"It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it."
- Robert E. Lee
So sad. So true.
I had a lot of fun, my primary aim, in compiling my own 'military leaders list', which I constantly revise thanks to the contributions and suggestions of others, whom I thank and respect (even amid disagreements).
There really is no such veritable title 'greatest commander of all time'; it's akin to assessing what the best doughnut is, or arguing for which mountain range is the most breathtaking. Which supermodel is the most gorgeous (that would be a good panel to participate in!)? Several names will always appear consistently in any 'which/who is the best' debate, but it is a sterile pursuit for those arguing for the incontrovertible #1 in almost any category. But I feel it's fun to make such a list because the debates per se are scholarly enough to learn from. The question itself spurs intelligent assessments on various commanders.
I would like to stress that I am merely an amateur, and my knowledge of military history is much more thorough with the history of war in the West, so I apologize in advance if anyone feels I am too western-centric in my rankings of the top TIER, and/or if certain greats from the East are understated or not mentioned (I am confident we'll add plenty of names ). I have done my best, and many should add to the list etc., as well as suggest changes of all sorts to this piece of subjective work.
War is not something to be happy about, but it is a powerful reality of history. Messiahs, diplomats, intellectuals, and philosophers have contributed to the twists and turns of history every bit as much as military leaders, but they have flourished only when protected by those very military leaders who could ensure the survival of their way of life. For the most part, the most significant and affecting leaders in world history have come not from the church, the governments, or the scholastic centers, but from the ranks of soldiers and sailors.
Perhaps a list of great (and not so great) could be broken up into two major TIERS - before gunpowder, which would comprise all the commanders before the 1420s or so (or perhaps before the early-mid 17th century, when field guns were becoming significant amid battles), and after gunpowder. However, before the mid/later 18th century, it can be argued that firepower was more a moral factor in affecting the conditions on the battlefield than an actual material one. But what significant difference does it make in assessing a commander's generalship, if a commander utilizing such a condition with efficacy brings victory?
Gunpowder did indeed exist in China as early as the 9th century or earlier. Potassium nitrate, the primary oxidising component of black powder, was extant as early as the 1st century A.D.), when exlosions were created during religious festivals by using a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal dust; they filled bamboo tubes with a mixture and tossed them into fires. But it would also be utilized for its martial potential as well as for pyrotechnics, as many once thought (ie, Western prejudices). But revisionism has fixed much of the bias and falsities with such issues. Saltpeter was the central component of 'fire drug' (niter) - the application behind the effect of a gun. The alchemy manuels of the T'ang Dynasty (618-907) mention various experiments with 'fire drug'. In the early Northern Sung era, 'fire arrows' were used. Literally, a 'fire arrow' can be dated back to 4th century B.C. But the first incendiary weapons may have been used in 904, when the attackers of Yuchang (Nanchang) launched a 'flying fire' on the beseiged city, and a 'fierce fire oil' (certainly a form of Greek Fire) was utilized in naval engagements in the 10th century. Certain soft-caseed 'bombs' are first mentioned in Chinese military manuels with the year 1044 of their use (at least from surviving records). In 1126, the Jurchen invaders of the Jin sieged Kaifeng, taking it a year later. But they were assailed upon by 'Thunderbolt Throwers' at the onset. In the 1220s, the Mongols were met with various incendiary weapons when they beseiged strongholds, and learned to adopt them with efficacy for the future.
At some point, Chinese engineers attached bamboo tubes to arrows and launched them with bows, and discovered that these 'gunpowder tubes' could launch themselves just by the power produced from the escaping gas. Thus, the advent of the rocket was born.
However, despite the earlier Chinese knowledge of any esoteric elements of gunpowder's potential in warfare, they never matched the firepower developed by Western armies; the reasons are as elusive as they are intriguing, but certainly no reflection of any 'superior' abilities in applied science over the Chinese: they were practically the best at everything, if only in concept with some things.
The knowledge and technology of gunpowder was transmitted to Europe via the Middle East. The first known use of fire-lances, indeed occuring in China, became prevalent during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The Arabs produced the first known working gun in the early 14th century - the madfaa. The French improved upon this cannon, which the Moors utilized, with the pot-de-fur. Gunpowder became instrumental in warfare in the late 14th century but it was not generally adapted to civil purposes until the 17th century, when it began to be used in mining. When Henry V's artillery battered down much of the formidable fortress of Harfleur in 1415, at which twelve guns were a part of his 'siege-train' (whatever crude form), the era of impregnable fortresses seemingly ended. But we must be careful not to overstate the effect of early canons, nor the impact of early muskets: canons could certainly reduce much of a fortress' outer defenses, but that also gave the defenders' artillery more space to fire upon the assailants. It was at Constantinople, in 1453, where Muhammed (Mehmet) II's massive bombards demonstrated the first substantial display of the potential of artillery power. The Hussites, under the brilliant Jan Zizka and Andrew Procop, showed what gunpowder could do on the battlefield if employed with bold imagination (they still thrived with their crossbows); they employed siege guns mounted on wheels (the Wagenburg), giving them an advantage of fortified mobility. Moreover, their asset of artillery effectuated an orderly retreat if surprised, as they could break through the enemy's lines when before a force would be doomed. This happened in 1419 in western Bohemia, at Nekmir (near Pilsen). Guns mounted on wheeled carriages became more prevalent in the mid-15th century, mainly with ordinances of Charles VIII of France, whose campaign in Italy in the 1490s was emblematic of mobile gunnery with guns designed for easy transportation in an improved siege train.
One Bartolomeo Colleoni is credited by some with being the first captain to implement a true field artillery tactic, perhaps amid the wars in Lombardy; apparently, he positioned his 'light' guns in the rear of his other army units and fired at the enemy through gaps provided at a given signal. Colleoni may be one of those obscure figures who layed down crude precedents for future greats to thrive from. Another example is Henri IV, the dashing cavalry expert of the Hugeunots, whose tactics of interspersed infantry and cavalry in the French Wars of Religion were paving the way for a combined-arms doctrine of the two arms working together. But the Huguenots didn't combine the two arms as Gustavus did.
In the mid-16th century, Charles V of Spain, Henry II of France, and Henry VIII of England took keen interests to improve artillery, issuing edicts to standardize and improve cannons. But the science of ballistics came out of Italy, with the ingenious works of the mathemitician Niccolo Tartaglia. But 'moblile field artillery' in the pre-Gustavian time simply meant the hauling of guns onto a field and, in a stationary position, used to fire on enemy formations. In the Thirty Years War, after surviving a slogfesting apprenticeship in Polish Prussia in the 1620s, Gustavus' regimental 3-lb. field guns marked the first permanent allotment of artillery to infantry units. By the next century, Marlborough, to cite one example, used batteries of guns for close support; a little later in the Near and Middle East, the great Nader Shah dominated his opponents with superior arms of gunfire, including camel-gunners (as well as his superior generalship). Soon thereafter, Frederick the Great (one of the mercurial military geniuses whom I find fascinating) went beyond preliminary bombardments with his heavier guns, implementing horse artillery as a mobile reserve, which allowed him to occupy high positions to deliver blasting openings upon the enemy formations.
In 1503, Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, El Gran Capitan, and perhaps the father of 'trench warfare' (in a modern sense with gunfire), occupied the heights at Cerignola (Apulia, Italy) with his Coronelias (the seed of the famed tercios), and defeated the much larger French army of cavalry and pikemen; it was the dawn of the firarm. The French commander here, Louis d'Armagnac, was probably the first commander to be killed by enemy firearms in battle.
Like all military doctrine, this was all evolutionary, and many engineers etc. improved upon their predecessors' trials and errors. Forgive me if I deviated off the subject of the leaders themselves, but geography and technology greatly affected the nature of tactics and command, as well as the socio-political factors. Moreover, a more thorough expert could certainly apprise me upon stuff I certainly have overlooked, etc.
The Dutch under Mauritz (Maurice) van Nassau developed an excellent system of drill to train soldiers amid their war against the might of Spain, and it was the great Gustavus Adolphus, enjoying the support of both the commons and government of Sweden, who innovated every branch of his national army (and of the finest mercenaries) to render his forces superior to anything his enemies could counter him with; discipline was supreme throughout his soldiers, even his mercenaries, and his engineers developed regimental pieces which revolutionized field artillery. Gustavus synthesized existing practices into a coherent tactical method of combined arms never fully seen before: the co-existence of his flexible reformed infantry (mobility over weight), cavalry (the caracole tactic replaced by pistol fire followed by shock action with cold steel), both disposed in smaller units, and field artillery ushered in a new age of warfare. There were limits though, as the vaunted Wallenstein showed that a patient strategy of attrition will negate much of the mobile aggressiveness of an opponent. But Gustavus' men, following his death in battle, still drove him from the field in a slogfesting and bloody day at Lutzen in November, 1632. The reformed tercios of the vaunted Spaniards, assisting immeasurably at Nordlingen in 1634, still showed that modified traditional practices could win over the new ones with superior organization - and with a master gone!
The evolution of firearms in general, was very affecting, and the social history behind the flintlock mechanism is very substantial. The great Marlborough's platoon firing sytem was an element of his tactical genius, and in terms of maximizing firepower against a more conservative enemy, an adaptation of Gustavus Adolphus' salvee nearly a century earlier (both adopted and elaborated from their Dutch contemporaries, before and after the standardized use of the flintlock). By the late 17th century, the sock bayonet all but elimanted the need for pikes. Basically, the Swedish salvo fire constituted the simultaneous discharge of three ranks; platoon fire involved the rolling discharge of platoons (sub-units of three ranks) along the rank. The flintlock allowed for tighter formations due to the absence of the lit match of the matchlock musket. Thus a more continous barrage of fire could be maintained with the flinlock, and with less obscuring smoke being exuded. But for his time Gustavus had the best available for his drilled men. The platoon volley was exemplified in the clash at Wynendaele (in Flanders), amid the Lille campaign in 1708; John Richmond Webb protected a convoy heading south, and bested a much larger French intercepting force in narrow terrain; Webb blasted the French into retreat with his volley-fire. The British became masters of platoon fire by the time of Waterloo.
Marlborough's march from Bedburg to the Danube, and culminating victory at Blenheim (May-August, 1704), was a masterpiece in logistics, deception, tactics in battle, co-ordinated coalition warfare, and operational strategy. But war became too vast by this time for one man or one great victory to achieve grand strategic decisiveness to the conflict being fought. This was a time when standing armies were established by all combatants. Not a simple debate, of course!
Please forgive all the superfluous rambling!
A vast list could be piecemealed under specifics: strategic, tactical, operational, revolutionary, guerilla and artillery leaders etc. How much credit do monarchs merit in certain campaigns? Edward III and Henry V, two superb Medieval warrior-kings (albeit romanticized), surely deserve most of the credit for the tactical brilliance of their campaigns (though in the long run their successesa mounted to practically nothing against France). Was Shih Huang-ti a military commander? Augustus (the first Roman emperor)? Elizabeth I? Maybe, but probably not (though Augustus was present at a few battles). Philip II of Spain? Otto von Bismarck? Josef Stalin? I don't think so with the last three (this is arguable).
