Atilla the Hun by Bonnie Harvey

By Bonnie Harvey

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As he heard of these various attacks, Bleda became convinced 43 44 ATTILA THE HUN that he had another opportunity to plunder the Balkans. Bleda planned his campaign in two stages. First, a limited operation would result in the capture of Viminiacum (now the Serbian town of Kostolac). Following this battle, there would be a brief truce. However, the war began anew the next year in 441. The Huns planned to capture the city of Margus, which was taken most easily. The Bishop of Margus realized that it would be far wiser to allow the Huns to enter the city peacefully than to have them destroy the city, so after bargaining for his own freedom, he apparently even opened the city’s gates for the Huns himself.

By the time they conquered Philippopolis, there was no longer anything standing in their way. The ancient city of Philippopolis was the crossroads of the well-traveled north-south road from Oescus on the Danube to the Aegean Sea and also the highway running from the Bosphorus to the West. While Edirne and Iregli were either passed over by the Huns or were able to ward them off, Arcadiopolis was taken. The Huns gained much booty from their attack, and the prisoners they took could not even be fully counted.

Some of the features of the Huns’ religion involved offering their horses as burnt offerings to their deities. The horses’ skulls were also placed in front of their homes to ward off evil. Lacerating their faces as a sign of mourning was another religious practice. In addition, the Huns buried their dead instead of cremating them, placing in the grave personal objects of value such as swords, or bows. Attila himself placed great faith in signs and the words of his priests and soothsayers. They were most important when he planned his military operations.

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