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Great Leaders in The Art of War

Who do you think was the greatest leader in the art of war? Your criterion for what "greatest" is may vary. Whether it be lasting influence, strategic intelligence, leadership ability, or the number of victories won, you would have to decide.

Below is a fairly comprehensive list with brief biographies, courtesy of Enjoy!

  • Alan Francis Brooke

    Born July 23, 1883, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Fr.
    Died June 17, 1963, Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, Eng.

    British field marshal and chief of the Imperial General Staff during World War II. Educated in France and at the Royal Military Academy (Woolwich), he served in World War I. Between the world wars he distinguished himself in staff duties and was in charge of military training (1936–37).

  • Alaric The Goth

    Born c. 370,, Peuce Island [now in Romania]
    Died 410, Cosentia, Bruttium [now Cosenza, Italy]

    Chief of the Visigoths from 395 and leader of the army that sacked Rome in August 410, an event that symbolized the fall of the Western Roman Empire. A nobleman by birth, Alaric served for a time as commander of Gothic troops in the Roman army.

  • Alba, Fernando Alvarez de Toledo

    Born Oct. 29, 1507, Piedrahita, Old Castile, Spain
    Died Dec. 11, 1582, Lisbon [Portugal]

    Alba also spelled Alva Spanish soldier and statesman famous for his conquest of Portugal (1580) and notorious for his tyranny as governor-general of the Netherlands (1567–73). In the Netherlands he instituted the Council of Troubles (nicknamed the Council of Blood), which set aside local laws and condemned thousands.

  • Albrecht Von Wallenstein

    Born Sept. 24 [Sept. 14, old style], 1583, Hermanice, Bohemia
    Died Feb. 25, 1634, Eger

    Wallenstein also spelled Waldstein, Czech Albrecht Václav Eusebius z Valdštejna, or Valštejna Bohemian soldier and statesman, commanding general of the armies of the Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II during the Thirty Years' War. His alienation from the Emperor and his political-military conspiracies led to his assassination.

  • Alcibiades

    Born c. 450 BC, Athens [Greece]
    Died 404, Phrygia [now in Turkey]

    Brilliant but unscrupulous Athenian politician and military commander who provoked the sharp political antagonisms at Athens that were the main causes of Athens' defeat by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC).

  • Aleksandr Suvorov

    Born Nov. 24 [Nov. 13, old style], 1729, Moscow
    Died May 18 [May 6, O.S.], 1800, St. Petersburg, Russia

    Russian military commander notable for his achievements in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91 and in the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1789 he was created a Russian count and a count of the Holy Roman Empire; in 1799 he was created a Russian prince.

  • Alexander The Great

    Born 356 BC, Pella, Macedonia
    Died June 13, 323 BC, Babylon

    Also known as Alexander III or Alexander of Macedonia king of Macedonia (336–323 BC). He overthrew the Persian Empire, carried Macedonian arms to India, and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms. Already in his lifetime the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a full-scale legend.

  • Alfred Thayer Mahan

    Born Sept. 27, 1840, West Point, N.Y., U.S.
    Died Dec. 1, 1914, Quogue, N.Y.

    American naval officer and historian who was a highly influential exponent of sea power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mahan was the son of a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., in 1859 and went on to serve nearly 40 years of active duty in the U.S. Navy.

  • Alfred The Great

    Born 849
    Died 899

    Also spelled Aelfred, byname Alfred The Great king of Wessex (871–899), a Saxon kingdom in southwestern England. He prevented England from falling to the Danes and promoted learning and literacy. Compilation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle began during his reign, c. 890.

  • Antoine Henri Jomini

    Born March 6, 1779, Payerne, Switz.
    Died March 24, 1869, Passy

    French general, military critic, and historian whose systematic attempt to define the principles of warfare made him one of the founders of modern military thought.

  • Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington)

    Born May 1, 1769, Dublin, Ire.
    Died Sept. 14, 1852, Walmer Castle, Kent, Eng.

    Byname Iron Duke British army commander during the Napoleonic Wars and later prime minister of Great Britain (1828–30). He first rose to military prominence in India, won successes in the Peninsular War in Spain (1808–14), and shared in the victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).

  • Attila The Hun

    Died 453

    Byname Flagellum Dei (Latin: Scourge of God) king of the Huns from 434 to 453 (ruling jointly with his elder brother Bleda until 445). He was one of the greatest of the barbarian rulers who assailed the Roman Empire, invading the southern Balkan provinces and Greece and then Gaul and Italy. In legend he appears under the name Etzel in the Nibelungenlied and under the name Atli in Icelandic sagas.

  • Babur

    Born February 15, 1483, principality of Fergana [now in Uzbekistan]
    Died December 26, 1530, Agra, India

    Also spelled Babar, or Baber, original name Zahir-ud-din Muhammad emperor (1526–30) and founder of the Mughal dynasty of India, a descendant of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan and also of Timur (Tamerlane). He was a military adventurer and soldier of distinction and a poet and diarist of genius, as well as a statesman.

