Top Ten Warriors

Top Ten Warriors

Alexander the GreatAchillesGenghis KhanKing Leonidas

  1. Achilles
    In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad. Achilles also has the attributes of being the most handsome of the heroes assembled against Troy. Later legends (beginning with a poem by Statius in the first century AD) state that Achilles was invulnerable in all of his body except for his heel. Since he died due to an arrow shot into his heel, the “Achilles’ heel” has come to mean a person’s principal weakness.
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  2. Alexander the Great
    Alexander the Great2Alexander the Great
    Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 BC), popularly known as Alexander the Great, was a Greek king of Macedon. He is the most celebrated member of the Argead Dynasty and created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by the famed philosopher Aristotle, succeeded his father Philip II of Macedon to the throne in 336 BC after the King was assassinated, and died thirteen years later at the age of 32. Although both Alexander’s reign and empire were short-lived, the cultural impact of his conquests lasted for centuries. Alexander was known to be undefeated in battle and is considered one of the most successful commanders of all time. He is one of the most famous figures of antiquity, and is remembered for his tactical ability, for his conquests, and for spreading Greek culture into the East, marking the beginning of Hellenistic civilization. Philip had brought most of the city-states of mainland Greece under Macedonian hegemony, using both military and diplomatic means. Upon Philip’s death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He succeeded in being awarded the generalship of Greece and, with his authority firmly established, launched the military plans for expansion left by his father. He invaded Persian-ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns lasting ten years. Alexander repeatedly defeated the Persians in battle; marched through Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Bactria; and in the process he overthrew the Persian king Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. Following his desire to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea,” he invaded India, but was eventually forced to turn back by the near-mutiny of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, before realizing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following Alexander’s death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, which resulted in the formation of a number of states ruled by Macedonian aristocracy (the Diadochi). Remarkable though his conquests were, Alexander’s lasting legacy was not his reign, but the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. Alexander’s importation of Greek colonists and culture to the East resulted in a new Hellenistic culture, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire until the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which generals, even to this day, compare themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactical exploits.
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  3. Genghis Khan (1162–1227)
    Genghis KhanGenghis Khan1Genghis Khan2Genghis Khan3
    Genghis Khan was the founder, Khan (ruler) and Khagan (emperor), of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. After founding the Mongol Empire and being proclaimed “Genghis Khan,” he started the Mongol invasions and raids of the Kara-Khitan Khanate, Caucasus, Khwarezmid Empire, Western Xia and Jin dynasties. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.
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  4. King Leonidas (540? – 480 BC)
    King Leonidas1King Leonidas
    Leonidas was a king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendant of Heracles, possessing much of the latter’s strength and bravery. While it has been established that King Leonidas of Sparta died at the Battle of Thermopylae in August, 480 BC, very little is known about the year of his birth, or for that matter, his formative years. Paul Cartledge has narrowed the date of the birth of King Leonidas to around 540 BC. Leonidas was one of three brothers: he had an older brother Dorieus and a younger brother Cleombrotus, who ruled as regent for a while on Leonidas’ death before the regency was taken over by Pausanias, who was Cleombrotus’ son. Leonidas succeeded his half-brother Cleomenes I, probably in 489 or 488 BC, and was married to Cleomenes’ daughter, Gorgo. His name was raised to heroic status as a result of the events in the Battle of Thermopylae.
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  5. Sun Tzu
    Sun TzuSun Tzu1The Art of War
    Sun Tzu, or Sun Wu, was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society, and his work has continued to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics. Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722–481 BC) as a military general serving under King Helü of Wu, who lived 544-496 BC. Scholars accepting his historicity place his supposed writing The Art of War in the Warring States Period (476–221 BC), based on the descriptions of warfare in the text. Traditional accounts state that his descendant, Sun Bin, also wrote a treatise on military tactics, titled Sun Bin’s Art of War. Both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese writings, and some historians thought that Sun Wu was in fact Sun Bin until Sun Bin’s own treatise was discovered in 1972.
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  6. Attila the Hun
    Attila the HunAttila the Hun1
    Attila (406–453), also known as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from Germany to the Ural River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his rule, he was one of the most fearsome enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empire. He invaded the Balkans twice and marched through Gaul (modern France) as far as Orléans before being defeated at the Battle of Châlons. He refrained from attacking either Constantinople or Rome.
  7. Timur
    Timur, meaning iron in Middle Turkic (8 April 1336 – 18 February 1405), normally known as Tamerlane in English, was a 14th century conqueror of Western, South and Central Asia, founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty (1370–1405) in Central Asia, and great great grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived until 1857 as the Mughal Empire in India. Born into the Turco-Mongol Barlas tribe who ruled in Central Asia, Timur was in his lifetime a controversial figure, and remains so today. He sought to restore the Mongol Empire, yet his heaviest blow was against the Islamized Tatar Golden Horde. He was more at home in an urban environment than on the steppe. He styled himself a ghazi yet some Muslim states, e.g. the Ottoman Empire, were severely affected by his wars. A great patron of the arts, his campaigns also caused vast destruction. Timur told the qadis of Aleppo, during the sack of that newly conquered city, “I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity.”
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  8. Hannibal Barca
    Hannibal BarcaHannibal Barca1Hannibal Barca3Hannibal Barca4
    Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca (248–183 or 182 BC) was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician who is popularly credited as one of the most talented commanders in history. His father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair. Hannibal lived during a period of tension in the Mediterranean, when the Roman Republic established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage, and the Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid empire. One of his most famous achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy. In his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories, Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae, and won over several Roman allies. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years, but a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced Hannibal to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. Scipio studied Hannibal’s tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and finally defeated Rome’s nemesis at Zama having previously driven Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, out of Spain. After the war Hannibal successfully ran for the office of suffete. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. However, Hannibal’s reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During his exile, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III in his war against Rome. After Antiochus met defeat and was forced to accept Rome’s terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamum. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans. Often regarded as the greatest military tactician and strategist in history, Hannibal would later be considered as one of the greatest generals of antiquity, together with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio, and Pyrrhus of Epirus. Plutarch gives that, when questioned by Scipio as to who was the greatest general, Hannibal is said to have replied either Alexander, Pyrrhus, then himself, or, according to another version of the event, Pyrrhus, Scipio, then himself. Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge once famously called Hannibal the “father of strategy,” because his greatest enemy, Rome, came to adopt elements of his military tactics in its own strategic arsenal. This praise has earned him a strong reputation in the modern world and he was regarded as a “gifted strategist” by men like Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington.
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  9. Saladin (1138 – 4 March 1193)
    Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, better known in the Western world as Saladin, was a Kurdish Muslim who became the first Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He led Islamic opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin. As such, he is a notable figure in Kurdish, Arab, and Muslim culture. Saladin was a strict practitioner of Sunni Islam. His chivalrous behavior was noted by Christian chroniclers, especially in the accounts of the siege of Kerak in Moab and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including Richard the Lionheart; rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry.
  10. William Wallace (1272 – 23 August 1305)
    William WallaceWilliam Wallace1
    Sir William Wallace (Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas) was a Scottish knight and landowner who is known for leading a resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence and is today remembered in Scotland as a patriot and national hero. Along with Andrew Moray, he defeated an English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and became Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk. A few years later Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him executed for treason.
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  11. Spartacus
    Spartacus (109–71 BC) was the most notable leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable. Spartacus’ struggle, often seen as oppressed people fighting for their freedom against a slave-owning aristocracy, has found new meaning for modern writers since the 19th century. The rebellion of Spartacus has proven inspirational to many modern literary and political writers, making Spartacus a folk hero among cultures both ancient and modern.
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  12. Arjuna
           In Indian mythology, Arjuna is the greatest warrior on earth and is one of the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, and a key historical figure in the Dwapar Yuga. Arjuna, whose name. means ‘bright,’ ‘shining,’ ‘white’ or ‘silver,’ was such a peerless archer that he is often referred to as Vishnu – the unbeatable. The third of the five Pandava brothers, Arjuna was the son of the king of gods, Indra, and Kunti, wife of king Pandu of Kuru. Arjuna was an ambidextrous master archer and as a Maharathi played a key role in the victory of Yudhisthira in the Mahabharata War. Taught by the master of military arts Drona, Arjuna used the magnificent bow Gāndeeva, and killed many Kaurava generals like Karna and Jayadratha. He was also a close friend of Krishna, an Avatar of god Vishnu. Arjuna had four wives, Subhadra, Draupadi, Chitrangada and Ulupi. In the epic, Arjuna is said to have an amsha, or spiritual element, of sage Nara. Nara is the eternal companion of Narayana (identified with Vishnu), and sometimes considered one of the forms of Narayana. One of his most important roles was as the dear friend and brother-in-law of Lord Krishna, from whom he heard the Bhagavad Gita before the battle of Kurukshetra, and who acted as his charioteer during the battle. Arjuna is sometimes referred to as the ‘fourth Krishna’ of the Mahabharata.
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  13. Hector
           In Greek mythology, Hectōr, “holding fast” is a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter of Troy in the Trojan War. As the son of Priam and Hecuba, a descendant of Dardanus, who lived under Mount Ida and of Tros, the founder of Troy, he is a prince of the royal house. He acts as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy. In the European Middle Ages, Hector figures as one of the Nine Worthies noted by Jacques de Longuyon, known not only for his courage but also for his noble and courtly nature. Indeed Homer places Hector as the very noblest of all the heroes in the Iliad: he is both peace loving and brave, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father, and totally without darker motives. When the Trojans are disputing whether the omens are favorable, he retorts: One omen is best, defending the fatherland.
  14. Shaka King of the Zulu (1787 –  22 September 1828)
    Shaka King of the ZuluShaka King of the Zulu1Shaka King of the Zulu2Shaka King of the Zulu3
    Shaka King of the Zulu was the most influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom. He is widely credited with uniting many of the Northern Nguni people, specifically the Mtetwa Paramountcy and the Ndwandwe into the Zulu kingdom, the beginnings of a nation that held sway over the large portion of southern Africa between the Phongolo and Mzimkhulu rivers, and his statesmanship and vigor marked him as one of the greatest Zulu chieftains. He has been called a military genius for his reforms and innovations and condemned for the brutality of his reign. Other historians note debate about Shaka’s role as a uniter versus a usurper of traditional Zulu ruling prerogatives and the notion of the Zulu state as a unique construction divorced from the localized culture and the previous systems built by his predecessor Dingiswayo. Research continues into the character, methods and influence of the Zulu king, who continues to cast a long shadow over the history of southern Africa. Shaka’s military innovations such as the iklwa, the age-grade regimental system and encirclement tactics helped make the Zulu one of the most powerful nations in southern and south-eastern Africa.