But I think I will bunch it together; the circumstances of war may never be repeated, but the essence of major tactics and strategy have not changed. It is the methods of their applications, due to the changes in technology, that have altered. Thus we can indeed compare the ancient commanders with the modern ones (IMHO) from this point of view. It must be understood, however, that modern commanders did not directly lead into action ('modern' meaning since, let's say, the time of Napoleon, and I mean this very broadly); they directed affairs from far away, and direct leadership was delegated to not just senior officers, but the junior ones. Thus tactical prowess was seemingly more demonsrative in ancient and medieval times. But the canons of inspired leadership have remained pretty much the same (though religious and nationalistic fervor probably became more difficult to exploit amongst soldiers). Field armies became larger and operational territory much wider, and it reached a plateau in WW1 which war was geared to sheer masses of men and material elements. But I guess it's all relative.
Moreover, commanders who possessed autocratic power, such as Alexander, answered to no government or another ruler, which certainly facilitated his situation for conquest (in terms of needing no sanctioning form others). What if a Barcid had been the absolute ruler of Carthage? He merely could have ordered supplies and troops to be sent to Hannibal in southern Italy, something that proved could be effected (though only in detachments) soon after his devastating victory at Cannae, which cracked the solidarity of Rome's federation (albeit only amongst those least firmly attached to Rome's alliance). The pressure might have been too much for the Roman Senate, one of the most stable body-politics in history (albeit not without plenty of flagitiousness), rife with checks and balances. The handling and decision making of the Roman Senate in the Second Punic War was the basic culminating reason for her ultimate triumph in the titanic struggle against Hannibal; it served as a great 'war staff' of antiquity.
In judging any military leader, we must take into consideration the obstacles and tasks at operational tasks at hand, and how they measured up in effecting their actions to the military and political circumstances of the time and thier own circumstances, as well as their contemporary standards in the art of war. But does that still lead to subjective analses?!
So, what makes a great general? Many things, of course, and no man is infallible. Adaptation? Improvisation? Panache? Implementing sound policy (a morale objective) etc.? Magnanimity in winning over allies? Non-hesitation? Flexibility? Decisiveness? Exerting discipline and iron will into his troops? Possessing a balanced understanding of the most viable execution of the interdependent elements of strategy and tactics towards an operational goal? When not to be rash? Knowing not only what to do, but what not to do? A political understanding to support one's war? Luck? Advancing one's state's cause for many generations to come? All great ideas are simple (at least to a military genius). Perhaps the biggest, if one is most paramount, attribute to a great commander is his ability to identify a 'simple' solution to victory before his opponent in battle. Logistically, exploiting the terrain and weather is invaluable. The greats had them all. B.H. Liddell Hart, the renowned theorist (he possessed many great attributes - a 'climate of ideas', states The Oxford Companion to Military History, Pg. 505), says the most important quality is to strike at an opponents' Achilles Heel. But one must find that weak point. A good soldier will conceal his weak point the best he can. For the most part, the great generals possessed the vision to identify the obvious and most viable situation to victory than his opponent.
""I do not fear an army of lions, if they are led by a lamb. I do fear an army of sheep, if they are led by a lion."
- Alexander III of Macedon, 'the Great'.
With all things considered, such as the synthesized innovations (or improved reforms) of Epaminondas and Gustavus Adolphus (appropriately Gustaf II, or Gustav II, of Sweden), the tactical brilliance of Hannibal and Narses, the scope of the conquests of Chinggis Khan (he had others to directly carry out many of the conquests), the overall greatness in every facet of war of Marlborough (he benefited greatly from Eugene) etc., I consider Alexander the Great to be the towering figure of military history. His ability to successfully adapt strategy and tactics to virtually every branch of warfare sets him apart from every other great commander. He took his army some 20,000 miles in thirteen years, not once suffering a major setback (the action at the Persian Gates was very ominous for him, though), let alone a defeat. His opponent always chose the battlefield and ususally heavily outnumbered him. For what it merits, no other has successfully 'linked' the East and West, thus he was an immense cultural reformer, which is what he wanted to do. He indeed commanded an army much superior than what he faced, but he was outnumbered considerably and his battle dispositions at Gaugamela were perfectly planned to accord with what Napoleon described as 'a well reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive followed by rapid and audacious attack'. His victory on the Hydaspes five years later, up against a much different opponent, illustrated how Alexander successfully used a wide range of capabilites within his army to overcome a different challenge. Besides, the advantage of a superior force is merely potential. It is the commander that must effectively utilize what he/she has and lead it to victory. In this regard, Alexander shined as well as any other in military history (IMHO of course). Alexander took what he wanted when he wanted, could be conciliatory if it was suitable for his needs, and his deeds, in the long run, were all about his intoxication for supreme power - something which never comes without cost. But amid that endeavor of power, he was also far-seeing in what many Greeks weren't, or simply didn't care to be: despite elements of megolamania on his part, he possessed a vision which Rome later conformed towards - a policy of bridging the gap between 'us' and 'them' entailing a knitting of appeasement. He treated his 'subjects', on whole, as allies and friends, and was attempting to 'Hellenize' the eastern peoples, something many of them (seemingly) hardly scoffed at. But it also involved his proposed (or insisted) practice of Proskynesis. This was fine with many of the Asiatic peoples, who submitted to people of higher rank with god-like reverance, but not to the high ranking Hellenes, who believed such an act was for the gods only; this cost him the respect of his fellow Hellenes, and his empire wasn't sustained only in fragments by his bickering successors, and only for some five decades. Ptolemy I, however, died with his Egyptian kingdom secure, which lasted until the Roman conquest in 30 A.D.; Ptolemy's adminisration was Greek in language and culture, but he and his successors assumed the character (and powers) of the pharaohs.
But in conjunction with all Alexander's divine and adventurous personal quests for power and glory, there was a strategic end to all his actions. In Egypt, for example, he endeavored to Siwa not merely for symbolic and personal reasons of deification (certainly paramount to him), but he secured the important sea communications throughout the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, which stimulated economic interaction in his realm from the home base to Egypt (ie, he now controlled a primary source of grain).
The venerable Chandragupta, founder of the Mauryan Empire and considered perhaps the first 'emperor' of a unified India (perspective, of course), solidly kicked the Macedonian satrapies out of NW India following Alexander's death, and overcame the Nanda realm of the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent; subsequently, Selecus I, politically and perhaps militarily overcome by Chandragupta, acquiesced much territory to Chandragupta (a matrimonial contract was also involved). He in turn provided Selucus with some 500 war elephants (a contemporary source enumeration), the asset which greatly helped in his and Lysimachus' victory at the decisive Battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C., which saw the defeat and death of Antigonus I; this resulted not being a re-unification of Macedonain power, but rather its break-up.
The military machine left to Alexander from his father Philip II was the world's first standing army (probably after the armies of ancient Sumer and Akkad), raised by the world's first universal military service. Philip also established the base of power for Alexander's great conquest (the League of Corinth). But Philip's son took his machine and succeeded, perhaps, beyond the Macedonian king's wildest dreams. A brilliantly constructed army is just potential; it is the commander that must lead it to victory, and advantages in troop quality and technology only produce advantages if used effectively. Alexander innovated the efficacy of combined arms to a much higher scope than his great father did (though there is nothing to indicate Philip could not have done so, had he lived). He also introduced the use of reserves on the battlefield that could take advantage of any unforeseen opportunities or reverses against the front lines. Moreover, he was the first great commander to use catapults tactically on the battlefield (it may have actually been Onomarchus, the Phocian leader, who first used non-torsion battlefield catapults against Alexander's father, but seemingly in a well-conceived ambush in 353 B.C.), and successfully undertook a counter-insurgency in the lands of Bactria and Sogdiana, where a nationalistic movement sprung up against him. In the Balkans, Alexander lined the machines hub-to-hub along the bank of the Apsus River to cover the crossing of his withdrawing troops against the attacks upon him by the Illyrian tribes under Cleitus and Glaucius. Contrarily, more than 2,000 miles away and six years later in 329 B.C., he effectively used catapults to drive the Scythians from the riverbank of the Jaxartes as he conducted an amphibious assault against them, and then created a sophisticated situation by which their steppe-style tactics were neutralized: under a brilliant commander, a brilliant instrument of combined arms could indeed defeat the best steppe horse archers at the time. There has perhaps been no greater practitioner of a great system than Alexander.
Hannibal, Publius Cornelius Scipio (Africanus), Chinggis Khan, Subotai, Jan III Sobieski (vastly underrated, in my opinion), John Churchill (the Duke of Marlborough), and Napoleon, among many others (the 'underrated ones'), were certainly comparable in their great martial works (Turenne, for example); within the confines of their national objectives against occupiers, leaders like Viriathus, Lautaro, and Maximo Gomez were superb. Among the famous and 'romantic' ones, Hannibal and Scipio implemented fine use of offensive ('subtracted') reserves in their great victories, and the first 'true' reserve deployed on the battlefield seems to have been Hannibal's retention of his third line at the Battle of Zama (ie, a large reserve which was close enough to be used offensively, yet held far enough back to handle defensive situations). Hannibal also seemingly achieved military history's first great turning movement (there must have been cruder precedents to all these things), which led to the splitting of two Roman armies and the smashing ambush of one of them at Lake Trasimene, in June of 217 B.C. In a wider strategic manner, Napoleon's Ulm Campaign in October of 1805 was a supreme example of such military doctrine.
From the perspective of a democrat and moderate crushing oligarchical power (perhaps anachronistically put), the great Theban Epaminondas (and his colleague Pelopidas) elaborated on the deep phalanx, which was Thebes' distinction in hoplite warfare. His innovation of the deployed echelon (oblique) battle order with massed concentration (his left, the traditional weak point in hoplite warfare) against a point of the enemy (the crack Spartan right, in this case), and a refused right flank (stationed further away from the opponent than the reinforced wing on a diagonal), which was the traditional strong point in hoplite warfare, was a brilliant example of the application of economy of force; he thus not only neutralized the handicap of being outnumbered, but actually outnumbered the enemy at the point of contact. Moreover, he marched into the economic base after his great battle victory at Leuktra in 371 B.C., administering the strategic pursuit. Epaminondas still relied on weight, but he added cavalry action to aid his objective, affecting future greats of the Classical World to apply combined arms even further. His death in battle at Mantinea (362 B.C.) was perhaps one akin to Yi Sun-shin, Gustavus Adolphus and James Wolfe: maybe the world around him would have shaped much differently, as he was one individual who could have made a difference to subsequent events if they had not perished. Would the Greek poleis have been so divided when Philip II of Macedon descended upon them two decades later? Such an 'alternative' is not simple to extrapolate, but considerable to opine that things would have been different. Elaborating on Epaminondas' example (as well as the Spartans' drill for a flank attack) in his time and applying mass firepower, Frederick the Great, encompassed by enemies in the mid 18th century, won astounding victories in the field by utilizing the principal of a weighted flank to roll up the enemy.
