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  • 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.

  • ori

  • Theori 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 theori'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.

From the medieval knights of Europe, in full plate armour, to the silent ninja-assassins