  • Bayezid I

    Born c. 1360
    Died March 1403, Aksehir, Ottoman Empire

    Byname Yildirim (The Thunderbolt) Ottoman sultan in 1389–1402 who founded the first centralized Ottoman state based on traditional Turkish and Muslim institutions and who stressed the need to extend Ottoman dominion in Anatolia.

  • Belisarius

    Born c. 505,, Germania, Illyria? [Greece]
    Died March 565

    Byzantine general, the leading military figure in the age of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (527–565). As one of the last important figures in the Roman military tradition, he led imperial armies against the Sasanian empire (Persia), the Vandal kingdom of North Africa, and the Ostrogothic regime of Italy.

  • Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

    Born December 18, 1912, Washington, D.C., U.S.
    Died July 4, 2002, Washington, D.C.

    In full Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. pilot, officer, and administrator who became the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force. His father, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., was the first African American to become a general in any branch of the U.S. military.

  • Bernard Montgomery

    Born Nov. 17, 1887, London, Eng.
    Died March 24, 1976, near Alton, Hampshire

    Byname Monty British field marshal and one of the outstanding Allied commanders in World War II.

    Of Ulster stock, Montgomery was educated at St. Paul's School, London, and the Royal Military Academy (Sandhurst). He distinguished himself during World War I and remained in the army, acquiring a reputation as an efficient and tough leader.

  • Brian Boru

    Born 941, near Killaloe, Ire.
    Died Apr. 23, 1014, Clontarf, near Dublin

    Also called Brian Boru high king of Ireland from 1002 to 1014.

    In 976 Brian became king of a small state, later called Dál Cais, and also king of Munster, whose Eóghanachta rulers had been defeated (964) by Brian's half brother. Brian destroyed first the Eóghanachta septs and then the Northmen, constructing a fleet to drive them from the Shannon.

  • Canute

    Died Nov. 12, 1035

    Byname Canute the Great, Danish Knut, or Knud, den Store, Norwegian Knut den Mektige Danish king of England (1016–35), of Denmark (as Canute II; 1019–35), and of Norway (1028–35), who was a power in the politics of Europe in the 11th century, respected by both emperor and pope.

  • Carl Gustav Emil von Mannerheim

    Born June 4, 1867, Villnäs, Fin.
    Died Jan. 27, 1951, Lausanne, Switz.

    In full Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim Finnish military leader and conservative statesman who successfully defended Finland against greatly superior Soviet forces during World War II and served as the country's president (1944–46).

  • Charlemagne

    Born April 2, c. 742
    Died Jan. 28, 814, Aachen, Austrasia [now in Germany]

    Also called Charles I, byname Charles the Great, French Charles le Grand, Latin Carolus Magnus, German Karl der Grosse king of the Franks (768–814), king of the Lombards (774–814), and emperor (800–814).

    As king of the Franks, Charlemagne conquered the Lombard kingdom in Italy, subdued the Saxons, annexed Bavaria to his kingdom, fought campaigns in Spain and Hungary.

  • Charles Martel

    Born c. 688
    Died Oct. 22, 741, Quierzy-sur-Oise [France]

    Latin Carolus Martellus, German Karl Martell mayor of the palace of Austrasia (the eastern part of the Frankish kingdom) from 715 to 741. He reunited and ruled the entire Frankish realm and stemmed the Muslim invasion at Poitiers in 732. His byname, Martel, means “the hammer.”

  • Charles XII

    Born June 17, 1682, Stockholm
    Died Nov. 30, 1718, Fredrikshald, Nor.

    King of Sweden (1697–1718), an absolute monarch who defended his country for 18 years during the Great Northern War and promoted significant domestic reforms. He launched a disastrous invasion of Russia (1707–09), resulting in the complete collapse of the Swedish armies and the loss of Sweden's status as a great power.

  • Chester Nimitz

    Born Feb. 24, 1885, Fredericksburg, Texas, U.S.
    Died Feb. 20, 1966, near San Francisco

    Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during World War II. One of the navy's foremost administrators and strategists, he commanded all land and sea forces in the Pacific area.

  • Chiang Kai-Shek

    Chiang Kai-Shek

    Born October 31, 1887, Chekiang province, China
    Died April 5, 1975, Taipei, Taiwan

    Wade-Giles romanization Chiang Chieh-shih, official name Chiang Chung-cheng soldier and statesman, head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928 to 1949, and subsequently head of the Chinese Nationalist government in exile on Taiwan.

  • Chief Joseph

    Born c. 1840,, Wallowa Valley, Oregon Territory
    Died Sept. 21, 1904, Colville Reservation, Wash., U.S.

    Indian name In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat. Nez Percé chief who, faced with settlement by whites of tribal lands in Oregon, led his followers in a dramatic effort to escape to Canada.

