Attila – Atli – Etzel. Über den Wandel der Erinnerung an einen Hunnenkönig im europäischen Mittelalter

Matthias Hardt


During the European early and high Middle Ages the memory of the Migration period Hun ruler Attila was different and in flux. While Eastern Germanic groups in heroic poetry and historiography draw the picture of a noble and gift-giving king, Western Germanic tribes made him responsible for the destruction of the Burgundian kingdom in the Middle Rhine area. For Latin authors of Late Antiquity he was a flagellum dei and an enemy of Christianity. In medieval Cologne Attila was said to have been the murderer of 11,000 virgins. This article shall analyse these representations equally on the basis of historiography, heroic poetry and archaeological material as sources of the nomadic influence on the history of the Migration period.