Attila the Hun

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Attila the Hun

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Christians in the fifth century called Attila, war leader of the Huns, "the Scourge of God." He has become an almost mythical figure. Richard Wagner was so taken with the warrior's exploits that his famous opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung, was based on the story of Attila's battle with the Burgundian king, Gundahar, along with other historical figures like Queen Brynhild.

Attila invaded Italy in 452 CE. When the city of Aquileia fell to his army, the road was open all the way to Rome. The empire was by this time divided into West (governed by Rome) and East (governed by Constantinople). The Roman West was weak, both in character and in military strength. The Eastern empire left no doubt that they did not want to intervene. So Leo "the Great," who has been called the first pope in the modern sense, went to talk to Attila personally.

One of history's mysteries occurred at that meeting. No one knows what was said between the two leaders. Legends later reported that Attila had a vision of Saints Peter and Paul marching with the pope. Whatever he saw, Attila decided not to attack Rome. He turned north instead and died shortly thereafter.

Leo was still Bishop of Rome when Vandals attacked in 455. He was unable to prevent the sacking of the city. But he was able to arrange a treaty with them, so at least the city was not burned to the ground.

Such negotiations helped Leo's reputation and gave him great political and spiritual clout. Lost to history is the substance of the sermon that made Attila, "the Scourge of God," see the light.

References in periodicals archive ?
To a discerning spectator who picked up this echo, the stage might have seemed to be suddenly overrun by multiple characters claiming to be the scourge of God in order to gain land or revenge or political power.
Marlowe says, "For Tamburlaine, the scourge of God, must die" (Part II, V.
He repeats the claims that he is a scourge of God in order to assert his own power and emphasize his fearlessness:
The scourge of God," cried the feverish monk emotionally, beginning to preach a sermon.
Luther's passivity against the Turks as the scourge of God is rejected, but so is the idea that death in a war against the infidel offers instant absolution.
Attila the Hun: one assumes that at the time there were rivals such as Attila the Welshman, Attila the Alaskan, perhaps - and Attila wanted to be clear that he was boss of his Germanic tribe and a Scourge of God good and proper, not some sissy from Cardiff or Anchorage.