Is Zhuge Liang not worthy of being mentioned?

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DJjaffacake:
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Caesar was a general who became emperor, he fought a civil war against Pompey, and won. He crossed the Rubicon and fought a proper battle which he commanded. George Washington was the chief of staff of the American Army. Schlieffen had nothing to do with trench warfare, his plan almost worked, but the army advanced too far away from the railway lines and couldn't be supplied in time. Gandhi is possibly the greatest military leader of all time, he showed the world how you fight a lot of guys with guns when you don't have any guns.

The reason Rome has 3 slots is because Roman empire lasted from 509BCE to 1453CE and had a huge influence on the history of the entire EuroAsia landmass, so anyone able to save the Roman empire is a hero. Whereas a European... ... what's the most influence he can have? Being the king of Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy, England, and Ireland at the same time, now that's pretty influential right? Philip II did that, but England is still England, Spain is still Spain.

SckizoBoy:
[snip]

Have to disagree with your assessment of Hannibal, who has to be one of the greatest military leaders of all time:

He led an army of many thousand men across mountainous and difficult terrain, encountering various hostile tribes along the way. He won the battle of Trebia, against numerically superior forces, then Lake Trasimere, slaying 15,000+ enemy and killing their general. The result was so terrible that Rome adopted the Fabian strategy and simply refused to meet him in a pitched battle for many years.

That was before his greatest battle, Cannae, where he inflicted probably the greatest defeat ever suffered by a Roman army, utterly wiping out a force of about 50,000+, along with senators and other high-ranking people. He managed to subsequently turn a great deal of Italy against Rome, and would have marched on Rome has it not been for the losses his army had suffered. The only reason Hannibal ever failed was because he was in foreign territory for 17 years without major reinforcement and holding together different kinds of people.

True, Scipio won Zama against Hannibal, but he had much superior cavalry and was better resourced. And this was one battle... It doesn't make Scipio a superior general.

goodman528:
snip

I'm not denying that julius Caesar was impressive, it's just that this is a top ten, and therefore he isn't (in my opinion) that good, like I said, other Romans did equally impressive things. Being the Chief of the General Staff does not make you awesome automatically, I'm not sure what your point is here (that isn't meant to sound snobby). The Sclieffen plan isn't on its own responsible for trench warfare, no, but its underestimation of the Russians was a contributing factor, and since that's all he really achieved, I don't see him as one of the top ten ever. Again, if you're not fighting, you're not fighting, and while Gandhi was arguably the greatest leader ever, he was not a military leader.

Agreed, Rome had a huge influence, but saying that Europe didn't is wrong. The British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Empires controlled vast areas of the globe and brought their own culture. Much of Africa, the Americas, Australasia and even Asia are as they are today because of Europeans. And if you're going with being the king of lots of different places, how about the King of one quarter of the world.

Forgive my ignorance, but...

Why is Sun Tzu not on that list???

I dont know who that guy is, but again, I dont know that much about Ancient Chinese history. But looking at the list as is, it would seem hard to say where he would fit, it looks pretty tight right now.

I feel like I need to put my own list up for debate.

10 - The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. Called into action when the usurper Emperor Phocas when on a subject killing rampage. He took his small army and navy and attacked Phocas' forces. They rebeled and joined Hearclius. Heraclius killed off Phocas. Then he had to deal with the fact that the Persian Empire had invaded, the Persian King of Kings was friends with the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, the man that Phocas had killed to take the throne. He took his small force, and in a brilliant campaign beat four Persian armies in quick order, all of them lager then his own force, and forced the Persians to sue for peace. However, just a few years later the Muslim armies burst out of Arabia and the Byzantine Empire lost most of the land that Heraclius reconquered from Persia. That said...

9 - I see Saladin on a lot of lists but no Muslim commander was as great as Khalid ibn al-Walid, the "Sword of Islam" He was in some where around a hundred battles and won most of them. He conquered the Sassanid Persian Empire and almost did the same for the Byzantine Empire, only the mighty curtain walls of Constantinople kept the Muslims at bay. His crowing battle was Yarmouk, Khalid attacked a huge Byzantine-Allied army, the Arabs were numbered at 24,000. The Byzantines at 100,000. The Byzantine Army when down in crushing defeat.

