Thundering into Europe during the 4th and 5th centuries, the Huns inspired such fear and curiosity that they seem otherworldly even to modern eyes. Take command of the dreaded horde, ride from Eurasia to Western Europe, and sack enemy towns with your marauding Tarkans. Deploy cavalry archers to shower opposing armies with storms of arrows and drive your enemies before you like sheep! The world will know you as the Scourge of God and your exploits will be remembered in lore from Italy to Scandinavia!
Historically, the Huns were a civilization with no discernible origin besides the steppes of Central Asia that was most active in Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. They are one of the few civilizations that invaded Eastern Europe and displaced many other "barbarian" tribes which caused the Roman Empire to crumble. Much of the depictions of the Huns in-game are based on various Roman descriptions and limited archaeological evidence, as much of their civilization remains unknown to this day.
All in all, the Huns may not seem worthwhile, but, like the Goths, they do what they do extremely well: Rush, raze, and harass the enemy with powerful and mobile forces, due to the fact that they have several options during the early and mid-game, making them specially strong in open maps and in 1v1 games. In the late-game, they still have Paladins, Heavy Cavalry Archers, and Tarkans, all of which are powerful units in their own right.
The Huns have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Attila the Hun. They also make appearances as AI players in:
With update 44725, Atheism's reduction in the cost of the Spies/Treason technology was removed and replaced with 50% reduced gold generation for enemy Relics.
In-game dialogue language
Historically, the Hunnic Empire's lingua franca has been claimed by some scholars to be Gothic, and it is not ascertained what Hunnic sounded like. In-game, the Hun units say the same lines in Mongolian as Mongolian ones, since Priscus' physical description of Attila strongly suggested the Huns' North-East Asian origin.
Knowledge about Hunnic language is sparse: With only three attested words, possibly borrowed from the Huns' Indo-European subjects, for two alcoholic beverages medos (cf. Polish miód "mead" < Proto-Slavic *mȇdu̯), kamos (cf. Paeonian kamon barley beer), and funeral feast strava (cf. Polish strawa "meal" < Proto-Slavic *su̯trava).
FarmKhödöö aj akhuin erkhlegch (Хөдөө аж ахуйн эрхлэгч / ᠬᠥᠳᠡᠭᠡ ᠠᠵᠤ ᠠᠬᠤᠢ ᠶᠢᠨ ᠡᠷᠬᠢᠯᠡᠭᠴᠢ) - Agricultural manager (goofy translation for "farmer", which would be "тариачин / tariachin" or even "фэрмэр / fermer"; notice that Mongols have never truly practiced agriculture until very recent times)
Select 3Tushaal sons (Тушаал сонс / ᠲᠤᠰᠢᠶᠠᠯ ᠰᠣᠨᠤᠰ) - Listen to the command! (Strange translation, because it is an imperative, so it appears that it is the soldier who is telling the player to listen to a command)
Move 1Medlee, güitsetgiye (Мэдлээ, гүйцэтгье/ᠮᠡᠳᠡᠯᠡ᠂ ᠭᠦᠢᠴᠡᠳᠭᠡᠢ) - Got it, let's carry it out (the common pronunciation for these forms in "-ье / -ye" is "-ий / iy")
Move 2Güitsetgiye (Гүйцэтгье) - Let's carry it out
Select 3Belen baina (Бэлэн байна / ᠪᠡᠯᠡᠨ ᠪᠠᠶᠢᠨᠠ) - I am ready
Select 4Aildvar sons (Айлдвар сонс / ᠠᠶᠢᠯᠠᠳᠪᠤᠷᠢ ᠰᠣᠨᠤᠰ) - Listen to [my] speech (like the soldier and the monk, it is the king who is addressing the player, not the contrary!)
Move 1Za (За / ᠵᠠ) - Okay (sounds condescending)
Move 2Tiim ee (Тийм ээ / ᠲᠡᠶᠢᠮᠦ ᠡ) - Yes / Of course
Move 3Züi (Зүй / ᠵᠦᠢ) - Decency
Move 4Bi bolgoyo (Би болгоё) - Let me do it
AI player names
When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Hun AI characters:
Attila the Hun: The ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire 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.
