Attila, king of the Huns (435/440–453 ce), at first ruled jointly with his brother Bleda whom he murdered in 445. Member of a dynasty which had united previously separate Hunnic groups around itself, together with many subject peoples (the majority Germanic) to create a substantial empire in central Europe. His major military campaigns were those of 442–443 and 447 against the Balkan provinces of the eastern empire; that of 451, when he invaded Gaul but was defeated at the Catalaunian plains by Roman and allied (especially Visigothic) forces under Flavius Aetius; and that of 452, when he invaded Italy and sacked several important cities. He intended to invade the east again in 453, but died during the night after his marriage to a girl called Ildico. His campaigns were pursued in support of a diplomatic policy whose main aim seems to have been the extraction of money.