8 - Hannibal Barca. The man that made the Roman Republic tremble in fear. Hannibal was a master commander that could beat forces much larger than his own. As the Roman learned at Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and, of course, Cannae. However his Honor got in way as he could not force the Romans Italian allies to join his side. They knew that Hannibal would not destroy them, so the only way the allies would lose is if they join Hannibal and Rome won in the end. So they stayed neutral and, indeed, Hannibal payed for it. He was called back to Carthage and was forced to defend it from the invading Romans, were he was defeated by Scipio Africanus. However, this does not rob Hannibal of his great victories and Cannae is still the ideal for a encirclement battle today.

7 - Ferdinand Foch. Sometimes giving an failing army the morale to fight on is as great as any tactic and few in history were as good as Ferdinand Foch. From playing the instrumental part in the French victory on the Marne in 1914. To restoring the French "Elan vital" after the 1917 mutinies. He also helped stop the German attack "Operation Michael" and won the Second Battle on the Marne. Also, at the first Marne he is reported to have said "Hard pressed on my right; center is yielding; impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent, I shall attack!" and that is awesome.

6 - Napoleon Bonaparte, First French Emperor. Why is Napoleon not higher on the list? Because I find his victories impressive, but not the man. He had little care for the lives of the troops under his command, after Austerlitz one of this sub-commanders asked him what will we do about the heavy losses and Napoleon said "The women of Paris can replace these men in a night". Part of being a good commander is keeping as many of your men alive as you can. Something Napoleon did not do, as his invasion of Russia shows us.

5 - Alexander Suvorov, the great Russian Count and one of the few that that clam to never have lost a battle. His "The Science of Victory" is a great treatise on military matters. His battles in putting down the Polish Uprising, fighting the Ottomans and in the French Revolutionary Wars are all brilliant, too many to name here so go look them up!

4 - Arthur Wellesley, The Duke of Wellington. The Iron Duke and the hero of Great Britain. Much like Suvorov his battles and tactics are the stuff of brilliance. From India to Belgium his destroyed his foes, he is or course known for beating Napoleon at Waterloo. Like Suvornov his victories are too many to count here so go look them up too!

3 - Flavius Belisarius. Belisarius' was a miracle worker with small armies. His crushing victories at Dara over the Persians, the battles at Ad Decimum and Tricamarum where he destroyed the army of the Kingdom of the Vandals. And his battles in the Gothic War all the great victories. Truly he deserves his title of "The last of the Romans"

2 - Genghis Khan. As someone said before me "Genghis Khan was more a force of Nature..." Anyone who is more a force of nature on the battlefield than a man is great. From this uniting of the Mongol Tribes to his conquest of the Shahdom of Khwarezm all were great victories to go down in history.

1 - Alexander the Great. Why is Alexander number one. It is true that many of the people on this list won more battles than him. But none of them have ever inspired people like Alexander, "The Blazing Star". Most of the men on this list, if asked who they would want to be like, they would say Alexander the Great. His victorious battles fighting Darius III and the Achaemenid Persian Empire are still studied today as textbook military victories.

Well there you go. Go ahead and pick it apart. I will admit that I do not like lists like this as there are many Commanders that I think belong in the "Greatest" slot.

(Edit: Sorry they get less descriptive at the end, I've been up all night and am starting to fall asleep at my computer so I needed to wrap it up, so to speak.)

Captcha "Fancy Pants" ...Ok

goodman528:
Chinese history is very well recorded, and very honest. The reason is very simple, in Chinese history it is a great honor to disagree with the current emperor, speak your mind at court, and be punished. If you do this, then your family can brag about it for generations. The greatest enemy of a Chinese emperor is his officials, whenever he does or doesn't do anything, there will be officials submitting official documents to say he is wrong. The voice of the people. This was one of the three founding principals of the Republic of China (1912), unfortunately communists won the civil war. However you only have to look at the number of people in China jailed under the "Inciting subversion of state power" law (most famously Liu XiaoBuo) to see this tradition is not lost.

Got any reading material you'd like to suggest? Primarily because I'll admit to not knowing that much about Chinese history, but also because I was of the general impression that in order to create the analogous cults of personality, Chinese kings/emperors shut up any naysayers and had their (loyal) civil servants shouting for the dissenters balls (figuratively and literally).

