Some people say that armies are one of the most important factors in assessing the relative power of a nation and, when researching armies from different time periods you quickly realize that there are many different factors that make armies deadly. It’s not just about how big the army was or the exact number of people it killed; it’s also about the tactics used and the army’s impact on the enemy group. This is our list of the most feared armies in the world. Stay tuned to number one to find out who is considered the deadliest army today!
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Number 10: The Spartans
As one of the most feared armies of the Ancient Greek world, at the height of Sparta’s dominance, it was believed that one Spartan warrior was equivalent to seven warriors from any other state. At this time in Spartan history, the military took center stage of Spartan life, and it is said that men were bred specifically for war. The boys would remain with their mothers until they were seven years old and then they would be taken to the equivalent of modern day army boot camps. Plutarch, a Greek writer, wrote that the Spartan warriors ‘were the only men in the world with whom war brought a respite in the training of war’ – which gives you an idea of how much they trained. Sparta won many battles in numerous wars, like the Messenian Wars, the wars with Argos, The Persian Wars, The Corinthian War and the Cleomenean War; however they did ultimately lose in the Corinthian War, the Cleomenean War and others. Nevertheless, with an army of warriors who trained from such a young age, and with a reputation so well-known in the ancient world, they deserve a place on this list.
Number 9: The Army of Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon, later known as Alexander the Great, used his deadly army, which he inherited from his father, to create an empire that reached from Gibraltar to the Punjab…which was most of his known world at the time. Many have attributed much of Alexander’s success to his military leadership, and let’s face it, no matter how good an army is, it needs a good leader to be a successful. Alexander is considered by some to be one of the greatest military leaders in history.
This is how most western literature portrays him, but in the eyes of his Persian victims he was both feared for the destruction he caused and respected for the apparent regret he later felt for the destruction his invasion had caused. For its time, Alexander’s army was a formidable force and one you would not have wanted to fight against.
Number 8: The Ancient Roman Army
Over many centuries, the Roman army’s tactics, size, formation and fighting style changed and developed alongside changes in cultural traditional, political order and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. As Rome’s leaders sought to expand their territory in every direction, various Roman armies invaded as far north as Scotland, as far east as the Euphrates river, and as far south as the Saharan Desert in North Africa. Romans armies have boasted some of the greatest military minds in history, such as Julius Caesar and Scipio Africanus, the latter of which led a deadly army to conquer Spain and defeat Hannibal. All battles are crazy, but some of the battles fought by Roman armies resulted in deadly crimes, like when, after a two-year siege, the Romans finally defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. Upon defeating their enemies, they destroyed the city, slaughtered or enslaved the inhabitants and prohibited any surviving Carthaginians from settling the land in the future. Across the Roman world, before and during the Empire period, numerous Roman armies fought deadly battles using excellent tactics and military weapons that resulted in the formidable reputation the armies achieved.
Number 7: Mongol Army.
The Mongol Army, under the great medieval military leader Genghis Khan, is a good example of how size isn’t always the most important factor in creating a deadly army. People debate the exact size of Khan’s army at stages during his campaigns, but it’s believed the core of his army consisted of only around 23,000 horseman, known for their excellent riding and fighting abilities. He also hired mercenaries and had other soldiers as well, but on the whole, his army wasn’t as large as some of the ones they defeated.
At the time of his passing, though, the army numbered over 100,000 men. With his deadly army of well disciplined, expert, fighters he sent invasions in every direction. Those unfortunate to be on the wrong side of the army often faced horrifying atrocities, atrocities that some people have even compared to genocides. So not an army you’d want riding towards you!