Top 10 Greatest Warriors

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As long as there have been civilizations, there have been unending wars for power and land. These wars have produced some of the fiercest warriors the world has ever seen. Men who are not only exceptional at hand to hand combat but who were also great leaders and brilliant strategists. There were so many brave individuals who could fit on this list but I think these represent warrior states from around the world and throughout the ages.

10. Richard I (Lionheart)

Richard The Lion-heart

Richard I was given the nickname Lionheart (or Coeur de Leon) for his exceptional fighting ability and courage. The duke of Normandy and the Count of Anjou, he ascended to the throne of England in 1198 after defeating his father Henry II with the help of his powerful mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard took the cross in 1188 when he heard of Saladin’s successful conquest of Jerusalem. He raised funds by selling official titles, rights and lands to the highest noble bidder. He left for the Holy Land in 1190 along with French King Philip II and most of the military forces of Christendom. After being waylaid first in Sicily and then in Cyprus, Richard and Philip arrived in the Holy Land in June 1191. The joint forces first took Acre and then moved onto Arsuf before fortifying Ascalon. Arguments between who was to become King of Jerusalem escalated and Philip quit the Crusade and returned to France. Richard pressed on but when he realized he had no way of securing Jerusalem even if he had managed to capture it, he signed a peace treaty with Saladin and returned to Europe. He spent his final five years reclaiming his throne from his brother John and fighting against Philip’s advances into Normandy.

9. Spartacus

Born in Thrace in 109 BC, Spartacus is most widely known as the gladiator who led the revolt against Rome during the Gladiatorial War. It is not known for sure how Spartacus became a gladiator but the leading theory is that he once fought for the Roman army but deserted and became a thief. He was arrested and sold as a gladiator due to his strength. In 73 BC he and seventy followers escaped from a gladiator school near Capua and fled to Mount Vesuvius where they were joined by local slaves. His army continued to grow until it was 90, 000 men strong and they began wreaking havoc in southern Italy, defeating two Roman armies and plundering any city they came across. From there they marched north into Gaul where he tried to free his men but they refused to leave and they marched again into Italy for more plunder. Spartacus was killed in a battle at Lucania in 71 BC and his men were crucified. He has been remembered as a legendary commander not only for his successes in battle but for his own courage strength and compassion.

8. Saladin

Known to the western world as the antihero of the Third Crusade, he is revered in the Middle East as the hero who returned Jerusalem into Muslim hands. The Kurdish Sultan was born in 1138 in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and grew up during the First Crusade. He was trained as a soldier by his uncle Asad al-Din Shirkuh and early in his military career he worked on uniting Arab forces under his control first in Egypt then in Syria and Palestine. He then set his sights on Jerusalem and conquered King Guy de Lusignan at the Battle of Hattin. The battle was a tremendous success for Saladin as his army almost wiped out the Crusaders in the Holy Land. The city of Jerusalem fell into his hands when he came to terms with Balian of Ibelin who defended the city after the capture of Guy. His capture of Jerusalem influenced King Richard of England to join forces with King Philip of France and set out for the Third Crusade to the Holy Land. The Christian forces made their way to Ascalon when Richard fell ill and signed a peace treaty with Saladin that left Jerusalem in Muslim hands as long as Christians would be able to safely make their pilgrimage. His reign of Jerusalem was short lived however as he died of a fever on March 4, 1193. Saladin is most often recognized as much for his generosity and chivalry as he is for his impressive military accomplishments.

