Sean Stewart Price’s Attila the Hun: Leader of the barbarian hordes (A Wicked History)


Price, S. (2009). Attila the Hun: Leader of the barbarian hordes. New York: Franklin Watts. 9780531207376

When I discovered “A Wicked History” series, the biography of Attila the Hun was among the first I checked out from HCPL. I knew next to nothing about Attila but looked forward to reading the book.

The Roman Empire ruled most of the known world for over 400 years. Towards the end of the Roman Empire’s dominion, the brutish Huns imposed their own reign of terror. The Romans weren’t immune, either. The Huns were a scary cavalry which galloped through Eurasia and broke up “civilization.” The Huns were united under one man, Attila. Under his direction, the Huns extorted emperors, bullied neighbors, and made themselves known. The civilized people called him the scourge of God.

Only one record remains from an historian who encountered Attila. This Attila biography intrigued me. I’m still astonished by the hostage exchange of Attila and Flavius Aetius (a West Roman). It amused me how the Huns extorted Theodosius III, the East Roman Emperor. Also, I was impressed with how the citizens of Constantinople dealt with disaster. Yet, Attila would be no friend of mine. I definitely think he was wicked. What do you say?

Four Out of Five Pearls

Quote:

He was a man born to shake the races of the earth, a terror to all lands. . . .

– Priscus of Panium, describing Attila the Hun

Word Bank: (from the glossary of this book)

  • ambassador – a person sent by a government to represent that government in another country
  • assassinate – to murder someone who is well-known or important
  • avenge – to inflict harm in return for a wrong done to oneself or another
  • barbarians – people from various tribes that invaded the Roman Empire during the third to fifth centuries A.D.
  • battering ram – a large wooden weapon that was used to break down city walls
  • cavalry – soldiers who ride on horseback
  • consolidate – to bring several different parts together into one
  • corruption – to bring several different parts together into one
  • coup – a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power
  • demoralize – to cause to lose confidence or hope
  • deploy – to move troops into position for military action
  • depose – to remove from office suddenly and forcefully
  • devastate – to cause great distress, damage, or destruction
  • devout – deeply religious
  • divine – to do with or from God
  • empire – a group of countries or regions that have the same ruler
  • envoy – a person appointed to represent one government in its dealings with another
  • formidable – inspiring fear or respect through being impressively powerful
  • impale – to torture or kill by piercing with a sharp stake
  • legion – in the late Roman Empire, a military unit made up of about 1,000 men, each armed with a long, thrusting spear
  • monastery – a group of buildings where monks live and work
  • monk – a man who lives in a religious community and has promised to devote his life to his God
  • negotiate – to discuss something in order to come to an agreement
  • nomad – a person who wanders from place to place
  • pagan – a person who is not a member of the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim religions; such a person may worship many gods or have no religion at all
  • pillage – to rob using violence, especially in wartime
  • proposition – an offer or suggestion
  • province – a district or region of a country or empire
  • refugee -a person who is forced to leave his or her home because of war, persecution, or a natural disaster
  • reprieve – a postponement of a punishment
  • savagery – behavior that is fierce, violent, and uncontrolled
  • scourge – a cause of great harm and suffering
  • siege – the surrounding of a place, such as a castle or city, to cut off supplies and then wait for those inside to surrender
  • successor – one who follows another in a position of leadership

Places: Hungary, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Central Asia

For more about Attila the Hun, please check out the following sites:

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