|Author||Charles River Editors|
|Publication Date||October 23, 2012|
*Includes Priscus' contemporary account of Attila and his Court.
*Includes contemporary and medieval accounts of Attila's meeting with Pope Leo the Great and the Battle of Châlons.
*Includes pictures of historic art depicting Attila and important people and events in his life.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
“A luxurious meal, served on silver plate, had been made ready for us and the barbarian guests, but Attila ate nothing but meat on a wooden trencher. In everything else, too, he showed himself temperate; his cup was of wood, while to the guests were given goblets of gold and silver. His dress, too, was quite simple, affecting only to be clean. The sword he carried at his side, the latchets of his Scythian shoes, the bridle of his horse were not adorned, like those of the other Scythians, with gold or gems or anything costly.” – Priscus, History of Bizantium
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ Legends of the Ancient World series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of antiquity’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Attila, Emperor of the Hunnic Empire and thus most commonly known as Attila the Hun, is an idiosyncratic figure who has become more myth than man, not least because much of his life is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the most famous “barbarian” in history, Attila was the lord of a vast empire spanning two continents, but he is best remembered for what he did not conquer. Though he seemingly had Rome at his mercy in 452, he ultimately decided not to sack the Eternal City, and a year later he had suffered a mysterious death.
What is known about Attila came mostly from Priscus, a guest of his court who wrote several books about Attila’s life in Greek. Unfortunately, much of that work was lost to history, but not before the ancient writer Jordanes relied on it to write his own overexaggerated account of Attila’s life. And like their leader, the Huns themselves are an instantly recognizable name with mysterious origins; most of what is known about the Huns came from Chinese sources thousands of miles and an entire continent away from Italy.
Naturally, the dearth of information and the passage of time have allowed myths and legends to fill in the most important details of Attila’s life. Why did a man at war with the Roman Empire for so long decide not to sack Rome in 452? Did a meeting with Pope Leo the Great convince him to spare the capital of the Western half of the empire? Did a vision from St. Peter induce Attila to convert to Christianity? Was Attila murdered by his new bride? Many authors and chroniclers have provided many answers to the many questions, but the lack of answers has allowed Atilla to become the face of ancient barbarity and the embodiment of the furious nomadic conqueror.
Legends of the Ancient World: The Life and Legacy of Attila the Hun discusses the facts, myths, and legends surrounding the life of Attila, examining the historical record and the way in which his legacy has been shaped, all in an attempt to separate fact from fiction. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about Attila the Hun like you never have before, in no time at all.