Since the early days of human existence conflict has been a constant in the tapestry of history and civilization. The desire for power and dominance has proven to be one of the darkest motivations for humans across the globe, and for that reason as soon as the first societies and cultures emerged the first organized militaries became a necessity. Today’s list presents the 25 Most Lethal Warriors Ever Sent Into Battle the world has ever known.
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The Rajputs (literally “king’s sons”) were members of the Hindu Kshatriya (warrior) caste who enjoyed a reputation as fearsome warriors. It is believed that a number of people with Rajput ancestry currently serve in the Indian and Pakistani Armed Forces. Their homeland, now known as Rajasthan, in northwest India, made them the first line of defense from western invasions by Arabs, Turks, Afghans, and northern invaders like the Mongols. Their effective combat techniques and weapons were considered evolutionary for their time while many locals believed their “diabolical” arsenal was designed from paranormal powers to kill.
In the space of two centuries the duchy of Normandy stood as a prime mover in European affairs, not only completing the conquest of England but also stretching its arms out to southern Italy and Sicily. The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They descended from Viking conquerors and the native Carolingian culture formed from Franks and Roman Gauls.
The Ninja Warriors
A ninja was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules concerning honor and combat. According to some military history experts, a large number of Special Forces nowadays are based on the way ninjas operated.
Although their origin remains uncertain, they probably descended from Central Europe, immediately south of the Germanic tribes. The Boii are mentioned several times by most ancient authors, including Julius Caesar when he fought them alongside the Helvetii. The Boii are described as a vigorous, crowded, and poor group of people with a warlike temper, while their name possibly translates as either “terrible” or “warriors.” They were first noticed after invading the Po Valley (a major geographical feature of Italy) around 400 BC, expelling the Etruscans and even some Umbrians in the invasion.
The Mamluks descended from non-Arab slaves who were naturalized to serve and fight for ruling Arab dynasties, are revered as some of the greatest warriors ever to exist. Although the word mamluk translates to “one who is owned,” the Mamluk soldiers proved otherwise, gaining a powerful military standing in various Muslim societies, particularly in Egypt. They would also go on to hold political power for several centuries during a period known as the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.
The Hyksos ruled in ancient Egypt’s Nile Delta almost four thousand years ago and were an interesting group that has become a strange mix of myth and history. They have been described as brilliant technological innovators, fierce warriors, and highly advanced for their time.
With Attila the Hun the notorious barbarian horseman being the most famous of them, the Huns terrorized and ravaged Europe between the first century and seventh century AD. While the Huns are considered one of the first empires to inspire the nation of Hungary, the nomadic Huns may have originated in Mongolia or Kazakhstan and were constantly traveling within the Eurasian steppe. Attila fought for power of the Hunnic tribes and is believed to have assassinated his relatives to do so.
The Goth Warriors
The Goths were born of east Germanic ancestry and were vicious warriors who could fight the most trained and skilled foe. The Goths’ battle-hardened skills and their passion for the fight were more than a match for any warrior on the battlefield. For the record, let’s not forget that two Goth branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe.
The Frank Warriors
The Frank or Frankish warriors were the proud, battle-savvy Germanic tribe that eventually became the founders of France. The Franks were a powerful tribe even among the strong and bristling Germanic tribes of the time, and were often reported to be one of the largest too. As with any tribe that lived in war-torn times, the Franks needed good fighters and the Frankish warriors are considered some of the most cruel ever.
The Byzantine Kataphraktoi (Cataphract)
The term cataphract was not exclusive to the Byzantines. Derived from the Greek for “fully enclosed,” the adjective was used to describe the heavily armored cavalry of most armies in Anatolia and the Near East. The main function of the cataphract unit was not to battle against enemy cavalry units but to use their heavy armor and sheer mass to smash into infantry formations. Hence during battle the general would have the cataphracts wait until the right moment to charge into enemy infantry formations. Once deployed they would form in a blunt wedge formation twelve ranks deep. The main weapon of the cataphract was the kontarion or kontos lance. The lance was defined by a longsword-like blade and a butt spike at the other end, with a length varying from 2.9 meters to an impressive 4 meters.
The Māori Warriors
According to Seamus Fitzgerald, a Māori weapons historian, the Māori people ate, slept, and drank killing and fighting. War was common among tribes in New Zealand around 1300 AD, usually over land conflicts or to gain or restore mana (spiritual power and prestige). The Māori believed that mana could only be gained from ancestors or through combat, which was the main reason why fighting played such an important role in Māori culture.
The Aztec Warriors
The Aztec Empire was one that expanded rapidly. It’s not a surprise that Aztec warriors held an important place in the culture and society of central Mexico. The life of an Aztec warrior was really short by today’s standards, around thirty-seven years, during which he fought in numerous battles.