Balamber the Hun: A Hun king notable for crushing the Ostrogoths between 370 and 376.
Bleda the Hun: A Hunnic ruler, the brother of Attila the Hun. As nephews to Rugila, Attila and his elder brother Bleda succeeded him to the throne. Bleda's reign lasted for eleven years until his death. While it has been speculated by Jordanes that Attila murdered him on a hunting trip, it is unknown exactly how he died. However, there is an alternative theory that Bleda attempted to kill Attila on a hunting trip, but Attila being a skilled warrior defeated Bleda.
Charaton the Hun: was one of the first kings of the Huns.
Dengizich the Hun: See Dengizk the Hun.
Dengizk the Hun: Alternative spelling of Dengizich, second son of Attila and brother of Ellak and Ernak who ruled the Huns together after Attila's death; died 469.
Ellak the Hun: First son of Attila and brother of Dengizk and Ernak who ruled the Huns together after Attila's death; died 454.
Ernak the Hun: Third son of Attila and brother of Ellak and Dengizk who ruled the Huns together after Attila's death.
Mundzuk the Hun: Father of Attila and Bleda, and brother of Rugila.
Octar the Hun: was a Hunnic ruler. He ruled along brother Rugila.
Onegesius the Hun: was a powerful Hunnic logades (minister) who supposedly held power second only to Attila the Hun.
Ruga the Hun: Alternative spelling of Rugila, a Hun ruler who ruled over the Eastern Huns during the 5th century AD and the brother of Mundzuk; died ca. 430.
Uldin the Hun: A Hun ruler; died ca. 412.
There is no basis for the Hunnic civilization icon and user interface, as the Huns were completely erased from history and little is known of their culture.
During the development of The Conquerors, the Magyars (along with even the Huns, Swiss, Habsburgs, and Slavs) had been considered to appear as the new civilization representing Eastern Europe. However, the Ensemble Studios team eventually picked the Huns because they were impressed by Attila the Hun's story and the medieval Magyars are less famous than the Huns.
The Hunnic wonder, the Arch of Constantine, was actually built by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great a century before the arrival of the Huns in Europe. Its appearance in the game symbolizes the threat the Huns posed to Rome (though they never captured the city itself).
Despite being a civilization that originated from the steppes and continued their nomadic lifestyle during their lifetime, the Huns do not have access to Steppe Lancer units, possibly for balance reasons.
The in-game Huns possess the full Knight line, even though Huns historically fielded mostly light cavalry, as they valued mobility. Because the Steppe Lancer line was conceived long after the Huns had been introduced with The Conquerors, developers provided the Huns with the full Knight line for balancing's sake.
Despite their unique tech being called Atheism, Huns were religious. Huns, pre-Christian Magyars and Bulgars shared the worship of Tengri, a common religion in the Eurasian steppes. However, the game's description for the technology speaks of distrust and disinterest for organized religion, rather than outright denial of the existence of any gods.
Despite worshipping Tengri, the Hunnic Monastery has the outlook of a catholic church. This is due to them using the Central European architecture set.
Before The Forgotten, the Huns were, by far, the most effective and the strongest civilization in open maps due to their unconventional bonus of not needing houses and the greater discount on Cavalry Archers, which lead to most games being merely Hunnic wars. This can still be seen in the unchanged game versions, such as the original dataset of the HD Edition and multiplayer services such as Voobly or Gameranger.
Their technology tree is similar to the Magyars'.
Also, they are one of two civilizations that have both Paladins and prominent Cavalry Archers, which means they can compensate most of their weaknesses for each other. The other one is Magyars.
The Huns have the most limited technology tree of all Age of Empires II civilizations.
Despite being a civilization that originated from the steppes of Central Asia, the Huns do not have the Central Asian Architecture.
Now that the Vikings have lost access to it, the Huns are the only Central European civilization that can research Thumb Ring. They are also the only Central European civilization with access to Parthian Tactics.
