Crime & History

5 Legendary Ancient Warriors And Tacticians

29 Jan 2016

There have been many great individuals in various fields of human endeavour throughout history through the sciences, arts, politics or business.

However none of these such human feat's was responsible for the customary bloodshed of the ancient world; instead, this was the doing of the ancient warriors. Here's a list of the top five most renowned, vicious, bloodthirsty, skilful warriors and tacticians of the ancient world.

5 Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca

Hannibal Barca is considered to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time. He was born in Carthage approximately 247 BC; the son of a great Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca. As Hannibal was born to such a military family, he was to swear hostility to Rome from a young age.

By age 26 Hannibal had an army at his back; combined with Hannibal's military talents as a feared tactician and strategist he was a figure of fear in Rome. With this and an army at his back, Hannibal swept through southern Europe defeating many of Rome's armies.

Throughout Barca's conquest through Southern Europe, he did the unthinkable which made him go down in history; he marched an army of 100,000 troops and 40 war elephants up the Italian Alps. Faced with an inclement climate and guerrilla attacks from indigenous native tribes of the Alps. Hannibal's plan succeeded, and he exited the Alps after 15 days of crossing.

However, Barca sustained heavy losses; now marching an army of 20,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 37 elephants towards the unsuspecting Roman outposts. However, Rome was able to counterattack and forced Hannibal to return to Carthage where he was defeated. Here he was forced into exile by Rome; determined not to fall into the hands of the enemy he took his life in approximately 183 BC.

4 Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi was known as the greatest swordsman who ever lived and a feared ronin. He was born in 1584 which was a period of civil war in which Japanese warlords were fighting for supremacy over Japanese territory.

From a young age, he was taught kenjutsu and jujutsu from his father who was an accomplished samurai and an expert in kenjutsu. At the age of 9 or 10 Musashi's father died or completely abandoned him; it is yet unknown although some historians suggest that he died during a duel against another swordsman known as Ganryu Yoshitaka.

After this tragic event, Miyamoto Musashi went to live with his uncle in a temple. Here he learnt the art of Zen Buddhism and basic skills such as reading and writing. At the age of 13, Musashi had his first duel; his opponent was a samurai from the Tajima Province. A man named Arima Kibei. Within seconds of the fight, Musashi threw Arima on the ground and hit him with his bokuto (a wooden sword).

His opponent died vomiting blood. At the age of 16-20, he left the temple to roam the countryside challenging others to duels. Over his lifetime, he won over 60 contests including his most famous duel against Sasaki Kojiro, known as Japan's greatest swordsman at the time. Along with his many duels, he also fought successfully in three major military campaigns.

3 Leonidas of Sparta

Leonidas of Sparta

Leonidas I (540-480 B.C) was a Greek warrior king of the city-state of Sparta during the Greco-Persian War from 490 B.C till his death at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian army in 480 BC. Leonidas was most significantly remembered for being the leader of one of the most ferocious military units in history known as the 300 hoplites.

Along with the 300 hoplites, 7,000 Greeks from different states joined In Leonidas's march to Thermopylae where they would together hold off many attacks from a far more numerous enemy over a two day period. Unfortunately, a local Greek told Xerxes (The Persian King) about a mountain route which enabled the Persians to surround the Greeks.

Much of the Greek army fled, although, an army of Spartans, Thespians and Thebans remained to fight the Persians. Leonidas and the 300 Spartans with him were all killed, along with much of their remaining allies. Some say near the end of the battle Leonidas stood alone fighting against hundreds and thousands of Persians.

2 Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan a Mongolian warrior-ruler created the largest empire in the ancient world, known as the Mongol Empire. Genghis Khan set in motion the conquest of the quarter of the world's population. Genghis Khan was born "Temujin" in Mongolia around 1162.

At age 20 he started building a vast army intent to destroy individual tribes of Northeast Asia and unite them all under his rule. He was successful in this and thus the Mongol Empire was born. The Mongol Empire was the largest ancient empire before the British Empire and lasted well after his death in 1227. Although he was known for the brutality of his attacks and considered a genocidal ruler, his accomplishments made his people regard him as the 'Greatest man who ever lived' and 'Sent from heaven'.

1 Alexander The Great

Alexander The Great

Conqueror and king of Macedonia. Alexander the Great was born July 356 BC and King of Macedonia between 336-323 BC. During his rule, he united the Greek city states and led the Corinthian League. Alexander conquered many areas and countries including Persia, India, Egypt and Babylon among others; becoming king of Persia, Babylon and Asia. He created one of the largest empires of the ancient world stretching from Greece to Egypt, through Pakistan and into Northwest India.

Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic Civilisation with the spread of Greek culture. Due to his success, he is widely considered as one of history's most successful military commanders. Alexander stood undefeated until his untimely death from malaria at the age of 33, not managing to achieve his goal to reach 'the ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea'.

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