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Who is the greatest military leader of the medieval period?

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Poll Question: Who is the greatest military leader of the medieval period?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
48 [27.12%]
22 [12.43%]
1 [0.56%]
5 [2.82%]
4 [2.26%]
12 [6.78%]
17 [9.60%]
26 [14.69%]
19 [10.73%]
23 [12.99%]
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Exarchus View Drop Down
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  Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Who is the greatest military leader of the medieval period?
    Posted: 23-Dec-2005 at 16:12
Originally posted by Byzan

How about William of Normandy when he got England in 1066? As He got the English land, England became a rising world power after his reign...


But he wasn't undefeated wasn't he? He conquered England but couldn't defeat Scotland and also suffered setbacks in France.
Vae victis!
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Dec-2005 at 17:01
Most generals suffered defeats, including several on the list.
A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.
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  Quote demon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2005 at 15:31
What about Charles Martel?  He stopped the spread of Islam by defeating an outnumbering cavalry-based army with a band of unarmored man-at-arms at Tours.  The fact that his infantry units withstood several cavalry charge itself is unbelievable, given the conditions at that time.
Grrr..
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2005 at 21:55

^^^ Theres more than a few members on this site that would *fiercely*  dispute the size, importance of the *battle* of tours and would even dispute if it was a battle at all, if it even happened.

 I think there is to much doubt about Tours for Martel to get much of any credit from it.

A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2005 at 05:58
I am one of those anti-Tours fanatics who foams at the mouth when "decisive moment in world history" and "Tours" are placed in the same sentence . If anything, continuing Iberian resistance probably was more of a hindrance to Moorish expansion into France than Martel. That is if we ignore the even more important overstretching of Islamic forces and lack of time to consolidate conquests.
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2005 at 08:12
I agree that Martel was more of an opportunist, seeking particularly to destabilize Aquitaine by actually helping the Moorish raiders. Eudes the Great managed to defeat them in several occasions but Martel hostigated him as well from the north until Aquitaine was unable to resist on its own forces. Then, and only then, did Martel intervene securing his hegemony after both Aquitanians and Muslims had been weakened fighting each other. Wise but opportunist.

More important in this regard was Charlemagne, who not just expanded Martel's empire into Saxony, Italy and other regions, but also stabilished the Marca Hispanica, though some political errors costed him dearly (i.e. Roncesvaux).

While even Charlemagne is not undefeated, Al Mansur is. Abu Amir Muhammad ben Abi Amir al-Maafii, best known as Al Mansur (The Victor), favorite of the weak Caliph Hisham II and the actual ruler (dictator) of Al Andalus since 979 until his death in 1002, was never defeated in all his campaigns, that went through Spain and North Africa.

Yet, his efforts, that humilliated the Christian princes and secured temporarily the Cordobese hegemony on all Iberia and the Maghreb, only brought the Caliphate to the economical and political disaster. After his death, Al Andalus went quickly downhill until the Caliphate was dissolved in 1031.

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  Quote Mosquito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2005 at 20:28

You guys forgot about Samo who defeated Avars, formed first Slavic empire and with his slavic army defeated Franks at the battle of Wogatisburg and invaded frankish empire. A great career for someone who started as frankish merchant from Sens.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samo

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2006 at 17:53
IMHO the best military leader in medieval Europe was Jan Zizka (pronounce Yan Zheezhka). He was a Czech mercenary and the leader of Hussites. As a mercenary he fought in the biggest battles of this time in Europe. I mean Tannenberg/Grunwald 1410 and Azincourt 1415. After Jan Hus had died (pr. Yan Hoos), he became the leader of Hussites. He was a great military innovator. He won many battles with much bigger and stronger German armies if not all the battles.
The reason why I choose him is that, in fact, there is plenty of great military leaders but I do not know anybody who won the battle when blind except for Jan Zizka. Unfortunately, I do not remember where this battle took place. Nevertheless I remember that the circumstances were very unfavourable for Hussites but because of Zizka's genius they won. In addition, Zizka was blind during this battle but he overcame all handicaps and setbacks. Here you have more info about him - Jan Zizka

Edited by Dharmagape
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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Feb-2006 at 20:24
Yes, I agree with you. He was a very great general. He took an army of farmers, and converted farm implements(farm wagons, flails, pitchforks, etc.) into military weapons. He had some great victories with unfavorable odds. Also, the Wagenburg was a great innovation that makes him very famous. Being one of the first general's to use gunpowder weapons in masses puts him up there in the ranks.

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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Feb-2006 at 16:48
I do not know about the best,but i do not know that Belisarius was one of the best.
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  Quote Raider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2006 at 02:54
Originally posted by Dharmagape

IMHO the best military leader in medieval Europe was Jan Zizka (pronounce Yan Zheezhka). He was a Czech mercenary and the leader of Hussites. As a mercenary he fought in the biggest battles of this time in Europe. I mean Tannenberg/Grunwald 1410 and Azincourt 1415. After Jan Hus had died (pr. Yan Hoos), he became the leader of Hussites. He was a great military innovator. He won many battles with much bigger and stronger German armies if not all the battles.
The reason why I choose him is that, in fact, there is plenty of great military leaders but I do not know anybody who won the battle when blind except for Jan Zizka. Unfortunately, I do not remember where this battle took place. Nevertheless I remember that the circumstances were very unfavourable for Hussites but because of Zizka's genius they won. In addition, Zizka was blind during this battle but he overcame all handicaps and setbacks. Here you have more info about him - Jan Zizka
As far as I know he didn't fought at Grunwald (Its a widely prevalent misbelief), but I agree he was an exceptional general and hussites revolutionized infantry warfare.
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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Feb-2006 at 06:54
I don't know about Grunwald, but I know that I have never read anywhere that he served at Agincourt. It is very hard to say that he is the best, but he has one thing on most generals, he never lost one battle, and he did that whenever he was one-eyed and even blind for the last few years of his life.

