Famous Warriors

A list of the greatest warriors through the ages. Some warriors are near-legendary figures, with some uncertainty over their exact historical life, but they have been included.


Achilles 1. Achilles (c. 13th century BC) Achilles was considered the greatest of all Greek warriors. He led the Greek Army in the siege of Troy and killed the Trojan prince, Hector by the gates of Troy. He was considered to be invulnerable in all parts of the body apart from the heel. Achilles is one of the main characters of Homer’s Illiad and Achilles is praised for his skill as a warrior and also chivalry.

leonidas-sparta 2. Leonidas I of Sparta (c.540-480 BC ) A king of Sparta during the Second Persian War. He led the formidably disciplined and trained soldiers in the Spartan army. During the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) he heroically made a last stand against the overwhelming Greek forces. Legends say he single-handedly fought on against the might of the Greek army.

3. Alexander the Great (356 – 323 BC) As King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great established an Empire from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas in India. He led his army in battle leading from the front and appearing fearless in battle and conquest. He had the total support of his army.

hannibal-barca 4. Hannibal Barca (247 BC – 181 BC) General and military strategist from Ancient Carthage. He led Carthage in a series of stunning military victories over the Roman Empire, crossing the Alps and frequently outflanking his enemies. Regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history

spartacus5. Spartacus (c. 109–71 BC). Spartacus was a gladiator slave, who escaped from captivity and was one of the slave leaders who led a major uprising against the Roman Empire, in what was known as the Servile Revolt, he died in 71 BC.

6. Julius Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC) Under Caesar, the Roman Empire stretched to its furthers points – crossing the Rhine and into Britain for the first time. Caesar was militarily successful in the Roman conquest of Gaul and also with Roman civil conflicts.

Musashi 7. Miyamoto Musashi (1584 – June 13, 1645) Japanese swordsman who remained undefeated in duals with opponents. He is revered as the sword-saint of Japan. He combined supreme military skill with a philosophic approach to life and is considered the greatest swordsman of all time.

CyrusTheGreat 8. Cyrus the Great (600 – 530 BC) was the founder of the Persian (Achaemenid) Empire. Cyrus conquered the empires of Media, Lydia and Babylonia, creating the first multi-ethnic state which at its peak accounted for around 40% of the global population.

Xiahou_Dun_Portrait 9. Xiahou Dun (c 190 – 220) A military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. His reputation as a fearsome warrior was heightened when, according to legend, he was hit in the eye with an arrow, but proceeded to remove the arrow and devour his own eyeball.

10. Arjuna c. 5000 BC Arjuna was an Indian prince and one of the greatest warriors of his age and a key figure in the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna was directed by Sri Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra and frequently displayed his courage, strength and skill on the battlefield. Arjuna was tutored by Drona and was one of the five Pandava brothers.

11. Genghis Khan – ( 1162 – 1227) From humble beginnings, Genghis Khan ruthlessly gained control of waring Mongol tribes and then proceeded to conquer Mongolia, China and then created an Empire stretching into Central Europe. His Mongol hordes were unstoppable.

12. Attila the Hun (5th Century) Ruler of the Huns who swept across Europe. He was known for his ruthlessness and merciless fighting spirit. He had an indomitable gaze and willingness to terrorise his enemies.

sun-tzu 13. Sun Tzu (544 – 496 BC) Chinese military strategist and author of “The Art of War. Sun Tzu advocated a Taoist approach to war and battle, hiding true strength and waiting for the right moment to strike and defeat your enemies.

ragnor 14. Ragnor Lodbrok A legendary Viking king who is attributed with daring raids on Britain and France in the 9th Century. Through his skill, he became king of Denmark and Sweden and increased the power of the Vikings in Europe.

15. Saladin (1138 – 1193) Saladin led the Islamic opposition to Christian crusades. At the Battle of Hattin in 1187, he recaptured the city of Jerusalem and took control of Palestine. He became renowned in both Muslim and Christian worlds for his skill as a warrior and honourable spirit.

16. Boudicca (1st Century) Led British citizens in revolt against Roman occupation. Initially successful in raids on the Romans, she took her forces from Colchester to London and into the middle of England. She was only defeated, in 60BC when she faced the Romans in a pitched battle.

17. King Arthur 6th Century. Legendary King of the Britons who defended England against Saxon invaders, uniting the country. A warrior who also fought by a code of honour.

18. K ing Alfred (849 – 899)  Alfred was King of Wessex. An educated and enlightened King, Alfred defended Britain against the Vikings and was the first king to declare himself King of Anglo-Saxons.

19. William Wallace (13th Century) Scottish independence leader during the war of Scottish independence. He led Scottish forces and defeated a larger English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Rollo_ 20. Rollo of Normandy (911–927) – Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy. He was so tall that there was no horse who could bear his weight. In battle, he dominated his foes and was successful in gaining large tracts of land in France.

Sitting_Bull_ 21. Sitting Bull (1831- 1890) a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who led his people during years of resistance to United States government policies. Sitting Bull was known as a fierce warrior who led his people in a full-scale war against the American government. In 1876, at the Battle of the Bighorn, he defeated General Custer’s better-armed battalion in a stunning victory.

22. T.E. Lawrence (1888 – 1935) British officer who, during the First World War,  led the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in Arabia. Lawrence employed unorthodox tactics to surprise the Ottoman Empires and won a series of morale-boosting victories.

wiliam-i-conqueror-100 23. William the Conqueror (1028 –  1087) William I was a Norman King who invaded England in 1066. William defeated the English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

24. Richard I – The Lionheart (1189-1199) Richard I was a crusading King who gained fame for his chivalry, courage and indefatigable spirit. He earned the respect of his great enemy Saladin. Richard loved fighting so much, he neglected his kingdom in the pursuit of the Crusades in the Holy Land.

25. Joan of Arc – (historical1412-1431) – French saint. Jean d’Arc was a young peasant girl who inspired the Dauphin of France to renew the fight against the English. She led French forces into battle and although didn’t wield a weapon herself. Her presence at the forefront of the cause had a huge effect on the morale of the French and English forces.

26. Akbar (1542 – 1605) The third Moghul Emperor, Akbar consolidated his Empire across India, through a series of striking military victories.

susan-b-anthony27. Sam Sharpe led the Christmas Rebellion in Jamaica (1831) – an event that catalysed anti-slavery sentiment. The event was also known as the Jamaican Baptist War. The Jamaican government’s severe reprisals was a factor in the UK (1833) Slavery Abolition Act.

Bhima 28. Bhima c. 5000 BC was another key figure in the Mahabharata and was the greatest warrior on the side of the Pandavas. He had tremendous power and when roused, he was almost indestructible. His favourite weapon was the mace. During the Battle of Kurukshetra, he was responsible for killing all 100 Kaurava brothers.

29. Simon Bolivar historical(1783 – 1830) – Liberator of Latin American countries. Bolivar was responsible for the liberation of Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Colombia.

nat-turner 30. Nat Turner (1800 – 1831) African-American born into slavery. Turner led slaves and free blacks in an uprising against slavery. For two days, they killed slave owners and took matters into their own hands. He was later captured and executed.


Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Famous Warriors”, Oxford, UK www.biographyonline.net. Published 12 June 2019.

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