Attila (called by the ancient Germans Etzel, in the Magyar language Atzel), a celebrated king of the Huns, ruled from 434 to 453. He assured his people that he had discovered the sword of their god, with which he was to procure for them the dominion of the world. He called himself the Scourge of God, and his subjects looked upon him with superstitious awe. He extended his sway over a large portion of Europe and Asia, and but for his defeat by AEtius in the Catalaunian plains, in 451, would have destroyed the Roman Empire. He spared the city of Rome in consequence, it is believed, of the impression made upon his mind by Pope Leo I. See LEO I, Pope.