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  15. Julius Caesar
    Julius CaesarJulius Caesar1Julius Caesar2Julius Caesar4
    Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Born into a patrician family, Caesar’s youth was a tumultuous time in the Roman Republic. His uncle Gaius Marius was an influential populares politician and commander. In 88 BC, Rome was engulfed by a civil war between his uncle and a powerful optimates general, Sulla. Both men took control of Rome in rapid succession, proscribing each other’s supporters in the process. During the turmoil, Caesar barely escaped with his life. Caesar returned to Rome after Sulla’s death in 78 BC, allowing him to pursue a career as an advocate. He fought in Asia and Cilicia with distinction, earning the corona civica. As a politician, Caesar made use of popularist tactics. He formed political alliances that led to the so-called First Triumvirate, an extra-legal arrangement with Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) that was to dominate Roman politics for several years. Their factional attempts to amass power for themselves were opposed within the Roman Senate by the optimates, among them Marcus Porcius Cato and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, with the sometime support of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Caesar’s conquest of Gaul extended the Roman world to the North Sea, and in 55 BC he also conducted the first Roman invasion of Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse Pompey’s, while the death of Crassus contributed to increasing political tensions between the two triumviral survivors. Political realignments in Rome finally led to a stand-off between Caesar and Pompey, the latter having taken up the cause of the Senate. With the order that sent his legions across the Rubicon, Caesar began a civil war in 49 BC from which he emerged as the unrivaled leader of the Roman world. After assuming control of government, he began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity” (dictator perpetuo). A group of senators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus, assassinated the dictator on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC, hoping to restore the normal running of the Republic. However, the result was a series of civil wars, which ultimately led to the establishment of the permanent Roman Empire by Caesar’s adopted heir Octavius (later known as Augustus). Much of Caesar’s life is known from his own Commentaries (Commentarii) on his military campaigns, and other contemporary sources such as the letters and speeches of his political rival Cicero, the historical writings of Sallust, and the poetry of Catullus. Many more details of his life are recorded by later historians, such as Appian, Suetonius, Plutarch, Cassius Dio and Strabo.
  16. Miyamoto Musashi
    Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi2Miyamoto Musashi3
    Miyamoto Musashi (1584 – June 13 (Japanese calendar: May 19), 1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke, or by his Buddhist name Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and samurai famed for his duels and distinctive style. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho?), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today. He is considered as one of the greatest warriors of all time.
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  17. Lieutenant Audie Murphy
    Lieutenant Audie MurphyLieutenant Audie Murphy1Lieutenant Audie Murphy2
    Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was the most decorated American soldier of WWII and a celebrated movie star for over two decades in the post-war era, appearing in 44 films. Murphy became the most decorated U.S. soldier of the war during 27 months in action in the European Theatre. He received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest award for valor, along with 32 additional U.S. and foreign medals and citations, including five from France and one from Belgium. Murphy’s successful movie career included To Hell and Back (1955), based on his book of the same title (1949). He died in a plane crash in 1971 and was interred, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery. His medal of Honor citation is as follows: Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.
  18. Richard I (Lionheart)
    Richard I (Lionheart)Richard I (Lionheart)2Richard I (Lionheart)3Richard I (Lionheart)5
    Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy (as Richard IV), Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, even before his accession, because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. The Saracens called him Melek-Ric or Malek al-Inkitar – King of England. By the age of sixteen, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father, King Henry II. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not reconquer Jerusalem. Richard spoke the langue d’oïl and the langue d’oc and spent very little time in England (he lived in his Duchy of Aquitaine in the southwest of France, preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies). He was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure in England and France.
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  19. Geronimo (16 June 1829 – 17 February 1909)
    Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaałé, “one who yawns;” was a prominent Native American leader and medicine man of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States and their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. As a Chiricahua Apache, this meant he was one of many people with special spiritual insights and abilities known to Apache people as “Power.” Among these were the ability to walk without leaving tracks; the abilities now known as telekinesis and telepathy; and the ability to survive gunshot (rifle/musket, pistol, and shotgun). Geronimo was wounded numerous times by both bullets and buckshot, but survived. Apache men chose to follow him of their own free will, and offered first-hand eye-witness testimony regarding his many “powers.” They declared that this was the main reason why so many chose to follow him (he was favored by/protected by “Usen,” the Apache high-god). Geronimo’s “powers” were considered to be so great that he personally painted the faces of the warriors who followed him to reflect their protective effect. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas.
    Links: Top Ten Native American Leaders,
  20. Joan of Arc
    Joan of arc miniature graded.jpg
    Joan of Arc (1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans), is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon for charges of “insubordination and heterodoxy”, and was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old. Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of the patron saints of France. Joan said she had received visions from God instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims.
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  21. Links: Warfare, Warriors, Top Ten Wars, Top Ten Weapons,,,