Heinz Guderian was probably the greatest exponent of 'Blitzkrieg' at the start of WWII, which proved incredibly effective, at least initially. George Patton was a master of mobility and of armored warfare towards the end of WWII, albeit more in theory than practice.
When on top of his game, Napoleon was as impressive as any other commander in history. But his colossal ambition was ultimately beyond his or any man's reach (but that's hindsight, and it is debatable how 'megalomaniacal' he really was). When he commanded relatively smaller armies, he was simply awesome, even in his later career; from a tactical standpoint, the Six Days Campaign of February in 1814 was masterful against multiple Prussian and Russian forces. It seems Napoleon denied being a greedy conqueror who was merely intoxicated with power; he argued that he was building a federation of 'free states' in Europe, to be united under a liberal government under the aegis of France. But if this was his goal, he clearly went about it by taking power in his own hands. However, in the 'states' he created, Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science, literature and the arts. But the lasting effects of his actions resulted in almost certainly nothing he wanted: because of his aggression in Spain, he indirectly opened the door for a sense of unity among Latin Americans to rebel against Spanish hegemony; the United States became a world power due to the Louisiana Purchase; by greatly reducing the number of soveregnties in Germany, he fanned a Germanic unity which would hurt France later in the century, and he gave the Italians a spur towards il Risorgimento because of his failed reign there. This is all circumstantial and indirect, however, and doesn't heavily militate against Napoleon's supreme ability as a military commander, unless one wants to argue he ignored the politic aspects of being a great commander (again, very debatable). Apologists can always take comfort of any figure that they can't predict everything, and 'luck' and 'chance' play huge roles. Whether coincidental or not, much of the common European market is seemingly an outgrowth of many of Napoleon's ideas.
The last few years of his career saw his Napoleon's derriere handed to him when faced against huge numbers of the enemy coalitions. But it reached a point where his hands were extended to the moon, and he was extant in a time when no Alexander could completely thrive. Adolf Hitler, hardly in Napoleon's league, would also learn the world was too big to have. Man cannot be God. But like Cannae, Austerlitz was a lesson in the art of war. Whether one admires him, is indifferent about him, or hates him, Napoleon Bonaparte was a supreme military genius. He simply couldn't stop while he was ahead, nor cut his losses while there was a chance to prevent total defeat (but this is retrospect!).
Chinngis Khan (Genghis Khan) was born in a tent, lost his father at the age of nine amid the internecine of the Mongol tribal enclaves, and began with practically less than nothing; he rose to impact the world greatly. Many think of him in connection with 'apocalyptic slaughter' etc., but he was a determined leader of his harsh times. Sure, there is no forgiveness for the blood he shed, but he was far from destitution of new ideas and merits of civilization, and he was a supreme civil administrator. I believe much truth of him constitutes his being a visionary leader; though he often showed no scruples to many civilians (but only if they didn't resist), his conquests joined a comparatively backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, which in turn resulted in an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas, all filtered via the Silk Road. He was as great a civil administrator and lawgiver as an organizer of arms, which was limited to the cavalry arm and corps of engineers. Infantry was hardly ever used, which would not only hinder the Mongols' need for extreme celerity, but for the traditional reason that a nomad fighter without a horse was unthinkable (again, the circumstances of one's time).
Moreover, Chinggis was as adept as any commander in history at psychological warfare; many of his enemies were subdued without a sword being drawn or arrow fired against them. He surpasses Alexander in the manner he organized his empire, and his command structure was based on ability, not any bloodline (except for his own royal line). Such is the mark of a brilliant commander and organizer. His great orlok, (supreme commander, like strategos to the Greek world) Subotai, was one of history's greatest grand strategists; he effectively used armies to screen others' flanks, thus co-ordinating multiple armies across multiple mountain ranges. In 1220, traversing hundreds of miles of reputedly impassable desert, Chinggis and four armies (tumans) turned Muhammed II of Khwarez's entire line and severed the shah from his western domains, as part of the expeditionary force debouched south through the Kyzyl Kum ('Red Sand Desert') upon the enemy's rear, while Jebe distracted the enemy's attention to his forces on the eastern flank of the shah's center of power between Bukhara and Samarkand. The entire operation was a paradigm of strategic reconnaissance and surprise upon the rear of an enemy's position (not just that of an army, but an an entire region of the enemy's power!).
Though Alexander's empire did not endure as Rome's did or was as vast as that of the Mongols, his legacy probably outlasts any other military figure, other than perhaps the Prophet Mohammed (and maybe Constantine I), and his work was one of near cosmogony. He was a genius. He was a madman. He was a visionary. He was a mass-murderer. He was a liberator. He was intoxicated with power. He believed he was the son of Zeus. He was chivalrous when not opposed. Was he all of these? Was he any of these? Militarily, he could smash his enemy. Diplomatically, he could win over numerous peoples with his panache. Scipio Africanus, probably Rome's greatest field commander, also succeeded with these great attributes, but without the personal motives. It is probable Alexander couldn't have known at the time the extent of his immennince, but the fact we speak of him today in the manner in which we do means he got exactly what he wanted.
"If anyone has the right to be judged by the standards of his time, and not by the standards of our time, it is Alexander".
Judged as an exponent in the art of stratagem, and as a field general who sustained his army in enemy territory so adeptly, with his Roman enemy assiduously dogging him once they found his tactical measure, and with but grudging material support from his own state, who could have sent him more troops and supplies from 215-208 B.C. from Africa or even Sicily (Syracuse had revolted from Roman rule, and Carthage held the southern coast fro some a few years), Hannibal may have no equal. His great campaign against Republican Rome was the significant first in which strategic actions (by more modern interpretations) played the pivotal role (attrition, indirect approaches etc.), finally resulting in Rome's victory. Rome adapted brilliantly, and won with his applied concept, basically of attempting to politically break an opposing state by detaching her protectorates. Moreover, their corporate heroism and sound body-politic ultimately matched his genius. Hannibal showed the Romans the value of security on the march, administered military history's first great turning movement (afore mentioned), seemingly deployed the first true battlefield reserve, and provided the posterity of warfare with a textbook display of tactical perfection in the great battle at Cannae in 216 B.C. He did ultimately fail, but mostly because of circumstances and events which were simply out of his control. Rome ultimately won both Sicily and Sardinia quite by good luck and chance, but to no lack of energy and resolve on their part. Hannibal was a supreme leader, and understood fully that policy is what it takes to win a war, particularly the one he undertook. He must be held responsible as the strategos of Carthage, but his subordinates in Iberia and Sicily failed miserably. It can be argued that Carthaginian folly, particularly in Iberia, was more responsible for his ultimate failure than any major mistakes on his part. But Roman doggedness was instrumental, too. Hannibal's grand strategy to overcome Rome, once they didn't play by traditional ruled after Cannae, was dependent on pressure on Italy from an encirclement from his allies in Macedon, Sicily, Africa, and Iberia, hoping to compel the allies of Rome to forsake the great mother-city; by 208-207 B.C., they were indeed quite temeperamental, and Rome's citizen manpower was dropping. Hannibal was caught between a rock and a hard place in 218 B.C., and his campaign illustrated individual genius against collective genius; Rome checked or defeated Carthage's allies where Hannibal wasn't present, and the Carthaginians proved not to be the determined martial nation-state Rome was, who was willing to risk and sacrifice rather than come to the table with Hannibal following a series of devastating defeats against them at his hands. Given time under peril, Rome produced great men who adapted and implemeted with revisions that broke from Rome's traditional military style, now in a time of need: Scipio Africanus was such a man.
Chinese warlords of the steppes of Asia, such as Maodun (Mete Han) (late 3rd century to early 2nd century B.C.) and Ran Min (mid 4th century A.D.), carried out devastating campaigns of destruction with their indefatigable armies of horsemen. Cao Cao, a warlord who had been an important member of the previous Han Dynasty, had first established his power in northern China by defeating his rival, Yuan Shao, in the Battle of Guandu in 200 A.D. This made Cao Cao the most powerful ruler in northern China. Records seem a little exiguous within the Three Kingdoms era, but in this battle, Cao Cao was outnumbered significantly. Wanyan Min, or Wanyan Aguda, the great Jurchen leader and founder of the Jin Dynasty, defeated 700,000 Liao (Qidan) troops with 20,000 (this is not a typo) of his superbly armored and skilled Jurchen cavalrymen at the Battle of Hubudagang in 1115. The Liao Dynasty by this time was very decadent, but those odds are ridiculous! The following year, Aguda completed the conquest of the entire Liaodong Peninsula (northeastern China). Between 1119 and 1122, Aguda's army repeatedly defeated Liao armies and captured all of Liao's five capitals. Such elephantine figures are probably exaggerations, but still probably reflects an extreme disparity in opposing numbers. The Mongols destroyed the Jin in 1234. By this time, however, the Jin was seriously weakened by internal strife.
Gideon was one of the first great military craftsmen we can trace details to; in his famous attack upon the Midianites in the Plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel Valley) around 1200 B.C. It seems Gideon elaborated precedents of a professional force, staff work, reconnaissance, a night attack, skillful use of deception and ruse, pursuit following victory, and knowing capabilities and limitations etc.
Xenophon was the originator, perhaps, of the rearguard action, exemplified in his legendary and disciplined retreat back home with the '10,000', in 401 B.C. following the defeat of his employer Cyrus the Younger.
Julius Caesar was untouchable (being assassinated notwithstanding). He was both a man of the people and a demagogue. As a conqueror, reformer, and politician, Caesar stands out as one of the giants of all time (for better or worse). His genius in other affairs of politics and administration etc. was probably as versatile as any other commander in history, even taking into consideration that history has seemingly made him larger than life (he was also probably the greatest of all generals on writing memoirs). He became a monarch in essence, and judged by his battlefield conduct, he can rank as one of the best ever. But certainly not without some controversy. But the brilliant literary quality of his memoirs can edited and analyzed objectively: all the modern biographers of Caesar have read between the lines of his self-aggrandizement, and we still have a great commander.
Some were the best in the forest, some on sand, some at sea, some in the snow, some in the jungle, some on the beaches, and some in inner city-fights etc.; Alexander excelled practically in every branch, thus from this criterion, he seems to come out on top. But again, only if one must be chosen for the fun of a debate of the 'greatest general'. Again, within a more pedantic reality, there is no such thing.
I have categorized my compilation into three TIERS.
TIER 1 - The very best generals in military history. I have added in paranthesis each commander's great military victory. This gets difficult; I am steadfast about the top 4, but how can one discern that Marlborough was indisputably better than Gustavus Adolphus?. It comes down to our own subjective preferences. Remember, too, history is written by the winners and their apologist (very often 'Anglicized' ones).
