Daily Mail introduces tonight's BBC1 programme on Attila

Attila the Hun: Why does his destruction of a civilisation have parallels with today?

By WILLIAM NAPIER – More by this author » Last updated at 01:07am on 13th February 2008

Never before had the citizens of the Roman Empire seen invaders so alien and terrifying as this.

Erupting in a thunder of hooves and drums, spears held aloft, the marauding army darkened the sky with their arrows.

Their heads were part-shaven, their hair tied in top-knots, their faces decorated with tattoos made with needles dipped in soot.

They rode dressed in furs, with capes of buffalo hide, atop horses whose reins hung with the severed heads of their enemies.

And upon their broad chests were etched suns and moons and faces with writhing snakes for hair, their dusty backs adorned with bloody handprints slapped on by their comrades.

Some set deer's antlers on their horses' heads to make them appear more fearsome or filed their own teeth to sharp points and smeared red berry juice around their mouths.

Others dyed the manes and fetlocks of their horses a similar colour, as if they had already waded deep in blood.

These were the warriors who, as one chronicler of the time put it with ghastly simplicity, “ground the whole of Europe to dust.”

And at their head rode a man whose name has remained a byword for terror, bloodshed and atrocity for 16 long centuries: Attila The Hun.

Tonight the BBC is showing a dramatic reconstruction of this great warrior's life.

Read the rest ….

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