There have been a large number of great people in different fields of human endeavor from history to the arts, business to technology, philosophy to politics. However, none of these people has spilled more than blood than popular warriors in history. World History is full of stories of great warriors. Here is the list of 20 Famous Warriors in World’s History.
1. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan (1162 – 1227) was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which was the largest contiguous empire in world’s history after his death. Genghis Khan came to power by uniting separate Mongol tribes of Northeast Asia.
After becoming emperor, he initiated the Mongol invasions and conquered most of Asia and Europe. Campaigns started in his lifetime include those against Caucasus, Qara Khitai, Western Xia, Khwarazmian and Jin Dynasties.
By the end of his life, his Empire occupied a substantial portion of China and Central Asia. He was the great worrier of that time. He is known for the brutality of his campaigns. He had credit to bring the Silk Road under one cohesive political environment. Beyond his military accomplishments, he advanced the empire in other ways.
Genghis Khan practiced and encouraged religious tolerance in the empire while unifying the tribes of Northeast Asia. Nowadays, Mongolians regard Genghis Khan as the founding father of Mongolia.
2. Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was a king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. He born in 256 BC and succeeded his father to the throne at the age of twenty. Alexander spent most of his life on an unprecedented military campaign through northeast Africa and Asia.
In the next ten years, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world. He was ruling from Greece to northwestern India. Alexander the Great was undefeated in every battle and considered as one of the most successful commanders. The Aristotle tutored him until the age of 16.
He invaded the Achaemenid Empire in 334 BC and started a series of campaigns. He broke the power of Persia in series of battles. He invaded India in 226 BC, seeking to reach the “end of the world and the Great Outer Sea.” However, turned back at the demand of homesick troops. He died in Babylon in 323 BC. In the similar year, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart.
3. Khalid ibn Al-Walid
Khalid ibn al-Walid, also known as Sayf Allah al-Maslul was a companion of Muhammad (PBU). He was famous for his military tactics, commanding the Muslim forces under Muhammad (PBUH) and his successors of the Rashidun Caliphate, Abu Bakr, and Umer ibn Khattab.
Commanding the forces of the great Islamic state, he was victorious in more than a hundred battles, against the forces of the Sassanid-Persian Empire, Byzantine-Roman Empire, and their allies, in addition to many Arab tribes. His great achievements include the conquest of Arabia, Roman Syria, and Persian Mesopotamia within four years, from 632 and 636. Khalid ibn al-Walid is remembered for decisive victories at Ullais, Yamamah, and Firaz and his successes at Yarmouk and Walaja.
He joined Muhammad (PBUH) after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and participated in different expeditions for him, such example the Battle of Mu’tah, the first battle between the Muslims and Romans. While fighting in the Battle of Mu’tah, he broke nine swords. He got the title “Saifullah” meaning “The Sword of Allah.”
He is said to have fought a hundred battles, during the military career. He remained undefeated and claimed by some to be one of the finest military generals in history.
4. Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general, politician, and notable author of Latin prose. He had a critical role in the events, led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for many years.
His victories in the Gallic Wars extended the Roman Empire to the England Channel and the Rhine. He became the first general to cross both when he made a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the invasion of Britain.
After the death of Crassus in 53 BC, Pompey got the dominant power. The Senate ordered Julius to step down from his military command. He refused the order. After civil wars, he got an unrivaled position of power and influence.
After getting control, he implemented many government and social reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar. On 15 March 44 BC, he was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Brutus.
5. Leonidas of Sparta
Leonidas I (son of Lion) was a worrier king of the Greek city-state of Sparta. He had a notable participation in the Second Persian War when he led the Greek forces at the Battle of Thermopylae while trying to defend the pass from the invading Persian Army.
He was heir to the Agiad throne and full citizen at the time of the Battle of Sepeia against Argos. He was selected to lead the combined Greek forces to resist the Second Persian invasion of Greek in 481.
In August 480 BC, he marched out of Sparta to meet Xerxes’ army with a small force of 12,00 men at Thermopylae, where he was joined by forces of other Greek city-states. Greek forces put themselves under his command to make an army of 7,000 strong.
In two days, Greek army killed roughly 10,000 of the enemy troops. Leonidas sent all troops to Greece for future battles against the Persians and remained in the pass with his 300 Spartans, 900 Helots, and 700 Thespians. They stopped Persian Army for many days. Xerxes Army attacked Greek force from both sides and killed them except for the 400 Thebans. Leonidas was also killed in the Battle of Thermopylae.
6. Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi, also known as Miyamoto Bennosuke or Shinmen Takezo was an expert Japanese ronin and swordsman. He became famous through stories of his unique and excellent double-bladed swordsmanship and record of undefeated in his 60 duels. Miyamoto Musashi was the founder of the Hyoho Niten Ichi-Ryu style of swordsmanship. He wrote The Book of Five Rings, a book on tactics, strategy, and philosophy that is still studied today. He was born in Harima province in 1584. He father was an accomplished martial arts master of jutte and sword. He did have formal training by his father until he was seven. Between 1605 and 1612, he traveled all over Japan. Miyamoto Musashi participated in the war between the Tokugawa and Toyotomi, in 1614-1615. He defeated Miyake and three other adepts of the Togun-Ryu in 1621 in front of the lord of Himeji. He died on 13 June 1645 in Higo Province, Japan.
Salahuddin Ayubi, known as Saladin was the first Sultan of Syria and Egypt and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. He led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states. At the peak of his power, his sultanate covered Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen, Egypt, and other parts of North Africa. He was sent to Fatimid Egypt by his Zengid lord, Nur ad-Din in 1163. He was appointed as Vizier by Al-Abid in Egypt, after the death of his uncle Shirkuh. After the death of Al-Abid in 1171, he got control over the government and made an alliance with the Sunni Muslim, Abbasid Caliphate. After Nur Ad-Din’s death in 1174, he launched his conquest of Syria. He defeated the Zengid Army at the Battle of the Horns of Hama. He is most popular among Muslims due to Crusades. He defeated the Crusaders in 1187 at the Battle of Hattin and got the control of Palestine, including the City of Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Crusaders conquered Palestine 88 years earlier. He died in 1193 in Damascus. He has become a popular figure in Muslims, Turkish, Arab and Kurdish culture.
8. Richard I the Lionheart
Richard I was King of England from July 6, 1189, until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Gascony, and Aquitaine, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Poitiers, Nantes, and Maine. He had taken the command of his army at the age of sixteen and put down rebellions against his father in Poitou. He was central Christian Commander during the Third Crusade. He scored considerable victories against the Muslim counterpart, Saladin. However, Richard I did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin. He was born in England and spent most of his adult life in France. He spent very little time, perhaps six months in England. He was invested as Duke of Normandy on July 20, 1189, and was crowned King on 3 September 1189 in Westminster Abbey. After many victories against different kingdoms of Europe and Western Asia, he was brought to Speyer as a prisoner on 28 March 1193. He died in the arms of his mother on April 6, 1199, in Chalus, Duchy of Aquitaine.
9. Hannibal Barca
Hannibal, fully Hannibal Barca, was a military commander from Carthage. He was one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War. He lived in the Mediterranean Basin, during the period of great tension, when the Roman Empire established its supremacy over other powers such as the Greek kingdoms of Syracuse, Macedonia, ancient, and the Seleucid Empire, as well as ancient Carthage. One of his popular achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War when He marched an army with war elephants from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps. In first few years in Italy, he won three victories, the Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae. Due to his successful victories, he won over many allies of Rome. He occupied much of Italy within 15 years. Then he returned to Carthage, due to an enemy counter-invasion of North Africa. In Carthage, Hannibal was defeated at the Battle of Zama by Scipio Africanus. After some years, he was defeated at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome’s terms. He fled again. Hannibal had betrayed to the Romans afterward and committed suicide by poisoning himself.
10. Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus was a Greek General and statesman of the Hellenistic period. He was king of Molossians, a tribe of Greek. Later he became the King of Epirus and Macedon. He was the strongest opponent of early Rome. Glaukias succeeded his the throne in 306 BC. He was taken hostage to Alexandria in 298 BC, under the terms of a peace treaty. He restored his kingdom in 297 with the help of Ptolemy I. the Tarentines asked Pyrrhus to lead forces against the Romans. He made an alliance with King of Macedon and his powerful neighbors and in 280 BC, arrived Italy. He entered Italy with an army of 20,000 infantry, 2,000 archers, 3,000 cavalry, and 20 war elephants. He defeated the Romans due to his elephants and deadly phalanx infantry. He invaded Apulia in 279 BC. He proclaimed King of Sicily in 278 BC. Pyrrhus negotiated with the Carthaginians in 276 BC. After few years, Romans had rebuilt their army by calling up thousands of fresh worries. Then he decided to end his campaign and return to Epirus. He was killed during the War against Romans.
Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator. He was one of the escaped slave leaders along with the Gauls Crixus, Oenomaus, and Gannicus Cactus, in the Third Servile War, a primary slave uprising against the Roman empires. He was a captive taken by the legions. He was a heavyweight gladiator called a murmillo. He was among a group of gladiators plotting an escape in 73 BC. They defeated legions sent after them. They recruited many other slaves into their ranks and retired to a more defensible position on Mount Vesuvius. The escaped chose Spartacus, and other slaves, as their leaders. They spent the winter of 73 and 72 BC arming, training and equipping their new recurring. They expand their territory to the towns of Nuceria, Nola, Metapontum, and Thurii. He had the army of 70,000 slaves. By the end of 71 BC, he was encamped in Rhegium, near the Strait of Messina. He made a bargain with pirates to transport him and his 2,000 men to Sicily. However, the Pirates took payment from Romans and abandoned the rebels. He died in 71 BC in the battlefield near to Petelia.
12. Xiahou Dun
Xiahou Dun was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the Eastern Han dynasty. He was one of the most trusted generals of Cao Cao. He was from Qiao County in the Pei State. He killed a man who insulted his teacher, at the age of 13. In 190, he became an officer under Cao Cao and fought many battles. Later he was appointed as a Major and was ordered to the garrison at Boma. Later, he was promoted to “Colonel Who Breaks and Charges” and was appointed as the Administrator of Dong Community. During the campaign of Cao Cao in northern China against Yuan Shao, he remained behind to defend territories in Central China. After the victory in the Battle of Ye in 204, he was promoted to “General Who Calms the Waves.” Later, he remained commander of Cao Cao armies in different battles. In late 220, Cao Pi started the Three Kingdoms period. He granted Xiahou Dun the title “Marquis Zhong” means “loyal Marquis.” Xiahou Dun died on 13 June 220.
13. Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus was a Roman general and later consul. He was regarded as one of the greatest generals and military strategists in the history. He was born in 236 BC. He joined the Roman struggle against Carthage in the first year of Second Punic War. He saved his father life during the skirmish at Ticinus. He survived the disaster at Cannae. Scipio Africanus and Appius Claudius Pulcher took charge of some 10,000 survivors, after the battle. He met with Lucius Metellus and other young nobles, and he forced all present to swear that they would not abandon Roman Empire. In 213 BC, he offered himself as a candidate for curule aedile. In 211 BC, his father and uncle were killed in the battle against Hannibal’s brother. For the election of a new proconsul for the command of the new army, he was the only man brave enough to take the responsibility. After winning over many Hispanian Chiefs, he achieved a great victory over the full Carthaginian levy at Ilipa in 206 BC. He fought against great Hannibal Barca in African Campaign and defeated him. He died in 183 BC.
14. Vlad the Impaler
Vlad III, famous as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, was voivode or Prince of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death. He and his younger brother were held as hostages in the Ottoman Empire from 1442 to save their father. Regent-Governor of Hungary invaded Wallachia in 1447. Vlad broke into Wallachia into Wallachia with the support of Ottoman in October, and he sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire before the end of the year. He invaded Wallachia in 1456 with Hungarian support. The Ottoman Sultan ordered him to pay homage to him personally, but he refused. He broke into Ottoman territory in February 1462, massacring tens of thousands of Bulgarians and Turks. Sultan launched a campaign against Wallachia. Vlad tried to capture the Sultan during the night of 16-17 June 1462 but failed. Vlad went to Transylvania for help, but Corvinus, King of Hungary, imprisoned him. He was held in Captivity from 1463 to 1475. King of Hungary released him in the summer of 1475. He fought against the Ottomans in Bosnia in early 1476 in Corvinus’s Army. He was murdered on 10 January 1477. He was famous due to his brutal punishments.
Arminius was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci tribe and a former officer of Roman Army. He used his knowledge of Roman tactics to lead an army of German tribes to get a victory against three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, in 9 AD, in the historic Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. He was born in 17 BC and trained as a Roman military commander. He lived in Rome as a hostage, received a military education and got Roman Citizenship and the status of equestrian. Then came back to Germania to drive the Romans out. He started plotting to unit different Germanic tribes to thwart Romans efforts. He made an army of 20,000 men and destroyed three whole legions of Romans. He forced the Romans out of Germany. Romans tried to reconquer Germany but failed. Between 14 and 16 AD, Germanicus started punitive operations into Germany and defeated Arminius two times. Arminius also forced opposition from his father-in-law and other Germanic leaders. With the end of the Roman threat, War started between Arminius and King of the Marcomanni. Arminius suffered death in 21 AD, murdered by his opponents within his own tribe.