7. Lieutenant Audie Murphy

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Born the son of a poor Texas sharecropper in 1924, Audie went on to become the most decorated American soldier of World War II. In an attempt to free himself of his hardships, he joined the army as a private in 1942. After his basic training he was shipped to Casablanca, Morocco where he continued with his training. He saw action in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany and was distinguished by his quick thinking and bravery. He not only destroyed several of the enemy’s machine guns in minutes but also jumped onto a burning tank destroyer and turned its machine gun on the enemy as well as cutting off a German counterattack of six tanks and 250 Infantry practically by himself. For these acts of courage he has received countless decorations including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts; as well as the French Legion of Honor and two Croix de Guerre. He returned to America as a hero and turned his wartime fame into a successful film career. With help from his friends, Audie penned an autobiography entitled To Hell and Back, which was later made into a movie in which he played himself. While on a business trip he died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.

6. Miyamoto Musashi

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The greatest sword fighter of his time, Miyamoto Musashi, also known as the Sword Saint, is one of the best-known samurai in Japanese history. Born in 1584 in Harima Province, Musashi was raised by his uncle in Shoreian temple. By the time he was 13 he had already won his first duel against Arima Kigei, a student of the Shinto Ryu school of military arts. For the next 16 years he made a name for himself, fighting in more than 60 duels (including against the Yoshioka School and his most famous duel against Sasaki Kojiro) in which he was undefeated. During this time he also enlisted in Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s army and although he was on the losing side, he escaped, crawling among corpses and drinking from muddy puddles to survive. After the war, he turned his attention to teaching swordsmanship and he is credited with creating the nitoryu technique in which you fight with two swords. Later in his life, he became a master painter and writer. His most famous written work is The Book of Five Rings, which covers the sum of his experience as a sword fighter including strategy, tactics and philosophy. At the age of 62, Musashi died of thoracic cancer in Reigando Cave (the same cave where he lived as a hermit while writing The Book of Five Rings).


5. Gaius Julius Caesar

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The greatest general in Rome’s history, Caesar came to power first as a quaestor and praetor before being elected as consul and proconsul in 59 BC and organizing the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus. He distinguished himself by leading campaigns in Gaul, Britain and Germany but his growing power scared the senate and he was asked to disband his forces. Not only did he refuse this request, he marched on Rome. He started an outbreak of civil war that lasted until December 49 BC when he held a dictatorship in Rome for eleven days while he was elected as consul. He then chased Pompey to Egypt where he remained living with Cleopatra for several years. On his return to Rome he improved the living conditions of his people and drew up elaborate plans for consolidation of the empire. In 44 BC he became dictator for life, a title that was short lived because on the Ides of March (March 15th) 44 BC, he was stabbed to death by a group of his friends and protégés including Cimber, Casca, Cassius and Brutus.

4. Hannibal Barca

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A Carthaginian General, Hannibal was a master strategist who developed outflanking tactics. Dubbed the father of strategy by military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge, he grew up with a fierce hatred of the Romans. After the death of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal, he took command of the Gaulo-Cathaginian army and set his sights on Rome. He set out in the spring of 218 BC and fought his way through the Pyrenees and the Alps with a force of 46,000 soldiers and 37 war elephants. When he was in Roman territory, he ravaged hundreds of towns leaving complete destruction in his wake. Some of his greatest victories were at Trebia, Lake Trasimenus and Cannae, even turning some Roman cities against his enemies. Scipio eventually defeated him in his homeland at the Battle of Zama, after which he signed a peace treaty in 201 BC. After several years as a suffete, he was accused by his political enemies of conspiring with King Antiochus of Syria. At the threat of a Roman investigation, Hannibal fled to the court of King Prusias of Bithynia where he poisoned himself before the Romans could force him to surrender.

3. Sun Tzu

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A Chinese General, Sun Tzu was the author of the first and most sophisticated book on military theory ever written, The Art of War. While not much is known about the man, it is generally accepted that he was an accomplished General who served the King of Wu in the period of the Warring States in the 4th century BC. It was at this time that he wrote The Art of War, which covers logistics, espionage, strategy and tactics with a deep reliance on philosophy. The main points it stresses are the high cost of war, the unpredictability of battle, the correlation between political and military policies and the ineffectiveness of setting hard and fast rules. Not only has it influenced Asian military thinking for centuries, but it has also formed the base of the military strategies of Napoleon, Mao Zedong, General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and Henry Kissinger. In more recent times, The Art of War has been adopted by business students in Tokyo, New York and London as a text on business strategy.