MasterOfHisOwnDomain:
Have to disagree with your assessment of Hannibal, who has to be one of the greatest military leaders of all time:

He led an army of many thousand men across mountainous and difficult terrain, encountering various hostile tribes along the way. He won the battle of Trebia, against numerically superior forces, then Lake Trasimere, slaying 15,000+ enemy and killing their general. The result was so terrible that Rome adopted the Fabian strategy and simply refused to meet him in a pitched battle for many years.

That was before his greatest battle, Cannae, where he inflicted probably the greatest defeat ever suffered by a Roman army, utterly wiping out a force of about 50,000+, along with senators and other high-ranking people. He managed to subsequently turn a great deal of Italy against Rome, and would have marched on Rome has it not been for the losses his army had suffered. The only reason Hannibal ever failed was because he was in foreign territory for 17 years without major reinforcement and holding together different kinds of people.

Relatively speaking, casualty count at Trasimene was actually barely lower than at Cannae (entire force wiped out by all accounts... there were approx 10000 survivors at Cannae who crawled back to Apulia). And you'll find that the Romans were shockingly impatient... Trasimene and Cannae were barely a year and a half apart...

Anyway, that's beside the point. If we're discussing commanders as tacticians, then I wholeheartedly agree, Hannibal stands head and shoulders above virtually everyone else around him (with a couple exceptions here and there), and I won't hear anything bad said about him. However, on no occasion did he attempt to follow up his tactical victory with a strategic advance on Rome or any of Rome's major vassals/holdings (with the possible exception of Capua). Perhaps he was aware of his limitations in siege inexperience, but he consistently failed to take full advantage of not so much the material victory in battle, but the moral victory. After Trasimene, the Romans didn't have any armies in the field close enough to Rome to counter him and yet he just headed south without doing much of significance. His failure to appreciate the Roman mindset (and that of the southern Graeco-Italians) was what doomed him (as much as the Carthaginian Senate's refusal to furnish him with reinforcements). Making allies of the Gauls and Latins was not his problem: keeping them was, as I mentioned in a previous post, he rarely endeared himself to the southern Italians as Herdonia and Tarentum both fell as a result of dissatisfaction with Carthaginian overlordship and the Capuans, Samnites and Bruttians made indifferent allies for Hannibal at the best of times even though he had united them all in a single alliance against Rome. Yet he made no concerted effort to concentrate them for campaigning. And while the number of troops that he personally commanded (I believe he entered Italy with about fifty thousand) was low, when up against how many troops the Romans fielded, he didn't exactly help himself because he never dictated the terms of engagement, only the engagement itself, which was a tad foolish given his position. Apart from Trebbia, none of the battles he fought were as a result of him taking the strategic initiative, and this was only to his detriment (victorious though he was) as it slowly eroded his army of his elite Africans and Numidian allies.

In comparison, every action Scipio took in Spain had strategic importance and he took full advantage of moral victories as well as battlefield ones. And in a mirroring of Hannibal in Italy, Scipio didn't receive any reinforcements from Rome either (contrary to popular belief, when he assumed the pro-consulship in 210, he commanded a sum total of twenty-two thousand troops in four understrength legions, one of which was an amalgamation of two of his father/uncle's legions after the debacle of Castulo/Ilorca). He needed allies quick, so he got them: the Suessetani, with whom he made an ad hoc deal just to prevent them from throwing their lot in with the Carthaginians too soon, but manages to eke about seven to eight thousand troops out of them and the Ausetani. As soon as spring comes around, he's off. In each of his battles both in Spain and in Africa, there was sufficient motive to fight beyond tactical victory, means to win it (with the exception of Bagrades, for which there is no reliable source for numbers present, he was outnumbered at each setpiece battle) and the presence/foresight to follow up each win with either political or further military action, whether it be to secure allies (Siege of Carthago Nova), liberate (Ilipa) or spread terror (Bagrades).

No disrespect to Hannibal, but aside from being compelled into action, few of his battles had real motive, nor did he seek to give any of his victories any immediate significance beyond the feel good/feel bad for ally/enemy respectively. And unlike Hannibal, any wavering of the support from his allies was diplomatically dealt with (I refer to the post Ilipa rebellion of his Iberian allies when they were free from Carthage and so wanted their suzerainity back). I don't know what Hannibal did, if anything at all, to shore support for him among the Italian tribes, but whatever it was, it didn't work, and that sort of reinforces my belief that he didn't fully comprehend either what they wanted or what they needed (beyond freedom from Rome).

