By John Walker In AD 451, Attila the Hun, by then known to terrified Western Christians as the “scourge of God,” crossed the Rhine River in command of a multi-ethnic army. Attila’s army comprised thousands of his own fearsome Hun horse archers backed by Ostrogoths, Gepids, and other Germanic tribal auxiliaries, marching in three massive columns through Belgic Gaul. Their goal was to plunder the rich, nominally Roman province of Aquitaine Gaul beyond the Loire River. By that time, Attila already had carried out several bloody incursions against the Eastern Roman Empire and had turned his attentions toward the west. If Attila overran the relatively weakly defended province of Gaul, now home in great part to settlements of Franks and Visigoths, all of Western Europe would be ripe for conquest. There remained in Western Europe only one individual—the magister militum, or commander-in-chief of all Roman forces—who possessed the considerable strategic, political, and tactical acumen needed to find a way to halt, or at least blunt, this historic first Hun invasion of the Western Roman Empire. That man was the brilliant, fiercely loyal, and vastly experienced general and politician Flavius Aetius, known to history as the “last of the true Romans.” Assembling an Effective Gallo-Roman Army Flavius Aetius, elected consul on three different occasions, was often referred to as “the man behind the throne” as he toiled tirelessly in his position as the most trusted adv


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