2. Leonidas I

Leonidas statue, Sparti

Best known for his heroic last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas’ early years have barely been documented although legend has it that he was the descendant of Heracles. His reign began somewhere around 490 BC and he shared control with Leotychides, as was Spartan custom of the time. The Persian army, led by King Darius, had been conquering Greece for close to ten years when Leonidas became King. When Darius died in 481 BC his son Xerxes continued his father’s expansion into the Greek mainland. In an attempt to stop the advancing army in their tracks, Leonidas (despite warnings by the Oracle of Delphi that told of his death) went to meet Xerxes with 7000 troops including the famed 300 Spartans, at the Pass of Thermopylae (aptly nicknamed the Hot Gates). Xerxes sent in wave after wave of troops including his Immortals who were in turn slaughtered by the Greeks. After a few days of fighting a Greek traitor told Xerxes of a mountain trail which he could use to outflank his enemy. Leonidas learned of the betrayal and sent away most of his men keeping only the 300 Spartans that made up his personal guard. Leonidas’ 300 valiantly fought off the advancing Persians down to their last man. Leonidas was killed and his body was beheaded and crucified which only served to anger his fellow Spartans who expelled the Persians from Greece a few months later at the Battle of Plataea.

1. Alexander the Great

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Arguably one of the greatest generals of antiquity, Alexander’s conquests extended the Macedonian kingdom from Greece to India, almost the entire known world at the time. Born in 356 BC his early years were spent under the tutelage of the philosopher Aristotle. His early military career was spent releasing Greece from the grasp of the Persians. From there he moved through Syria, Egypt (where he founded the city of Alexandria and visited the oracle of Ammon and claimed his divinity), and Asia Minor before his final conquest into India. He then returned to the west and began making preparations to invade Arabia but before he could achieve this conquest, he fell ill and died in June 323 BC. Throughout his reign, the casualties of his troops compared to those of his enemies were considerably less, mostly due to his quick tactical thinking and his love for the men who fought under him.


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262 Comments

  1. Also Khalid Bin Walid and Hazrat Ali Shoud be in the top of the list because they both were great warriors in all the times and fought for Islam with brave dimensions of thoughts.

  2. khaled ibn alwaleed over 100 battel as a leader and warriors with 0 defeat
    omar ibn alkhattab the 3rd leader of islamic khilafa in 8 years he destroy the ledgen of romans an persian armies

  3. Mongols were the deadliest warriors (may be not the greatest) the world has and will ever see.

    They Killed over 60million people with bows and knifes. Compare this to the highest death toll in a war in all of human history – WWII 61million – in WWII weapons used includes submarines, atomic bombs and fighter jets.

    It is estimated that about half of the world languages, culture and religion became extinct because the entire human population (including babies and pet animals) of some countries were killed or burned alive.

    Scientist are now finding that the global temperature drop by 0.5 Celsius because there were half population left in the world who needed oxygen and also previous farming land became forest again. Some of these great cities are still among the densest forest in the world.

    During his 2nd year in campaign, Gangis Khan missed his home village. He decided to fondle his memory by building a man made mountain that looked similar to the one in his village. Because they didn’t have any machinery they decided to kill every living thing in that country (currently this country is part of western China) and use the corpse to make mountains. In total 2 million humans (including babies) corpses and roughly 50 millions domesticated animals corpses (cows, sheep, dogs, cat etc) were used to build that mountain.

    22% of the earth surface was wiped out of humans. That is 5 times the size of Roman Empire or 3 times the size of Alexander’s Empire or ten currently largest countries combined.

    50% of current population of the world can trace their DNA back to Gangis Khan.

