Throughout history, warriors have killed the enemy and each other, enjoying the gore and the glory. Excessive violence was no matter to these heroes, who upheld their own honor, and the honor of their lands. Perhaps we should thank them – imagine how unmanageable the population problem would be had they not annihilated entire communities for fun.
1. Attila the Hun
Nicknamed the Scourge of God, Attila the Hun drew his formidable power from a magical weapon, the Sword of Mars. The Sword of Mars was bestowed upon Attila by a shepherd who had found the weapon in the middle of a field after his cows mysteriously started spurting blood. Attila the Hun rose to power in 434 AD, and was known for pillaging cities and villages – raping women, burning homes, and the rest of that purely violent war stuff that doesn’t contribute directly to victory.
2. Genghis Khan
Probably the most famous warrior in history, Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire, which is the largest contiguous empire of all time. Many knew and feared Genghis Khan’s military exploits, but admirable was his introduction of a written script to his people, his uniting of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, and his promoting of religious tolerance in his unified empire (perhaps he just didn’t want his people evaluating him through the lens of an inflexible moral code). Khan and his army would commonly destroy cities with as many as 2 million people in a day before moving on to more conquerable land. Khan also spread his seed in many of these cities 800 years ago, and scientists have therefore calculated that he has 16 million descendants living today.
Boudica was a happy queen of Iceni – until her husband died, her land was conquered, she was beaten, and her daughters were raped. That sort of stuff can irk you. Legend has it, she released a hare from her dress, communicating with the Goddess of Victory by interpreting the direction of its sprint. Inspired, Boudica led a rampage through 3 cities of England, slaughtering 80,000 people. In her final defeat, before she was captured, Boudica took her own life.
4. Cetshwayo King of Zulus
A king of the Zulu nation in the 1870s, Cetshwayo rose to power by killing his brother. He was a strong nationalist and banished European imperialists and missionaries from his land. When a group of Britons refused to leave, Cetshwayo sent 20,000 warriors to kill the 2,000 stragglers.
Hannibal was a Carthaginian military tactician alive during the height of Roman rule – which meant that people didn’t mess with Italy. Still, Hannibal fought the oppression, marching into northern Italy on war elephants, crossing the Alps and much of the Mediterranean. He won three bloody battles, enabling his army to occupy Italy for 15 years.
6. George S. Patton
George Patton was a United States general during World War II and led campaigns through Mexico, Sicily, and North Africa. A graduate of West Point and an olympiad, Patton was extremely severe, and was removed from power as a result. Patton received very bad press from a ‘slapping incident.’ The general was visiting a military hospital when he came across a weeping soldier. Patton flew into a rage and slapped the soldier for being so demonstrative of his emotions. Obviously, Patton, the badass that he was, didn’t want any sissies representing the US of A.
7. William Wallace
Famously portrayed in the Academy Award winning movie Braveheart, William Wallace led the resistance during the Wars for Scottish Independence in the late 1200s AD. In his early life, a group of British soldiers approached Wallace after he had been out fishing. They demanded all of his catch, and Wallace diplomatically offered them half. The soldiers threatened him with death if he did not hand over all the fish. In response, Wallace attacked one soldier with his fishing rod, winning his sword, and proceeded to kill five of his comrades. Wallace was so successful in part due to his scorched earth policy, a military strategy of burning and destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy in your homeland.
8. Alexander the Great
Scoliosis, epilepsy, and heterochromia didn’t stop this legendary man from becoming an undefeated military leader. He never lost a battle, and his strategies and tactics are still employed today. Making his BC resume even more impressive, Alexander the Great was taught by Aristotle and founded 70 cities, including Alexandria. In his personal life, Alexander was just as grand. He had three wives and personally killed every member of a nearby town as a tribute to his best friend. Oh yes, and his face is on coins.
9. Leonidas of Sparta
No man has not seen and loved the movie 300, which depicts the Battle of Thermopylae. In this battle, Leonidas brought 300 Spartans to fight the 300,000 man Persian army. Leonidas could have brought the full Spartan army of 7,000 men, but he chose to wage the Battle not on behalf of Sparta, but as an individual. Therefore, Leonidas brought only his personal bodyguards to the epic fight. The heroic Leonidas died on the field.
10. Frederick the Great
Unlike the rest of the warriors on this list, Frederick II of Prussia doesn’t seem to have been born cold-blooded. He was very interested in the arts as a youth, was homosexual, and was a player of the flute. These pursuits did not fit well with the life of a tyrant; thus, Frederick attempted to escape from his authoritarian father. As punishment, his father forced him to watch the execution of his best childhood friend. This seems to have hardened young Freddy. Frederick then conquered Austria during the Silesian War and took over Saxony in the Seven Year’s War. Napoleon Bonaparte was a great admirer of Frederick the Great’s military ideas and often copied them.