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  Quote Dampier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2006 at 16:43

Originally posted by Raider

Originally posted by Dharmagape

IMHO the best military leader in medieval Europe was Jan Zizka (pronounce Yan Zheezhka). He was a Czech mercenary and the leader of Hussites. As a mercenary he fought in the biggest battles of this time in Europe. I mean Tannenberg/Grunwald 1410 and Azincourt 1415. After Jan Hus had died (pr. Yan Hoos), he became the leader of Hussites. He was a great military innovator. He won many battles with much bigger and stronger German armies if not all the battles.
The reason why I choose him is that, in fact, there is plenty of great military leaders but I do not know anybody who won the battle when blind except for Jan Zizka. Unfortunately, I do not remember where this battle took place. Nevertheless I remember that the circumstances were very unfavourable for Hussites but because of Zizka's genius they won. In addition, Zizka was blind during this battle but he overcame all handicaps and setbacks. Here you have more info about him - Jan Zizka
As far as I know he didn't fought at Grunwald (Its a widely prevalent misbelief), but I agree he was an exceptional general and hussites revolutionized infantry warfare.

 

Yeah Zizka was amazing. Even if he was a religous psycopath. As for fighting at Tannenburg...well he was commander of a nearby castle and its garrison so its possible but nobody knows for sure.

 

How about the Black Prince? (or King Arthur!). Or william the Conqueror who defeated his first enemy (who was superior in damn near everything) at age 16.

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  Quote Maljkovic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2006 at 16:09
Ziska is briliant, but Temujin is better, simply because his achievements were greater then Ziska's. He started with 13.000 men, turned them into an army and conqured the world. Beat that
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  Quote Travis Congleton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Mar-2006 at 18:36
I am quite surprised that Belisarius beats Genghis Khan by almost a margin of 2-1.  Some Top 10 Lists have Belisarius on them, but most Top 3 Lists have Genghis Khan on them.

Interesting, my vote goes to Genghis Khan.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2006 at 06:35

                     Hussite Infantry            Hussite Infantry and Wallachian Rider 
Hussite Wagonburg

I checked in the book about Hussites and their military campaigns and there is clearly written that Jan Zizka served both at Tannenberg/Grunwald and at Azincourt. But I do not exclude that the author is wrong. It may be a common myth that Zizka fought at Tannenberg/Grunwald as Raider wrote. I don't know. I have read merely one book on the Hussites so I'm not enough competent to express decisive opinions.



Edited by Dharmagape
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  Quote Maljkovic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Mar-2006 at 09:54
One thing about Belisarius... His campaign in Africa was a literal walk in the park. Vandals were never one of the most powerfull Germanic tribes, and the stay in Africa only weakened them further. The whole campaign went without a single battle, and not even a real siege!
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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2006 at 13:56
Originally posted by Maljkovic

Ziska is briliant, but Temujin is better, simply because his achievements were greater then Ziska's. He started with 13.000 men, turned them into an army and conqured the world. Beat that

First of all, Temujin did not conquer the world. Second of all, his armies were much better than the armies of the Hussites. The Hussite army was basically a gang of rough peasants. Zizka at most had 20,000 men versus the great combined armies of the crusaders from nearly every surrounding country. Just to defeat those armies is a great acheivement. And let's not forget that even with very small armies, the Hussites did pillage areas in Poland, Hungray, and Saxony. Heck, the even made it all of the way to the Baltic Sea.

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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2006 at 14:01
Originally posted by Dampier

Originally posted by Raider

Originally posted by Dharmagape

IMHO the best military leader in medieval Europe was Jan Zizka (pronounce Yan Zheezhka). He was a Czech mercenary and the leader of Hussites. As a mercenary he fought in the biggest battles of this time in Europe. I mean Tannenberg/Grunwald 1410 and Azincourt 1415. After Jan Hus had died (pr. Yan Hoos), he became the leader of Hussites. He was a great military innovator. He won many battles with much bigger and stronger German armies if not all the battles.
The reason why I choose him is that, in fact, there is plenty of great military leaders but I do not know anybody who won the battle when blind except for Jan Zizka. Unfortunately, I do not remember where this battle took place. Nevertheless I remember that the circumstances were very unfavourable for Hussites but because of Zizka's genius they won. In addition, Zizka was blind during this battle but he overcame all handicaps and setbacks. Here you have more info about him - Jan Zizka
As far as I know he didn't fought at Grunwald (Its a widely prevalent misbelief), but I agree he was an exceptional general and hussites revolutionized infantry warfare.

 

Yeah Zizka was amazing. Even if he was a religous psycopath. As for fighting at Tannenburg...well he was commander of a nearby castle and its garrison so its possible but nobody knows for sure.

 

How about the Black Prince? (or King Arthur!). Or william the Conqueror who defeated his first enemy (who was superior in damn near everything) at age 16.


But he couldn't even defeat the Scots at a much older age. I don't think he should be considered the greatest general in the Middle Ages, since most great generals can defeat easy enemies.


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  Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2006 at 14:45
Originally posted by Constantine XI

I am one of those anti-Tours fanatics who foams at the mouth when "decisive moment in world history" and "Tours" are placed in the same sentence . If anything, continuing Iberian resistance probably was more of a hindrance to Moorish expansion into France than Martel. That is if we ignore the even more important overstretching of Islamic forces and lack of time to consolidate conquests.


As much as I agree Martel is rather overrated. I wouldn't give the credits to the Iberian resistance. I would rather credit the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Siege of Toulouse.
Vae victis!
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