Aetius in Roman Biography.
AEtius, a Roman general, born near the end of the
fourth century. For many years he successfully defended
Gaul against the encroachments of the barbarians.
In 451, when Attila the Hun had besieged and
was on the point of taking Orleans, the approach of the
combined armies of Aetius and Theodoric obliged him
to raise the siege ; and, these generals having followed
the Huns in their retreat to the plains of Chalons, a
great but indecisive battle was fought, in which 300,000
men are said to have been slain. Soon after, Attila
retreated beyond the Rhine, But the emperor Valentinian,
having become jealous of the fame and influence
of Aetius, slew him with his own hand in 454. The
emperor, it is said, asked a Roman if he had done well
in killing Aetius. He replied,
I do not know ; but
I think you have cut off your right hand with your left."
See Gibbon, "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire;" Jor-
" De Rebus Geticis."