“There are but three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the warrior and the poet.
To know, to kill and to create…” – Charles Baudelaire
Since the start of human race the field of conflict has always been a major influence in people’s values, behavior and actions. People have been engaging in violent conflicts since forever. Specializing in warfare especially in the context of a clan or tribe, warriors are as different as the time period, place and ethnicity they belong to. They differ in their skills, techniques and even the kind of weapons they use.
Ancient world saw many such warriors who brought quite a revolution through their philosophies and deeds. Warriors like Leonidas I, Hannibal Barca, Saladin, Spartacus, Tamerlane, Akbar the Great, Attila the Hun etc. are some of the biggest warriors to have existed and impacted more than thousands of lives directly or indirectly.
Listed below are few of the greatest warriors history has ever seen.
3Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon, popularly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Born in 356 BC, he grew up being tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. At 20, he succeeded his father Philip II to the throne. He invaded the Persian Empire in 334 BC and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. By the age of 30, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world stretching from Greece to Northwestern India. He remained undefeated in battle and became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles. His legacy includes the cultural diffusion which his conquests brought along, such as Greco-Buddhism. His reign in Greece resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization and the presence of Greek speakers in central and far eastern Anatolia until the 1920s. He founded around twenty cities with his name. He features significantly in the history of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. With military academies around the world still teaching his tactics, he is ranked among the most influential people in human history.
Born as Temüjin, Genghis Khan was the founder and Emperor of the Mongol Empire. He was proclaimed “Genghis Khan” after he founded the Empire. He started the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. He led various campaigns against the Qara Khitai, Caucasus, Khwarazmian, Western Xia and Jin dynasties. Most of these involved large scale massacres of civilians. He is recognized for having adopted the Uyghur script as the Empire’s writing system, practiced meritocracy and encouraged religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire. Since he unified the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, they often regard him as the founding father of Mongolia. He is also credited for bringing the Silk Route under a unified political environment thereby enabling communication and trade from Northeast Asia into Muslim Southwest Asia and Christian Europe. Known for the brutality of their campaigns, Genghis Khan and his empire have a fearsome reputation in local histories.
Gaius Julius Caesar, often referred to as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and an eminent author of Latin prose. He was much more than a military dictator and he played a key role in the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. In 60 BC, Caesar formed a political alliance with Crassus, and Pompey that dominated Roman politics for many years. His victories in the Gallic Wars extended Roman territories to the English Channel and the Rhine. He was the first Roman general to cross both the Channel and the Rhine, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. Caesar’s victory in the Civil war put him in an unrivalled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, he began a programme of social and political reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. He was a great statesman who also paved the way for the imperial system, centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was later proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity”, giving him more authority. His assassination sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Roman Republic. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time.
Musashi, also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or popularly by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was an expert Japanese swordsman and samurai. He is renowned for his excellent and unique double-bladed swordsmanship and his undefeated record in his 60 duels. He is known for creating and refining a two-sword kenjutsu style of swordsmanship. He was also skilled in throwing weapons. An accomplished artist, sculptor, and calligrapher, in his final years he also authored The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy.
Richard the Lionheart
Richard I, the King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death, also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at different time during that period. By the age of 16, he had put down rebellions in Poitou against his father by taking command of his own army. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, later leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart Saladin. He has been an iconic figure in England as well as France. He is seen as a pious hero by his subjects. Famous as Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior, he is one of the few kings of England to be remembered by their epithet rather than the regal number.
The debate on which warrior could be considered the greatest is a never-ending one. It is safe to say that history has witnessed many warriors who