[1: The authentic materials for the history of Attila, may be found in Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 34-50, p. 668-688, edit. Grot.) and Priscus (Excerpta de Legationibus, p. 33-76, Paris, 1648.) I have not seen the Lives of Attila, composed by Juvencus Caelius Calanus Dalmatinus, in the twelfth century, or by Nicholas Olahus, archbishop of Gran, in the sixteenth. See Mascou's History of the Germans, ix., and Maffei Osservazioni Litterarie, tom. i. p. 88, 89. Whatever the modern Hungarians have added must be fabulous; and they do not seem to have excelled in the art of fiction. They suppose, that when Attila invaded Gaul and Italy, married innumerable wives, &c., he was one hundred and twenty years of age. Thewrocz Chron. c. i. p. 22, in Script. Hunger. tom. i. p. 76.]



[2: Hungary has been successively occupied by three Scythian colonies. 1. The Huns of Attila; 2. The Abares, in the sixth century; and, 3. The Turks or Magiars, A.D. 889; the immediate and genuine ancestors of the modern Hungarians, whose connection with the two former is extremely faint and remote. The Prodromus and Notitia of Matthew Belius appear to contain a rich fund of information concerning ancient and modern Hungary. I have seen the extracts in Bibli otheque Ancienne et Moderne, tom. xxii. p. 1 - 51, and Bibliotheque Raisonnee, tom. xvi. p. 127 - 175. Note: Mailath (in his Geschichte der Magyaren) considers the question of the origin of the Magyars as still undecided. The old Hungarian chronicles unanimously derived them from the Huns of Attila See note, vol. iv. pp. 341, 342. The later opinion, adopted by Schlozer, Belnay, and Dankowsky, ascribes them, from their language, to the Finnish race. Fessler, in his history of Hungary, agrees with Gibbon in supposing them Turks. Mailath has inserted an ingenious dissertation of Fejer, which attempts to connect them with the Parthians. Vol. i. Ammerkungen p. 50 - M.]



[3: Socrates, l. vii. c. 43. Theodoret, l. v. c. 36. Tillemont, who always depends on the faith of his ecclesiastical authors, strenuously contends (Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 136, 607) that the wars and personages were not the same.]



[4: See Priscus, p. 47, 48, and Hist. de Peuples de l'Europe, tom. v. i. c. xii, xiii, xiv, xv.]



[5: Priscus, p. 39. The modern Hungarians have deduced his genealogy, which ascends, in the thirty-fifth degree, to Ham, the son of Noah; yet they are ignorant of his father's real name. (De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 297.)]



[6: Compare Jornandes (c. 35, p. 661) with Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 380. The former had a right to observe, originis suae sigua restituens. The character and portrait of Attila are probably transcribed from Cassiodorus.]



[7: Abulpharag. Pocock, p. 281. Genealogical History of the Tartars, by Abulghazi Bahader Khan, part iii c. 15, part iv c. 3. Vie de Gengiscan, par Petit de la Croix, l. 1, c. 1, 6. The relations of the missionaries, who visited Tartary in the thirteenth century, (see the seventh volume of the Histoire des Voyages,) express the popular language and opinions; Zingis is styled the son of God, &c. &c.]



[8: Nec templum apud eos visitur, aut delubrum, ne tugurium quidem culmo tectum cerni usquam potest; sed gladius Barbarico ritu humi figitur nudus, eumque ut Martem regionum quas circumcircant praesulem verecundius colunt. Ammian. Marcellin. xxxi. 2, and the learned Notes of Lindenbrogius and Valesius.]



[9: Priscus relates this remarkable story, both in his own text (p. 65) and in the quotation made by Jornandes, (c. 35, p. 662.) He might have explained the tradition, or fable, which characterized this famous sword, and the name, as well as attributes, of the Scythian deity, whom he has translated into the Mars of the Greeks and Romans.]



