Attila (miniseries)

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Attila TV Miniseries.jpg
Directed by Dick Lowry
Produced by Caldecot Chubb (executive producer)
Sean Daniel (executive producer)
James Jacks (executive producer)
Michael R. Joyce (co-executive producer)
Paul Lichtman (producer: Europe)
Judith Craig Marlin (associate producer)
Robertas Urbonas (producer: Europe)
Written by Robert Cochran
Starring Gerard Butler
Powers Boothe
Simmone Mackinnon
Music by Nick Glennie-Smith
Edited by Tod Feuerman
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
Running time
177 min.
Country United States
Language English

Attila (also known as Attila the Hun in the UK) is an American TV miniseries set during the waning days of the Western Roman Empire, in particular during the invasions of the Huns in Europe.


The miniseries tells the story of one of the most ferocious warriors in the world, Attila the Hun, who violently assumes Hun leadership and unites the warring clans under his banner. It also tells the story of Flavius Aetius, one of the so-called "Last of the Romans" who worked vigorously for years to keep the dying Western Roman Empire intact in the face of constant barbarian onslaught.


Historical inaccuracies[edit]

  • Most historians contended that the Huns were of Turco-Mongol descent, as opposed to Caucasian as portrayed here - a small few however have now discount any connection with the Mongolian Xiongnu and point out that whatever their original point of origin, by Attila's time they had heavily intermarried with western tribes (which had largely been yet to be proven by majority historical accounts). In fact at least one Hun in the film (Bleda) is made up to look 'mongoloid' - although oddly his uncle (Rua) and brother (Attila) are not.
  • There is no evidence that Attila ever spent time in Rome, although Aetius was a hostage for a time among the Huns.
  • The Romans are portrayed in standard Hollywood terms, decadent pagan orgies and all - whereas in reality by this stage they had converted to a particularly stern and moralistic Christianity. Aetius does, however, at one point in the series, mention that he and Theodoric are both Christians (and in fact mentions that they had fought over religion, suggesting the historical difference between the Arian Visigoths and the Catholic Romans).
  • The film depicts the Battle of Châlons as the last major campaign of Attila's career, entirely omitting his campaign the following year in Italy, during which he very nearly sacked Rome but withdrew after meeting with Pope Leo I and Roman officials.
  • The film depicts Orléans as having fallen to Atilla's advance, when in reality its defenses successfully repelled his assault.
  • Attila's first wife, N'kara, is entirely fictional as is the daughter of Aetius/Theodoric - although the fact that Attila had adult sons by his death does suggest that he had been married before - perhaps many times. Aetius however did have a son named Gaudentius
  • The Roman helmets that appear here are the classical Roman helmets although they had in reality abandoned this armor for the more cost efficient Ridge helmet
  • The Roman shields and weapons resemble that of the early empire instead of the late.
  • Both Roman and Hun riders use stirrups which were not introduced into Europe until several centuries later.
  • Virtually all the swords shown in the film are much too short - in fact virtually every army in the period used some variant of the spatha or longsword as this gave a much longer reach used from horseback.
  • The siege engines used by the Huns are clearly trebuchets operated by counterweights which did not reach Europe until centuries after Attila - rather they should have been torsion-powered catapults.
  • The Roman Emperor Valentinian III is depicted as childish, decadent and idiotic, while in truth he probably was a mature but incompetent ruler.
  • Galla Placidia and Theodosius II were already dead by the time Valentinian murdered Aetius.
  • There are no records that back up the notion that Theodoric and Aetius shared the same wife.
  • The Roman Army's uniforms are anachronisms by the time of the 5th century.
  • As with many films portraying the waning days of the Roman Empire, the Rome is still titular capital city. From the time of Diocletian emperors spent little time in Rome. Milan was the principal seat of emperors in the West -- better situated to respond to emergencies -- until 404 when the government was located to Ravenna. Valentinian III spent long periods of time in Rome and was resident there when he was assassinated.
  • While Theodoric was killed in the battle, the perpetrator was either an anonymous Hun, or possibly Andag, an ambitious fellow Goth. There are no historians who support a Roman conspiracy theory for his death.
  • Atilla did not kill Bleda immediately after their uncle's death. In fact they were co-rulers for 11 years, before Bleda died under mysterious circumstances. While it is speculated that Atilla did murder his brother, it was certainly not done in a public challenge.
  • Aetius was never imprisoned by Galla Placidia for his tyranny against her and Valentianian III. Although, Aetius did support Joannes over Galla Placidia's son Valentinian III for ruling of the Western Roman empire and did fight Galla Placidia's support army of the Eastern Empire of Theodosis II general Aradaburius. Aetius was able to negotiate a compromise after the fighting did not resolve a victor. Aetius was proclaimed magister millitum of Gaul by Galla Placida.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]