The Apache Warriors
There were no specific rules for an Apache when it came to fighting except, of course, the fact that his enemy had to be killed no matter what. These merciless warriors would train from a young age to wait during battle until the last possible moment to attack. Once they were within a few feet of the enemy, at the exact same time in unison all the Apaches would let out their war scream—AAAAAAARRR!, causing terror and panic in their enemies.
The Ancient Hawaiian Warriors
The ancient Hawaiian warriors were the battlefield fighters who would go to war for their territory and livelihood in the Hawaiian Isles. The elite Hawaiian warriors, commonly known as the Koa, were the chiefs’ main weapons and were their most well-trained and skilled warriors. In addition to the top skills of the Koa, the chiefs would employ hundreds of infantrymen and skirmish fighters to obtain their power, retain their rule, and ensure the future success of their islands.
The Celtic Warriors
It is believed that the Celts dominated Western Europe for as long as a thousand years and were a major widespread force. They were described as aggressive, intimidating fighters who would disregard body armor in battle. The basic history of the Celts traces them back to Austria, before spreading widely across Europe. The Celts lived a very simple life and didn’t create an advanced civilization like ancient Greece and Rome but remain some of the most brutal warriors mankind ever produced.
The Scythian Warriors
The Scythians were an ancient Iranian group that consisted of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who, throughout antiquity, dominated the Pontic-Caspian steppe, known at the time as Scythia. It is believed the Scythians epitomized the rise of the semi-nomadic peoples who excelled both in unorthodox warfare and horsemanship. In fact, many historians believe the Scythians had a lasting influence on the their neighbors. So much so that after one thousand years of their passing, the land that they once ruled (present-day northern areas around the Black Sea) was known as Greater Scythia.
The Assyrian Warriors
During their prime around the tenth to seventh century BC, the Assyrians dominated a vast territory that extended from the borders of Egypt to the eastern highlands of Iran. Many historians consider Assyria among the first “superpowers” of the ancient world and its army, one of the best trained and most brutal the world has ever witnessed.
The Medieval Knights
Training for knighthood during medieval times usually began at an early age. Often the prospective knight was sent to live with a relative or lord who had the resources to train the young boy in use of weapons and, most important, the skills to handle a horse in combat. Once his training was complete and he reached fighting age (usually around sixteen to twenty years old), he was ready to take part in wars and crusades in which he most likely would lose his life with honor.
“Viking” is the name by which the Scandinavian seaborne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known. More than the vicious warriors and raiders of tradition, the Vikings were also traders and colonists who left an enduring mark all over Northern Europe thanks to their glorified fighting skills, from which many epic tales were written that endure to this day.
The samurai were Japanese warriors who became the highest-ranking social caste of the Edo Period (1603–1867). A samurai employed a range of weapons such as bows and arrows, spears and guns, but his main weapon and symbol was the sword. A samurai was supposed to lead his life according to the ethical code of bushido (“the way of the warrior”). Strongly Confucian in nature, bushido stressed concepts such as loyalty to one’s master, self-discipline, and respectful, ethical behavior.
The Greek Phalanx
The Greek phalanx was a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar weapons. The phalanx became widely known through Alexander the Great’s army, which perfected this military formation helping their king becoming one of the most, if not the most, successful generals and conquerors of all time.
The Persian Immortals
The first Persian Empire (550 BC–330 BC), called the Achaemenid Empire, is known for having an elite warrior force. Named the “Immortals” by the Greek historian Herodotus, this army consisted of a heavy infantry of ten thousand men that never reduced in number or strength. The Immortals played an important role in Persian history, acting as both the Imperial Guard and the standing army during the empire’s expansion.
The Roman Legion
A full-strength legion was officially made up of six thousand men, but typically all legions were organized at below strength and generally consisted of approximately 5,300 fighting men including officers. They were originally heavily influenced by the Greek phalanxes of Alexander the Great but evolved further with new techniques of warfare, helping the Roman Empire to become one of the greatest empires the world has ever known.
The Mongolian Warriors
The Mongols were violent and extremely well trained in the art of war. Divided into groups of skilled archers and horse riders, the Mongolian warriors went up against some of the best organized armies of their time helping their leader, Genghis Khan, to create one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen.
Arguably the most famous military unit in history, the Spartans are rightfully considered the most ferocious and effective warriors in history. From the moment a Spartan male was born, the military and the city-state were the center of his life. If the infant was too weak or sick, he was abandoned in the countryside and left to die since he would never be a strong, healthy warrior.
The life of a Spartan soldier was inseparable from that of his fellow soldiers. He ate, slept, and trained with them. They were allowed to marry, but couldn’t live with their wives since they spent most of their time fighting in wars or training. They also didn’t participate in sporting events (such as the Olympics) since according to Sparta’s standards sports were for kids and women, men should only spend their energy fighting in wars.