Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/166

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160 BATTLE OF CHALONS.


A Roman,* who was on an embassy to the Hunnish camp, recorded in his memoirs Attila's acquisition of this supernatural weapon, and the immense influence over the minds of the barbaric tribes which its possession gave him. In the title which he assumed we shall see the skill with which he availed himself of the legends and creeds of other nations as well as of his own. He designated himself "Attila, Descendant of the Great Nimrod.' Nurtured in Engaddi. By the Grace of God, King of the Huns, the Goths, the Danes, and the Medes. The Dread of the World."

Herbert states that Attila is represented on an old medallion with a Teraphim, or a head, on his breast; and the same writer adds, "We know, from the 'Hamartigenea' of Prudentius, that Nimrod, with a snaky-haired head, was the object of adoration of the heretical followers of Marcion; and the same head was the palladium set up by Antiochus Epiphanes over the gates of Antioch, though it has been called the visage of Charon. The memory of Nimrod was certainly regarded with mystic veneration by many; and by asserting himself to be the heir of that mighty hunter before the Lord, he vindicated to himself at least the whole Babylonian kingdom.

"The singular assertion in his style, that he was nurtured in Engaddi, where he certainly had never been, will be more easily understood on reference to the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelations, concerning the woman clothed with the sun, who was to bring forth in the wilderness—'where she hath a place prepared of God'—a man-child, who was to contend with the dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and rule all nations with a rod of iron. This prophecy was at that time understood universally by the sincere Christians to refer to the birth of Constantino, who was to overwhelm the paganism of the city on the seven hills, and it is still so explained; but it is evident that the heathens must have looked on it in a different light, and have regarded it as a foretelling of the birth of that Great One who should master the temporal power of Rome. The assertion, therefore, that he was nurtured in Engaddi, is a claim to be looked upon as that man-child who was to be brought forth in a place prepared of God in the wilderness. Engaddi means a place of palms and vines in the desert; it was hard by Zoar, the city of refuge, which was saved in the Vale of Siddim, or Demons,

  • Priscus apud Jornandem.