Attila the Hun was king of the Huns, a feared enemy of the Western Roman Empire since Hannibal Barca. Attila was born into the Hunnic royal familly in 406 AD. His bloodlust and cruelty were so great that he called himself the "Scourge of God". Attila became ruler of the Huns when his uncle mysteriously died, and the first order he gave was to raid the Eastern Roman Empire. Attila was seen as a force of terror; after he destroyed an enemy settlement he would often demand protection money from other peoples.
In the Byzantine Empire, his path of destruction was immense, only stopping at Thermopylae in Greece.At this point Attila is said to have received a letter from the Roman princess, Honoria, asking him to make her his wife. Duly, he asked her brother, Emperor Valentinien III, for Honoria's hand in marriage. Naturally, Valentinien refused to have his sister marry a barbarian. In retaliation, the enraged king of the Huns ravaged the Roman province of Gaul, even decimating an army of Goths and Romans in 451 AD. When Attila made it to the walls of Rome, he was halted not by the Emperor, but by the Pope. Pope Leo I told Attila that if his army spared Rome, the Church would give him anything his heart desired.
Attila was impressed by the Pope's offer and accepted, returning to his Khanate capital in Hungary. However, he felt that Honoria had broken her promise, and was agitated by this offense. Attila eventually married the great niece of the Visigoth king, Alaric. In 453 AD, after years of war, one of Attila's arteries burst and the Scourge finally died, choking on his own blood.
- In The Inferno, Dante and Virgil witness the shade of Attila within the boiling River Phlegethon, suffering for his violence against others.
- Although described as a fearsome monster by the Romans, Attila was revered by the Turkish, Hungarian and Mongol people around the world and shown to be a benevolent ruler.
- As Lucifer assumes his second form, he mentions that he tried to have Attila free him from his prison only to fail.
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