Uldin, also spelled Huldin (died before 412), was one of the primary Hunnic rulers mentioned by name.


The name is recorded as Ουλδης (Ouldes) by Sozomen, Uldin by Orosius, and Huldin by Marcellinus Comes.[1] As the Latin variants show, it ended on -n, not Greek suffix -s.[1] The root of the etymon is the verb öl-, which survived in Mongolian olje, ol-jei (auspice, happiness, good luck).[1] The middle suffix jei is originally *di + ge, thus *öl-jige > öl-dige.[1] In place of Mongolian ge, Hunnic has the suffix n.[2] The reconstructed form is *öl-di-n (auspicious, happy, lucky, fortunate).[2]


In 400, Uldin ruled in Muntenia, present-day Romania East of Olt River.[3] The extension of his realm to the North and East is unknown, but to the West probably reached the banks of Danube where Huns were camped since 378-380.[4] When Gainas, former magister militum praesentalis, with his Gothic followers fled across the borders to "his native land", Uldin "did not think it safe to allow a barbarian with an army of his own to take up dwellings across the Danube", and attacked him.[3] Uldin was victorius, killed Gainas and sent his head to the Emperor in Constantinople.[3]

Late in the fall of 404 and in 405, according to Sozomen:

"About this time the dissensions by which the church was agitated were accompanied, as is frequently the case, by disturbances and comotions in the state. The Huns crossed Ister and devastated Thrace. The robbers in Isauria, gathered in great strength, ravaged the towns and villages between Caria and Phoenicia."[5]

In 406, Uldin and Sarus the Goth were called by Roman magister militum Stilicho to help defeat the invasion of Italy by the Goths led by king Radagaisus.[6] Orosius numbered 200,000 Goths.[7] At the Battle of Faesulae (406), Hunnic auxiliaries encircled a significant part of Goths, and Radagaisus tried to escape, but was captured and executed in April 406 AD.[6] It is considered that Goths of Radagaisus fled from the Hunnic lands, who themselves were pushed Westward by other nomadic tribes from the East.[8]

In the summer of 408, Huns being informed that Stilicho won't push Alaric I Visigoths into Illyricum, and East Roman troops were moved to the Persian frontier, they entered the Balkan and Thrace.[9] Huns captured Castra Martis in Dacia Ripensis.[10] Jerome mentioned them as feras gentes "whose face and language are terrifying, who display womanly and deeply cut faces, and who pierce the backs of bearded man as they flee".[11]

Sozomen recounts a serious situation as Roman commander proposed a peace to Uldin, but he replied by "pointing to the rising sun and declaring that it would be easy for him, if he so desired, to subjugate every region of the earth enlightened by that luminary".[12] While Uldin sought a large tribute in exchange to not wage war, his oikeioi and lochagos reflected on Roman form of government, emperor philanthropy and readiness in rewarding the best men.[12] Sufficiently large number of Huns joined the Roman camps, and Uldin with big casualties and loss of the whole tribe called Scirii (mostly foot soldiers), was forced to re-cross Danube by March 23, 409.[13] In the summer or fall of 409, military forces of Dalmatia, Pannonia Prima, Noricum and Raetia were entrusted by Honorius to pagan Generidus to repulse Hunnic raids.[14]

This event shows Uldin royal power gradually weakened in his last years.[15] Between 408-410 is recorded an inactivity of the Huns.[16] The reason as allies of Western Roman Empire they did not attack the Visigoths of Alaric I in Pannonia Secunda and Pannonia Savia because they fought under Uldin in Illyricum and Thrace.[16] Some Hun garrisons were in the West Roman army led by Stilicho, and in Ravenna.[17] In the summer of 409, a large 10,000 strong men Hunnic army was called into assistance by Honorius, but it was probably only few thousand strong as did not stop Alaric I from Sack of Rome (410).[17] Zosimus records that in late 409 some groups of Huns joined the Visigoths from Pannonia Prima who rode to Italy.[17]

In the same time period broke the Hunno-Alanic alliance.[18] In 394, only the transdanubian Alans led by Saul (not Hebrew, but Iranian Σαυλιος[18]) joined emperor Theodosius I, in 398 served Stilicho, and still under Saul in 402.[18] Since 406 Alans are not mentioned as allies of the Huns, and most of them together with the Vandals crossed the Rhine in late 406 and went to Gaul, Spain and Africa.[18] This could be explained by Orosius who recounts for 402 "I say nothing of the many internecine conflicts between the barbarians themselves, when two cunei of the Goths, and then the Alans and Huns, destroyed one another in mutual slaughter".[18] The Hunnic noblemen have either Turkic or Germanized names, and very few Alanic. Some Alans probably stayed, but played a minor role among Huns.[19]


Preceded by
Hunnic rulers
400 – 412
Succeeded by
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