[10: Herodot. l. iv. c. 62. For the sake of economy, I have calculated by the smallest stadium. In the human sacrifices, they cut off the shoulder and arm of the victim, which they threw up into the air, and drew omens and presages from the manner of their falling on the pile]



[11: Priscus, p. 65. A more civilized hero, Augustus himself, was pleased, if the person on whom he fixed his eyes seemed unable to support their divine lustre. Sueton. in August. c. 79.]



[12: The Count de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii. p. 428, 429) attempts to clear Attila from the murder of his brother; and is almost inclined to reject the concurrent testimony of Jornandes, and the contemporary Chronicles.]



[13: Fortissimarum gentium dominus, qui inaudita ante se potentia colus Scythica et Germanica regna possedit. Jornandes, c. 49, p. 684. Priscus, p. 64, 65. M. de Guignes, by his knowledge of the Chinese, has acquired (tom. ii. p. 295 - 301) an adequate idea of the empire of Attila.]



[14: See Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 296. The Geougen believed that the Huns could excite, at pleasure, storms of wind and rain. This phenomenon was produced by the stone Gezi; to whose magic power the loss of a battle was ascribed by the Mahometan Tartars of the fourteenth century. See Cherefeddin Ali, Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. i. p. 82, 83.]



[15: Jornandes, c. 35, p. 661, c. 37, p. 667. See Tillemont, Hist. dea Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 129, 138. Corneille has represented the pride of Attila to his subject kings, and his tragedy opens with these two ridiculous lines: - Ils ne sont pas venus, nos deux rois! qu'on leur die Qu'ils se font trop attendre, et qu'Attila s'ennuie. The two kings of the Gepidae and the Ostrogoths are profound politicians and sentimental lovers, and the whole piece exhibits the defects without the genius, of the poet.]



[16: - alii per Caspia claustra Armeniasque nives, inopino tramite ducti Invadunt Orientis opes: jam pascua fumant Cappadocum, volucrumque parens Argaeus equorum. Jam rubet altus Halys, nec se defendit iniquo Monte Cilix; Syriae tractus vestantur amoeni Assuetumque choris, et laeta plebe canorum, Proterit imbellem sonipes hostilis Orontem. Claudian, in Rufin. l. ii. 28 - 35. See likewise, in Eutrop. l. i. 243 - 251, and the strong description of Jerom, who wrote from his feelings, tom. i. p. 26, ad Heliodor. p. 200 ad Ocean. Philostorgius (l. ix. c. 8) mentions this irruption.]



[A: Gibbon has made a curious mistake; Basic and Cursic were the names of the commanders of the Huns. Priscus, edit. Bonn, p. 200. - M.]



[17: See the original conversation in Priscus, p. 64, 65.]



[18: Priscus, p. 331. His history contained a copious and elegant account of the war, (Evagrius, l. i. c. 17;) but the extracts which relate to the embassies are the only parts that have reached our times. The original work was accessible, however, to the writers from whom we borrow our imperfect knowledge, Jornandes, Theophanes, Count Marcellinus, Prosper- Tyro, and the author of the Alexandrian, or Paschal, Chronicle. M. de Buat (Hist. des Peuples de l'Europe, tom. vii. c. xv.) has examined the cause, the circumstances, and the duration of this war; and will not allow it to extend beyond the year 44.]



[19: Procopius, de Edificiis, l. 4, c. 5. These fortresses were afterwards restored, strengthened, and enlarged by the emperor Justinian, but they were soon destroyed by the Abares, who succeeded to the power and possessions of the Huns.]



[20: Septuaginta civitates (says Prosper-Tyro) depredatione vastatoe. The language of Count Marcellinus is still more forcible. Pene totam Europam, invasis excisisque civitatibus atque castellis, conrasit.]



[21: Tillemont (Hist des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 106, 107) has paid great attention to this memorable earthquake; which was felt as far from Constantinople as Antioch and Alexandria, and is celebrated by all the ecclesiastical writers. In the hands of a popular preacher, an earthquake is an engine of admirable effect.]