  • Clovis of the Franks

    Born c. 466
    Died November 27, 511, Paris, France

    King of the Franks and ruler of much of Gaul from 481 to 511, a key period during the transformation of the Roman Empire into Europe. His dynasty, the Merovingians, survived more than 200 years, until the rise of the Carolingians in the 8th century. While he was not the first Frankish king, he was the kingdom's political and religious founder.

  • Colin Campbell

    Born Oct. 20, 1792, Glasgow, Scot.
    Died Aug. 14, 1863, Chatham, Kent, Eng.

    Also called (1849–58) Sir Colin Campbell British soldier who was commander in chief of the British forces in India during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

  • Colin Powell

    Born April 5, 1937, New York, New York, U.S.

    In full Colin Luther Powell chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–93) and secretary of state from 2001, the first African American to hold either position.

  • Constantine The Great

    Born February 27, after AD 280?, Naissus, Moesia [now Niš, Yugos.]
    Died May 22, 337, Ancyrona, near Nicomedia, Bithynia [now Izmit, Tur.]

    Byname Constantine the Great, Latin in full Flavius Valerius Constantinus the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity. He not only initiated the evolution of the empire into a Christian state but also provided the impulse for a distinctively Christian culture that prepared the way for the growth of Byzantine and Western medieval world.

  • Cyrus The Great

    Born 590–580 BC, Media, or Persis [now in Iran]
    Died c. 529, Asia

    Byname Cyrus The Great conqueror who founded the Achaemenian empire, centred on Persia and comprising the Near East from the Aegean Sea eastward to the Indus River. He is also remembered in the Cyrus legend—first recorded by Xenophon, Greek soldier and author, in his Cyropaedia —as a tolerant and ideal monarch.

  • David Farragut

    Born July 5, 1801, near Knoxville, Tenn., U.S.
    Died Aug. 14, 1870, Portsmouth, N.H.

    In full David Glasgow Farragut U.S. admiral who achieved fame for his outstanding Union naval victories during the American Civil War (1861–65).

  • Douglas MacArthur

    Born Jan. 26, 1880, Little Rock, Ark., U.S.
    Died April 5, 1964, Washington, D.C.

    U.S. general who commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre in World War II, administered postwar Japan during the Allied occupation that followed, and led United Nations forces during the first nine months of the Korean War.

  • Dwight Eisenhower

    Born Oct. 14, 1890, Denison, Texas, U.S.
    Died March 28, 1969, Washington, D.C.

    In full Dwight David Eisenhower 34th president of the United States (1953–61), who had been supreme commander of the Allied forces in western Europe during World War II.

  • Edmund Henry H. Allenby

    Born April 23, 1861, Brackenhurst, near Southwell, Nottinghamshire, Eng.
    Died May 14, 1936, London

    Field marshal, the last great British leader of mounted cavalry, who directed the Palestine campaign in World War I.

  • Edward I

    Born June 17, 1239, Westminster, Middlesex, Eng.
    Died July 7, 1307, Burgh by Sands, near Carlisle, Cumberland

    Byname Edward Longshanks son of Henry III and king of England in 1272–1307, during a period of rising national consciousness. He strengthened the crown and Parliament against the old feudal nobility. He subdued Wales, destroying its autonomy; and he sought (unsuccessfully) the conquest of Scotland.

  • Edward The Black Prince

    Born June 15, 1330, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Eng.
    Died June 8, 1376, Westminster, near London

    Also called Edward Of Woodstock, Prince D'aquitaine, Prince Of Wales, Duke Of Cornwall, Earl Of Chester son and heir apparent of Edward III of England and one of the outstanding commanders during the Hundred Years' War, winning his major victory at the Battle of Poitiers (1356). His sobriquet, said to have come from his wearing black armour, has no contemporary justification.

  • El Cid

    Born c. 1043, Vivar, near Burgos, Castile [Spain]
    Died July 10, 1099, Valencia

    Spanish El Cid, also called El Campeador (“the Champion”), byname of Rodrigo, or Ruy, Díaz de Vivar Castilian military leader and national hero. His popular name, El Cid (from Spanish Arabic al-sid, “lord”), dates from his lifetime.

  • Erwin Rommel

    Erwin Rommel

    Born Nov. 15, 1891, Heidenheim an der Brentz, Württemberg, Ger.
    Died Oct. 14, 1944, Herrlingen, near Ulm

    In full Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel, byname The Desert Fox, German Der Wüstenfuchs German field marshal, best known for his spectacular victories as commander of the Afrika Korps in World War II.

  • Eugene of Savoy

    Born Oct. 18, 1663, Paris
    Died April 24, 1736, Vienna

    French in full François-eugène, Prince De Savoie-carignan, German Franz Eugen, Prinz Von Savoyen-carignan field marshal and statesman of the Carignan line of the House of Savoy, who, in the service of the Austrian Holy Roman emperor, made his name as one of the greatest soldiers of his generation.