Furthermore, the captains we discuss can only do things under the cards that were dealt. Frederick the Great's tactical conduct amid interior lines was astounding, but the circumstances couldn't avoid setbacks: facing a coalition that practically encompassed Prussia, he and his great subordinates would swiftly maneuver their disciplined army into positions and blast them positions with tremendous firepower (points achieved due to an innovation of horse artillery), and achieve flank attacks upon their numerically superior foes. This could be stupendously impressive, but also result in defeats, because good commanders like Leopold Josef von Daun could adapt to a military genius.
I also feel the quality of leader's immediate work is a little more important than the lasting effects (who am I to judge the 'quality', right?). This doesn't necessarily mean final victory for one's cause. For example, Epaminondas and Philip II of Macedon won just a few major battle victories between them, smashing ones, which displayed tactical innovation. But it seems to me they were military geniuses above others who may have conquered more people and territory, such as Tamerlane (very arguable there) and Hernan Cortes. Moreover, one can be superior to another without necessarily being the more innovative.
TIER 2 - The next level. These commanders could very well have possessed genius on par with the TIER 1 leaders, but something, from my view, precludes them from being ranked with the others. For example, Tamerlane, an amazing leader, was no fool, but basically a conqueror on a massive scale with no political foresight. He simply conquered, not settled; but that doesn't militate against his skill as a commander. Maybe indiscriminate conquest is all it takes to be considered a great military leader, particularly if that was one's goal (though Tamerlane clearly appreciated culture). I guess one might argue with "who cares?"; the breadth of Tamerlane's conquests rival that of Chinggis Khan and his successors. Superfluous to say, this is all debatable. I may have shown a little too much impressionability for the Christian Crusaders, who have been the subject of much romanticism. Let me know what you think. Needless to say, I feel the expected debates should not be contentious (at the risk of sounding like a moderator), but academic.
TIER 3 - These commanders, in some form or another, warrant attention more positively than negatively. I may have underrated some, such as Attila, Edward I, and Nathan Forrest, and the likes of Crassus and McClellan were moderate commanders at best. I include 'bandits', revolutionists, and operational commanders. I realize TIER 3 may be too broad, and many more could easily be included (and excluded) - ie, any commander who won a battle of some sort. Perhaps there should be a 4th? A 5th?
I do not include many monarchs, emperors, or presidents, such as Elizabeth I, Queen of England or Abraham Lincoln, as they cannot be given credit for the military successes, in battle, of their nation's armies. That credit goes to their subordinates. They certainly merit credit (or accountability) for their influence upon human history. However, I included the likes of Georges Clemenceau and Gustav III of Sweden, as they seemed to direct their war efforts more directly. Sejong the Great could easily be included, if we know for sure he led the manner he organized. But it's debatable, and there are many that may 'fit in' to that criteria I overlooked (forgive me in advance).
Despite what many probably feel, I think Adolf Hitler was a student of military history, and the supreme commander of one of the greatest military forces ever developed. Despite his ultimate and egregious failure and ideological perfidy, he was at times (seldom, I should state) an enterprising commander, not to mention entirely Frederician in his military outlook. His faith in fanaticism was not always completely misplaced, in terms of military success. But he barely makes this list, thus I am aware how incomprehensibly unrealistic he did become as WWII dragged on.
I hope I haven't expounded too much. By all means, I would love approvals, reprovals and suggestions etc., etc. Remember, this is all my opinion, and I am just an avocational amateur. This list is one of military leaders, not inclusive of great thinkers or engineers, such as Alfred Mahan or Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval. Sun Tzu was actually a general, but Carl von Clausewitz, though a fine soldier, did not hold a position of higher command. Archimedes directly led the defense of Syracuse against the Romans with his ingenious mechanical machines (though he wasn't really a military commander). By all means, I would love approvals, reprovals, and suggestions etc., etc.
I don't think ancient commanders were better artists of war per se, but it seems the great commanders of back then displayed more overall direction of operations etc., thus most of the vaster variables of strategy and tactics in later times were drawn from the perceptiveness of great military leadership of fewer individuals of antiquity which history has written more about, than many great leaders of modern conflicts who won with many contributions to the evolution of strategy and tactics. For example, I don't think Alexander could have possessed a superior understanding in the art of war than the Austrian commander Radetzky of the mid 18th century. I feel we must mostly gauge by the actions. But it's not that simple, and I may be a sucker for romanticism! The truth is before the changes wrought from firarms, war was more about man's 'strength against strength' with muscles. But that's a moot point not to be taken too literally.
One Ronald Goodman wrote a though provoking paper on strategy and tactics, stating a specific and important point,
"...The change in the meaning of these terms over time has been basically one of scope as the nature of war and the shape of society have changed and as technology has developed..."
One more thing: because a commander left a 'legacy' that shaped history because of his military success is not necessarily an important criterion to adopt in gauging how great he or she may have been. There is no way William the Conqueror, Francisco Pizarro, and Julius Caesar, to name a few, could have known their successes were going to affect 'Western Civilization' to the degree they did. I judge a commander more by his/her direct actions (though not exclusively), both on and off the battlefield, more than any enduring legacy left behind by a leader. But it's all still subjective!
This is my 'top 18' list (couldn't quite round it off at 20).
Alexander III King of Macedon 'the Great' ('Megas Alexandros') (Gaugamela, 331 B.C.)
Hannibal (Hannibal Barca) (Cannae, 216 B.C.)
Napoleon I (Napoleone Buonaparte) Emperor of France (Austerlitz, 1805 A.D.)
Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan as of 1206, b. Temujin Baghatur) Mongol Unifier and Conqueror 'Universal Ruler' (Indus River, 1221 A.D.)
Publius Cornelius Scipio Scipio Africanus Major (Ilipa, 206 B.C.)
John Churchill 1st Duke of Marlborough 'Corporal John' (Blenheim, 1704 A.D.)
Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) King of Sweden 'the Lion of the North' (Breitenfeld, 1631 A.D.)
Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington 'the Iron Duke' (Salamanca, 1812 A.D.)
Subu'atai (Subutai, Subedei, etc.) the Valiant (Kalka River, 1223 A.D.)
Gaius Julius Caesar (Pharsalus, 48 B.C.)
Belisarius (Flavius Belisarius) (Daraa, 530 A.D.)
Han Xin (Jingxing, 205 B.C.)
Frederick II King of Prussia 'the Great' (and 'Old Fritz') (Leuthen, 1757 A.D.)
Epaminondas (Leuctra, 371 B.C.)
Jan (John) III Sobieski King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (Vienna, or Kahlenberg, 1683)
Philip II King of Macedon (Chaeronea, 338 B.C.)
Timur-i Leng Turco-Mongol Conqueror (Barlas tribe) 'Tamerlane' (Ankara, 1402 A.D.)
Khalid ibn al-Walid the Drawn Sword of Allah (Yarmuk River, 636 A.D.)
Perhaps the greatest admirals:
Themistocles (Salamis, 480 B.C.)
Yi Sun-shin (Yi Soon-shin) (Myeongnyang, 1597 A.D.)
Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter (Texel 1673, A.D.)
Horatio Nelson Viscount Nelson (Trafalgar, 1805 A.D)
Chester Nimitz (Midway, 1942 A.D.)
These commanders are the next level. I do not rank these; they are listed chronologically by their deaths.
Sargon (Sarru-Kinnu) King of Akkad 'the Great'
Tuthmose III (Thutmosis or Tuthmosis) Egyptian Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty
Cyrus Achaemenid King of Persia 'the Great'
Seleucus I Diadochi and Seleucid Founder 'Nicator'
Pyrrhus Molossian King of Epirus
Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Trajanus) Roman Emperor 'Optimus Princeps'
Cao Cao (Cao Mengde) Emperor of the Later (Eastern) Han Dynasty and King of Wei
Aurelian (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus) Roman Emperor 'Restitutor Orbis'
Constantine I (Flavius Valerius Constantinus) Roman Emperor 'the Great'
Heraclius (Flavius Heraclius Augustus) Byzantine Emperor
Charles Martel (Carolus Martellus) Frankish Mayor of the Palace 'the Hammer'
Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus, Charles I) King of the Franks 'the Great'
Alfred (AElfred) King of Wessex 'the Great'
Wanyan Aguda Jurchen Chieftain and Jin Founder 'Taizu'
Saladin (Salah al-Din Yusuf bin Ayyub) Kurdish Muslim Leader
Richard I King of England 'Coeur de Lion' (' the Lion Heart')
Tran Hung Dao (Hung Dao Dai Vuong)
Edward III King of England
Henry V King of England
Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba Prince of Maratra 'el Gran Capitan'
Selim I Ottoman Sultan 'the Grim'
Babur (Zahiruddin Muhammed Babur) Moghul Founder 'the Tiger'
Sulayman I (Suleiman) Ottoman Sulta 'Kanuni' ('the Magnificent')
Takeda Shingen (Katsuchiyo) Japanese Daimyo 'the Tiger of Kai'
Oda Nobunaga Japanese Daimyo
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz Grand Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Stanislaw Koniecpolski Grand Crown Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Mauritz van Nassau (Maurice of Nassau) Prince of Orange
Ambrogio Spinola Marques de Balbases
Albrecht von Wallenstein (Albrecht Vaclav Eusebius z Valdstejna) Duke of Friedland and Mecklenburg
Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector of the Commonwealth
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne Vicomte de Turenne
Louis II de Bourbon Duc d'Enghien and Prince de Conde 'the Great Conde'
Karl XII (Charles) King of Sweden
Eugene Prinz Francois-Eugen of Savoy-Carignan
Nader Shah Afshar (Nadir Qoli Beg, or Tahmasp Qoli Khan) Afsharid Founder and Shah of Persia
Maurice de Saxe (Hermann Moritz von Sachsen)
Aleksandr Vasilevich Suvorov Generalissimus of Russia
Louis-Nicolas d'Avout (Louis Davout) 1st Duc d'Auerstaedt and 1st Prince d'Eckmuhl 'the Iron Marshal'
Charles (Karl Ludwig Johann Josef Lorenz) Archduke of Austria and Duke of Teschen
Johann Josef Wenzel Radetzky Graf von Radetz 'Vater Radetzky'
Thomas Jonathan Jackson Stonewall Jackson
Robert E(dward) Lee
Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke Count von Moltke 'the Elder'
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Ali Rıza oglu Mustafa) Founder of the Republic of Turkey
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel the Desert Fox
George Smith Patton Old Blood and Guts
Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian
Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck
William (Joseph) Slim 1st Viscount of Yarralumla and Bishopston
Erich von Manstein (Fritz-Erich von Lewinski)
Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov
Vo Nguyen Giap
If titles of monarchy etc. are not specified, the commanders were merely generals of their respected states. Again, the captains are listed in chrononlogical order by their deaths. There is much legendary tradition regarding the first great military commanders (empire builders, probably more accurately put), the Sumerian and Semites from the famous Sumerian King List, but it seems that recorded military history begins with the First Dynasty of Kish (Kis); the first ruler of Sumer (the earliest settled society which constituted a 'civilization', consisting of about a dozen or so independent city-states in the 3000s B.C.) can be attested as the first conqueror, if it can be sustained that the statement in the list 'he who stabilized all the lands' means he held sway over the lands in and around Sumer, Etana of Kis might be history's first empire-builder, if we can also assume that this meant it was built by military force. A terrific source for the subject of the first high civilization (reputedly) of mankind, see Samuel Noah Kramer's terrefic (but dated)The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character.
