Attila the Hun
|"When evening began to draw in, torches were lighted, and two barbarians came forward in front of Attila and sang songs which they had composed, singing of his victories and his great deeds in war."
Long before dudes like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane made it routine for a rampaging horde of steppe nomads to ride into Europe on an army of man-eating horses, crushing their enemies before them, hacking off more limbs than a malfunctioning piece of Industrial Revolution machinery and reducing over-populated metropolises to steaming piles of charred ash and carrion, there was Attila the Hun - the Original Gangsta of Central Asian barbarian warlords and one of the toughest motherfuckers to ever tie on a fur cloak, slap an old lady in the face and trample some unsuspecting dumbass villagers with his horse. A man so renowned for his bloodlust, ruthless determination, and merciless, unstoppable asskicking powers that his enemies in Western Europe simply referred to him with one incredibly badass nickname: The Scourge of God.
Attila and his brother inherited the Hun Empire in 433 after their father died for some reason nobody gives a shit about. Not much is known about the Empire at the time of Attila's ascension to the throne, but it is believed to have stretched from the Russian steppe to the Danube River in Eastern Europe. Or something. Attila's first move as the kind, benevolent ruler of his people was to walk up to the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, metaphorically bitch-slap him in the fucking face with his dick, and demand that the Byzantines pay the Huns a tribute of 600 pounds of gold every year as sort of a "please God don't let the bad men hurt us" tax. Well 600 pounds of gold is pretty much a fucking shitload of gold, and after a couple years of this the Byzantine Emperor suddenly got sick of Attila's bullshit and decided to grow a pair. Emperor Dumbass used his newly-discovered power of testosterone generation to tell Attila him to go hump himself with a rusty coat hanger. Attila responded by cracking his knuckles, mobilizing his army, and marching a screaming horde of pissed-off motherfuckers across the Danube River in 440 CE for the sole purpose of causing enough chaos and destruction to make the L.A. riots look like Family Day at Fantasy Land.
The Huns pillaged villages and towns all across Eastern Europe in a mad rampage of destruction and relentless assbeatings. Many cities, including Belgrade, were obliterated; Their populations were either sold into slavery or stabbed in the balls and left for dead, the empty buildings were looted and then burned to the ground, and the ashes were urinated on by drunk homeless people. For two years, Attila's men ravaged the countryside like an army of pissed-off repressed middle-class soccer moms assaulting a 90%-off clearance rack at Macy's. Once they'd killed everyone they could find and stolen anything that wasn't bolted to the floor by six-inch nails, steel rivets and two tons of sold concrete, they turned their attention East towards the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. The city was surrounded, the Eastern Roman Army was shattered, and the Byzantines were pretty much royally fucked. The Huns didn't really have the technology or the manpower to capture the heavily fortified city, so instead Atilla went up and down the countryside searching for any Byzantine Army units that hadn't already been annihilated by his badass wildmen. Eventually, the Emperor in Constantinople surrendered, paid The Scourge of God 6,000 pounds of gold in small, unmarked, non-consecutive bills and agreed to triple the Don't Kick My Ass Tax. For Attila, this was all he needed to hear. He wasn't interested in owning huge expanses of territory, governing citizens, passing laws or doing any of that other City Hall bureaucracy bullshit paperwork - as long as his enemies were willing to pay him a shitload of gold not to kick their fucking asses, he was more than happy with the knowledge that he had made them all his bitches.
Attila returned home, and within a few years his brother died of mysterious causes. I'll give you two guesses who may have been behind it. This "unfortunate incident" put power and rule over the Empire firmly in the ever-clenched, face-smashing iron fist of Attila. He chilled out in Hungary for a while, drinking Hennessey on top of gigantic piles of gold coins and half-naked European babes until the year 447, when once again the Byzantine Empire thought it would be really fucking hilarious to stop paying tribute to the Huns. Attila didn't even think about it - he just got his men together and stomped nuts across the Eastern Roman Empire, sacking cities throughout the Balkan provinces and shoving his foot up the ass of anybody not currently on his payroll. After another two years of getting their faces pummeled in and having their population wiped out quicker than an onset of the Bubonic Plague, the Byzantines once again surrendered and agreed to pay even more tribute.
The secret to the Huns asskicking skills lie in the fact that they were completely balls-out all of the time. The entire army was mounted on horseback, allowing them to travel and maneuver at speeds far greater than their enemies could hope to achieve. On top of that, they used composite bows - powerful, long-range weapons that were pretty much the Cruise Missiles of Antiquity - and they could fire those bastards with deadly accuracy while charging at a full gallop. Their strategy was first to fly in, launch a couple of volleys of arrows, then fade away before the other guys even knew what the fuck was going on. While the enemy was still in disarray, the Huns would circle around, fire another volley, and then charge full-speed while yelling blood-curdling insane battle cries that made most of their opponent piss themselves with pure liquid terror. In hand-to-hand combat, their style was just to go balls-out all the motherfucking time - savagely hacking and wildly shooting anything that moved. They exercised little regard for their own personal safety, created vast amounts of chaos in the enemy ranks, and then used the disorder to their advantage. They also used nets and lassos to bind their enemies before hacking them up with swords or stabbing them in the eye with their spears, which is pretty sweet.
