Education

Ranking the top 5 generals of all-time

There have been many great generals in World History. But who is the greatest?
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/henryliu114/" target="_self">Henry Liu</a>

Henry Liu

February 17, 2022
What is the goal of life? Some say it’s to get rich, others say to live and die with no regrets. However, many believe that the main goal of living is to leave a lasting legacy, in other words, to be remembered and honored throughout history.

This idea of legacy is likely a constant thought in most generals. To be honored and praised by his or her soldiers, to get the attention of history and to, “metaphorically,” live on forever in the memories of people. Many generals survive great trials and tribulations to live to see another day, but only a few truly became “immortal” for their accomplishments.

5. Sun Tzu

According to World History Encyclopedia, Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general who inspired many, although not much is known about Sun Tzu’s personal life, as there are not that many records of his life. But, he left behind one of the most inspiring books, “The Art of War.” In the book, Tzu gives his advice on winning wars. This book changed warfare to how it is today. Many generals took these ancient tactics to the battlefield and annihilated their opponent’s formations.

4. Genghis Khan

According to History.com, the ruler of the Mongol Empire stands as not only one of the greatest generals in history, but also one of the most ruthless. He ruled one of, if not the, strongest empires in history. According to the CDC, it is said that this general catapulted dead, infested bodies over the walls of a village to pillage it. This was an example of an early biological weapon.

According to China Highlights, Khan’s total kill count, including soldiers and civilians, was about 40 million people. Khan still lives in modern society today. According to Village Voyage, it is said that 1 in 200 people are descendants of the famous general.

3. Alexander the Great

According to the Greek City Times, Alexander the Great was known for never losing a battle under his command. According to Ancient Pages, Alexander was 20 when he became the King of Persia. Like all the other leaders, Alexander had the leadership. He ruled the great Persian empire, one of the largest empires in history. But, at 32-years-old, he died of an illness.

Alexander’s legacy was very short-lived, however, he is remembered as the undefeated hero.

2. Julius Caesar

According to Kid News, once a great Roman General, Julius Caesar was known to be a great inspiration for his troops, a great tactician and a great ruler who tried to reform society. Caesar was hailed by the people, as he was improving the economy, creating tax codes and regulating the grain for the people.

According to History.com, Caesar was regarded as a dictator. His senators believed that Caesar was a corrupt being only looking at the middle and lower classes, and stripping away the power of the nobles since the senators were all noblemen. In the end, Caesar was stabbed 23 times by his senators, the last person being “Brutus,” Caesar’s closest friend.

Caesar, today, is remembered as the tragic hero, who saved Rome.

1. Napoleon Bonaparte

According to History.com, Napoleon is regarded as one, if not the greatest general in history. Napoleon rose to power from the French Revolution. Napoleon was basically untouchable when it came to a head-on fight.

Even until his defeat, armies were no match for Napoleon’s tactics. Napoleon modernized warfare in Europe. Even back home, Napoleon created the “Napoleonic Code” which was more free laws.

Napoleon also fixed France’s economy with the Louisiana Purchase and he modernized society, ending the rule of the monarchy and the nobles. 

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