Etana King of Kish 'the Shephard', Enmebaraggesi (Me-Baraggesi) King of Kish, Enshakushanna (En-shag-kush-ana) King of Uruk, Eannatum King of Lagash, Entemena King of Lagash, Urukagina (Uruinimgina) King of Lagash, Lugalannemundu (Lugal-Anne-Mundu) King of Adab, Lugalzagesii (Lugal-Zage-Si) King of Umma and Uruk, Rimush King of Akkad, Manishtushu King of Akkad, Naram-Sin King of Akkad, Dudu King of Akkad, Inkishuc Gutian King, Utuhegal (Utu-Hengal) King of Sumer, Urnammu (Ur-Engur) Founder of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur, Pithana Hittite King of Kussara, Anitta Hittite King of Kussara, Hattusili I (Labarna) Founder of the Old Kingdom of the Hittites, Mursilis I Hittite King, Tuthmosis (Thutmose) I Pharaoh of Egypt, Tuthmosis (Tuthmose) IV Pharaoh of Egypt, Tudhaliya I Hittite King, Suppiluliumas Hittite King, Mursilis II Hittite King, Muwatallis Hittite King, Rameses II Pharaoh of Egypt, Merneptah Pharaoh of Egypt, Barak ('Lightning'), Gideon (Jerub-baal) Judge of the Israelites, Wu Wang (Chi Fa) Founder of the Chou Dynasty 'the Martial King', Tiglath Pileser I King of Assyria, Chou Kung (Chi Tan) Duke of Chou, David King of the Kingdom of Israel, Ashurnasirpal II King of Assyria, Shalmaneser III King of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III King of Assyria, Sargon II (Sarru-kinu) King of Assyria, Marduk-apla-iddina II (Merodach-baladan) Chaldean Usurper of Babylonia, Sennacherib (Sin-ahhe-eriba) King of Assyria 'the Moon God', Esarhaddon (Assur-ahhe-iddina) King of Assyria, Pheidon King of Argos, Ashurbanipal (Assur-bani-apli) King of Assyria, Ji Zhonger Duke Wen of Jin, Nabopolassar (Nabu-apal-usur) King of Babylonia, Necho II (Nekau) Pharaoh of Egypt, Cyaxeres (Hvakhshathra) King of Media, Nebuchadnezzar II (Nabu-kudurri-usur) King of Babylonia, Alyattes King of Lydia, Astyages (Istovigu) King of Media, Croesus King of Lydia, Harpagus (Arbaku), Gobryas (Gaubaruva) Arstibara ('Lance Carrier') of Darius I, Wu Zixu (Wu Yun), Sun Wu Sun Tzu ('Master Sun'), Cleomenes I King of Sparta, Darius I King of Persia 'the Great', Callimachus, Miltiades the Younger, Artaphrenes the Elder, Leonidas I King of Sparta, Gelon Tyrant of Syracuse, Pausanius, Leotychides, Xerxes I King of Persia, Cimon, Teres I 1st Odrysian King, Myronides, Nicodemes, Cincinnatus (Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus), Pericles (Perikles), Gaius Servilius Ahala, Phormio, Sitalkes Odrysian King 'the Great', Pagondas, Brasidas, Demosthenes Son of Alcisthenes, Hannibal Son of Gisgo, Gylippus, Alcibiades (Alkibiades), Agis II King of Sparta, Himilco, Lysander (Lysandros), Thrasybulus Brave-Willed Dercylidas Sisyphus, Wu Qi (Wu Ch'i, Agesilaus (Agesilaos) II King of Sparta, Iphicrates, Conon, Dionysius I Tyrant of Syracuse, Marcus Furius Camillus, Pelopidas, Datames, Artaxerxes II King of Persia 'Memnon', Xenophon, Philomelus, Onomarchus, Dionysius II Tyrant of Syracuse, Sun Bin, Marcus Valerius Corvus, Titus Manlius Torquatus Imperiosus, Timoleon, Memnon of Rhodes, Parmenio the Old General, Coenus, Leosthenes, Craterus Diadochi of Alexander, Perdiccas Diadochi of Alexander, Sun Bin, Antipitar Diadochi of Alexander, Eumenes Diadochi of Alexander, Antigonus I Diadochi of Alexander 'Monophthalmos' ('One-Eyed'), Chandragupta Maurya Mauryan Founder 'Sandracottus', Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus, Agathocles Tyrant of Syracuse, Ptolemy I Diadochi of Alexander 'Soter', Demetrius I (Demetrius Poliorcetes) Diadochi of Alexander, Britomaris Chief of the Senones, Publius Cornelius Dolabella, Lysimachus Diadochi of Alexander, Olympiodorus, Ptolemy King of Macedon 'Ceraunus', Spurius Carvilius Maximus, Appius Claudius Caudex, Manius Curius Dentatus, Antiochus I King of Syria 'Soter', Bai Qi, Wang Jian, Li Mu, Lian Po, Xanthippus, Marcus Atilius Regulus, Asoka Mauryan Emperor, Adherbal, Gaius Lutatius Catalus, Hamilcar Barca Lightning, Gaius Duilius, Wang Jian, Ming T'ien, Chao T'o, Lucius Aemilius Papus, Gaius Atilius Regulus, Lucius Caecilius Metellus, Cleomenes III King of Sparta, Publius Cornelius Scipio the Elder, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, Gaius Flaminius, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, Titus Otacilius Crassus, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, Hasdrubal Barca, Gaius Claudius Nero, Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator, Mago Barca, Syphax King of the Masaesylii, Titus Manlius Torquatus, Marcus Valerius Laevinus, Marcus Livius Salinator, Attalus I King of Pergamum 'Soter', Hsiang Yu (Xiang Yu), Liu Bang (Gaozu) Han Founder, Manius Acilius Glabrio, Muttines (Mottones), Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenes, Manius Acilius Glabrio, Antiochus III King of Syria 'the Great', Prusias I King of Bithynia 'Cholos', Philopoemen the Last of the Greeks, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, Mete Han Shanyu of the Xiongnu 'Maodun', Lucius Valerius Flaccus, Titus Quinctius Flamininus, Philip V King of Macedon, Antiochus IV King of Syria 'Epiphanes', Judas Maccabaeus the Hammer, Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, Gaius Laelius, Eumenes II King of Pergamum 'Soter', Masinissa King of the Massylii, Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Minor, Viriathus, Eumenes III (Aristonicus) Pretender to Pergamum, Li Guang (Li Kuang) The Flying General, Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, Wei Qing, Ho Qu-bing, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus, Decimus Junius Brutus (Callaicus), Gaius Tuditanus Sempronius, Wei Qing, Liu Che (Wu Di) Han Emperor, Jugurtha King of Numidia, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, Quintus Lutatius Catulus, Sulla (Lucius Cornelius Sulla) Felix, Quintus Sertorius, Spartacus, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, Mithridates VI (Eupator Dionysus) King of Pontus 'the Great', Ariovistus King of the Suebi 'Friend', Lucius Licinius Lucullus Ponticus, Ambiorix Chief of the Eburones, Tigranes II King of Armenia 'the Great', Cassivellaunus (Cassibelanus) King of the Catuvellauni, Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius) Magnus, Gaius Scribonius Curio, Publius Licinius Crassus, Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives, Surena (Rustaham Suren-Pahlev) Eran Spahbodh, Vercingetorix King of the Arverni, Juba I King of Numidia, Pharnaces II King of Pontus, Orodes II (Hyrodes) King of Parthia, Publius Cornelius Dolabella, Pacorus I King of Parthia, Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius), Publius Ventidius, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, Titus Statilius Taurus, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Nero Claudius Drusus (Decimus Claudius Nero).
