January 11, 2008

Attila the Hun

406 - 453: Age 47

Attila was the Khan of the Huns, who conquered most of Asia and much of Europe during the 5th century. He very nearly destroyed the Roman Empire, but died before doing too much damage. The empire, divided among his three sons, fell apart by 469, just 16 years after his death.

The traditional story is that Attila died of a nosebleed at a feast celebrating his latest marriage. He is said to have choked to death on his blood due to intoxication. An alternative theory is that he succumbed to internal bleeding after heavy drinking. Some believe he was assassinated, either by his new wife or someone else, and it was hushed up with the nosebleed-drinking story.

His men galloped on horseback in circles around the tent where he lay in state, then had a huge wake with feasting and singing. He was buried in a triple coffin of gold, silver, and iron, along with some of the spoils of his conquests. His men diverted a section of a river, buried him under the riverbed, and then the diggers were killed to keep it safe from tomb robbers. (Even the funeral business was dangerous in those days.) Not surprisingly, his sons and successors fought among themselves and the empire broke up within a year.

How can we end without Monty Python's Attila the Hun Show?

Source: Wikipedia

1 comment:

daap said...

A nosebleed killed a man that would have taken Rome if he had lived... I doubt it.