added by archaeologs A nomadic pastoralist people who invaded southeastern Europe c 370 AD and over the next 70 years built up an enormous empire there and in central Europe. Originating from beyond the Volga River after the middle of the 4th century, they first overran the Alani, who occupied the plains between the Volga and the Don rivers, and then quickly overthrew the empire of the Ostrogoths between the Don and the Dnestr. Around 376 AD they defeated the Visigoths living in what is now approximately Romania and then became one of the many 'barbarian' tribes who threatened the Roman empire during the 4th and 5th centuries. There is little archaeological evidence attributed to the Huns, but they are remembered in the literature as being fearsome and bloodthirsty. During the 5th century, the Romans adopted a policy of employing 'barbarian' mercenaries to defend the empire against potential invaders, so the Huns were used to defend eastern Gaul from the Burgundians. The most notable period for the Huns was under their leader Attila, who invaded Gaul in 451. Visigothic and Roman forces joined to defeat Attila near Troyes, and after Attila's death the Huns were never again a major force in European history.