The mighty warlord Attila, known as Attila the Hun or the Scourge of God, ruled a vast territory that stretched from the Ural River in the east to the Rhine River in the west, and from the Danube River in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north.
After invading Italy in 452, Attila planned to strike at Constantinople, which had ceased paying tribute to him while he was occupied in the west. However, Attila’s plans were stopped by his untimely death in early 453.
According to his contemporary, the Roman historian Priscus, Attila died during the night when he was celebrating his marriage to the Gothic woman Ildico, his sixth wife. Namely, the warlord had allegedly gotten so drunk he fell into a stupor, when his nose started bleeding. Due to his physical state, this led to him choking on his own blood during the night.
Yet there are alternative theories about his death. For example, one posits Attila actually died of internal bleeding after heavy drinking. Namely, chronic drinking can lead to acid reflux disease, which can cause ruptures in the esophagus.
Another account, penned some 80 years later by the Roman historian Marcellinus Comes, claims Attila was murdered by his wife. This account is repeated in some Norse sagas, where his wife is named Gudrun.
Other theories are that he may have been poisoned by his own followers to avenge his brother Bleda, whom Attila probably murdered. Some modern historians also claim it may have been a Roman plot.
A great lamentation ceremony was held after Attila’s death. According to legend, he was laid to rest in a coffin made of gold, silver, and iron, and some of the treasures he had plundered were interred with him. The men who buried him were allegedly killed to keep the location secret.