The main source of information on Attila is Priscus, a historian who traveled with Maximin on an embassy from Theodosius II in 448. Describe the town built by the nomadic Huns, and had been established, the size of a large city with walls of solid wood. Attila himself is portrayed as follows:
Short in stature, wide chest and large head, his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with gray, and he had a flat nose and a swarthy complexion, showing evidence of their origin.
Attila's physical appearance should be, most likely, someone from the Far East or the type Mongolian , or perhaps a mixture of this type and the Turkic peoples of Central Asia . Surely features of East Asia showed that Europeans were not used to seeing, so often described it in unflattering terms.
Attila is known in Western history and tradition as the inflexible "Scourge of God" and his name has become synonymous with cruelty and barbarism. Some of this has arisen from the merger of its features, in the popular imagination, with those of the steppe after the war lords, like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane : they all share the same reputation as cruel, intelligent, bloodthirsty lovers the battle and pillage. The reality about their respective characters can be more complex. The Huns of Attila's time had been involved for some time with Roman civilization, particularly through the Germanic allies ( foederati ) of the border, so that when Theodosius sent his embassy of 448, Prisco was identified as a common language in horde the Hun , the Gothic and Latin . Prisco also has an encounter with a Western Roman captive, who had so completely assimilated the lifestyle of the Huns who had no desire to return to their country of origin. And the Byzantine historian's description of Attila's humility and simplicity is not in doubt about the admiration that it causes. Also, the accounts of the same Prisco is clear that Attila spoke perfect not only Latin , but who could write, also spoke Greek and other languages, so most likely it was a man of great culture for fees the time.
The historical context of the life of Attila was potentially important in shaping his later public image: In the years of the decline of the Western Empire, as his conflicts with Aetius (often known as "the last Roman") as outside of their culture helped to cover it with the mask of fierce barbarian and enemy of civilization which has been reflected in countless movies and other artistic expressions. The Germanic epics in which it appears we offer a more nuanced portrait: it is both noble and generous ally, the Etzel of the Nibelungenlied - as cruel and rapacious - Atli in the Volsung Saga and the Poetic Edda - .
Some national histories, however, he always portrayed in a favorable light. During the Middle Ages, in the centuries XIII and XIV was felt the legend of two brothers Hunor and Magor , where he explained the relationship between the Huns and Hungarians, as well as the arrival of Attila Pannonians territories. In Hungary and Turkey the names of Attila and his late wife, Ildico, remain popular today (XXI century). Similarly, the Hungarian writer Géza Gardonyi , in his novel A láthatatlan ember (published in Spanish with the title of Attila's slave), offers a positive image of Hun king, describing it as a wise and beloved leader.
Attila has been described as a "barbaric" without realizing that the Romans called that any people who were not Roman or Romanized, regardless of their level of culture or civilization status. Must be taken into account when forming a correct idea of the character, the stories we have received are all from the pen of his enemies, so it is essential that a proper weeding them.
Apart from this, it is unlikely that the head of a warrior nation (an intelligent leader) to weigh the propaganda advantage of being considered by his enemies the "Scourge of God" and that because it fostered that image between them.
The name Attila may mean "Father", from Gothic atta "(father) with the diminutive suffix"-la ", since we know that many Goths served in their armies. It could also be a pre-Turkish origin Altaic (compare Atatürk and Alma-Ata, the present Almaty ). It is very likely to come from "atta" (father) and "il" (land, country), meaning "fatherland" or "mother country." Atil was also the name Altaic current of Volga River, which may once gave its name to Attila.
The legacy of Attila and the Hungarian
Currently, numerous theories link to the Hungarian nation to huns. A sub-ethnic group within the Hungarian called Székely has genetic traits in common with the ancient Huns. The originally Székely Hungarian-speaking and reached the Pannonian basin before the "big home occupation", commanded by the Hungarian Grand Prince Árpád in 896 . Therefore, it is estimated that the Székely and arrived a couple of centuries before the Hungarians , or arrived with the Huns of Attila. The fact is that both the Székely Hungarians as well as maany other ethnic groups were part of huge mosaic known as the "Huns", which were not one but hundreds of ethnic tribes merged into a single empire. In the case of the Hungarians themselves, the group of nearly 300,000 people who came to Arpad consisted of seven tribes unified.
Despite his great fame, little is known of the end of this town went through 10,000 km to get from Mongolia to Hungary. The most reasonable hypothesis it appears that the disintegration of the empire of the Huns after the death of Attila and European diseases (for a town on the Asian steppe with an immune system not used to them) divided and decimated the population, who went mixing in different regions, mainly in Hungary and Romania. It hardly seems logical that after 100 years of settlement in Europe, these people disappear completely, or to redo the way to Mongolia today. Among one of the proposals medieval princes and kings of Hungary were considered direct descendants of Attila, claiming to have left Europe to Asia and again after four centuries back to reclaim their heritage as descendants of the "Scourge of God." If indeed they were descendants of Attila or not, Arpad and his descendants really believed, and all the surrounding population, which served to legitimize their power. This belief that descended from Attila Arpad remained unchanged for at least more than half a millennium between medieval and Renaissance scholars Hungary and worldwide.
The name Attila is extremely common among Hungarians even today, and is considered traditional.