  • Ferdinand Foch

    Born Oct. 2, 1851, Tarbes, France
    Died March 20, 1929, Paris

    Marshal of France and commander of Allied forces during the closing months of World War I, generally considered the leader most responsible for the Allied victory.

  • Fernandez Gonzalo de Cordoba

    Born Sept. 1, 1453, Córdoba, Andalusia [now in Spain]
    Died Dec. 1/2, 1515, Granada, Spain

    Byname El Gran Capitán (Spanish: “The Great Captain”) Spanish military leader renowned for his exploits in southern Italy.

  • Francis Drake

    Born c. 1540, –43, Devonshire, Eng.
    Died Jan. 28, 1596, at sea, off Puerto Bello, Panama

    English admiral who circumnavigated the globe (1577–80), played an important role in defeating the Spanish Armada (1588), and was the most renowned seaman of the Elizabethan Age.

  • Francisco Pizarro

    Born c. 1475,, Trujillo, Extremadura, Castile [Spain]
    Died June 26, 1541, Lima [now in Peru]

    Spanish conqueror of the Inca empire and founder of the city of Lima.

  • Frederick II (The Great)

    Born Jan. 24, 1712, Berlin
    Died Aug. 17, 1786, Potsdam, near Berlin

    Byname Frederick the Great, German Friedrich der Grosse king of Prussia (1740–86), a brilliant military campaigner who, in a series of diplomatic stratagems and wars against Austria and other powers, greatly enlarged Prussia's territories and made Prussia the foremost military power in Europe.

  • Frederick Sleigh Roberts

    Born Sept. 30, 1832, Cawnpore, India
    Died Nov. 14, 1914, Saint-Omer, Fr.

    Also called (from 1892) Baron Roberts Of Kandahar British field marshal, an outstanding combat leader in the Second Afghan War (1878–80) and the South African War (1899–1902), and the last commander in chief of the British Army (1901–04; office then abolished). Foreseeing World War I, he was one of the earliest advocates of compulsory military service.

  • Garnet Joseph Wolseley

    Born June 4, 1833, Golden Bridge, County Dublin, Ire.
    Died March 26, 1913, Mentone, Fr.

    British field marshal who saw service in battles throughout the world and was instrumental in modernizing the British army.

  • Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher

    Born Dec. 16, 1742, Rostock, Mecklenburg [Germany]
    Died Sept. 12, 1819, Krieblowitz, near Kanth, Silesia, Prussia [now Katy Wroclawskie, Pol.]

    Byname Marschall Vorwärts (“Marshal Forward”) Prussian field marshal, a commander during the Napoleonic Wars, who was important in the victory of Waterloo.

  • Genghis Khan

    Born 1155, or 1162, or 1167, near Lake Baikal, Mongolia
    Died Aug. 18, 1227

    Genghis also spelled Ching-gis, Chingis, Jenghiz, or Jinghis, original name Temüjin, also spelled Temuchin Mongolian warrior-ruler, one of the most famous conquerors of history, who consolidated tribes into a unified Mongolia and then extended his empire across Asia to the Adriatic Sea.

  • George Catlett Marshall

    Born Dec. 31, 1880, Uniontown, Pa., U.S.
    Died Oct. 16, 1959, Washington, D.C.

    In full George Catlett Marshall general of the army and U.S. Army chief of staff during World War II (1939–45) and later U.S. secretary of state (1947–49) and of defense (1950–51). The European Recovery Program he proposed in 1947 became known as the Marshall Plan. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953.

  • George Dewey

    Born Dec. 26, 1837, Montpelier, Vt., U.S.
    Died Jan. 16, 1917, Washington, D.C.

    U.S. naval commander who defeated the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War (1898).

  • George Patton

    Born Nov. 11, 1885, San Gabriel, Calif., U.S.
    Died Dec. 21, 1945, Heidelberg, Ger.

    U.S. Army officer who was an outstanding practitioner of mobile tank warfare in the European and Mediterranean theatres during World War II. His strict discipline, toughness, and self-sacrifice elicited exceptional pride within his ranks, and the general was colourfully referred to as “Old Blood-and-Guts” by his men.

  • George Washington

    Born February 22 [February 11, Old Style], 1732, Westmoreland county, Virginia [U.S.]
    Died December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon

    Byname Father of His Country American general and commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775–83) and subsequently first president of the United States (1789–97).

  • Georgy Zhukov

    Born Dec. 1 [Nov. 19, Old Style], 1896, Kaluga province, Russia
    Died June 18, 1974, Moscow

    Marshal of the Soviet Union, the most important Soviet military commander during World War II.

  • Geronimo

    Born June 1829, No-Doyohn Canyon, Mex.
    Died Feb. 17, 1909, Fort Sill, Okla., U.S.

    Indian name Goyathlay (“One Who Yawns”). Bedonkohe Apache leader of the Chiricahua Apache, who led his people's defense of their homeland against the military might of the United States.