It is unclear why one of the Huns' civilization bonuses strengthens trebuchets: the more sophisticate kind of trebuchet, the counterweight trebuchet, was developed during the High Middle Ages, many centuries after the disappearance of the Huns. However, the more primitive kind of trebuchet, the traction trebuchet, was developed in China before the European Middle Ages and brought westwards by the Avars during the late 6th century AD. It is therefore possible that the in-game Huns are also representing the Avars, a distinct nomadic civilization of which little is known about (similarly to the Huns).
The Huns were a nomadic people from around Mongolia in Central Asia that began migrating toward the west in the third century, probably due to climatic change. They were a horse people and very adept at mounted warfare, both with spears and bows. Moving with their families and great herds of horses and domesticated animals they migrated in search of new grasslands to settle. Due to their military prowess and discipline, they proved unstoppable, displacing all in their path. They set in motion a tide of migration before them as other peoples moved to get out of their way. This domino effect of large populations passed around the hard nut of Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire to spill over the Danube and Rhine Rivers, and ultimately overwhelm the Western Roman Empire by 476.
Finding lands to their liking, the Huns settled on the Hungarian plain in Eastern Europe, making their headquarters at the city of Szeged on the Tisza River. They needed large expanses of grasslands to provide forage for their horses and other animals. From this area of plains the Huns controlled through alliance or conquest an empire eventually stretching from the Ural Mountains in Russia to the Rhône River in France.
The Huns were superb horsemen, trained from childhood, and some believe they invented the stirrup, critical for increasing the fighting power of a mounted man charging with a couched lance. They inspired terror in enemies due to the speed at which they could move, changing ponies several times a day to maintain their advance. A second advantage was their recurved composite bow, far superior to anything used in the West. Standing in their stirrups, they could fire forward, to the sides, and to the rear. Their tactics featured surprise, lightning attacks, and the ensuing terror. They were an army of light cavalry and their political structure required a strong leader to hold them to a purpose.
The peak of Hun power came during the rule of Attila, who became a leader of the Huns in 433 and began a series of raids into south Russia and Persia. He then turned his attention to the Balkans, causing sufficient terror and havoc on two major raids to be bribed to leave. In 450 he turned to the Western Empire, crossing the Rhine north of Mainz with perhaps 100,000 warriors. Advancing on a front of 100 miles, he sacked most of the towns in what is now northern France. The Roman general Aetius raised a Gallo-Roman army and advanced against Attila, who was besieging the city of Orleans. At the major battle of Chalôns, Attila was defeated, though not destroyed.
The defeat at Chalôns is considered one of the decisive battles of history, one that could have meant collapse of the Christian religion in Western Europe and perhaps domination of the area by Asian peoples.
Attila then invaded Italy, seeking new plunder. As he passed into Italy, refugees escaped to the islands off the coast, founding, according to tradition, the city of Venice. Though Roman forces were depleted and their main army still in Gaul, the Huns were weak as well, depleted by incessant campaigns, disease, and famine in Italy. At a momentous meeting with Pope Leo I, Attila agreed to withdraw.
The Hun empire disintegrated following the death of Attila in 453 with no strong leader of his ability to hold it together. Subject peoples revolted and factions within their group fought each other for dominance. They eventually disappeared under a tide of new invaders, such as the Avars, and disappeared from history.
In the year 483, a branch of the Huns - White Huns - invaded the Persians, and then invaded India. During that time, they mixed intensely with the Indo-Iranian populations, acquiring a more civilized character. In this way, the Persian ruler, Kavad I, regained the throne of Persia with the help of the Huns. In India they were killed by the Turks in the year 528, while in Persia, Chosroes I — allied with the Turks — expelled the Huns established in Iran. In the year 563 they were massacred by a Turkish-Persian alliance, which forced them to form a series of small buffer states between the two empires. In the 7th century they allied with the Persians to fight the Saracen invasion. However, in the battle of Badghis in 654 the Persians and the Huns were finally defeated by the Saracens.
Despite their disappearance from history, the Huns influenced many tribes and peoples that appeared in Europe in the centuries that follow. Among them are the Magyars, whose exonym "Hungarians" comes from the Latin word for Huns and the Bulgars, whose legendary first ruler is identified as Attila or a descendant of his.