True, Scipio won Zama against Hannibal, but he had much superior cavalry and was better resourced. And this was one battle... It doesn't make Scipio a superior general.

First bit, yes, but that's rather a 'duh' observation since both commanders realised by then that cavalry could and would be a decisive factor. However, Hannibal had 80 elephants at Zama (more than he ever commanded throughout the entire war) who were dealt with to the extent that their involvement was a bit of a sideshow.

As for the second bit... no, no, no, no, no... When Scipio first landed in Sicily (which he was allocated for his consulship in 205), all he was given command of was the survivors of Cannae, which by this time were a ragtag bunch of about eight thousand. He did all recruitment virtually personally, obtained cavalry at no expense to either himself or the state and set off with what he had (approx 35000). The only reinforcements he would receive would be about ten thousand from Masinissa (and I hate it when people say he betrayed Carthage, because he owed them no loyalty when they backed Syphax to be king of Massylia, who was fleetingly a Roman ally as well). Utica and Bagrades put paid to roughly eighty thousand Africans (and Iberian mercenaries), much like Trebbia and Trasimene only in reverse chronological order, the difference being, he marched on Carthage and had them scared shitless much like Hannibal did. That they sued for peace is neither here nor there, so I'll proceed. As soon as Hannibal had been recalled, the Carthaginians raided and stripped clean a supply convoy that was supposed to replenish Scipio's army, so he was hardly in an easy position to conclude the way he wanted to, and yet he adapts.

So, at Zama, numbers of horsemen aside, Hannibal held the advantage in every way, and yet he squandered the advantage he had of fighting on home soil be letting Scipio lead him on. When Hannibal landed in Lepcis Minor and got his army on the move, Scipio was about fifty miles south-west of Tunis. He marched west away from Hannibal and instead of consolidating his position, Hannibal followed (primarily because Scipio was pillaging as he went and everyone demanded action). This forced Hannibal away from his military base and Scipio closer to his (even though he technically didn't have one, I'm counting it as Kirtha, since that was where Masinissa was). And prior to the battle itself, Scipio manouevred in such a way that his camp was about five hundred yards away from the tributary of the river both armies were following. To prevent himself from being exposed, Hannibal had to camp further away and over a few days, he lost a small chunk of his army to Scipio's raiding parties whenever they tried to collect water and ended up fighting with a dehydrated army. No wonder Scipio's thirty-four thousand stood up to Hannibal's fifty-thousand for the duration in what was ostensibly a wide front line of battle engagement... and to rub it in, before the commitment of the triarii, he retired them for a mid-afternoon drink. I'll leave out the elephant killing tricks...

So yes, I do believe Scipio was a superior all round general for the reasons mentioned. That and the fact that he was also very self-effacing for so renowned a military figure, despite his widely known public confidence. He was kept as consul until 203, and upon his Triumph, he was offered the Consulship in Perpetuity, the Dictatorship and Pontifex Maximus (communal with the gods and all that guff). All of which, he refused, even though it would've been all too easy to accept.

I don't know who any of those people are.

Pang Tong too.

Gentleman Adventurer:
snip

Credit to you, that's a very good list, my only criticism is that it's a bit Eurocentric.

You're going off the fact that history, and humanity is one big fish story. And the fish gets bigger every century or so.
How many of those military minds were the true heroes of the day and not the survivors who claimed glory?

DJjaffacake:

Credit to you, that's a very good list, my only criticism is that it's a bit Eurocentric.

True, but I am a product of my upbringing in small town America. Although if I bought everything I was told in school every name on the list would just be "George Washington". But, aside from the Mongols, I don't know that much about the military history of Asia. I have read the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" but I don't know how much of that is fact and how much is fiction. I did find both Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi fascinating, but they seemed more like statesmen than battlefield commanders.

Odbarc:
Pang Tong too.

He only organised and advised taking over Cheng Du.

Even though it was a success in the end, Pang Tong died during the siege of Luo so we never got to see the extent of his skills.

DarkRyter:
I don't know who any of those people are.