  • Giulio Douhet

    Born May 30, 1869, Caserta, Italy
    Died Feb. 15, 1930, Rome

    Italian army general and the father of strategic air power.

  • Giuseppe Garibaldi

    Born July 4, 1807, Nice, French Empire [now in France]
    Died June 2, 1882, Caprera, Italy

    Italian patriot and soldier of the Risorgimento, a republican who, through his conquest of Sicily and Naples with his guerrilla Redshirts, contributed to the achievement of Italian unification under the royal House of Savoy.

  • Gustavus Adolphus II

    Born Dec. 9, 1594, Stockholm, Sweden
    Died Nov. 6, 1632, Lützen, Saxony [now in Germany]

    Latin Gustavus Adolphus king of Sweden (1611–32) who laid the foundations of the modern Swedish state and made it a major European power.

  • Hannibal

    Born 247 BC, North Africa
    Died c. 183–181 BC, Libyssa, Bithynia [near Gebze, Turkey]

    Carthaginian general, one of the great military leaders of antiquity, who commanded the Carthaginian forces against Rome in the Second Punic War (218–201 BC).

  • Hap Arnold

    Born June 25, 1886, Gladwyne, Pa., U.S.
    Died Jan. 15, 1950, Sonoma, Calif.

    Byname Hap Arnold air strategist, commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, who long and successfully advocated a separate air force ranking equally with the Army and the Navy.

  • Harold Rupert Alexander

    Born Dec. 10, 1891, London
    Died June 16, 1969, Slough, Buckinghamshire, Eng.

    Also called (1946–52) Viscount Alexander Of Tunis, or (1942–46) Sir Harold Alexander prominent British field marshal in World War II noted for his North African campaigns against Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and for his later commands in Italy and western Europe.

  • Heihachiro Togo

    Born January 27, 1848, Kagoshima, Satsuma province, Japan
    Died May 30, 1934, Tokyo

    Admiral who led the Japanese fleet to victory in the Russo-Japanese War. In the process, he developed new tactics for closing with an advancing enemy fleet.

  • Heinz Guderian

    Heinz Guderian

    Born June 17, 1888, Kulm, Ger.
    Died May 14, 1954, Schwangau bei Füssen, W.Ger.

    German general and tank expert who became one of the principal architects of armoured warfare and the blitzkrieg between World Wars I and II, and who contributed decisively to Germany's victories in Poland, France, and the Soviet Union early in World War II.

  • Helmuth Von Moltke

    Born October 26, 1800, Parchim, Mecklenburg [Germany]
    Died April 24, 1891, Berlin, Germany

    In full Helmuth Karl Bernhard, Count (graf) Von Moltke chief of the Prussian and German General Staff (1858–88) and the architect of the victories over Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1871).

  • Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne de Turenne

    Born Sept. 11, 1611, Sedan, Fr.
    Died July 27, 1675, Sasbach, Baden-Baden

    French military leader, marshal of France (from 1643), one of the greatest military commanders during the reign of Louis XIV.

  • Henri Philippe Petain

    Born April 24, 1856, Cauchy-à-la-Tour, Fr.
    Died July 23, 1951, Île d'Yeu

    French general who was a national hero for his victory at the Battle of Verdun in World War I but was discredited as chief of state of the French government at Vichy in World War II. He died under sentence in a prison fortress.

  • Hermann-Maurice comte de Saxe

    Born Oct. 28, 1696, Goslar, Saxony [Germany]
    Died Nov. 30, 1750, Chambord, Fr.

    General and military theorist who successfully led French armies during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48).

  • Hernan Cortez

    Born 1485, Medellín, near Mérida, Extremadura, Castile [Spain]
    Died December 2, 1547, Castilleja de la Cuesta, near Sevilla

    Cortés also spelled Cortéz Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire (1519–21) and won Mexico for the crown of Spain.

  • Horatio Herbert Kitchener

    Born June 24, 1850, near Listowel, County Kerry, Ire.
    Died June 5, 1916, at sea off Orkney Islands

    British field marshal, imperial administrator, conqueror of the Sudan, commander in chief during the South African War.

  • Horatio Nelson

    Born Sept. 29, 1758, Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, Eng.
    Died Oct. 21, 1805, at sea, off Cape Trafalgar, Spain

    In full Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe, also called (1797–98) Sir Horatio Nelson, or (1798–1801) Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe British naval commander in the wars with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, who won crucial victories in such battles as those of the Nile (1798) and of Trafalgar (1805), where he was killed by enemy fire on the HMS Victory.

  • Isoruku Yamamoto

    Born April 4, 1884, Nagaoka, Japan
    Died April 18, 1943, Solomon Islands

    Japanese naval officer who conceived of the surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

  • Ivan Stepanovich Konev

    Born Dec. 28 [Dec. 16, Old Style], 1897, Lodeino, near Veliky Ustyug, Russia
    Died May 21, 1973, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.

