Attila (/ˈætᵻlə/ or /əˈtɪlə/; fl. 434–453), frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. Attila was a leader of the Hunnic Empire, a tribal confederation consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, and Alans among others, on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe.
During his reign, he was one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople. His unsuccessful campaign in Persia was followed in 441 by an invasion of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the success of which emboldened Attila to invade the West. He also attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France), crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Aurelianum (Orléans) before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
He subsequently invaded Italy, devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome. He planned for further campaigns against the Romans but died in 453. After Attila's death his close adviser Ardaric of the Gepids led a Germanic revolt against Hunnic rule, after which the Hunnic Empire quickly collapsed.
Attila is a popular masculine name in both Hungary and Turkey. Another version of Attila in Hungary is Etele, the female equivalent of which is Etelka. Other versions of Attila used in Turkey are Atilla and simply Atila.
Otto Maenchen-Helfen, who considered Gothic etymology, noted that Hunnic names were "not the true names of the Hun princes and lords. What we have are Hunnic names in Germanic dress, modified to fit the Gothic tongue, or popular Gothic etymologies, or both".
Hyun Jin Kim noted Attila has more natural and probable Turkic etymology.Omeljan Pritsak considered ̕Άττίλα (Atilla) a composite title-name which derived from Turkic *es (great, old), and *t il (sea, ocean), and the suffix /a/. The stressed back syllabic til assimilated the front member es, so it became *as. It is a nominative, in form of attíl- (< *etsíl < *es tíl) with the meaning "the oceanic, universal ruler".Peter Golden, citing Pritsak, like László Rásonyi connected Attila's name with Menander note in which used term Attilan as the name of the Volga River (Turkic Atil/Itil; "great river").J.J. Mikkola connected it with Turkic āt (name, fame). Gerd Althoff considered it was related to Turkish atli (horseman, cavalier), or Turkish at (horse) and dil (tongue).