Nations formed and empires have fallen because of their ability to defend their ideals, their freedoms and their way of life. A nation’s ability to survive historically is not with its political powers, truces, trade agreements or ability to perfect the art of the deal. A nation’s ability to survive and thrive has been based on its warriors and their beliefs above all things that they will win the day, grab victory on the battlefield and feel the love and support of their people behind them. They were volunteers, they were warriors that fought with every single ounce of energy they possessed to battle their foes and vanquish them. Regardless of the century, the nation it has always been about the warrior because even though weapons change warriors don’t!

List of 17 Bad Ass Ancient Warriors!

Marcus Cassius Scaeva

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Marcus Cassius Scaeva is probably the toughest Roman ever. He was a decorated centurion in Caesar’s army, who in his spare time, put his life at risk training with professional gladiators. During the Battle of Dyrrhachium, fought between Julius Caesar and the army led by Gnaeus Pompey, with the backing of the majority of the Roman Senate, Scaeva was fighting in the front ranks as usual when he was shot in the eye.

The injury was severe, and would leave him permanently blind. Yet, despite having a pretty bad case of arrow-shot-through-the-eye syndrome, Marcus yelled a battle-cry, removed the arrow, and kept on fighting and killing even more intensely. During the same battle, he was struck by two more arrows (sources differ, but it is believed that one pierced his throat and the other his knee), while hundreds of arrows bristled from his shield. Marcus managed even under these conditions to hold the line and keep fighting.

Melankomas Of Caria

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Melankomas of Caria was an ancient boxer hailing from the area now known as Turkey. Though it’s not known if he ever held a sword, what we do know is that he was never once touched by an opponent. An impressive feat for a guy whose job is literally “being punched in the face.” Melankomas’ ability to guard his dome piece was legendary, with some reports saying he could stand, completely still with his guard up for two days at a time, presumably just to show the Grim Reaper what was up.

By using a technique commonly known as “being a cocky asshole,” Melankomas was the king of slipping punches. His entire tactic revolved around deftly avoiding the blows of his competitors while maintaining an iron defense. In his entire, undefeated career as a champion Olympic boxer, Melankomas never threw a punch. Seemingly because he didn’t need to, since no one could touch him anyway.

Flamma

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Flamma, AKA “The Flame,” was an ancient Roman gladiator, who knew the importance of a bitchin’ stage name, thousands of years before a guy named Dwayne decided it’d be cooler to call himself The Rock.

Now the dream of almost every gladiator in history was to earn his freedom, retire, and throw rocks at poor people. Note the use of the word “almost” there, since Flamma only cared about one thing: fame. Flamma earned his freedom four times! He vehemently refused to accept it though, purely so he could keep stabbing people in the torso. Any way you look at it, it takes pretty huge cojones to choose potentially being stabbed to death over retirement. Kudos, Flamma.

Xiahou Dun

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Aristodemus
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Aristodemus was one of the guys from the movie 300. In the film, he was renamed Dilios, and was the guy who lost his eye and went back to heroically rally the rest of the Spartan army. In reality, he was shunned for refusing to die in battle like a man, when he lost his eye due to a crippling infection. So the film got it half right.

However, being disgraced lit a fire in Aristodemus’ belly that could only be quenched with the lung and brain matter of his enemies. In the battle of Plataea, Aristodemus became a veritable whirlwind of death when he embarked on a berserker-like suicide charge so ferociously badass that the stubborn Spartans decided to posthumously forgive him, and gave him a proper burial. Not bad for a guy with one eye and nothing to lose.

Cuauhtemoc

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Cuauhtemoc was elected as Emperor of the Aztecs while the city of Tenochtitlan was being ransacked by Hernan Cortés. Instead of fleeing, Cuahtemoc decided to remain in the city, presumably because the massive balls he had wouldn’t fit through the front gate. Upon assuming control of his people, Cuauhtemoc promptly decided to make Cortés’ life as difficult as possible, by turning his city into some type of Aztec Stalingrad.

Even after his city was racked by starvation, he tried to flee to the countryside to get more soldiers Even after being captured and tortured, Cuauhtemoc refused to tell Cortés or his men anything. Because when you’re the last representative of a great race of warrior people, you can’t flinch or cry on principle.

Galvarino

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Galvarino, in a nutshell, was a the Chilean version of Wolverine, if Wolverine was fueled by nothing but an intense hatred for everyone who didn’t have a gut full of knife wounds, and who strapped swords to the stumps where his hands used to be.

Galvarino totally did that. Maybe. You see, when he was captured by Spaniards, they ordered his hands cut off so he could be an example to his people. After Galvarino endured the torture without a word, he was sent back to his people. This is where history gets fuzzy; it’s rumored that he then strapped knives to the stumps, and started knife punching fools in the throat like it was a job. However, despite this being approximately the most awesome thing in the history of humankind, that fact is incredibly hard to find in any official document related to his story.

Still though, this was a guy who manned through having both of his hands chopped off and, when asked what he wanted to do about it, answered “tear them apart with my teeth.” Knife hands or not, that’s still one of the greatest lines ever uttered.

Agis III

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Chance are, you’ve probably never heard of Agis III. Even though he had one of the coolest last stands in the history of the recorded world, Agis III is still widely forgotten by history, probably because he was defeated another badass humbly known as Alexander the Great.

Even though he was eventually defeated, Agis III ruled Sparta for nine years, after the death of his father. He tried as hard as he could to fight against the incoming menace that was Alexander the Great of Macedonia, but wound up (like everyone else Alexander fought) on the losing end. He fell in battle after being wounded several times to the front of his body, then picked himself back up (bleeding heavily) and held the pass by himself to give his men time to escape. People were so afraid to come at him, this god of death on the battlefield, that he had to be killed by a thrown javelin instead of a sword.

Count Roland

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Count Roland is the unarguable response to all the nonsense about French men not being courageous or capable fighters. The man was literally unstoppable. He was the best and first among the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne. As we already know, Charlemagne was one of the greatest generals of all time, and he picked the very best to surround him. That alone made Roland a badass, but it pales in comparison to his deeds in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

His heroism and incredible warrior skills during the fighting in the Pyrenees in August of 778 made Roland an ultimate legend. Like a second King Leonidas, Roland fought against thousands, having by his side at one point only 300 of his men. Even though Roland and every single one of his Frankish warriors were finally killed, defeated by the Basques, his last stand was so incredibly heroic that it was celebrated in the 11th century by one of the earliest surviving works of French literature, the epic poem The Song of Roland.

Arminius

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Arminius was the very definition of a badass. Also known as Hermann, Arminius was a German tribal chief of Cherusci who gave the Romans the beating of their lives. The Roman Empire was still at its peak when Arminius brutally smashed the Roman army at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, where he literally destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries.

Even though Arminius was eventually defeated (he was murdered by rival Germanic chiefs), his victory was so impressive and so bloody, that it had an incredibly long-term effect on both the ancient Germanic tribes and on the Roman Empire. The Roman Legions would never again attempt to permanently conquer and hold Germania beyond the Rhine River.

Lu Bu

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Lu Bu was the “invincible warrior” from the Three Kingdoms period of Ancient China, and one of the most feared and powerful warriors in the history of the world. Renowned and infamous throughout all of China, the mere mention of his name was enough to send chills down the spine of even the most veteran warriors. Lu Bu was by all accounts a massive man, possessing immense strength, mastery of archery and horsemanship and incomparable hand-to-hand fighting prowess.

Lu Bu was adopted into a noble family where he proved his worth on the battlefield, but once the powerful warlord Dong Zhou offered him Red Hare, the fastest horse in all of China, Lu Bu flipped out, chopped off his adopted fathers head and began calling Dong Zhou papa. Paradise didn’t last for long, because when you’re a maniacal killer who chops his families heads off for horses, trouble seems to follow you. Lu Bu began sleeping with Dong Zhou’s most favorite and loved mistress, Diao Chan. Apparently, sleeping with a woman he loved was one of Dong Zhou’s bug-a-boos, and he presumably freaked out on Lu Bu. Sadly, like all men who attempt to yell at a treacherous killer, Dong Zhou ended up getting his head cut off. Lu Bu then fled into the countryside with his own personal army, and began killing pretty much anyone who shot him a look.

Miyamoto Musashi

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Miyamoto Musashi is without a doubt one of the finest swordsmen to have ever lived. Over the course of his lifetime, Musashi, a samurai from Japan, defeated over 60 people in life-or-death duels. These duels were all against highly skilled warriors, and they ended highlander style – there could only be one left alive at the end of each battle. His first duel was perhaps the most remarkable, as he won it at the mere age of twelve. His opponent was not only an adult, but a highly trained samurai. To make the story even more bat-shit insane, his opponent had a sharpened blade, while Musashi used a stick.

From that point on, until he was twenty-nine years old, he fought in over 60 more duels to the death and fought in six wars, often leading his men into battle. This is why, although the number of duels fought was 60, his total number of enemy kills is most likely much, much higher. During all of this, he never received more than a scratch.

Leonidas of Sparta

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Leonidas I was one of the two kings of Sparta during the Greco-Persian wars and the leader of one of the most ferocious military units in history: the three hundred Spartan hoplites. He’s remembered best for his unmatched boldness and fearless character, and rumor has it that during the end of the battle of Thermopylae he remained alone fighting against hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers before he was killed.

Alexander the Great

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Though he died at age thirty-three, the famous Greek king managed to conquer most of the then-known world and this is the reason why most historians consider him the greatest general who ever lived. He also fought on the front lines of every battle (unlike many other kings who just watched their troops fighting). He remained undefeated and took over every major kingdom of his day, such as Persia, India, and Egypt, among others, and he was the first king to spread Greek, and thus Western, civilization to other parts of the world.

Pyrrhus of Epirus

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Pyrrhus of Epirus was king of the Greek Molossians, and the one who gave the Romans hell. He was the first and only threat to Rome during its prime at the beginning of the empire. Actually he was the only man who kept beating the Roman legions. Some historians think that history would have been different if Pyrrhus had not been murdered in Argos. Hannibal Barca considered him the best general and the greatest warrior-king to ever live. Some of his battles, although victories, were so bloody and resulted in a terrible loss of life for his own men that they gave rise to the term “Pyrrhic victory,” an expression still in use today, especially in sports and politics.

Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu

Skilled and experienced in warfare matters during a time of unprecedented political and military turmoil, Sun Tzu was a military specialist active during the turbulent late Chou dynasty. However, he became a legend for writing about Chinese military strategy and martial arts in The Art of War, a book that continues to have an immense impact on both Asian and Western culture.

Eric Bloodaxe

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Erik Bloodaxe was a Norwegian prince and the last independent king of York. He became king of the Northumbrians twice, in 947 and 952 . He is considered one of the most legendary names in Viking history thanks to his incredible skill and bravery on the battlefield and his warrior spirit.