The tale of Attila the Hun resumes in the year 452AD. He decides to ravage the coast of Italy. People flee from his terror and settle around modern-day Venice. After raising Aquileia, he rests and camps at the River Po. Unfortunately, by this time disease has taken hold of Attila’s camp.

A painting showing invasion of Rome by the huns
Invasion of the Barbarians or The Huns approaching Rome (Color Painting)

Emperor Valentinian sends Bishop Leo of Rome who meets with Attila at Mincio. Attila promises the Bishop that he will withdraw his army from Italy. Some say it was the fear of death after sacking Rome that made him withdraw. Alaric I had also died after his invasion of Rome in 410AD.

Attila the Hun meeting the Bishop LEO outside Rome
Raphael‘s The Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila depicts Leo, escorted by Saint Peter and Saint Paul

A Mysterious Death

The tale of Attila has a tragic ending. After returning from Italy, Attila decides to give his military a well-needed rest. Meanwhile himself he decides to marry. He takes into wedlock a young maiden named Ildico. But unfortunately this turns out to be his last act. In the midst of the revels Attila suffers severe bleeding and dies.

Attila’s death, painted by Paczka Ferenc 

There are various theories as to what happened that night. Some say he had a nosebleed and died. Others say the years of excessive drinking finally caught up with him. Even a story recorded by a Roman chronicler was that the young maiden Ildico actually killed him.

The tale of Attila the Hun came to an end as the Hunnic warriors made a grave. The whole clan lamented and prayed. Then in the silence of a mysterious night and under the direction of a senseless moon, they buried his body into the earth.

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