    We are not proud of what Gangis Khan or his successor did – but if you are talking about badasses – there was never a bigger tragedy than the mongols in human civilisation.

    I pray to Tengri (Mongal: Father/God of Sky) and Eje (Mongol: Mother Earth) to never ever unleash this kind of beast in this world again.

  4. The U.S.A. is the greatest empire, we never lose! I mean it took us about 5 mins to conquer half of mexico lol

    • Bhonsdi ke Aaja ladd musalman se ..pta chal jayega ke Kon zyada mahaan hai…
      Suna nahi tune..
      Baniye ka dimaag aur nian bhai ki daring…
      Tum saale hazaar hindu pe ek musalman bhari hai…

  5. Khalid ibn Walid is the number one warrior of all time. He had won more than 100 battles himself.
    If you don’t know him you don’t know anything about history

  6. William Rogers on

    It is beyond ‘silly’ for those ‘historieans’ who use the caveat ‘arguably’ in stating that Alexander the Great was ‘arguably’ the greatest warrior king in all of history. No one, not Hannibal, not Caesar, oh God not Napoleon….not Leonidas …..no one who ever lived is even a close second. Having studied the life and times of Alexander for more than 30 years, mostly I tend to stay away from this argument, although way back when I actually cared about such things as intelligence and stupidity, I was ‘fact’ oversight expert and presenter on this subject in about 57 seminars through out the world.

    There are not actually two sides; there is no ‘debate’ to be had. Alexander became King and warrior general at the age of 20 and with a solid force of less than 60 thousand soldiers he conquered the entire known world by the age of 29. Alexander’s forces were involved in 167 full pitched battles during a 9 year period having never lost even one. He also, eye witness reports say, was personally involved in 83 individual hand to hand, close contact sword, spear and with his own full body to the death…never, ever losing just one time. Those persons, colleagues included, who ‘argue’ Alexander ‘was one of the…..” do not have any idea about what they are talking.

    Thank you do much…

    Dr. William Rogers
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  7. william rogers on

    Now this ‘Jesus fellow: If he were to have been real I would very much like to have sat down at an outdoor pub with him and had a nice cold one. However, someone up above was wrong on every ‘sub-topic’ he covered concerning this ‘Son of God”. In scientific terms, there is not one shred of evidence, nor piece of cloth, nor foot print, nor brick, nor eye witness reports — nothing – nothing; there is not one shred of ‘anything giving indication that this man who half the world worships,..ever existed at all. Really, nothing…and the ‘bible’ was never one piece of writings but at least 16 different ‘bibles’ of which the best stories were taken and that became what we know now as the ‘word of God’. I promise those are the facts. Now, do I know that just because over the past two thousand not one single item gives any ‘proof’ a Jesus person having walked the earth,….does not mean He did not….or was a myth. He seemed to be a really nice man…so if you want to believe in Him, you could do worse. The one thing that’s quite sad, however, I’ve never in all my life met anyone who calls themselves a Christian who actually followed any of his teaching. Too bad; it would have been a much better world.

  8. No evidence, nor cloth, nor (2000 years old, blown away by wind and then somehow gathered back together) footprints(?), nor brick, nor eye witness reports?!

    The bible is written as a way of life (or the change of the way people lived) about the life and miracles of one man. Proofs aside, you are ridiculing the intelligence of mankind 2000 years ago and their ability to find out facts and to stop baseless rumors as well as untruths from surviving long periods of time. The existence of one man is too huge of an attempt to pull the wool over people (not just supporters but those against) that it does not make rational sense. Without offense, this brings me to my question out of curiosity, are you perhaps drunk at the time of writing Dr. Williams?

  9. Eurocentric view of history.

    CYRUS THE GREAT, the greatest leader in antiquity. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Alexander would be no match for Cyrus.