You've never heard of Napoleon?

Gentleman Adventurer:

True, but I am a product of my upbringing in small town America. Although if I bought everything I was told in school every name on the list would just be "George Washington". But, aside from the Mongols, I don't know that much about the military history of Asia. I have read the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" but I don't know how much of that is fact and how much is fiction. I did find both Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi fascinating, but they seemed more like statesmen than battlefield commanders.

Believe me, any I did would be no better, and probably worse, I find European and Middle Eastern history fascinating, but I'm not really interested in Africa,the Americas or the Far East except Genghis Khan.

BlackSaint09:

10:George Patton
09:Jeanne D'Arc(Forgive me if i misspelled it)
08:Attila
07:Genghis Khan
06:William the Conqueror
05:Georgi Zukov
04:Saladin
03:Hannibal
02:Alexander the Great
01:Napoleon Bonaparte

They put Napoleon above Alexander? If I am not mistaken, didn't Napoleon make a few huge blunders (like the Russian invasion fiasco) and got bested quite few times while Alexander pulled off decisive victories against much larger armies and lost 0 battles? Hannibal wasn't really that good either, losing the one battle against a competent Roman commander he had (the Battle of Zama). Atilla was defeated in his only major battle as well (The Romans and Visigoths sent the Huns home at Chalons).
That list needs redone and they need to add the only other undefeated general in history, the Russian commander Alexander Suvorov.

SckizoBoy:

I should've seen that coming... _ all I think of when someone mentions ancient France is Trans-alpine Gaul and little else. Yes, the Celtic influence was quite diverse, and I think the Turkish tribe you're referring to are the Galatians. I was pondering the Illyrians, thanks to that myth of the 'barbarian sons' Celtus, Illyrius and Galas...

Still, for someone who loves this kind of history, I know surprisingly little of Caesar's British expeditions... *sigh* here goes for book hunting.

And while Bulgaria was the was the last to have a titular namesake of him, every language group of Europe, north Africa and the middle east translate the word 'emperor' to some variation of 'Caesar'. Only the Romance languages and English does the etymology come from 'imperator'. I find it amusing, if nothing else (Augustus and all that).

There isnt much to know about the British expeditions. They had by and large 2 aims, the 1st a propaganda coup for himself and second to ensure there was no safe haven for gaulish rebels across the channel. Educated Romans had heard of Britain and considered it the edge of the world, so Ceaser had reached somewhere that even Alexander hadn't been. Ceaser used the normal tribal conflicts to ensure that the SE of England didn't become a centrer for raids by Gauls. He alied with one and aided them in fight with there northern neighbours to remove the threat.

The title came back into use in the Byzantine period. During the later era of Byzantine empire significant title inflation took place due to weak emperors having to reward friends and buy off enemies. Hence the come usage in the east while not been used in the west.

Scipio - the man with whose death spelled the rise of the Roman Republic.

Caesar - the man with whose death spelled the fall of the Roman Republic.

Never fails to amuse...

Personally I always believed that Caesar only nailed down the lid of the coffin. I think the conflict between his brothers in law, Marius and Sulla have effectively ended the republic a generation before. The Republic had been becoming increasingly unstable for years. The conflict between Cato and Scipio stopped short of civil war but only just. The Gracchi's rise and fall led to open political violence in Rome. The war between Sulla and Marius followed by unconstitutional commands for the young Gnaeus Pompey. Add in the Catiline conspiracy and Cicero reaction to it pretty much threw the rule book out of the window.

SckizoBoy:
[snip]

Thanks for that, didn't know too much about Zama. But I think what has to be taken into account is the fortitude of the Romans throughout - after suffering the kind of defeats Hannibal had inflicted, especially the situation after Cannae, other peoples would have sued for peace on any terms. Maybe the Cathaginians, Hannibal included, weren't prepared for it?

MasterOfHisOwnDomain:

Thanks for that, didn't know too much about Zama. But I think what has to be taken into account is the fortitude of the Romans throughout - after suffering the kind of defeats Hannibal had inflicted, especially the situation after Cannae, other peoples would have sued for peace on any terms. Maybe the Cathaginians, Hannibal included, weren't prepared for it?

