Nowadays, competing in fights is usually a choice that people make for themselves. Back in the days of continent-spanning empires and warring kingdoms, though, there were plenty of opportunities for legendary warriors to emerge from the field of battle. Let’s take a look at some of the most infamous warriors in ancient history.

  1. Galvarino

During the 16th-century Arauco War in Chile, between Spanish colonists and the indigenous Mapuche people, both sides were tremendously brutal. In one uprising against Governor Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, the Spanish defeated and captured some 150 Mapuche fighters, then mutilated them and sent them back home to serve as an example to the rest of their people. One of these warriors was Galvarino, whose hands were chopped off. For most people, having no hands signals one’s retirement from fighting. Not Galvarino, who fixed knives to the stumps of his wrists and went right back to fighting. He even got to kill Mendoza’s second in command.

  1. Arminius

Son of a Germanic tribal chief and captured by the Romans as a young man, Arminius became a soldier and citizen of the Roman Empire, receiving military training and knowledge in Roman tactics. He would, later on, unite some of the other tribes against the invading Romans, and used his knowledge to ambush them in the legendary Battle of Teutoburg Forest, in which three entire Legions were obliterated. As a result of this brutal defeat, the Romans never tried to take back Germania past the Rhine.


  1. Miyamoto Musashi

A popular figure in Japanese literature, Miyamoto Musashi is one of the greatest swordsmen who ever lived. He’s famous for slaying every single one of his opponents, having fought – and won – 60 duels to the death. How many people can say that they’ve fought even one duel? Not to mention that Musashi fought his first duel at age twelve, and did so with a stick, fighting against an opponent with a sword!

Aside from his duel, Musashi also fought in six wars, founded the Niten-ryū school of Japanese swordsmanship, and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a martial arts and military strategy text.

Do you have any more ancient warriors you’d like to talk about?