ANNO DOMINI, 0-1500
Marcus Plautius Silvanus, Germanicus Julius Caesar (Nero Claudius Germanicus), Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker) Chief of the Cherusci, Gaius Silius, Juba II King of Numidia and Maueritania, Publius Cornelius Dolabella, Tiberius (Tiberius Claudius Nero) Roman Emperor, Cunobelinus (Cynfelyn) King of the Catuvellauni, Caratacus (Caradoc) King of the Catuvellauni, Publius Ostorius Scapula, Liu Xiu (Han-Guang Wu Di) Han Emperor, Aulus Plautius, Boudicca (Boadicea) Queen of the Iceni, Gaius Paulinus Suetonius, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus) Roman Emperor, Eleazar ben Yair, Cerialis (Quintus Petillius Cerialis Caesius Rufus), Gnaeus Julius Agricola, Titus Flavius Josephus (Yosef Ben Matityahu), Ban Chao, Decebalus (Diurpaneus Dacian King 'the Brave One', Bar Kochba (Simon bar Kochba), Marcus Aurelius, Sun Jian (Wentai) the Tiger of Jiang Dong, Yuan Shao Benchu, Severus (Lucius Septimius Severus) Roman Emperor, Zhang Liao (Wenyuan), Zhuge Liang (Chu-ko Liang) Founder of the Shu Kingdom 'the Hidden Dragon', Liu Bei Shu Emperor, Maximinus I (Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus) Roman Emperor 'Thrax', Ardashir I Sassanid Founder of Persia, Lu Xun (Boyan), Sun Quan (Zhongmou) Founder of the Wu Kingdom, Gallienus (Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus) Roman Emperor, Publius Septimius Odaenathus Prince of the Roman Colony of Palmyra, Postumus (Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus) Emperor of Gaul, Iberia, and Britian, Claudius II (Marcus Aurelius Claudius) Roman Emperor 'Gothicus', Shapur I Sassanid King of Persia, Septimia Zenobia (Znwbya Bat Zaddai) Queen of Palmyra, Liu Can (Shiguang) Emperor of the Han Zhao State, Constantius II (Flavius Julius Constantius) Roman Emperor, Shi Le (Shilong) Founder of the Jie State (Later Zhao), Ran Min (Yongzeng) Emperor of the Ran Wei State 'Jinu', Julian (Flavius Claudius Julianus) Roman Emperor 'the Apostate', Shapur II Sassanid King of Persia, Maximianus (Magnus Maximus), Fritigern (Frithugairns) King of the Visigoths, Athanaric (Apanareiks), Arbogast (Flavius Arbogastes), Theodosius I (Flavius Theodosius) Roman Emperor 'the Great', Flavius Stilicho, Alaric I King of the Visigoths, Ataulf (Atawulf) King of the Visigoths 'Father Wolf', Wallia (Valia) King of the Visigoths, Coel Hen Duc Brittanniarum 'Old King Cole', Rua (Rugila) the Hun, Breda the Hun, Attila the Hun 'the Scourge of God', Flavius Aetius, Ardaric King of the Gepids, Cunedda ap Edern Wledig, Majorian (Julius Valerius Maiorianus) Western Roman Emperor, Ricimer, Geiseric King of the Vandals, Childeric I King of the Salian Franks, Odoacar (Odavacer) King of the Heruli 'Rex Italiae', Ambrosius Aurelianus (Aurelius Ambrosius), Riothamus (Riotimus) King of the Brittones, Clovis I King and Unifier of the Franks, Chlodomer (Clodomir) King of the Franks, Theodoric King of the Ostrogoths and Ruler of Italy 'the Great', Arthur 'Dex Bellorum' (legendary; yes, the legendary figure we know so well, and perhaps the same leader known as Owain Ddantgwyn (Owain Danwyn), Cadwallon I (Cadwallon ap Einion King of Gwynedd 'Long Hand', Azarethes, Eran Spahbodh, Mundus, Priscus General Priscus, Totila (Baduila) King of the Ostrogoths, Ceawlin Saxon Bretwalda of Wessex, Bayan I Avar Khagan, Rhydderch Hael Brythonic hero 'the Generous', AEthilfrith King of Northumbria, Eulji Mundeok, Raedwald King of East Anglia, Muhammed Prophet of Islam 'the Praised One', Kubrat (Kurt) Bulgarian Khan, Pulakesi II (Ereya) Ruler of the Chalukya Dynasty, Umar ibn al-Khattab Caliph of Islam, 'Amr ibn al-'As, Rostam Farrokhzad, Sa'ad ibn abu-Wakkas, T'ai tsung (Li Shih-min) T'ang Emperor, Bridei III (Bridei map Beli) King of Fortriu and Overking of the Picts, Asparukh (Isperih) Founder of the 1st Bulgarian Empire, Pepin II (Pippin) of Herstal Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia 'the Middle', Tariq ibn Zayid, Mohammed ibn-Kasim, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi (Abdderrahman) Muslim Governor of Al-Andalus, Eudes (Odo) Duke of Aquitaine 'the Great', Pelayo (Pelagio) Founder and Nobleman of the Kingdom of Asturias, Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik, Leo III Byzantine Emperor 'the Isaurian', An Lu-shan (An Rokhan), Hsuan-tsung (Li Longji) T'ang Emperor, Guo Ziyi (Kuo Tzu-i), Kardam Bulgarian Khan, Harun al-Rashid Abbasid Caliph, Krum (KypM) Bulgarian Khan, Egbert (Ecgberht) King of Wessex, AEthelwulf (AEpelwulf) King of Wessex, Ivar Ragnarsson Great Heathen Army Leader 'the Boneless', Halfdan Ragnarsson Great Heathen Army Leader, Rhodri (Roderick) Mawr Ruler of Wales 'the Great', Odda Ealdorman of Devon, Mihira Bhoja I Pratihara King of Northern India, Basil I (Basileios) Byzantine Emperor 'the Macedonian', Arpad High Prince of the Magyars, Ethelred (AEthelred) Ealdorman of Mercia 'Lord of the Mercians', Edward (Eadweard se leldra) King of Wessex (becoming the Kingdom of England) 'the Elder', Abaoji (Taizu) Liao Emperor, Simeon I (Symeon) Tsar of Bulgaria 'Veliki' ('the Great'), Harold I (Harald Haarfagre) King of Norway, Henry I (Heinrich der Finkler) German King 'the Fowler', Athelstan (AEpelstan) King of England, Ngo Quyen Founder of the First National Dynasty of Nam Viet, Ramiro II King of Leon, John Kurkuas, Chai Rong (later Guo Rong) Zhou Emperor 'Shizong', Nicephorus II Byzantine Emperor 'Phocas', Sviatoslav I Prince of Kievan Rus', Otto I Holy Roman Emperor 'the Great', John I (John Tzimisces) Byzantine Emperor, Muhammed Almansour Abi emir 'the Victorious', Boleslav I (Boleslav Chobri) King of Poland 'the Brave', Rajaraja Chola Emperor of Tamil Nadu, Brian Boru, Basil II Byzantine Emperor 'Bulgaroktonos', Mahmud (Yamin ad-Dawlah Mahmud) Sultan of Ghazni, Malcolm II (Mael Coluim mac Cinaeda) King of Scotland, Canute II (Knut) Danish King of Denmark, England, and Norway, Fulk III (Fulk Nerra) Count of Anjou 'the Black', Rajendra Chola Emperor of Tamil Nadu, Harold II (Harold Godwinsson) Earl of Wessex, Tughril Beg Seljuk Turk Founder, Alp Arslan (Muhammed ben Da'ud) Seljuk Sultan of Persia 'the Valiant Lion', Sviatoslav II (Sviatoslav Yaroslavich) Prince of Chernigov and Grand Prince of Kiev, Robert Guiscard (Viscart) the Resourceful, William I Duke of Normandy and King of England 'the Conqueror', Sancho Ramirez King of Aragon and Navarre, Adhemar de Monteil Bishop of Le Puy-en-Velay, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar El Cid Campeador, Godefroy (Godfrey) de Bouillon Duke of Lower Lorraine 'Defender of the Holy Sepulcher', Minamoto no Yoshiie Japanese Daimyo 'Hachiman-Taro', Yusuf ibn Tashfin (Tashafin) Almoravid Ruler of North Africa and Al-Andalus, Bohemond I (Mark Guiscard) Prince of Taranto and Antioch, Wanyan Wuyashu Jurchen Chief 'Kangzong', Baldwin (of Boulogne) I Count of Edessa and Latin King of Jerusalem, Alexius I Byzantine Emperor 'Comnenus', Vladimir II (Volodymyr Monomakh) Grand Prince and Grand Duke of Kiev, Sigurd I (Sigurd Magnusson) King of Norway 'the Crusader', Baldwin (of Le Bourg) II Latin King of Jerusalem, Zengi (Imad ad-Din Atabeg Zengi) Atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo, Alfonso I King of Aragon and Navarre, Boleslav III (Boleslav Krzywousty) King of Poland 'Wrymouth', Valdemar I King of Denmark 'the Great', Richard de Clare 2nd Earl of Pembroke 'Strongbow', Taira no Kiyomori Japanese Dajo-Daijin, Baldwin IV Latin King of Jerusalem 'the Leper', Alfonso I King of Portugal 'Henriques the Conqueror', Minamoto Yos(h)itsune Japanese Samurai, Frederick I (Frederick Hohenstauffen) Holy Roman Emperor 'Barbarossa', Kilij Arslan II (Izz ad-Din Kilij Arslan) Seljuk Sultan of Rum, Enrico Dandolo Doge of Venice, Muhammed of Ghor (Muizz al Din Muhammed) Muslim Sultan of Ghazni, Kaloyen Asen (Johanitza) King of Wallachia and Bulgaria 'the Roman Killer', Minamoto no Yoritomo 1st Japanese Shogun, Alfonso VIII King of Castile 'the Noble', Hojo Tokimasa Japanese Shikken, Simon de Montfort IV Lord of Montfort, Chepe (Jebe Noyan), Philip II (Phillippe Auguste) King of France, Alfonso II King of Portugal 'the Fat', Muqali, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu Khwarezm Sultan, Hermann von Salza, Chormaqan Noyan, Llywelyn I of Wales (Llywelyn ab Iorwerth) Prince of Gwynedd 'the Great', Valdemar II King of Denmark 'the Victorious', Ogotai Khan Mongol Khagan, Guyuk Khan Mongol Khagan, Frederick II Holy Roman Emperor, Batu Khan Khan of the Blue Horde, Mongke Khan Mongol Khagan, Baiju, Hulagu (Hulegu) Khan, Kaidu (Qaidu), Kadan (Qadan), Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Vsevolodovich) Prince of Novgorad, Simon V de Montfort 6th Earl of Leicester, Baybars I (al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari) Mamluk Sultan of Egypt 'Abu al-Fituh' ('Father of Conquerings'), Qalawun al-Alfi Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Bayan, Pedro III King of Aragon, Rudolf I German King 'Rudolf of Hapsburg', Kublai (Khubilai) Khan Mongol Khagan, Jan I Duke of Brabant 'the Victorious', Andrew Moray, Nogai (Nogay) Khan Kara Nogai (Black Nogai), Ruggiero di Lauria (Roger of Lauria), William Wallace, Edward I King of England 'Longshanks', Hojo Tokimune, Werner Stauffacher, Robert I King of Scotland 'the Bruce', Alfonso XI King of Castile and Leon, Rudolf von Erlach Bernese Ritter, Stefan Uros IV Dusan King of Serbia and Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks 'the Mighty', Orhan I (Orhan Gazi) Ottoman Sultan, Edward de Baliol King of Scotland, John Chandos, Edward Prince of Wales 'the Black Prince', Bertrand du Guesclin, Louis I King of Hungary, Croatia, Dalmatia, and Poland 'the Great', Pedro IV King of Aragon, James Douglas 2nd Earl of Douglas and Mar, Dmitri Donskoy Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Duke of Vladimir 'the Don', Murad I Ottoman Sultan, John Hawkwood, Zhu Yuan Zhang (Tai Zu) Founder of the Ming Dynasty 'the Hongwu Emperor', Bayezid (Beyazit) I Ottoman Sultan 'the Thunderbolt', Tokhtamysh Khan of the White Horde, Olivier de Clisson the Butcher, Owen Glendower (Owain IV Glyn Dwr) Prince of Wales, Alberico da Barbiano, Andrea Fortebracci (Braccio da Montone), Witold (Vytautus) Didysis Kunigaikstis of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania 'the Great', Zhu Di (Cheng Zu) Ming Emperor 'the Yongle Emperor', Nun'Alvares Pereira 3rd Count de Ourem 'the Great Constable', Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc), Ladislaus II (Ladislaus Jagiello) King of Poland, Andrew Prokop Procopius the Great, Giovanni Giustiniani, Esen Tayishi Dorben Oirat Ruler, Janos Hunyadi Voivode of Transylvania 'the White Knight', Yu Qian, Alfonso V King of Aragon and Alfonso I King of Naples 'the Magnanimous', Richard Plantagenet 3rd Duke of York, Richard Neville 5th Earl of Salisbury, Andrew Trollope, Henry Beaufort 3rd Duke of Somerset, Gjergj Kastrioti Prince of Albania 'Skanderbeg', Richard Neville 16th Earl of Warwick 'the Kingmaker', John Neville 1st Marquess of Montagu, Hosokawa Katsumoto Japanese Kanrei, Bartolomeo Colleoni, Vlad III (Vlad Dracula) Voivode of Wallachia 'the Impaler', Muhammed II (Mehmed II) Ottoman Sultan 'the Conqueror', Edward IV King of England, Matthias Corvinus King of Hungary 'the Just', and Sonni Ali (Sunni Ali Ber) Songhai King 'Sunni Ali' .
