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Attila the Hun

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rex icelingas

Attila the Hun

Postby rex icelingas » Sat April 11th, 2009, 6:43 am

There are quite a few HF books on the scourge of the west
I was wondering what everyone thought of the various interpretations of his character/motivation and which books they loved or loathed about him?

Ive read a couple of the William Napier series which particuarly the first was a great adventure even though it had to go Arthurish at one point,Im not convinced of Attila`s motivation on why he must conquer the world in these

`The Fall of Rome `by Michael Curtis Ford portrays the last days of Attila more as a drunken warlord on the wane who never came to grip with the Stalemate/loss at the battle of Chalons

Looking through Amazon i noticed several books on his enemy Aetius also


Postby annis » Sat April 11th, 2009, 8:05 am

I've only read the first of William Npier's "Attila" trilogy, which I thought was pretty readable. I enjoyed William Dietrich's "Scourge of God", and Cecelia Holland's "Death of Attila" is an excellent novel about the latter days of the Roman Empire, though Attilla is not the main character.

John Man's non-fiction title "Attila" is well worth a read for anyone interested in learning more about Attila.

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Location: Travelers Rest SC

Postby Leyland » Sat April 11th, 2009, 4:47 pm

Thanks for the heads up on Holland's novel, Annis. I've never read any HF about or including Attila as a subject or character. My interest is piqued, Rex.
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams ~ Arthur O'Shaughnessy, Ode


Postby annis » Sat April 11th, 2009, 9:30 pm

Ross Laidlaw has also written a novel about Attila, called “Attila, the Scourge of God”, but it’s not one I’ve read. There’s a review here by Allan Massie:

I did read Laidlaw’s “Theoderic” which unfortunately nearly drove me to drink- it read much more like a history text than a novel. I thought if I saw one more footnote I’d do a Misfit and wallbang it, and just couldn’t get a feel for the characters, but that’s only my response.

Most of what we know of Attila comes from the writings of Priscus, a Greek writer who served as an ambassador to Attila’s court on behalf of the Romans.

An intriguing thing about Attila is that he is the subject of a couple of legends which have no basis in historical record, but which have been repeated so often over the centuries that they’ve become accepted as the truth. Firstly, that Attila was a child hostage at the Western Roman Imperial Court at Ravenna under the care of the general, Stilicho. (Attila’s opponent Aetius was certainly a hostage with the Huns, but there’s no evidence that Attila was ever a hostage with the Romans.) Both William Napier and Michael Curtis Ford use this premise in their novels about Attila. Secondly, that Pope Leo met with Attila and persuaded him to turn back from his invasion of Rome. This legendary meeting was regarded as a miracle, and is the subject of a paintingby Raphael.

Both these legends appear to have started some time in the medieval period, and have been perpetuated ever since.
Last edited by annis on Sat April 11th, 2009, 9:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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