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Atli, or Attila, the king of the Huns was called Etzel by the Germans and Ethele by the Hungarians. Little is known of Attila's early life beyond the fact that he was a member of the ruling family of the Huns, a nomadic Asian people who spread from the Caspian steppes in repeated incursions on the Roman Empire. By AD 432, the Huns had gained so much power that Attila's uncle, the Hunnish king Roas, or Rugilas, was receiving a large annual tribute from Rome. Attila succeeded his uncle, at first sharing the throne with his brother Bleda.
It is not known if the name Etzel was passed on to possible descendants of Attila the Hun, or whether a particular clan of Suevian Barbarians were dubbed as such, or adopted the name themselves. The name Etzel, however, goes way back in its original form to the late middle ages. It must be one of the few names that hasn't changed at all during history and the migration of its proud bearers around the world.
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