Stefan III (Stefan Musat) Voivode of Moldovia 'the Great', Isabella I Queen of Aragon, Castile and Leon 'the Catholic', Bernard Stuart 3rd Seigneur d'Aubigny, Henry VII (Henry Tudor) King of England, Francisco de Almeida, Gaston de Foix Duc de Nemours 'the Thunderbolt of Italy', John de Vere 13th Earl of Oxford, Gheorghe Doja (Gyorgy Dozsa), Ferdinand V King of Castile and Leon (also Ferdinand II King of Aragon and Ferdinand III King of Naples 'the Catholic'), Aruj (Oruc Reis) Ottoman Bey of Algiers and Beylerbey of the West Mediterranean 'Barbarossa ('Redbeard'), Prospero Colonna, Ismail (Shah Isma'il Abu'l-Mozaffar bin Sheikh Haydar bin Sheikh Junayd Safawi) I Shah of Persia and Safavid Founder, Pal Tomori, Huayna Capac (Wayna Qhapaq) Sapa (God Emperor) of the Incas, Georg von Frundsberg, Konstanty Ostrogski Grand Hetman of Lithuania, Wolter (Walter) von Plettenberg Master of the Livonian Order, Francisco Pizarro Spanish Conquistador, Pedro (Don Pedro) de Alvarado y Contreras Spanish Conquistador, Jerzy Radziwell Voivode of the Kiev Voivodeship and Field Hetman of Lithuania, Francois de Bourbon Count of Enghien, Khair ad-Din (Yakupoglu Hızır) Ottoman Kaptan Derya 'Barbarossa' ('Redbeard'), Lapu-Lapu (Kaliph Pulaka) Filipino Chieftain of Mactan Island, Hernan Cortes (Hernando Cortez) Spanish Conquistador and 1st Marques del Valle de Oaxaca, Lautaro Toqui (Wartime Chief) of the Mapuche 'Lef-Traru', Gian Giacomo Medici, Jan Tarnowski Grand Crown Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, Andrea Doria (Andrea D'Oria), Yamamoto Haruyuki (Yamamoto Kansuke) Japanese Takeda General, Herluf Trolle, Johan (Johann) Rantzau, Thomas Wharton 1st Baron Wharton, Daniel Rantzau, Eric (Erik) XIV King of Sweden, John of Austria Don Juan de Austria, Shimazu Tadayoshi Japanese Daimyo, Mori Motonari (Shojumaru) Japanese Daimyo, Mikhail Ivanovich Vorotynsky, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo y Pimentel 3rd Duque de Alba (Alva), Ivan IV Tsar of Russia 'the Terrible', William (Willem) I Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau-Dillenburg 'the Silent', Mikolaj Radziwell Grand Chancellor and Hetman of Lithuania 'the Red', Stefan Batory King Consort of Poland, Prince of Transylvania, and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Qi Jiguang, Don Alvaro de Bazan Marques de Santa Cruz de Mudela, Alessandro Farnese Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Francis Drake, Klaus (Clas) Fleming, Toyotomi Hideyoshi Japanese Daimyo, Michael (Mihai Viteazul) Romanian Ban 'the Brave', Krzysztof Mikolaj Radziwill Polish Reichsfurst of the Holy Roman Empire 'Piorun' ('the Lightning'), Jan Zborowski, Akbar (Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar) Mughal Emperor 'the Great', Jan Zamoyski Lord Grand-Chancellor and Grand Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Stephen Bocskay (Bocskai Istvan) Prince of Transylvania, Giorgio Basta Count of Huszt, Henri IV King of France and Henri III King of Navarre, Pedro Henriquez d'Azevedo y Toledo Count of Fuentes, Jan Roman Rozynski, Tokugawa Ieyasu Japanese Shogun, Aleksander Lisowski, Stanislaw Zolkiewski Polish Hetman, Iskanderpasha, Charles Howard 1st Earl of Nottingham, Nurhaci Founder of the Manchu State 'Tianming', Peter Ernst Graf von Mansfeld, Abbas I Shah of Persia 'the Great', Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim, Johann Tserclaes (Johan't Serclaes) Graf von Tilly, Yuan Chonghua, Johan Baner, Ferdinand von Osterreich Governor of the Hapsburg Netherlands, Cardinal and Infante of Spain, Archbishop of Toledo, Li Tzu-cheng, Bernhard Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Duo'ergun (Dorgon), Har Gobind Sikh Guru, Torsten Stalhandske, Franz Freiherr von Mercy Lord of Mandre and Collenburg, Matthias Gallas Graf von Campo und Herzog von Lucera, Frederick Henry Prince of Orange, James Graham Marquess of Montrose, Lennart Torstensson, Jeremi (Jarema) Wisniowiecki Prince of Wisniowiec, Lubny and Chorol, Ralph Hopton 1st Baron Hopton, Maarten Tromp, Janusz II (Jonusas Radvila) Court Chamberlain and Great Hetman of Lithuania, Robert Blake, Ottavio Piccolomini Duke of Almafi, Bohdan Chmielnicki, Tugay Bey (Tuhaj- bej), Zheng Zhilong, Koxinga (Zheng Cheng Gong), Nzinga (Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande) Queen (muchino a muhatu) of Ndonga and Matamba, Nikola Zrinski (Miklos Zrinyi), Stefan Czarniecki (Stefan Lodzia de Czarnca Czarniecki) Field Hetman of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom, Stanislaw Potocki Field and Great Crown Hetman of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 'Rewera', George Monck 1st Duke of Albemarle, Thomas Fairfax 3rd Baron of Cameron, John Maurice Prince of Nassau-Siegen, William Cavendish 1st Duke of Newcastle-upo-Tyne, Antonio Luis de Meneses 1st Marquess of Marialva, Raimondo Montecuccoli, Robert Munro, Shivaji Bhonsle Shri Shivaji Maharaj, Rupert Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria 'Prince Rupert of the Rhine', David Leslie Lord Newark, James Crofts (James Scott) 1st Duke of Monmouth and 1st Duke of Buccleuch, Henry (Hari) Morgan Morgan the Pirate, Abraham Duquesne Marquis du Bouchet, John Narborough, Charles V (Charles Leopold Nicolas Sixte) Duke of Lorraine, Georg Friedrich Prince of Waldeck, Francois Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville Duc de Luxembourg, Niels Juel, Ernst Rudiger Count von Starhemberg, Anne Hilarion de Costentin Comte de Tourville, William III King of England, Ireland and Scotland (William II of Scotland) 'William Henry Prince of Orange', Godert de Ginkell (Godart van Ginkel) 1st Earl of Athlone and Baron van Reede, Menno van Coehorrn, Sebastien Le Prestre Seigneur and Marquis de Vauban, Louis William Margrave of Baden-Baden 'Turk Louis' ('Turkenlouis'), Aurangzeb (Mohi ud-din Muhammed) Mughal Emperor, Jean II d'Estrees, Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk Lord Overkirk, George Rooke, Louis de Duras 2nd Earl of Feversham, Philips van Almonde, Louis Francois Duc de Boufflers and Comte de Cagny, Louis Joseph de Bourbon Duc de Vendome, Francisco Castillo Fajardo 2nd Marques de Villadarias, James Stanhope 1st Earl Stanhope, Kangxi (Hsiian-yeh) Manchu Ch'ing (Qing) Emperor, Peder Tordenskjold Thundershield, John Richmond Webb, Peter I (Pyotr Alekseyevich Romanov) Tsar of Russia 'the Great', Rene de Froulay Count de Tesse, George Byng 1st Viscount Torrington, James FitzJames 1st Duke of Berwick, Claude Louis Hector Prince de Martigues, Marquis and Duc de Villars, and Vicomte de Melun, Robert MacGregor Rob Roy, Charles Mordaunt 3rd Earl of Peterborough and 1st Earl of Monmouth, Guido Wald Rudiger Count zu Starhemberg, Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon Comte de Toulouse, Baji Rao I (Shrimant Baji Rao Balaji Bhat) Maratha Chhatrapati (Emperor), Mirza Mahmud Siraj ad Dawla (Siraj-ud-Daulah) Nawab of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Edward Vernon Old Grog, James Wolfe, Louis-Joseph de Montcalm Marquis de Saint Veran, George Anson 1st Baron of Soberton, Henry Bouquet, William Augustus Duke of Cumberland, Leopold Josef Maria Count von Daun and Furst von Thiano, Pontiac (Obwandiyag) Ottawa Chief, Ahmad Shah Durrani (Ahmad Shah Baba) Founder of the Durrani Empire and 1st Emir of Afghanistan 'the Father', Najib-ud-daula Rohilla Chief, Robert Clive 1st Baron of Plassey, Emelian (Yemelyan) Pugachev, Shuja-ud-Daula Nawab of Awadh (Oudh), Casimir Pulaski (Kazimierz Pulaski) the Father of American Cavalry, Charles (Karl Alexander) Prince of Lorraine, Johann von Robaii (Johann Kalb) Baron de Kalb, Haidar Ali, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (Sultan ul Quam Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia) Sikh Leader, Nathanael Greene, Charles Edward Stuart (Tearlach Eideard Stiubhairt) Bonnie Prince Charlie (or the Young Pretender), Ethan Allen, Francois-Joseph Paul Marquis de Grasse Tilly and Comte de Grasse, Jacques Hippolyte Comte de Guibert, Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon, Grigoriy Potemkin Prince of Tauride, Gustav III King of Sweden, Tippu Sultan the Tiger of Mysore, Ferdinand Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, George Rodney 1st Baron Rodney, John Burgoyne Gentleman Johnny, John Paul Jones, Francis Marion the Swamp Fox, Anthony Wayne, Louis Lazare Hoche, Richard Howe 1st Earl Howe, Benedict Arnold, Ralph Abercrombie, Daniel Morgan, Francois Toussant-L'Ouverture, Buckongahelas Lenni-Lenape Chief, Charles Cornwallis 1st Marquess Cornwallis, Horatio Gates, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Aleksei Orlov, Hyde Parker, Gerard Lake 1st Viscount, Jean Lannes Duc de Montebello, John Moore, Blue Jacket (Weyapiersenwah) Shawnee (Shaawanwaki) War Chief, Little Turtle (Mishikinakwa) Chief of the Miami (Myaamiaki), Pyotr Bagration, Isaac Brock, Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Tecumseh Shawnee (Shaawanwaki) Leader, Mikhail Kutuzov (Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov), Jean Moreau, Jozef Poniatowski, Hugh Robert Rollo (Rollo Gillespie), William Howe 5th Viscount Howe, Robert Ross, Frederick Josias Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Joachim Murat King of Naples, Louis Berthier 1st Duc de Wagram, 1st Duc de Valengin, and 1st Sovereign Prince de Neuchatel, Michel Ney 1st Duc d'Elchingen and 1st Prince de la Moskowale 'Le Rougeaud' ('Red-Faced') and 'le Brave des Braves', Pierre Augereau 1st Duc de Castiglione, Karadjordje (Djordje Petrovich), Andre Massena 1st Duc de Rivoli and 1st Prince d'Essling, Tadeusz