    One of the outstanding Soviet generals in World War II, who was a leader of the offensive against the Germans.

  • James Wolfe

    Born Jan. 2, 1727, Westerham, Kent, Eng.
    Died Sept. 13, 1759, Quebec [now in Canada]

    Commander of the British army at the capture of Quebec from the French in 1759, a victory that led to British supremacy in Canada.

  • Jan Zizka

    Born c. 1376
    Died Oct. 11, 1424, Pribyslav, Bohemia [now in Czech Republic]

    Military commander and national hero of Bohemia who led the victorious Hussite Protestant armies against the German king Sigismund, foreshadowing the revolution of military tactics two centuries later in his introduction of mobile artillery.

  • Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval

    Born Sept. 15, 1715, Amiens, France
    Died May 9, 1789, Paris

    French military officer and engineer whose developments of French artillery contributed to the brilliant military successes of Napoleon in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

  • Joan of Arc

    Born c. 1412, Domrémy, Bar, France
    Died May 30, 1431

    Byname The Maid of Orléans, French Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, or La Pucelle d'Orléans national heroine of France, a peasant girl who, believing that she was acting under divine guidance, led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans that repulsed an English attempt to conquer France during the Hundred Years' War.

  • Johann Tserclaes von Tilly

    Born February 1559, Tilly, Brabant, Spanish Netherlands
    Died April 30, 1632, Ingolstadt, Bavaria

    Outstanding Bavarian general who was the principal commander of the Catholic League in Germany during the Thirty Years' War.

  • John Arbuthnot Fisher

    Born Jan. 25, 1841, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka]
    Died July 10, 1920, London

    British admiral and first sea lord whose reforms between 1904 and 1910 ensured the dominance of the Royal Navy during World War I.

  • John Burgoyne

    Born 1722, Sutton, Bedfordshire, Eng.
    Died June 4, 1792, London

    British general, best-remembered for his defeat by superior American forces in the Saratoga (N.Y.) campaign of 1777, during the U.S. War of Independence.

  • John Churchill (Duke of Marlborough)

    Born May 26, 1650, Ashe, Devon, Eng.
    Died June 16, 1722, Windsor, near London

    One of England's greatest generals, who led British and allied armies to important victories over Louis XIV of France, notably at Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), and Oudenaarde (1708).

  • John Frederick Charles Fuller

    Born Sept. 1, 1878, Chichester, Sussex, Eng.
    Died Feb. 10, 1966, Falmouth, Cornwall

    British army officer, military theoretician, and war historian who became one of the founders of modern armoured warfare.

  • John Pershing

    Born Sept. 13, 1860, Laclede, Mo., U.S.
    Died July 15, 1948, Washington, D.C.

    Byname Black Jack U.S. Army general who commanded the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during World War I.

  • Jose de San Martin

    Born, Feb. 25, 1778, Yapeyú, viceroyalty of Río de la Plata [now in Argentina]
    Died Aug. 17, 1850, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Fr.

    Argentine soldier, statesman, and national hero who helped lead the revolutions against Spanish rule in Argentina (1812), Chile (1818), and Peru (1821).

  • Julius Caesar

    Born July 12/13, 100? BC, Rome [Italy]
    Died March 15, 44 BC, Rome

    In full Gaius Julius Caesar celebrated Roman general and statesman, the conqueror of Gaul (58–50 BC), victor in the Civil War of 49–46 BC, and dictator (46–44 BC), who was launching a series of political and social reforms when he was assassinated by a group of nobles in the Senate House on the Ides of March.

  • Carl Von Clausewitz

    Born June 1, 1780, Burg, near Magdeburg, Prussia
    Died Nov. 16, 1831, Breslau, Silesia

    Prussian general whose writings, especially On War, advocated the concept of total war, in which all the enemy's territory, property, and citizens are attacked.

  • Khalid ibn al-Walid

    Died 642

    Byname Sif, or Sayf, Allah (Arabic: “Sword of God”) one of the two generals (with ‘Amr ibn al-‘A s) of the enormously successful Islamic expansion under the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.

  • Kim Il Sung

    Born April 15, 1912, Man'gyondae, near P'yongyang, Korea [now in North Korea]
    Died July 8, 1994, P'yongyang

    Original name Kim Song Ju communist leader of North Korea from 1948 until his death in 1994. He was the nation's premier from 1948 to 1972, chairman of its dominant Korean Workers (Communist) Party from 1949, and president and head of state from 1972.

  • Kublai Khan

    Born 1215
    Died 1294

    Kublai also spelled Khubilai, or Kubla Mongolian general and statesman, grandson of Genghis Khan. He conquered China and became the first emperor of its Yüan, or Mongol, dynasty.

  • Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot

    Born May 13, 1753, Nolay, Burgundy, France
    Died August 2, 1823, Magdeburg, Prussian Saxony [Germany]

    In full Lazare-Nicolas-Marguerite Carnot, byname Organizer of Victory or The Great Carnot, French Organisateur de la Victoire or Le Grand Carnot French statesman, general, military engineer, and administrator in successive governments of the French Revolution.

  • Lennart Torstensson

    Born Aug. 17, 1603, Forstena, Swed.
    Died April 7, 1651, Stockholm

    Swedish field marshal and artillerist who transformed the use of field artillery, making it mobile to a previously unknown degree. He won important victories in the Thirty Years' War and in Sweden's war against Denmark (1643–45).

  • Leo III, The Isaurian

    Born c. 675, –680, Germanicia, Commagene, Syria
    Died June 18, 741, Constantinople

    Byname Leo The Isaurian Byzantine emperor (717–741), who founded the Isaurian, or Syrian, dynasty, successfully resisted Arab invasions, and engendered a century of conflict within the empire by banning the use of religious images (icons).

  • Lin Piao

    Born Dec. 5, 1907, Huang-kang, Hupeh province, China
    Died Sept. 13, 1971?, Mongolian People's Republic?

    Chinese military leader who, as a field commander of the Red Army, contributed to the Communists' 22-year struggle for power and held many high government and party posts.

  • Louis Alexandre Berthier

    Born Nov. 20, 1753, Versailles, Fr.
    Died June 1, 1815, Bamberg, Bavaria

    French soldier and the first of Napoleon's marshals. Though Berthier was not a distinguished commander, Napoleon esteemed him highly as chief of staff of the Grande Armée from 1805. Responsible for the operation of Napoleon's armies, he was called by the Emperor “the man who has served me longest and has never failed me.”

  • Louis II De Bourbon

    Born 1337
    Died Aug. 19, 1410

    Byname Louis The Good, French Louis Le Bon duke of Bourbon (from 1356), count of Clermont and of Forez. He was an ally of Bertrand du Guesclin, the Breton-French hero, and a staunch supporter of John II of France; when John was taken prisoner by the English at Poitiers, Bourbon became one of the hostages delivered to the English as a guarantee of the payment of the ransom.

  • Maarten Von Tromp

    Born April 23, 1598, Breille, Holland
    Died Aug. 9, 1653, at sea off Terheijde, near Scheveningen

    Dutch admiral, the highest ranking sea commander (from 1636) under the stadholder during the Dutch wars with Spain and England during the first half of the 17th century. His victory over the Spanish in the Battle of the Downs (1639) signalled the passing of Spain's power at sea.

  • Mao Zedong

    Born December 26, 1893, Shaoshan, Hunan province, China
    Died September 9, 1976, Beijing

    Wade-Giles romanization Mao Tse-tung principal Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led his nation's communist revolution. Leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1931, he was chairman (chief of state) of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and chairman of the party until his death.

  • Maurice of Nassau

    Born Nov. 13, 1567, Dillenburg, Nassau
    Died April 23, 1625, The Hague

    In full Maurice, Prince Of Orange, Count Of Nassau, Dutch Maurits, Prins Van Oranje, Graaf Van Nassau hereditary stadholder (1585–1625) of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, or Dutch Republic, successor to his father, William I the Silent. His development of military strategy, tactics, and engineering made the Dutch army the most modern in the Europe of his time.

  • Mehmed II, The Conqueror

    Born March 30, 1432, Adrianople, Thrace, Ottoman Empire
    Died May 3, 1481, Hunkârçayiri, near Maltepe, near Constantinople

    Byname Mehmed Fatih (Turkish: Mehmed the Conqueror) Ottoman sultan from 1444 to 1446 and from 1451 to 1481. A great military leader, he captured Constantinople and conquered the territories in Anatolia and the Balkans that comprised the Ottoman Empire's heartland for the next four centuries.

  • Michel Ney

    Born Jan. 10, 1769, Sarrelouis, Fr.
    Died Dec. 7, 1815, Paris

    One of the best known of Napoleon's marshals (from 1804), who pledged his allegiance to the restored Bourbon monarchy when Napoleon abdicated in 1814. Upon Napoleon's return in 1815, Ney rejoined him and commanded the Old Guard at the Battle of Waterloo.

  • Miyamoto Musashi

    Born 1584, Mimasaka or Harima, Japan
    Died June 13, 1645, Higo

    Original name Miyamoto Masana, also called Niten. Famous Japanese soldier-artist of the early Tokugawa period (1603–1867).

  • Moshe Dayan

    Born May 20, 1915, Deganya, Palestine [now in Israel]
    Died Oct. 16, 1981, Tel Aviv, Israel

    Soldier and statesman who led Israel to dramatic victories over its Arab neighbours and became a symbol of security to his countrymen.