Weapons and Armor

Weapons and Armor








Top Ten Daggers/Knives

Top Ten Daggers/Knives

        Daggers are one of the oldest weapons created by man and evolved out of prehistoric tools. In Neolithic times, daggers were made of materials such as flint, ivory or bone and were used as weapons since the earliest periods of human civilization. The earliest metal daggers appear in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC, predating the sword, which essentially developed from oversized daggers. Although the standard dagger, in many cases, was not as effective as axes, spears, or even maces due to its limited reach, it was an important step towards the development to what is often seen as a more useful close-combat weapon, the sword. However, from pre-dynasticEgypt, daggers were adorned as ceremonial objects with golden hilts and later even more ornate and varied construction. Traditionally, some military and naval officers wore dress daggers as symbols of power, and modern soldiers are still equipped with combat knives and knife bayonets. Here are a few examples of the finest daggers created by man.

  1. King Tutankhamen’s Golden Burial Dagger

    Links: Top 100 Egyptian Artifacts, Top 100 Gold Artifacts,
  2. Dagger from Ur, Mesopotamia

    Links: Top 100 Sumerian Artifacts,
  3. The Topkapi Emerald Dagger

  4. Dagger of Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang

    Along with 7,000-some terracotta warriors, over 10,000 objects, including figures, weapons, incense burners, instruments, etc., this dagger was found in Emperor Qin Shihuang’s tomb.
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  5. Schweizerdolch

  6. Ceremonial Tibetan Dagger

    Links: Top Ten Tibetan/Nepali Artifacts,
  7. Gebel el-Arak Knife (3,300 – 3,200 BC)