[22: He represented to the emperor of the Moguls that the four provinces, (Petcheli, Chantong, Chansi, and Leaotong,)which he already possessed, might annually produce, under a mild administration, 500,000 ounces of silver, 400,000 measures of rice, and 800,000 pieces of silk. Gaubil, Hist. de la Dynastie des Mongous, p. 58, 59. Yelut chousay (such was the name of the mandarin) was a wise and virtuous minister, who saved his country, and civilized the conquerors. Note: Compare the life of this remarkable man, translated from the Chinese by M. Abel Remusat. Nouveaux Melanges Asiatiques, t. ii. p. 64. - M]



[23: Particular instances would be endless; but the curious reader may consult the life of Gengiscan, by Petit de la Croix, the Histoire des Mongous, and the fifteenth book of the History of the Huns.]



[24: At Maru, 1,300,000; at Herat, 1,600,000; at Neisabour, 1,747,000. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 380, 381. I use the orthography of D'Anville's maps. It must, however, be allowed, that the Persians were disposed to exaggerate their losses and the Moguls to magnify their exploits.]



[25: Cherefeddin Ali, his servile panegyrist, would afford us many horrid examples. In his camp before Delhi, Timour massacred 100,000 Indian prisoners, who had smiled when the army of their countrymen appeared in sight, (Hist. de Timur Bec, tom. iii. p. 90.) The people of Ispahan supplied 70,000 human skulls for the structure of several lofty towers, (id. tom. i. p. 434.) A similar tax was levied on the revolt of Bagdad, (tom. iii. p. 370;) and the exact account, which Cherefeddin was not able to procure from the proper officers, is stated by another historian (Ahmed Arabsiada, tom. ii. p. 175, vera Manger) at 90,000 heads.]



[26: The ancients, Jornandes, Priscus, &c., are ignorant of this epithet. The modern Hungarians have imagined, that it was applied, by a hermit of Gaul, to Attila, who was pleased to insert it among the titles of his royal dignity. Mascou, ix. 23, and Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 143.]



[27: The missionaries of St. Chrysostom had converted great numbers of the Scythians, who dwelt beyond the Danube in tents and wagons. Theodoret, l. v. c. 31. Photius, p. 1517. The Mahometans, the Nestorians, and the Latin Christians, thought themselves secure of gaining the sons and grandsons of Zingis, who treated the rival missionaries with impartial favor.]



[28: The Germans, who exterminated Varus and his legions, had been particularly offended with the Roman laws and lawyers. One of the Barbarians, after the effectual precautions of cutting out the tongue of an advocate, and sewing up his mouth, observed, with much satisfaction, that the viper could no longer hiss. Florus, iv. 12.]



[29: Priscus, p. 59. It should seem that the Huns preferred the Gothic and Latin languages to their own; which was probably a harsh and barren idiom.]



[30: Philip de Comines, in his admirable picture of the last moments of Lewis XI., (Memoires, l. vi. c. 12,) represents the insolence of his physician, who, in five months, extorted 54,000 crowns, and a rich bishopric, from the stern, avaricious tyrant.]



[31: Priscus (p. 61) extols the equity of the Roman laws, which protected the life of a slave. Occidere solent (says Tacitus of the Germans) non disciplina et severitate, sed impetu et ira, ut inimicum, nisi quod impune. De Moribus Germ. c. 25. The Heruli, who were the subjects of Attila, claimed, and exercised, the power of life and death over their slaves. See a remarkable instance in the second book of Agathias]



[32: See the whole conversation in Priscus, p. 59 - 62.]



[33: Nova iterum Orienti assurgit ruina ... quum nulla ab Cocidentalibus ferrentur auxilia. Prosper Tyro composed his Chronicle in the West; and his observation implies a censure.]



[B: Five in the last edition of Priscus. Niebuhr, Byz. Hist. p 147 - M]



[34: According to the description, or rather invective, of Chrysostom, an auction of Byzantine luxury must have been very productive. Every wealthy house possessed a semicircular table of massy silver such as two men could scarcely lift, a vase of solid gold of the weight of forty pounds, cups, dishes, of the same metal, &c.]



