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Professor appears on National Geographic as expert on Attila's death

April 23, 2013 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

Dr. Michael Babcock, Liberty University professor of Humanities, with his 2005 book, "The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun."

National Geographic International recently featured Liberty University professor Dr. Michael Babcock on its show, “Bloody Tales,” in an episode on Attila the Hun.

Babcock, an expert on Attila, the fourth-century barbarian known for his quest to conquer the Roman Empire, questioned the events surrounding his death in his 2005 book, “The Night Attila Died: Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun.”

“(The book) grew out of my graduate work … I began to explore the life and death of Attila, uncovered some big question marks in the historical records, and decided to explore them like a detective,” Babcock said.

Babcock’s new historical interpretation on the circumstances of Attila’s death has garnered him several radio and television interviews over the years, including a recent one on Irish radio. His book has been translated into Hungarian and Turkish.

The subject of Babcock’s book fits perfectly with the theme of “Bloody Tales,” which investigates the deaths of well-known historical figures, often seeking alternative theories to widely accepted notions.

National Geographic flew Babcock to Istanbul, Turkey, last fall for an interview Babcock said was unlike any he has done before. He was filmed at a few relevant locations, including atop the Theodosian Walls, which were built to defend the city from Attila and the Huns.

Babcock (left) on the set of National Geographic's "Bloody Tales" in Istanbul with Joe Crowley, the series presenter. This shot was taken atop the Theodosian Walls, which were built to defend the city from Attila and the Huns.

The episode aired all across Europe on April 1 and will likely be shown internationally (including in the U.S.) in June.

Babcock has been at Liberty for 17 years and teaches Humanities and some English courses. He is passionate about teaching students to think critically and to impact the world.

“There is a great mandate for us as Christians to impact culture and I believe as an institution we are moving in exactly the right direction, focusing on this, and opening up to a more global perspective, with an eye on transforming culture the way Christ called us to do,” Babcock said.

Dr. Emily Heady, dean of Liberty’s College of General Studies, said it is a blessing to know students are learning from faculty members like Dr. Babcock.

“Not only is he a recognized expert in his field, but he cares deeply about communicating what he knows to students in a way they will find interesting and accessible,” she said.

The College of General Studies oversees general education curriculum and provides students with the academic preparation needed to succeed while pursuing their degree.

This semester, Babcock began taking students on learning abroad trips for Humanities 101 credit. Over spring break he led a trip to Italy and Greece, and at the end of May a group will depart for London and Paris.

He said these trips provide experiential learning unmatched in a classroom.

Humanities abroad trips are open to all students (resident and online), as well as staff, friends, and family members. For more information on these trips email Dr. Babcock at mbabcock@liberty.edu.