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Flavius Aetius

Flavius Gaudentius Aetius (395-454 AD) was a Roman general famous as the arch enemy of Attila the Hun, but he was a lot more than that. He was one of the primary shapers of European politics and history during the early to mid 5th Century AD, and has been called by some as “the last of the Romans”. Although we know very little about his early life, we have a lot more info on him from about 420 AD onwards. As a member of the nobility, he rose through the ranks fairly quickly, and he developed a strong relationship with the Huns. He participated in numerous wars, and many of the generals and junior officers who fought beside him, such as Majorian and Ricimer, would later become high-ranking members of the court and even emperors.

In 453, Attila the Hun died, and his empire began to almost immediately fragment apart. Flavius Aetius would follow him shortly afterwards. On September 21, 454 AD, Aetius was assassinated inside the imperial palace on Emperor Valentinianus III’s orders.

The two illustrations that you see below are portraits that I did of Flavius Aetius, one in pencil and the other colorized with markers, that I made when I was a freshman in college. I admit that the armor, especially the helmets, are not accurate for the time period that I’m trying to represent, but I didn’t know any better at the time. Maybe one day I’ll make a revised, more historically accurate version.

Flavius AetiusFlavius Aetius color

Enjoy and keep your pencils sharp.

Attila the Hun


It’s just dawned on me that all of the art which I have posted on this blog has been paleontology-related. It’s about time that I did some ancient illustration.

For my first subject, I have chosen a character that I became fascinated with when I was in high school, and am still fascinated with to the present day – Attila the Hun (406-453 AD). This is actually the second drawing that I made of him, way back in 2006 – the first drawing wasn’t that good, but it had more or less the same theme. Allow me to describe his appearance in some detail. Upon his head, he wears a gold ribbon. Hunnic kings and chiefs wore crowns, but since Attila was a bit more simplistic, I gave him a gold ribbon instead. Around his neck is a mirror medallion, which was used by the Huns and other steppe tribes to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. Upon his shoulders, he wears a mantle of black fur.

Attila terrorized Rome from 441 onwards, when he launched his first invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire (during the 5th Century AD, Rome was split in two, a Western half and an eastern half). He conquered an area stretching from the northern Caucasus Mountains into eastern France and northern Italy. He died in 453 AD, reportedly of a hemorrhage, although several historians have speculated that he was assassinated.

This drawing was made entirely with No.2 pencil. Hope you enjoy.