    KHALID IBN AL-WALID, perhaps the greatest military comander of all times. Khalid is said to have fought around a hundred battles, both major battles and minor skirmishes as well as single duels, during his military career. Having REMAINED UNDEFEATED, this fact makes him one of the finest military generals in history.

    In the BATTLE OF YARMOUK he crushed 6 times larger Roman army. As the Roman army approached, the Arabs tactically withdrew from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains close to Arabia where, after being reinforced, they defeated the numerically superior Byzantine Roman army. The battle is also considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walid’s greatest military victories. It cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history.

    And also the magnificent BATTLE OF FIRAZ. This was the last battle of the Muslim Arab commander Khalid ibn al-Walid in Mesopotamia (Iraq) against the combined forces of the Byzantine Roman Empire, Sassanid Persian Empire, and Christian Arabs. Khalid’s force consisted of 15,000 men, while the combined forces of the Byzantine Empire, Sassanid Empire and Christian Arabs were at least TEN TIMES LARGER than Khalid’s army. Khalid’s army heavily defeated this army too.

  10. you bloody fool read some real history the number of wars Indian warriors fought with Muslims no country has fought. read the history of chivalrous deeds of rajputs you will know the real warriors.

  11. I think. Khaleed ibn walid have to be on this list. Infact at the top spot, a general who never lost over 100 battle in his entire life,also known as the (sword of Allah).

  12. Saladin is Arabian u hypocrite, also u didn’t mentioned the greatest Arabian Muslim general that never lost a battle in his life and he fought more than 100 big wars and won them all in Persia, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and beyond. u didn’t mentioned Tariq bnu Ziad the man who invaded the southern Europe (Spain, some French provinces… other islands) and many other greatest warriors in all time… but as u know Arabs sadly don’t care about getting famous, and all the stuff ur ignorance is petty itself.

    • Tariq ibn Ziyad origins are murky, he was either a Persian, an Arab, or a Berber. And the only thing he’s seemingly noted for was the conquest of Spain, which mostly was due to him exploiting political instabilities of the ruling Visigoths.

  13. Alexander the Great could never conquer India. He fought his last battle with a minor Indian kingdom located on north west border. The small but extremely brave army of King Porus almost defeated Alexander, depleting all his resources and breaking his spirit. He knew what to expect further from the large powerful army of then Indian emperor Maha Nanda. He retreated from this point and on his way back died from the wounds inflicted in battle with King Porus. He left behind his deputy Selyukes with instruction to regroup and conquer India thus fulfilling his dream of winning the entire world. Selyukes was defeated by Emperor Chandragupta who had, in the meantime, dethroned Maha Nanda and started Gupta Dynasty, the golden period on India history.

  14. Gideon (the Hebrews)
    King David (Israel)
    Alexander the Great (Macedonia)
    Julius Caesar (Rome)
    Mohammed (Arabia)
    Gengis Khan (Mongolia)
    John of Austria (victor at Lepanto)
    Robert E. Lee (the Confederacy)
    Air Marshal Dowding (Great Britain)
    Georgij Zhukov (Soviet Union)

  15. “Leonidas learned of the betrayal and sent away most of his men keeping only the 300 Spartans that made up his personal guard. Leonidas’ 300 valiantly fought off the advancing Persians down to their last man.”

    A group of about 1100 Thespians and Thebans also refused to leave and fought with the 300 Spartans to defend the pass and the retreating Greek armies.

  16. Where the hell is Genghis Khan? His empire was the biggest ever. He conquered more than Alexander the Great did, which is insane. Not trying to disrespect Alexander however.

  17. Also, what of the Alamo fighters? Did we forget them? Or about Lu Bu? What about the guy from WWII that charged the beaches of normandy with nothing but a longsword and bow and arrows. He got over 50 confirmed kills. One of the confirmed kills was with his bow, WHEN HE WAS RIDING A MOTORCYCLE. What about White Death? He was a soviet soldier with around 500 confirmed kills with his iron sighted sniper rifle.