    The Gebel el-Arak Knife is a 25.50 cm long knife dating from circa 3,300 to 3,200 BC, the late pre-dynastic period in Egypt, which when it was purchased in Cairo was said to have been found at the site of Gebel el-Arak, south of Abydos. The blade is made of ripple-flaked flintstone and the handle of the ivory of a hippopotamus canine tooth. The handle is richly carved in low relief with a scene of a battle on the side that would have faced a right-handed user and with mythological themes on the other surface. The opposite side of the handle shows Mesopotamian influence featuring the god El, wearing Mesopotamian clothing, flanked by two upright lions symbolizing the Morning and Evening Stars (now both identified with the planet Venus). Grimal refrains from speculating on the identity of the ambiguous figure, referring to it as a “warrior.” This side of the handle also contains a “knob,” a perforated suspension lug that would have supported the knife handle, keeping it level while resting on a level surface and also could have been used to thread a cord to hang it from the body as an ornament. The knife is on display at the Louvre. Another knife of similar materials but worn and battered, is conserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    Links: Top Ten Pre-Dynastic Egyptian Artifacts, Top Ten Louvre Artifacts,,
  8. Aztec Sacrificial Knife (15th-16th Century)

           This is a sacrificial wooden handled knife  from Mexico. The handle of this knife is carved in wood and covered with mosaic of turquoise, shell and malachite, while the blade is made of chalcedony.
    Links: Top Ten Aztec Artifacts,,
  9. Chimu Gold Knife

    Links: Top Ten Chimu Artifacts,
  10. Mycenaean Dagger

           This ancient Mycenaean dagger shows illustrations depicting a lion hunt.
  11. “Akinakes” Polylobed Decorated Daggers

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  12. Hayagriva Phurbu Knife

           15th century Mongolian knife made with gilt steel. This knife is 23.5cm in length and…
    Link: Top Ten Mongolian Artifacts,,
  13. Dagger of Boabdil El Chico

           This dagger, which belonged to Boabdil El Chico, who… It is currently located in the Museum of Artillery, in Madrid, Spain.
  14. Victorian Masonic Dagger

           This early dagger is covered with Masonic symbolism. It is almost 9 3/4 inches in overall length. The blade is 5 1/2 inches. The handle looks like it is made of buffalo horn. It is a high quality dagger and the leather washer between the pommel and the blade is still present and looks very old. The blade has been blued and there are many early Masonic emblems with the motto “Memento Mori” over the skull and crossbones, a Masonic device which is a reminder of mortality. Other emblems include the Sun and Stars, King Solomon’s Seal or the Star of David, an early Square, and a butterfly surrounded by a serpent biting his tail. As a symbol, the serpent obtained a prominent place in all the ancient initiations and religions. Among the Egyptians it was the symbol of Divine Wisdom when extended at length, and the serpent with his tail in his mouth was an emblem of eternity.
    Links: Top 100 Freemasons, Top 100 Secret Society Members, Top 100 People, Top 100 Symbols,
  15. Chimu Copper Ceremonial Knife (10th-15th Century)

    The Moche people of northern Peru (first–seventh century) were among the first to use copper, often with the addition of arsenic to harden the metal and improve the quality of the cast. Moche metalworkers hammered most of their precious metals, gold and silver, into objects of sheet metal, but many works in copper were cast by the lost-wax technique. The Chimú people, who made this ceremonial knife, inherited the rich cultural and artistic traditions developed by the earlier Moche. Clearly a ritual object, indicated by the delicate, projecting details and attractive silhouette, the knife has a semicircular blade. The flat undulating shaft is embellished with circles in relief; stylized birds project from its sides. At the top is a human head wearing a headdress with mushroom shapes. The detailed facial features, wide staring eyes and open mouth framed by age wrinkles, give the face a startled look. The holes in the earlobes once held ornaments. The object is cast of a copper/arsenic alloy; its surface is now covered with copper corrosion developed over many centuries of burial. This knife currently resides at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
    Links: Top Ten Chimu Artifacts, Top Ten Peruvian Attractions,
  16. Bonus: Akedah Knife

           Forged from a meteorite in Canaan, this ancient iron blade with a bone handle is said to be the knife that Abraham was going to used to sacrifice Isaac.
    Links: Top Ten Meteors,
  17. Bonus: Holbein Dagger

  18. Links: