Greatest warrior cultures

From the medieval knights of Europe, in full plate armour, to the silent ninja-assassins of Japan. Which warrior culture from history, were the fastest, deadliest and most adept at killing? Who will take the crown? Let's find out. Aztecs First up is the ancient Mexican civilisation of the Aztecs. War was such an integral part of Aztec culture. That when a new Aztec leader was elected it was expected of him to immediately wage a military campaign against an enemy tribe to prove his worth. When Aztecs attacked an enemy they had two goals, firstly to take their land and make it theirs and secondly to take prisoners so they could sacrifice them to the gods. Making the Aztec warriors a force to be feared, because unlike most fighting forces that will give you a clean death the Aztecs were a lot more brutish when it came to disposing of their enemies. Prisoners of war would often be strangled or stoned to death during religious ceremonies. They were masters of fear and intimidation. In fact they designed a special musical instrument that had the sole purpose of intimidating the enemy before a battle. It was called the Aztec death whistle and it was in the shape of a skull; it produced a truly horrific sound. This is the noise it made when you blew into it. That's just one whistle. Now imagine a thousand Aztec warriors charging towards you whilst blowing on a thousand death whistles in a bone-chilling symphony. I don't know about you but I'd be off. Mongols The Mongols were an Asian army led by the revered Genghis Khan. They were focused on one goal - destruction. They destroyed and conquered everything in their paths. They took no prisoners and were widely considered as a bunch of barbarians and savages. Their combat skills however, have been matched by few throughout history. They fought on horseback and were masters of the bow and arrow. They specialised in shooting arrows whilst riding their horses at high speeds, and they were bloody good at it. They used a variety of different bows and arrows, such as the composite bow which specialised in ripping through armour. They also used their so called "howling" arrows that would emit a terrifying sound whilst flying through the air, this sound would disorientate the enemy and cause panic. Their fearsome fighting prowess allowed Genghis Khan and his Mongol army to conquer more of the world that any other empire in history. Māori The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They were well known for eating their conquered foes, because they believed they would gain their mana. Mana was at the core of the Māori's beliefs. Mana was believed to be spiritual power and prestige. The Maori would intimidate their enemies by performing a special dance before a fight called the Haka Peruperu. The same dance is still performed today by New Zealand's official rugby team, the All Blacks, before every game, to intimidate their opponents. Ninjas Next up are the masters of stealth, the silent assassins known as Ninjas. They started off as humble farmers, but unsatisfied with the way they were being treated by the samurai military. They trained rigorously in the shadows to become silent, deadly killers and rose up against the samurai. But, being poor farmers, they couldn't defeat the samurai in open combat, because, unlike the samurai they had no armour. So they devised ways to be unseen and kill the samurai when the least expected it, in the most underhanded and devious ways. They were known for their superior ability to kill and disappear in seconds. Owning weapons was illegal in Japan for anyone expect the samurai military. So ninjas had to fashion their weapons out of simple farming tools such as the sickle - which they turned into the deadly kusarigama. They also used a short sword called a ninjatō, similar to a Katana, but shorter. The ninjatō was lightweight and fast. They also had an arsenal of long range weapons such as the poisonous blowgun, the deadly shuriken, or ninja star. As well as black eggs which were egg shells painted black and filled with ground up shards of glass. Their purpose was to blind and disorientate the enemy, ninjas would throw them into their opponent's face, blinding them and causing agonising pain. Persian Immortals Next up is the Persian Immortals. They served as the imperial guard for the Persian Empire. The immortals were a group of heavy infantry that stood 10,000 strong. They got their name because they never seemed to die, every time an immortal died, fell ill, was injured or died in battle, they were instantly replaced by another reserve immortal - so there was always exactly 10,000. Also, if an immortal died during combat their body would be immediately pulled from the battle field by the other immortals, and replaced by a new immortal from the reserves. This was done to maintain the impression that they were un-killable, hence the name. They fought with shields and spears and also used a bow and arrow from afar. They weren't particularly skilled with the bow, but it didn't matter because they would overwhelm their enemies by firing thousands of arrows all in unison, leaving the enemy with nowhere to hide. Roman Legion Next up is the foundation of the Roman army, the Roman legion. They were the infantry that helped to conquer and create the most powerful empire in the history of the world, the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was large and wealthy and the Roman legion, therefore, had the best armour, swords, shields and spears that money could buy. They went to the effort of covering themselves in all that nice armour and then they wore sandals, seriously. But sandals aside, they were masters of the shield and spear combination. But what made the Roman legion and subsequently the Roman empire so successful was the fact that they were constantly adapting. As soon as they found fighting practices and techniques that were better than their own, they would instantly abandon their old ways in favour of the new techniques. This enabled them to always stay ahead of their enemies and hold the Roman empire for over 500 years. In training they would focus on mastering the thrust of a sword or spear, instead of the slash. The thrust was far more lethal when facing armoured opponents and meant the Roman legion had higher kill rates than their enemies during battles. Samurai Next up is a fearless band of warriors bound by honour and duty, of course I'm talking about the samurai. They mastered the sharpest sword that has ever been forged, the legendary, the deadly, katana. The katana could easily slice a man in half in the right hands. Samurai were highly trained and incredibly disciplined killing machines. They led their lives by the code of Bushido, meaning the "way of the warrior". But by far what made the samurai so unbelievably deadly was that they weren't afraid to give their lives for their masters. They were trained to believe that, before all things, a samurai should constantly keep in the forefront of his mind a simple, inevitable truth that "they had to die". And if they didn't achieve their goals or their master's goals before dying it was considered cowardly. Because of these beliefs, if a samurai failed in battle they would commit ritual suicide, often voluntarily, but sometimes as a punishment from their masters. This ritual suicide was known as "seppuku", and involved the Samurai stabbing himself in his stomach with a short sword then dragging the blade to the left or right to slice open his abdomen and disembowel himself. That's pretty darn gruesome and it meant only those with the strongest minds would become samurai warriors. This absence of a fear of death made the samurai the most fearless warriors that ever lived. The Vikings Next up, the most feared fighting force in Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Vikings. Barbaric in nature, their attacks were fast and brutal. They effortlessly mowed down everyone who dared get in their way. They raided and pillaged across almost all of Europe, often grabbing what riches they could before returning to their homeland of Scandinavia. The battle-axe was the weapon of choice for these nordic brutes, who were often large in size. Making them easily able to overpower their skinny little south-western European counterparts. However, the rumours that they had horns on their helmets and they drank out of the skulls of their enemies are complete myths. They were actually gentle giants. No, just kidding they were violent savages. Even their religion was centred around war and they believed that when a viking died they would go to Valhalla where they would prepare for an enormous battle called Ragnarök. But they did do some good for Europe, they were exceptionally good at trading with the rest of Europe, so we also have a lot to thank them for. The Medieval Knight Next up is the medieval knight, a fully clad, battle-hardened warrior that was a force to be reckoned with. Knights were the wealthiest and best trained warriors in the entire medieval world. Often fighting on horseback with only the best armour, shields and tempered steel long-swords. Knights trained their entire lives, mainly because they were idolised and young boys would often want to become knights from an early age. They were the upholders of piece and fought by a strict code of honour. All knights had to swear by the "Knights Code of Chivalry" which included lines such as "To protect the weak and defenceless", "To fight for the welfare of all" and "Never to refuse a challenge from an equal". That's right, knights were bound by law to always accept a duel, even if they happened to be in the middle of taking a bath or some other equally uncompromising situation. For this reason they had trusty squires who would always be by their side to have their armour, sword and shield handy. Spartans And lastly are, arguably, the most skilled fighters to ever grace the ancient world, the legendary Spartans. Spartans underwent brutal training their entire lives. At the tender age of seven Spartan boys were ripped from their family home and began the "Agoge" - the state-sponsored training programme. The Agoge was utterly relentless and violent, which prepared them for real-life combat situations. Unlike almost every other warrior in history, Spartans had no professions to distract them from training, they were not smiths, bakers or candlestick makers. They were one thing and one thing only: elite fighting machines, trained to kill and not to be killed. When a child was born in Sparta the mother would instantly bathe it in wine, to ensure it was strong. If the child was weak, it would die soon after. Later the elders would expect the baby, if it was found to be deformed in any way the poor thing was thrown from the top of a cliff into a chasm. This horrifically brutal treatment produced the greatest legion of close combat fighters the world has ever seen. They specialised in three main weapons: The spear which could kill a man several feet away, with a single trust. The short-sword and finally the most important part of their arsenal, the round Spartan shield, which was used just as much offensively as it was defensively. A spartan was covered in bronze from head to toe, they were like tanks - tanks that could stab things. The Spartans are best known for their heroic performance at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. When just 300 spartans, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, fought off 150,000 Persian soldiers for three days straight. The Spartans eventually lost the fight, but their display of courage, resilience and amazing fighting ability against an army that so greatly outnumbered them, has never been matched in all of history. For goodness sake there were 500 Persians for each Spartan, and they lasted three days, that's pretty damn impressive. The Spartans had a powerful saying that their wives would tell them before leaving for battle, "come back with the shield or on top of it." Which meant, don't come back unless you are victorious.

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