.”

  • In 441, the Eastern Roman Empire moved their armies from the Balkans to North Africa in

  • a campaign against the Vandal-Alan kingdom.

  • While the treaty certainly seemed like a pretty sweet deal, without a heavy Roman military

  • presence, Attila saw the Balkans as free real estate.

  • He and Bleda began storming into the territory, sacking cities and bringing what little military

  • presence was left to their knees.

  • The Eastern Roman Army, which had reached Sicily by this point, had to pull a 180 and

  • head back to face the Huns.

  • Funnily enough, Attila and Bleda still wanted their yearly tribute, because they didn't

  • actually see this Balkan Invasion as a breach of the Treaty of Margus.

  • The Bishop of Margus had stolen treasures from the Hun royal tombs, and there were certain

  • Hun prisoners that the Eastern Roman Empire hadn't freed, as per a condition in their

  • deal.

  • The Balkan Invasion was just a little tit for tat.

  • The Huns rampaged all the way to Constantinople, burning major Roman cities like Serdica and

  • Naissus to the ground in the process.

  • Attila had grabbed the Roman Empire by the throat and dragged it back to the negotiation

  • table, and this time, he wanted a much more lucrative deal.

  • The Romans would now give him 2,100 pounds of gold annually, they would free the Hun

  • prisoners, as originally promised, and they would give him an additional sum of 6,000

  • pounds of gold on the spot.

  • He drove a hard bargain, but considering the alternative was having the Hun army sack more

  • cities and steal tons of gold anyway, they capitulated to his demands.

  • Thanks to Attila and Bleda's new deal, the Huns just became a whole lot richer.

  • Of course, there's a reason you've heard about Attila the Hun and not Bleda the Hun.

  • That's because, in 445 AD, it's believed that Attila had his brother assassinated to

  • consolidate his power over the Hunnic Kingdom.

  • As a solo act, Attila immediately became the most powerful military commander in all of

  • Europe, and the true golden age of the Huns was about to begin.

  • Well, for the Huns themselves it was goldfor everyone else this era is better remembered

  • in a deep shade of blood red.

  • You're about to find out how Attila earned a reputation as The Scourge of God.

  • By 447 AD, Attila had once again thrown out his treaty with the Eastern Roman Empire.

  • Sure, being given gold was fun, but taking it was much more satisfying.

  • He mercilessly slaughtered the Roman forces during a battle on the River Utus in Bulgaria

  • as they attempted to stop him invading further into Roman territory.

  • He continued his bloody conquest into the city of Chersonesus, where he once again beat

  • the Roman forces into submission.

  • With nothing standing in his way, Attila sacked over seventy cities in Greece and the Balkans,

  • likely murdering hundreds of thousands and stealing literal tons of gold and other valuables.

  • Attila was on a winning streak the likes of which the world had never seen.

  • His forces were only halted at Thermopylae in Greece – a setting you may remember from

  • the story of King Xerxes of Persia's forces facing off against a detachment of a few thousand

  • Greek warriors over 800 years earlier.

  • Though once again, Attila came out on top, setting another brutally one-sided treaty

  • with the Romans to score himself even more tributes.

  • At this point, it's clear that a treaty with Attila the Hun was about as valuable

  • as Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, but the Romans would take even a bad deal with Attila to stop his

  • attacks for at least a few years.

  • Everything was coming up for Attila.

  • Through his various conquests, the Huns had won dominion over Scythia, Germania and Scandinavia,

  • becoming more powerful, influential, and feared than they had ever been before.

  • Attila had taken multiple wives, and carefully groomed his reputation as a warlord who was

  • virtually impossible to defeat.

  • He spread the rumour that his sword was given to him by Mars, the Roman God of war, to add

  • to his warrior prestige.

  • His enemies and his followers looked to him as a kind of demi-god who could do no wrong

  • on the battlefield.

  • Ironically, despite his love for conquest and gold, Attila as a person was probably

  • nothing like you'd expect.

  • He was described by even enemies who met him outside of battle as a quiet and humble man

  • who refused luxury and adornment.

  • While his underlings drank from golden goblets, Attila drank from a simple wooden cup.

  • His clothes were simple, plain, and unadorned, and his palace was less a traditional castle

  • and more a large log cabin.

  • He was a ferocious ruler who'd kill an enemy without blinking, but he valued a personal

  • sense of justice and honour.

  • Though his loyalty only extended so far, and if you crossed him, you would, no doubt, find

  • yourself on the end of his sword.

  • While his warm relationship with the Western Roman Empire had initially helped bring him

  • to power, an arrangement with Princess Honoria of Western Europe lead to a betrayal.

  • He added Honoria to his collection of wives and demanded half of the Western Roman Empire

  • as a dowry.

  • In 451, Attila stormed in to collect what he felt was rightfully his, engaging the Western

  • Roman Armyincluding his old friend, General Aetiusin the Battle of Chalons.

  • While Attila slaughtered most of the Western Roman Army in this final decisive battle for

  • the fate of the West, the combined forces of the Romans, Visigoths, Franks, Alans, and

  • Burgundians managed to hold their ground, getting some semblance of revenge for all

  • the years Attila had bullied and terrorised their people.

  • The Huns retreated, fearing sickness and starvation would harm them further if they didn't,

  • in Attila's only recorded defeat.

  • He'd hit his stride once again a year later, attacking Italy, and sacking Milan, Aquileia,

  • and a number of other cities before a meeting with Pope Leo I persuaded him to stand down.

  • Sadly for the Huns, the story of Attila would end quite abruptly the year after thatnot

  • with blood spilled on the battlefield, but on his wedding bed.

  • After marrying his latest bride, Ildico, Attila engaged in celebration by feasting and drinking

  • heavily.

  • But perhaps he partied just a little too hard, because he died of a nose bleedbelieved

  • to have been caused by a severe brain hemorrhagelater that night.

  • And so ends the story of Attila the Hun, the 5th century ruler who never saw a city he

  • didn't feel like burning to the ground.

  • He slaughtered his way through Romans, Visigoths, Franks, Alans, and Burgundians, pillaging

  • everything from land to gold to even women in his wake.

  • From a battle record this successful and this brutal, it's easy to see why his enemies

  • would see this Hunnic King as the Scourge of God, and perhaps even the most evil man

  • who ever lived.

  • Check outCaligula the InsaneMost Evil Man?” andMost Evil ManIvan

  • The Terriblefor more fascinating facts on some of history's greatest monsters.

It's the Fifth Century, and you're a Roman guard posted outside the city of Serdicanow

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Most Evil Man - Attila The Hun

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/23
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