Ancient Rome
Attila the Hun

Attila the Hun
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.16

     challenging words:    accession, break-up, co-ruled, halted, mid-year, southward, rape, weaponry, affluent, pretense, showdown, killing, standing, plunder, ludicrous, head-on
     content words:    Roman Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Western Roman Empire, Roman Empires, Central Asia, Theodosius II, For Attila, Danube River, Valentinian III

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Attila the Hun
By Vickie Chao

1     Since its debut in 27 B.C., the Roman Empire had been a superpower. At the peak of its time, the empire conquered and controlled a vast territory that stretched across three continents -- Europe, Africa, and Asia. For nearly 400 years, the Roman soldiers represented a formidable force. Known for their rigorous training and superior weaponry, they rarely lost a battle. Even after the empire's official split in 395 A.D., both the eastern and western kingdoms still had a considerable influence over the regions nearby. The eastern half was called the Eastern Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire, whereas the western half the Western Roman Empire or, simply, the Roman Empire.
2     The big break-up in 395 A.D. was one of the many signs that the Romans were slowly losing their authority. Their decline in power was no secret. Thus, many tribes previously under the Romans' control became restless. They were eager to take the Romans' place and become the next superpower. Of those tribes who tried, the Huns were probably the most famous. Even though the Huns were never able to overtake either the Byzantine or the Roman Empires, they plundered both and inflicted tremendous damage. As a result, back in those days, the mere mentioning of their name, especially their leader's name -- Attila or Attila the Hun -- would probably be scary enough to quiet any misbehaving children!
3     Attila was born around 406 A.D. At the time of his birth, the Huns were nomadic tribes scattered across Central Asia and Europe. By 432 A.D., however, they were all forged into a single nation under the command of Rua (also spelled as Ruga or Rugulas). Rua was an ambitious leader, but sadly, he did not live long to enjoy his success. Merely two years after he brought the Huns together, he passed away. Upon his death, the power went to his two nephews, Attila and Bleda, who co-ruled the country for nearly a decade. At the time of their accession, the Huns had grown very strong and very aggressive. Their first line of business was to negotiate with the emperor Theodosius II of the Byzantine Empire. It did not take long for both sides to reach an agreement. For Attila and Bleda's part, they would withhold from advancing their forceful troops. In exchange, Theodosius II would pay the Huns an annual tribute of 660 Roman pounds (about 216 kilograms) of gold. Pleased with the result, Attila and Bleda withdrew their armies and returned home.

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