By the normal rules of war that operated during the period, Rome would have been expected to sue for peace. Its one of histories great might have beens if Hannibal had marched on Rome in the immediate aftermath of Cannae. He didn't have siege equipment and had limited logistics but the question is after the shock of defeat, would Rome itself stood? Its basic flaw in Hannibal's career is that he was unable to turn total tactical victory into strategic victory.

albino boo:
The title came back into use in the Byzantine period. During the later era of Byzantine empire significant title inflation took place due to weak emperors having to reward friends and buy off enemies. Hence the come usage in the east while not been used in the west.

Tks for the heads up on Caesar/Britain. Most I know about him was when he was in the east or just post-Gallic Wars in general.

Anyway, I thought Heraclius was the last to use Caesar... Belisarius being the title of choice, primarily because of the Greek culture and origin of the word.

Personally I always believed that Caesar only nailed down the lid of the coffin. I think the conflict between his brothers in law, Marius and Sulla have effectively ended the republic a generation before. The Republic had been becoming increasingly unstable for years. The conflict between Cato and Scipio stopped short of civil war but only just. The Gracchi's rise and fall led to open political violence in Rome. The war between Sulla and Marius followed by unconstitutional commands for the young Gnaeus Pompey. Add in the Catiline conspiracy and Cicero reaction to it pretty much threw the rule book out of the window.

True, but beginning/end wouldn't quite have worked in that ditty! =P

Oh, and the Cato/Scipio affair. Regardless of whether you read Polybius/Livy... not a pleasant episode and one not widely reported/known, particularly the Locrian massacre (Pleminius, I think his name was). Cato/Fabius and co blamed Scipio, but Crassus was nowhere to be seen at this time and it should've been his responsibility, even though Scipio was geographically closer. Still, were it not for the immediate public adoration for Scipio just afterwards, it might've come to blows, since Scipio initially negotiated almost generous peace terms and wanted Carthage to thrive post-war while Cato wanted the place razed and both were quite vocal about their views.

That makes an interesting question: what is the best way to prevent the vanquished from taking up arms again? One - total destruction (Cato), two - severe oppression (in effect) (actual result), or three - clemency with respect to the citizenry (Scipio). It's very difficult to gauge.

MasterOfHisOwnDomain:
Thanks for that, didn't know too much about Zama. But I think what has to be taken into account is the fortitude of the Romans throughout - after suffering the kind of defeats Hannibal had inflicted, especially the situation after Cannae, other peoples would have sued for peace on any terms. Maybe the Cathaginians, Hannibal included, weren't prepared for it?

Quite so... this was one of the first genuinely strategically attritional wars fought and Rome dug really deep.

SckizoBoy:

Tks for the heads up on Caesar/Britain. Most I know about him was when he was in the east or just post-Gallic Wars in general.

Anyway, I thought Heraclius was the last to use Caesar... Belisarius being the title of choice, primarily because of the Greek culture and origin of the word.

Belisarius was the title of choice due the largely greek nature of the empire after the collapse of the western holdings recovered during the regin of Justinian. The Title slowly became divorced from the imperial family and devalued in rank. As early as the 700s the Bulgar khans had been awarded it. Caeser within the empire became a way of showing favour upon the more powerful nobles but the title was not hereditary. Outside of the empire it became the name the rulers of theoretically tributary states. Most them had plans to grab the empire for themselves so they didn't take the title of Belisarius. The awarding of Ceaser to non members of the imperial family meant it dropped down the ranks. By the 1200s both Despot and Sebastokrator being ahead in the order of precedents.

albino boo:
Belisarius was the title of choice due the largely greek nature of the empire after the collapse of the western holdings recovered during the regin of Justinian.

Sorry, but its Basileus (lit. "King") not Belisarius. Flavius Belisarius was one of Justinian I's best commanders and instrumental in the reconquest of the west, but Belisarius was his name, not a title. If your wondering, "Autokartor", were we get the English word autocrat from, is the closest Greek work for the Latin title "Imperator" and means the same thing.

Fappy:
I think it may be due to the fact that a lot of the history that came out of the Three Kingdoms era is hard to confirm. From what I understand there is a lot of myth/legend surrounding the events that took place during that time.

Zhuge Liang was a bamf though, he deserves to be on that list.

Well, that and the fact that the list reads more like "most popular military leaders, since these are the only guys whose names you will actually know."

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