Miltiades or Miltiades the Younger, was the son of Cimon Coalemos, a renowned Olympic chariot-racer. He was the member of the Aeacidae as wells as the member of the prominent Philaid clan. He is famous for his role in the Battle of Marathon. Miltiades inherited the tyranny of Chersonese in 516 BCE. His region was full of war and revolt. He ensured his power by employing 500 troops. He made an alliance with King Olorus of Thrace by marrying his daughter. In 513 BCE, the King of Persia led a large army into the area forcing the Thracian into submission. Miltiades was compelled to join Darius expedition north. He was left with other officers to guard a bridge across the Danube. He tried to convince other officers to destroy the bridge but failed. He joined the Ionian Revolt of 499 BC against Persian Empire. He was chosen to serves as one of the ten generals for war against Persian Army in 490 BCE. In the Battle of Marathon, he had his men march to the end of the Persian archer range, called the “beaten zone.” He and his soldiers fought bravely against Persian Army and defeated them. One year later, he was sentenced to death, charged with treason.
17. Attila the Hun
Attila or Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death. He was a leader of the Hunnic Empire, a tribal confederation comprising Huns, Alans, and Ostrogoths, among others, on the territory of Eastern and Central Europe. During his reign, he was the most feared enemies of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. Attila crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans. However, he was unable to take Constantinople. He invaded the Eastern Roman Empire in 441 and then tried to invade the Western Roman Empire. He tried to conquer Roman Gaul, crossing the Rhine in 451. He marched towards Aurelianum and defeated by Romans at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. He successful invaded Italy by devastating the Northern provinces. However, he was unable to take Rome. He planned for campaigns against the Western Roma Empire but died in 453. After his death, his close advisor Ardaric led a Germanic revolt against Hunnic rule.
18. William Wallace
Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight who became one of the primary leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Along with Andrew Moray, William Wallace defeated an English Army in September 1297 at the Battle of Stirling. He was appointed Guardian of Scotland, and he severed at the post until his defeat at in July 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk. William Wallace was captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, in August 1305 and handed over to King Edward I of England. King had Wallace hanged, drawn and quartered for crime against English Civilians and high treason. After his death, he got an iconic status for beyond his homeland. He was one of the greatest worries in history. He defeated English Army due to intelligence and bravery. He was the subject of the popular film Braveheart (1995), directed by and starring Mel Gibson as Wallace. The film was criticized due to William’s title, attire and love interests.
19. Basil II (The Bulgar-Slayer)
Basil II was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty. He was famous in his time as Basil the Young and Basil the Porphyrogenitus. He reigned Byzantine Empire from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. The early years of his reign were dominated the civil war against generals of the army. He oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the eastern front of the Empire and complete subjugation of Bulgaria, after a prolonged struggle. He was also famous as the Bulgar Slayer. At the time of his death, the Byzantine Empire stretched from the Danube to the borders of Palestine, and from Southern Italy to the Caucasus, its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests four hundred years earlier. That’s why his reign is seen as the medieval apogee of the Empire. Despite constant warfare, he also showed himself a capable administrator. He reduced the power of the great families of Empire, who dominated the Empire’s military and administration while filling the Empire treasury. In addition, he made the decision to offer the hand of his sister to Vladimir I of Kiev in exchange for military support.
20. Eric Bloodaxe
Eric Haraldsson was a 10th-century Norwegian ruler. He spent much of his childhood in fosterage. He brutally killed Rgnvald, ruler of Bjorn Formann and Hadeland, and ruler of Vestfold. He became the king of Norway after the death of his father but run away from the Palace to secure his life. He got the kingship in Northumbria at the age of 12. He fought over between the Hiberno-Norse line of descendants from Imair, kings of Dublin and the West-Saxon kings. He divided his time between raiding in Scotland and around the Irish Sea and established himself as ruler of the Viking Kingdom of Northumbria. The independence of Viking Northumbria brought to an end after the death of Eric Bloodaxe.