Humanities › History & Culture Asia's Great Conquerors Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Timur (Tamerlane) Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Asian History Figures & Events Basics Southeast Asia East Asia South Asia Middle East Central Asia Asian Wars and Battles American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kallie Szczepanski History Expert Ph.D., History, Boston University J.D., University of Washington School of Law B.A., History, Western Washington University Dr. Kallie Szczepanski is a history teacher specializing in Asian history and culture. She has taught at the high school and university levels in the U.S. and South Korea. our editorial process Kallie Szczepanski Updated January 07, 2020 They came from the steppes of Central Asia, striking fear into the hearts of the settled peoples of western Asia and Europe. Here, take a closer look at Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Timur (Tamerlane): The greatest conquerors Asia has ever known. Attila the Hun, 406(?)-453 A.D. ZU_09 / Getty Images Attila the Hun ruled over an empire that stretched from modern-day Uzbekistan to Germany, and from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. His people, the Huns, moved west to Central Asia and Eastern Europe after their defeat by imperial China. Along the way, the Huns' superior battle tactics and weapons meant that the invaders were able to conquer tribes all along the way. Attila is remembered as a blood-thirsty tyrant in many chronicles, but others remember him as a relatively progressive monarch. His empire would survive him by only 16 years, but his descendants may have founded the Bulgarian Empire. Genghis Khan, 1162(?)-1227 A.D. Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images Genghis Khan was born Temujin, the second son of a minor Mongol chieftain. After his father's death, Temujin's family fell into poverty, and the young boy was even enslaved after killing his older half-brother. From this inauspicious beginning, Genghis Khan rose to conquer an empire larger than Rome's at the peak of its power. He showed no mercy to those who dared oppose him, but also promulgated some very progressive policies, such as diplomatic immunity and protection for all religions. Timur (Tamerlane), 1336-1405 A.D. Tim Graham / Getty Images The Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane) was a man of contradictions. He identified strongly with the Mongol descendants of Genghis Khan but destroyed the power of the Golden Horde. He took pride in his nomadic ancestry but preferred to live in great cities like his capital at Samarkand. He sponsored many great works of art and literature but also razed libraries to the ground. Timur also considered himself a warrior of Allah, but his most ferocious attacks were leveled on some of Islam's great cities. A brutal (but charming) military genius, Timur is one of history's most fascinating characters.