Anyways, in 450 a chick named Honoria (who was actually the sister of Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III) sent a brave little R2 utility droid to our boy Attila with a special message - "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." Basically, Valentinian had forced Honoria into an arranged marriage against her will with some jackass motherfucker she couldn't stand, and she needed the Scourge of God to swoop in and rescue her from the clutches of some perverted douchebag asshole. This cry for help was like the Bat Signal for Attila, except instead of rappelling in on a zip line and punching bank robbers in the face while giant word bubbles exclaimed things like, "BIFF!", Attila started putting his sword through peoples' heads and shooting Europeans in the face with giant flaming arrows. He rode his army in to Western Europe, claimed Honoria as his wife, and then demanded half of the Western Roman Empire as a dowry. When Valentinian said something along the lines of, "there's no way in fucking Hell I'm going to give you half of my Empire", Attila basically said, "bitch, I wasn't asking for your fucking permission." Now that's badass.
In 451, the Hun hordes blitzed through German and Austria, crushing all opposition, pillaging countless villages and crossing the Rhine into Gaul, where Attila sacked every town he came across and whipped the ass of any Visigoth warriors standing in his way. The skies above France were clouded with the black smoke of dozens of smoldering villages as the entire countryside pretty much became one giant raging inferno of suck.
HUN HUN HUNNNNNN!
Even though the Visigoths and the Romans hated each other worse than the Red Sox and the Yankees, they eventually realized that they needed to join forces or they were all going to get personally sacked by a swift boot to the groin from Attila the Asskicker and his legion of bloodthirsty psychos. A gigantic combined army comprised of the best warriors the Visigoths and Romans had to offer was assembled to chase Attila across Gaul. They eventually caught up to him while he was in the middle of razing the city of Orleans, and the surprise attack forced the Hun invaders to withdraw. Atilla met the European army in a full-scale holy shit battle outside the town of Chalons to determine the fate of the West, but in a brutal battle resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of warriors on both sides, including the Visigoth King, Attila's army was narrowly defeated by the Allies. It would be the warlord's only documented defeat on the field of battle in his twenty-year career as a professional face-smashing conqueror.
Attila withdrew from Gaul, crossing back over the Rhine and making everybody think he was headed back to Hungary to chill out in his sweet crib and drink wine all night. Then, right at the last second he sent a text message to the Western Roman Emperor saying, "PSYCH LOL YA RITE LOSERS I'M ONLY HUNGARY FOR SOME MORE ASS-KICKING!!!!111ONEONEONE" Instead of heading home, he veered over into Italy and launched a surprise attack aimed at destroying Rome herself. The Huns looted Aquileia, Padua, and Milan before pressing on towards Ravenna and Rome, ball-knocking the Italian cities while Rome's armies were off celebrating their triumphant victory back in Gaul and getting backrubs and massages from loose Visigothic women. The only thing that kept Attila from conquering all of Italy was a delegation led by Pope Leo the Great, who came out at the head of a massive Roman Embassy that basically pleaded and begged Attila for mercy. The Hunnic King finally was like, "fine, fuck it whatever, assholes. I don't have time for this. I'm fucking out of here", and headed back home. He died in 453, shortly after returning to his palace. He had just gotten married to some other random chick, and drank so much at the after-party that he choked to death on his own blood like some kind of awesome 1970s rock star. He was buried in a massive sarcophagus along with all of his worldy treasures, and then the tomb-builders were executed so that the secret location of his grave would never be discovered. To this day, it remains a secret to everybody.
Attila the Hun is generally remembered in the West as a terrible, bloodthirsty killing machine and one of the most badassed, toughest motherfuckers to ever live. He wasn't to dicked around with, he punched the most powerful Empires in the face in the world so hard that they got serious concussions and forgot how to tie their own shoelaces, and he didn't half-ass it when it came to eradicating anything that stood in his way through sheer violence and a couple of blowtorches. In the East, he is known as a wise and powerful ruler who commanded the respect of his subjects for twenty years, launched many successful military campaigns, and whipped a group of disorganized nomads into the world's most ferocious army. He is also commended by contemporary sources for his humility and self-discipline - one of the men on the Roman Embassy that went to plead for their miserable lives noted that while Attila's guests were offered lavish, exotic foods served on solid-gold serving plates, Attila himself just ate a huge slab of meat off of a wooden plate, drank from a wood goblet, and carried a beat-up, nondescript sword on his belt. As a true badass, Attila the Hun didn't need to flex nuts to prove how fucking awesome he was - the world already knew.
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