Kosciuszko (Thaddeus Kosciusko), Mikhail Barclay de Tolly (Mikhail Bogdanovich Barklay-de-Tolli), Jan Dabrowski, Gebhard von Blucher Graf and Furst of Wahlstatt, Oliver Perry, Manuel Belgrano, Stephen Decatur, , Carl-Olof Constedt, Charles Dumouriez, Lazare Carnot Comte Carnot 'the Organizer of Victory', Juan Martin Diez el Empecinado ('the Undaunted'), Francis Rawdon 1st Marquess of Hastings, Shaka Zulu Chieftain 'Shaka Zulu', Simon Bolivar El Libertador, Antonio Jose de Sucre, Thomas Sydney Beckwith, Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette, Tomas de Zumalacarregui , Hari Singh Nalwa Ranjit Singh Sikh Maharaja 'Sher-e-Punjab' ('the Lion of the Punjab', Pierre-Antoine Comte Dupont de l'Etang, William Henry Harrison, Juan Lavalle, Rowland Hill 1st Viscount Hill 'Daddy Hill', Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte 1st Sovereign Prince de Pontecorvo (later became Carl (Charles) XIV King of Sweden and Norway (Carl III Johan of Norway), Andrew Jackson, Robert Stopford, Thomas Bugeaud Marquis de la Piconnerie and Duc d'Isly, Muhammed Ali (Muhammad 'Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha) Pasha of Egypt 'Founder of Modern Egypt', Juan Martin de Pueyrredon, Zachary Taylor, Jose de San Martin (Jose Francisco de San Martin Matorras, Ignacy Pradzynski, Hone Heke (Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai) Maori Chief, Jozef Bem (Bem Jozsef), Nicolas Soult 1st Duc de Dalmatie, Francisco Castanos 1st Duke of Bailen, Jose Ballivian, Auguste Marmont Duc de Ragusa, Charles James Napier, William Carr Beresford 1st Viscount Beresford, FitzRoy Somerset 1st Baron Raglan, Pavel Nakhimov, Yang Xiuqing, Thomas Cochrane 10th Earl of Dundonald, Harry Smith 1st Baronet of Aliwal 'Sir Harry', Charles John Napier, Ignacio Zaragoza, Frederick Townsend Ward, Colin Campbell 1st Baron Clyde, Samuel Houston, John Buford, Jr., John Hunt Morgan, James Stuart Jeb Stuart, Hong Xiuquan (Hong Renkun) Heavenly King, Ambrose Hill, Winfield Scott, Francesco Serrano, Antoine-Henri de Jomini Baron, Justo Jose de Urquiza, David Farragut, George Thomas, Shamyl Imam Shamyl of Dagestan, George Meade, Henry Halleck Old Brains, Jose Antonio Paez, Cochise (A-da-tli-chi ) Nantan of the Apache (Chokonen), Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Gordon Granger, George Custer, Braxton Bragg, Nathan Forrest, Crazy Horse (Thasuka Witko) Sioux (Oglala Lakota) Leader, Saigo Takamori the Last Samurai, Albrecht Theodor Emil Graf von Roon, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Mikhail Skobelev, Abd al-Qadir (Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri) Emir of Algeria, Henri Riviere, Cetshwayo kaMpande King of the Zulu Nation, Charles Gordon Chinese Gordon, Muhammed Ahmad (Muhammad Ahmad ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah) the Mahdi, Ulysses S(impson) Grant, George McClellan, Amedee Courbet, al-Hajj Mahmadu Lamine Senegalese Marabout, Philip Sheridan, George Crook, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) Sioux (Hunkpapa) Leader, William Sherman (Tecumseh Sherman) Uncle Billy, Patrick Connor, John Pope, Patrice de Mac-Mahon Duc de Magenta, Pierre Beauregard, Chief Gall (Pizi) Sioux (Hunkpapa) Leader, Francois Canrobert, Antonio Maceo y Grajales the Bronze Titan, Louis Briere de l'Isle, John Chard, William Rosencrans, Piet Joubert, Gustave Borgnis-Desbordes, Samori Ture (Samori ibn Lafiya Ture) Dyula Ruler and Founder of the Wassoulou Empire, James Longstreet, Chief Joseph (Hinmuuttu-yalatlat) Nez Perce (Wal-lam-wat-kain) Leader, Bartolome Mitre, Gevork Chavoush, Maximo Gomez y Baez, Geronimo (Goyaale) Apache (Chiricahua) Leader, Oliver Howard, Red Cloud (Makhpiya Luta) Sioux (Oglala Lakota) Leader, Nogi Maresuke Kiten, Count Nogi, Garnet Wolseley 1st Viscount Wolseley, Menilek II (Sahle Maryam) Emperor of Ethiopia, Alfred von Schlieffen, Koos (Jacobus Herculaas) de la Rey, Frederick Roberts 1st Earl of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, Joshua Chamberlain, Porfirio Diaz (Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori), Iwao Oyama, Joseph Gallieni, Horatio Kitchener Earl of Khartoum and Broome, Yuan Shikai, George Dewey, Liu Yung-fu (Lu'u Vinh Phuc), Frederick Stanley Maude, Paul von Rennenkampf, Emiliano Zapata, Louis Botha, Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt, John Fisher 1st Baron of Kilverstone 'Jackie Fisher', Karl von Bulow, Christiaan de Wet, Michael Collins, Henry Wilson, Francisco Villa (Doroteo Arango Arambula) Pancho Villa, Vladimir Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), Charles Lanrezac, Sun Yat-sen Sun Zhongshan, John French 1st Earl of Ypres, Mikhail Frunze (Mihail Frunza), Aleksei Brusilov, Josias von Heeringen, Ferdinand I King of Rumania, Max Hoffmann, Andranik Toros Ozanian, Douglas Haig 1st Earl Haig, Alvaro Obregon, Ferdinand Foch, Georges Clemenceau, Wendell Neville, Horace Smith-Dorrien, John Monash, Omar Mukhtar (Umar Al-Mokhtar), Alexander Cobbe, Joseph Joffre Papa Joffre, Louis Archinard, Herbert Plumer 1st Viscount Plumer, Arthur Currie, Albert I (Albert Leopold Clement Marie Meinrad) King of the Belgians, Louis Lyautey, Alexander von Kluck, Heihachiro Togo, Paul von Hindenburg, Thomas Edward Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia, Jozef Pilsudski, Juan Vicente Gomez, Edmund Allenby 1st Viscount of Megiddo and Felixstowe, William Mitchell Billy Mitchell, Hans von Seeckt, Erich Ludendorff, Albrecht (Albrecht Maria Alexander Philipp Joseph) Duke of Wurttemberg, Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein), Smedley Butler the Fighting Quaker, Edward Rydz-Smigly, John Lejeune the Greatest of all Leathernecks, Walter von Reichenau, Louis Franchet d'Esperey, Isoroku Yamamoto, Franc Stane, Nikolai Vatutin, Charles Wingate Orde Wingate, August von Mackensen, Walther Model, Adolf Hitler Chancellor and Fuhrer of Germany, John Basilone Manila John (heroic addition), Fedor von Bock, John Vereker 6th Viscount Gort 'Lord Gort', Dragoljub (Draza) Mihajlovic, Masaharu Homma, Tomoyuki Yamashita the Tiger of Malaya, Evans Carlson, Philippe Leclerc Vicomte de Hauteclocque, John Pershing Black Jack, Walther von Brauchitsch, Archibald Wavell 1st Earl Wavell, Panglima Besar Soedirman (Sudirman) Father of the Army, Petre Dumitrescu, Jan Smuts, Thomas Blamey, Henri Petain (Philippe Petain), Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, Gerd von Rundstedt, Abdulaziz ibn Saud (Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal Al Saud) Founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Rupprecht Crown Prince of Bavaria, Merritt Edson Red Mike, Alexander Papagos, Garegin Njdeh (Garegin Ter-Harutiunian), Hugh Trenchard 1st Viscount Trenchard, George Marshall, Leslie Morshead, Albert Kesselring, Alan Francis 1st Viscount Alanbrooke, Andrew Cunningham 1st Viscount of Hyndhope, Bernard Cyril Freyberg 1st Baron Freyberg, Douglas MacArthur, Alvin York Sergeant York (heroic addition), Henry Crerar 'Harry' Crerar, Courtney Hodges, Josef Dietrich (Sepp Dietrich), Renya Mutaguchi, Holland Smith 'Howlin' Mad Smith, Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna Che Guevera, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Giovanni Messe, Li Zongren (Li Tsung-jen), Dwight Eisenhower (David Eisenhower) Ike, Harold Alexander 1st Earl of Tunis, Raizo Tanaka, Raymond Spruance, Ho Chi Minh (Nguyen Sinh Cung) Founder of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), Hugh Dowding 1st Baron Dowding, Semyon Timoshenko, Andrei Yeremenko, Charles de Gaulle, Lin Biao, Lewis Puller Chesty Puller, Chen Yi, Ivan Koniev, Frank Fletcher, David Ben-Gurion, Peng Dehuai, Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi), Keith Park, Francisco Franco, Otto Skorzeny, Anthony McAuliffe, Chu Teh Zhu De, Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) Founder (Proclaimer) of the People's Republic of China, Bernard Montgomery 1st Viscount, Aleksandr Vasilevski, Kurt Student, Karl Donitz, Josip Tito, Gunichi Mikawa, Omar Bradley, Richard O'Connor, Claude Auchinleck the Auk, Mark Clark, Raoul Salan, Aksel Airo, Akhtar Abdur Rahman, Bekor Ghoulian, Shahen Meghrian, James Doolittle Jimmy Doolittle, Matthew Ridgway, Kim Il-Sung, Arthur Harris 1st Baronet 'Bomber Harris', Haim Bar-Lev (Haim Brotzlewsky) Haim Kidoni Bar-Lev, Stanislaw Maczek, Deng Xiaoping, Garegin Nzhdeh (Garegin Ter-Haroutunyan), Ahmed Shah Massoud the Lion of Panjshir, Sam Bahadur (Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw), Abdul Haris Nasution (Kotanopan), David Hackworth (heroic addition), William Westmoreland, Haji Mohammad Soeharto (Suharto), Harold Moore Hal Moore, Fidel Castro, Arkady Ter-Tadevossian, H. Norman Schwarzkopf Stormin' Norman, Charles Guthrie Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, Wesley Clark, Tommy Franks, and Peter Cosgrove.
It may be too soon to add the last few. But perhaps not.
"The Gauls were not conquered by the Roman legions, but by Caesar. It was not before the Carthaginian soldiers that Rome was made to tremble, but before Hannibal. It was not the Macedonian phalanx which reached India, but Alexander. It was not the French army that reached Weser and the Inn; it was Turenne. Prussia was not defended for seven years against the three most formidable European powers by the Prussian soldiers, but by Frederick the Great".
- Napoleon Bonaparte
"War is all hell".
- William T. Sherman
"In war, there is no substitute for victory...the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."
- Douglas MacArthur
Thanks and enjoy, James