[35: The articles of the treaty, expressed without much order or precision, may be found in Priscus, (p. 34, 35, 36, 37, 53, &c.) Count Marcellinus dispenses some comfort, by observing, 1. That Attila himself solicited the peace and presents, which he had formerly refused; and, 2dly, That, about the same time, the ambassadors of India presented a fine large tame tiger to the emperor Theodosius.]



[36: Priscus, p. 35, 36. Among the hundred and eighty-two forts, or castles, of Thrace, enumerated by Procopius, (de Edificiis, l. iv. c. xi. tom. ii. p. 92, edit. Paris,) there is one of the name of Esimontou, whose position is doubtfully marked, in the neighborhood of Anchialus and the Euxine Sea. The name and walls of Azimuntium might subsist till the reign of Justinian; but the race of its brave defenders had been carefully extirpated by the jealousy of the Roman princes]



[37: The peevish dispute of St. Jerom and St. Augustin, who labored, by different expedients, to reconcile the seeming quarrel of the two apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, depends on the solution of an important question, (Middleton's Works, vol. ii. p. 5 - 20,) which has been frequently agitated by Catholic and Protestant divines, and even by lawyers and philosophers of every age.]



[38: Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur, &c. c. xix.) has delineated, with a bold and easy pencil, some of the most striking circumstances of the pride of Attila, and the disgrace of the Romans. He deserves the praise of having read the Fragments of Priscus, which have been too much disregarded.]



[39: See Priscus, p. 69, 71, 72, &c. I would fain believe, that this adventurer was afterwards crucified by the order of Attila, on a suspicion of treasonable practices; but Priscus (p. 57) has too plainly distinguished two persons of the name of Constantius, who, from the similar events of their lives, might have been easily confounded.]



[40: In the Persian treaty, concluded in the year 422, the wise and eloquent Maximin had been the assessor of Ardaburius, (Socrates, l. vii. c. 20.) When Marcian ascended the throne, the office of Great Chamberlain was bestowed on Maximin, who is ranked, in the public edict, among the four principal ministers of state, (Novell. ad Calc. Cod. Theod. p. 31.) He executed a civil and military commission in the Eastern provinces; and his death was lamented by the savages of Aethiopia, whose incursions he had repressed. See Priscus, p. 40, 41.]



[41: Priscus was a native of Panium in Thrace, and deserved, by his eloquence, an honorable place among the sophists of the age. His Byzantine history, which related to his own times, was comprised in seven books. See Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 235, 236. Notwithstanding the charitable judgment of the critics, I suspect that Priscus was a Pagan. Note: Niebuhr concurs in this opinion. Life of Priscus in the new edition of the Byzantine historians. - M]



[C: 70 stadia. Priscus, 173. - M.]



[D: He was forbidden to pitch his tents on an eminence because Attila's were below on the plain. Ibid. - M.]



[42: The Huns themselves still continued to despise the labors of agriculture: they abused the privilege of a victorious nation; and the Goths, their industrious subjects, who cultivated the earth, dreaded their neighborhood, like that of so many ravenous wolves, (Priscus, p. 45.) In the same manner the Sarts and Tadgics provide for their own subsistence, and for that of the Usbec Tartars, their lazy and rapacious sovereigns. See Genealogical History of the Tartars, p. 423 455, &c.]



[43: It is evident that Priscus passed the Danube and the Teyss, and that he did not reach the foot of the Carpathian hills. Agria, Tokay, and Jazberin, are situated in the plains circumscribed by this definition. M. de Buat (Histoire des Peuples, &c., tom. vii. p. 461) has chosen Tokay; Otrokosci, (p. 180, apud Mascou, ix. 23,) a learned Hungarian, has preferred Jazberin, a place about thirty-six miles westward of Buda and the Danube. Note: M. St. Martin considers the narrative of Priscus, the only authority of M. de Buat and of Gibbon, too vague to fix the position of Attila's camp. "It is worthy of remark, that in the Hungarian traditions collected by Thwrocz, l. 2, c. 17, precisely on the left branch of the Danube, where Attila's residence was situated, in the same parallel stands the present city of Buda, in Hungarian Buduvur. It is for this reason that this city has retained for a long time among the Germans of Hungary the name of Etzelnburgh or Etzela-burgh, i. e., the city of Attila. The distance of Buda from the place where Priscus crossed the Danube, on his way from Naissus, is equal to that which he traversed to reach the residence of the king of the Huns. I see no good reason for not acceding to the relations of the Hungarian historians." St. Martin, vi. 191. - M]



[44: The royal village of Attila may be compared to the city of Karacorum, the residence of the successors of Zingis; which, though it appears to have been a more stable habitation, did not equal the size or splendor of the town and abbey of St. Denys, in the 13th century. (See Rubruquis, in the Histoire Generale des Voyages, tom. vii p. 286.) The camp of Aurengzebe, as it is so agreeably described by Bernier, (tom. ii. p. 217 - 235,) blended the manners of Scythia with the magnificence and luxury of Hindostan.]



[E: The name of this queen occurs three times in Priscus, and always in a different form - Cerca, Creca, and Rheca. The Scandinavian poets have preserved her memory under the name of Herkia. St. Martin, vi. 192. - M.]



[45: When the Moguls displayed the spoils of Asia, in the diet of Toncat, the throne of Zingis was still covered with the original black felt carpet, on which he had been seated, when he was raised to the command of his warlike countrymen. See Vie de Gengiscan, v. c. 9.]



[F: Was this his own daughter, or the daughter of a person named Escam? (Gibbon has written incorrectly Eslam, an unknown name. The officer of Attila, called Eslas.) In either case the construction is imperfect: a good Greek writer would have introduced an article to determine the sense. Nor is it quite clear, whether Scythian usage is adduced to excuse the polygamy, or a marriage, which would be considered incestuous in other countries. The Latin version has carefully preserved the ambiguity, filiam Escam uxorem. I am not inclined to construe it 'his own daughter' though I have too little confidence in the uniformity of the grammatical idioms of the Byzantines (though Priscus is one of the best) to express myself without hesitation. - M.]



[G: This passage is remarkable from the connection of the name of Attila with that extraordinary cycle of poetry, which is found in different forms in almost all the Teutonic languages. A Latin poem, de prima expeditione Attilae, Regis Hunnorum, in Gallias, was published in the year 1780, by Fischer at Leipsic. It contains, with the continuation, 1452 lines. It abounds in metrical faults, but is occasionally not without some rude spirit and some copiousness of fancy in the variation of the circumstances in the different combats of the hero Walther, prince of Aquitania. It contains little which can be supposed historical, and still less which is characteristic concerning Attila. It relates to a first expedition of Attila into Europe which cannot be traced in history, during which the kings of the Franks, of the Burgundians, and of Aquitaine, submit themselves, and give hostages to Attila: the king of the Franks, a personage who seems the same with the Hagen of Teutonic romance; the king of Burgundy, his daughter Heldgund; the king of Aquitaine, his son Walther. The main subject of the poem is the escape of Walther and Heldgund from the camp of Attila, and the combat between Walther and Gunthar, king of the Franks. with his twelve peers, among whom is Hagen. Walther had been betrayed while he passed through Worms, the city of the Frankish king. by paying for his ferry over the Rhine with some strange fish, which he had caught during his flight, and which were unknown in the waters of the Rhine. Gunthar was desirous of plundering him of the treasure, which Walther had carried off from the camp of Attila. The author of this poem is unknown, nor can I, on the vague and rather doubtful allusion to Thule, as Iceland, venture to assign its date. It was, evidently, recited in a monastery, as appears by the first line; and no doubt composed there. The faults of metre would point out a late date; and it may have been formed upon some local tradition, as Walther, the hero, seems to have turned monk. This poem, however, in its character and its incidents, bears no relation to the Teutonic cycle, of which the Nibelungen Lied is the most complete form. In this, in the Heldenbuch, in some of the Danish Sagas. in countess lays and ballads in all the dialects of Scandinavia, appears King Etzel (Attila) in strife with the Burgundians and the Franks. With these appears, by a poetic anachronism, Dietrich of Berne. (Theodoric of Verona,) the celebrated Ostrogothic king; and many other very singular coincidences of historic names, which appear in the poems. (See Lachman Kritik der Sage in his volume of various readings to the Nibelungen; Berlin, 1836, p. 336.) I must acknowledge myself unable to form any satisfactory theory as to the connection of these poems with the history of the time, or the period, from which they may date their origin; notwithstanding the laborious investigations and critical sagacity of the Schlegels, the Grimms, of P. E. Muller and Lachman, and a whole host of German critics and antiquaries; not to omit our own countryman, Mr. Herbert, whose theory concerning Attila is certainly neither deficient in boldness nor originality. I conceive the only way to obtain any thing like a clear conception on this point would be what Lachman has begun, (see above,) patiently to collect and compare the various forms which the traditions have assumed, without any preconceived, either mythical or poetical, theory, and, if possible, to discover the original basis of the whole rich and fantastic legend. One point, which to me is strongly in favor of the antiquity of this poetic cycle, is, that the manners are so clearly anterior to chivalry, and to the influence exercised on the poetic literature of Europe by the chivalrous poems and romances. I think I find some traces of that influence in the Latin poem, though strained through the imagination of a monk. The English reader will find an amusing account of the German Nibelungen and Heldenbuch, and of some of the Scandinavian Sagas, in the volume of Northern Antiquities published by Weber, the friend of Sir Walter Scott. Scott himself contributed a considerable, no doubt far the most valuable, part to the work. See also the various German editions of the Nibelungen, to which Lachman, with true German perseverance, has compiled a thick volume of various readings; the Heldenbuch, the old Danish poems by Grimm, the Eddas, &c. Herbert's Attila, p. 510, et seq. - M.]


