The greatest military commanders in history

10. Mehded the Conqueror

Mehmed II  30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481 , best known as Mehmed the Conqueror, was an Ottoman sultan who ruled first for a short time from August 1444 to September 1446, and later from February 1451 to May 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. Mehmed is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world.

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9. Scipio Africanus

Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus 236–183 BC, also known as Scipio the African, Scipio Africanus-Major, Scipio Africanus the Elder, and Scipio the Great,was a Roman general and later consul who is often regarded as one of the greatest generals and military strategists of all time. His main achievements were during the Second Punic War where he is best known for defeating Hannibal at the final battle at Zama, one of the feats that earned him the agnomen Africanus.Although considered a hero by the general Roman populace, primarily for his contributions in the struggle against the Carthaginians, Scipio was reviled by other patricians of his day.

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8. Cyrus the Great

Cyrus II of Persia c. 600 or 576 – 530 BC,commonly known as Cyrus the Great  and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.

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7. Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan c. 1162 – August 18, 1227, born Temüjin, was the founder and Great Khan (Emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death.He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed “Genghis Khan”, he started the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. Campaigns initiated in his lifetime include those against the Qara Khitai, Caucasus, and Khwarazmian, Western Xia and Jin dynasties. These campaigns were often accompanied by wholesale massacres of the civilian populations – especially in the Khwarazmian and Western Xia controlled lands. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.

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6. Attila the Hun

Attilla frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. Attila was a leader of the Hunnic Empire, a tribal confederation consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, and Alans among others, on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe.During his reign, he was one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople. His unsuccessful campaign in Persia was followed in 441 by an invasion of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the success of which emboldened Attila to invade the West. He also attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France), crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Aurelianum (Orléans) before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.

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5.  Augustus

Augustus 23 September 63 BC – 19 August 14 AD was the founder of the Roman Principate and considered the first Emperor, controlling the Roman Empire from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.He was born Gaius Octavius into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian Octavii family. His maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and Octavius was named in Caesar’s will as his adopted son and heir, then known as Octavianus (Anglicized as Octavian). He, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, and Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC.

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4. Hannibal

Hannibal 247 – between 183 and 181 BC, fully Hannibal Barca, was a Punic military commander from Carthage, generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War. His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair.Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the Mediterranean Basin, when the Roman Republic established its supremacy over other great powers such as ancient Carthage and the Greek kingdoms of Macedonia, Syracuse, and the Seleucid Empire. One of his most famous achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army which included war elephants from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into Italy. In his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories—the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae, in which he distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and to play the battle to his strengths and the enemy’s weaknesses—and won over many allies of Rome. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years but was unable to march on Rome. An enemy counter-invasion of North Africa forced him to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama.

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3. Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte born “Napoleone di Buonaparte”  15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821 was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and again in 1815. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon’s political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

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2. Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar  13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.In 60 BC, Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar’s victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome’s territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused the order, and instead marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms.Civil war resulted, and Caesar’s victory in the war put him in an unrivalled position of power and influence.Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus

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1. Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC, commonly known as Alexander the Great , was a king (basileus) of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, and by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.During his youth, Alexander was tutored by the philosopher Aristotle until the age of 16. After Philip’s assassination in 336 BC, Alexander succeeded his father to the throne and inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father’s Panhellenic project to lead the Greeks in the conquest of Persia.In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire), and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Following the conquest of Asia Minor, Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety.At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River

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