The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun

The Night Attila Died Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun Before Saddam before Hitler before Napoleon there was Attila Born to shake the nations the feared and reviled leader of the Huns cut a bloody swath of death and destruction across fifth century Eur

  • Title: The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun
  • Author: Michael A. Babcock
  • ISBN: 9780425202722
  • Page: 499
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Before Saddam, before Hitler, before Napoleon there was Attila Born to shake the nations, the feared and reviled leader of the Huns cut a bloody swath of death and destruction across fifth century Europe Yet, for all his barbarian savagery, it took a mere nosebleed to end his life At least that s how history has recorded it For than fifteen hundred years, the reBefore Saddam, before Hitler, before Napoleon there was Attila Born to shake the nations, the feared and reviled leader of the Huns cut a bloody swath of death and destruction across fifth century Europe Yet, for all his barbarian savagery, it took a mere nosebleed to end his life At least that s how history has recorded it For than fifteen hundred years, the relatively tame way Attila died has remained a curious footnote to a legacy rife with violence But history happens to be wrong Michael Babcock, PhD, a noted philologist and recognized authority on the life and legend of Attila, makes a stunning revelation The Scourge of God died as he lived he was murdered Using philology, the careful analysis of textual and historical evidence, Babcock lays out his argument like a skilled trial lawyer in a high profile murder case He puts the reader in the jury box as he presents piece after piece of evidence pointing to the assassination plot and subsequent cover up that were orchestrated by Attila s chief rival, Marcian, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire In this intriguing book, Babcock succeeds not only in solving an ancient murder mystery, he stirs the stilled waters of history and rewrites it for the next fifteen hundred years.

    One thought on “The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun”

    1. Rarely does a book written for popular consumption hold up to the rigors of academia, nor does an academic work often captivate its readers. This book is the rare work that does both. Babcock, the author, holds both a Ph.D. in Germanic Philology and an MFA in Creative Writing, and he puts both of his degrees to good use here in a fascinating book about the greatest cover-up of the 5th century.You’ve probably heard of Attila the Hun, “Scourge of God,” who ravaged the Eastern and Dying Weste [...]

    2. Attila the Hun died on his wedding night after falling into a drunken stupor and his new bride weeping while in a locked room. That's the official version passed down through the ages. But is that it? The most feared man to threaten two empires simply fell down dead. Babcock doesn't think this was the true story and as he explains, neither did many of Attila's contemporaries and those who met Attila.The author puts forth 17 pieces of compelling evidence that 1) there was indeed a plot to kill At [...]

    3. I must preface my review by stating that, before reading this book, I knew little about Attila other than his name. Overall, I found it to be a surprisingly fascinating and involving tale, and the "murder" thesis quite plausible. (The "died-of-a-nosebleed-while-in-a-drunken-stupor-on-his-wedding-night" yarn does indisputably sound like the setup for a really, really bad Monty Python sketch.) Unfortunately, the fact that no original, uncorrupted accounts of his death survive make it impossible to [...]

    4. This is a really fascinating case study in philology -- the extremely obscure discipline of establishing the authenticity of, and relationships between, texts. Babcock covers the history of the Eastern & Western Roman Empires in the fifth & sixth centuries, focusing on the political and military situations the empires faced in their interactions with various "barbarian" nations, especially the Huns. But his focus is really on the historiography of the period, and sorting what came from w [...]

    5. Content-wise, this is just an academic article that has been bloated into a popular history book, full of background stories and setting descriptions, couched in the form of a lawyer laying out his evidence before a court of law. This method doesn't really work for me. Methodologically, Babcock makes some interesting points. The problem, which Babcock does seem to realize, is that his thesis is ultimately impossible to support given the surviving evidence available. It may well be that Attila's [...]

    6. Let's be honest. This is an allegedly earnest effort to explain a death over 1,500 years in the past, rendered by a philologist with a great deal of time on his hands. The result should be viewed as entertainment and not serious history. There are problems aplenty, least of which is a paucity of source documents. Babcock has three, all written either many years later or second handedly. We know practically nothing of the players, events and motivations. Babcock consumes a great deal of text to b [...]

    7. This book claims to prove that the official version of how Attila died -- drowning in bed on his 300th wedding night -- is not the real deal, saying instead that he was murdered. I came away from it totally unconvinced. I can see why the author raised the question in the first place, but the evidence supporting his theory is just not in here. It looks as if he were forced to publish before his research into the matter was completed. I can't say it wasn't an interesting read, though.

    8. You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy this bit of historical detecting, but it helps. I was quite engrossed in this well-written account of Atilla's death which encompasses the stories of a few other well-known figures of his time. It's a testimony to the author's narrative skill that he maintains suspense throughout even though it is, after all, history.

    9. Interesting, but I found the author's writing a bit disjointed. I'm not 100% sold on his premise, but he does make an good case for Attila's murder.

    10. I never knew that there was a profession such as a philologist or what a philologist did before reading this bool. Very detailed and was a hard read at times. Worth toughing it out.

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