[46: If we may believe Plutarch, (in Demetrio, tom. v. p. 24,) it was the custom of the Scythians, when they indulged in the pleasures of the table, to awaken their languid courage by the martial harmony of twanging their bow-strings.]


[H: The Scythian was an idiot or lunatic; the Moor a regular buffcon - M.]


[47: The curious narrative of this embassy, which required few observations, and was not susceptible of any collateral evidence, may be found in Priscus, p. 49 - 70. But I have not confined myself to the same order; and I had previously extracted the historical circumstances, which were less intimately connected with the journey, and business, of the Roman ambassadors.]





[48: M. de Tillemont has very properly given the succession of chamberlains, who reigned in the name of Theodosius. Chrysaphius was the last, and, according to the unanimous evidence of history, the worst of these favorites, (see Hist. des Empereurs, tom. vi. p. 117 - 119. Mem. Eccles. tom. xv. p. 438.) His partiality for his godfather the heresiarch Eutyches, engaged him to persecute the orthodox party]



[49: This secret conspiracy and its important consequences, may be traced in the fragments of Priscus, p. 37, 38, 39, 54, 70, 71, 72. The chronology of that historian is not fixed by any precise date; but the series of negotiations between Attila and the Eastern empire must be included within the three or four years which are terminated, A.D. 450. by the death of Theodosius.]


[50: Theodorus the Reader, (see Vales. Hist. Eccles. tom. iii. p. 563,) and the Paschal Chronicle, mention the fall, without specifying the injury: but the consequence was so likely to happen, and so unlikely to be invented, that we may safely give credit to Nicephorus Callistus, a Greek of the fourteenth century.]


[51: Pulcheriae nutu (says Count Marcellinus) sua cum avaritia interemptus est. She abandoned the eunuch to the pious revenge of a son, whose father had suffered at his instigation. Note: Might not the execution of Chrysaphius have been a sacrifice to avert the anger of Attila, whose assassination the eunuch had attempted to contrive? - M.]


[52: de Bell. Vandal. l. i. c. 4. Evagrius, l. ii. c. 1. Theophanes, p. 90, 91. Novell. ad Calcem. Cod. Theod. tom. vi. p. 30. The praises which St. Leo and the Catholics have bestowed on Marcian, are diligently transcribed by Baronius, as an encouragement for future princes.]


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