Ildico (fl. 453)

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Ildico (fl. 453)

Teutonic princess. Flourished around 453; married Attila (c. 370/400–453), leader of the Huns, in 453. Attila also married Princess Honoria in 450.

Around 450, Attila the Hun sent word to the Roman court in Italy claiming the princess Honoria in marriage. His claim was addressed to her brother Valentinian III, although Galla Placidia , their mother, seems to have been the actual regnant. When his claim was rejected out of hand (as he doubtless knew it would be), Attila negotiated with King Gaiseric of the Vandals to secure his flanks in the south, then moved north and west against Western Europe, pillaging, raping and burning a wide swath of destruction west of the Rhine Valley, well into Belgica Secunda. Among the cities laid waste were Reims, Cambrai, Tournai, Metz, Arras, Cologne (Köln) and Trier.

In 453, an aging Attila took another wife. She was young and, according to reports, "comely." Her name was Ildico and she was Hunnish. The wedding took place in a large wooden building and involved a heavy feast with an excessive amount of drinking. Attila was finally able to get to his bedroom, where he collapsed on his bed, lying on his back. He frequently suffered from a bleeding nose, especially after heavy drinking, and it happened then. Unable to rouse himself, he literally drowned in his own blood, his new heavily veiled bride sitting there uncomprehending. When his followers finally discovered the body, it was too late. Ildico was not accused of complicity and the bereaved warriors feasted again, then took the body of their fallen king away and buried him secretly in much the same fashion as other chieftains of that period. The burial site has never been found.


Brion, Marcel. Attila, the Scourge of God. McBride, 1929.

Maenchen-Helfen, Otto J. The World of the Huns: Studies in their History and Culture. Edited by Max Knight. University of California Press, 1973.

Thompson, E.A. A History of Attila and the Huns. Greenwood Press, 1975 (reprint).