Sign of the Pagan is a rare American classic related to Byzantine history. It
was produced in 1954 by Douglas Sirk and its plot follows the career of Attila
the Hun during his invasion of the Roman Empire. The film's hero is a Roman
centurion and future emperor named Marcian.
Sign of the Pagan is set in three location, the court of Attila both outside the
Roman Empire and his inner circle during the campaign. One fascinating part
of the film is set in fifth century Constantinople. Scenes from imperial
Constantinople relate something of the power struggles that existed between the
Emperor Theodosius II and his sister Pulcheria. Another intriguing section of
the film is set in city of Rome during the time of Attila's approach on the city.
Although this film is more dialogue than action, as would be expected with a
film about Attila and military history, there are battle scenes and moments of
This film will interest anyone wanting to see late-Roman - early Byzantine
Constantinople and Italy. It will also be of interest to those fond of the military
history from the period.