  • Mustafa Kemal

    Mustafa Kemal

    Born 1881, Salonika [now Thessaloníki], Greece
    Died Nov. 10, 1938, Istanbul, Turkey

    Original name Mustafa Kemal, also called Mustafa Kemal Pasa soldier, statesman, and reformer who was the founder and first president (1923–38) of the Republic of Turkey. He modernized the country's legal and educational systems and encouraged the adoption of a European way of life, with Turkish written in the Latin alphabet and with citizens adopting European-style names.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    Born Aug. 15, 1769, Ajaccio, Corsica
    Died May 5, 1821, St. Helena Island

    French in full Napoléon Bonaparte, original Italian Napoleone Buonaparte, byname The Corsican, or The Little Corporal, French Le Corse, or Le Petit Caporal French general, First Consul (1799–1804), and emperor of the French (1804–1814/15), one of the most celebrated personages in the history of the West. He revolutionized military organization and training; sponsored the Napoleonic Code; the prototype of later civil-law codes.

  • Nathanael Greene

    Born Aug. 7, 1742, Potowomut, R.I. [U.S.]
    Died June 19, 1786, Mulberry Grove, Ga.

    American general in the U.S. War of Independence (1775–83).

  • Norman Schwarzkopf

    Born Aug. 22, 1934, Trenton, N.J., U.S.

    U.S. Army officer who commanded Operation Desert Storm, the American-led coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in the Persian Gulf War (1991).

  • Oda Nobunaga

    Oda Nobunaga [Top]

    Born 1534, Owari Province, Japan
    Died June 21, 1582, Kyoto

    Original name Kichihoshi, later Saburo Japanese warrior, member of the Fujiwara family, who overthrew the Ashikaga shogunate and ended a long period of feudal wars by unifying half of Japan's provinces under his rule. As virtual dictator, Nobunaga restored stable government and established the conditions that led to the unification of the country.

  • Oliver Cromwell

    Born April 25, 1599, Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Eng.
    Died Sept. 3, 1658, London

    English soldier and statesman who led parliamentary forces in the English Civil Wars; he was lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 to 1658 during the republican Commonwealth.

  • Omar Bradley

    Born Feb. 12, 1893, Clark, Mo., U.S.
    Died April 8, 1981, New York, N.Y.

    U.S. Army officer who commanded the highly effective 12th Army Group, which helped ensure the Allied victory over Germany during World War II; later he served as first chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949–53).

  • Otto The Great

    Born Nov. 23, 912
    Died May 7, 973, Memleben, Thuringia

    Byname Otto The Great, German Otto Der Grosse duke of Saxony (as Otto II, 936–961), German king (from 936), and Holy Roman emperor (962–973), who consolidated the German Reich by his suppression of rebellious vassals and his decisive victory over the Hungarians. His use of the church as a stabilizing influence created a secure empire and stimulated a cultural renaissance.

  • Paul Von Hindenburg

    Born Oct. 2, 1847, Posen, Prussia [now Poznan, Pol.]
    Died Aug. 2, 1934, Neudeck, Ger. [now in Poland]

    In full Paul Ludwig Hans Anton Von Beneckendorff Und Von Hindenburg German field marshal during World War I and second president of the Weimar Republic (1925–34). His presidential terms were wracked by political instability, economic depression, and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, whom he appointed chancellor in 1933.

  • Peter The Great

    Born June 9 [May 30, Old Style], 1672, Moscow, Russia
    Died Feb. 8 [Jan. 28, O.S.], 1725, St. Petersburg

    Russian in full Pyotr Alekseyevich, byname Peter the Great, Russian Pyotr Veliky tsar of Russia, who reigned jointly with his half-brother Ivan V (1682–96) and alone thereafter (1696–1725) and who in 1721 was proclaimed emperor (imperator). He was one of his country's greatest statesmen, organizers, and reformers.

  • Philip II of Macedon

    Born 382 BC
    Died 336, Asia Minor

    Byname Philip Of Macedon 18th king of Macedonia (359–336 BC), who restored internal peace to his country and then, by 339, had gained domination over all Greece by military and diplomatic means, thus laying the foundations for its expansion under his son Alexander III the Great.

  • Pompey The Great

    Born Sept. 29, 106 BC, Rome
    Died Sept. 28, 48 BC, Pelusium, Egypt

    Latin in full Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus one of the great statesmen and generals of the late Roman Republic, a triumvir (61–54 BC), the associate and later opponent of Julius Caesar. He was initially called Magnus (the Great) by his troops in Africa (82–81 BC).

  • Publius Cornelius Scipio

    Died 211 BC

    Roman general, consul in 218 BC and later proconsul, during the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage.

  • Ralph Abercromby

    Born Oct. 7, 1734, Tullibody, Clackmannan, Scot.
    Died March 28, 1801, at sea in the Mediterranean

    Soldier whose command restored discipline and prestige to the British army after the disastrous campaigns in the Low Countries between 1793 and 1799. He prepared the way for the successful campaign against Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt.

  • Richard The Lion-Hearted

    Born Sept. 8, 1157, Oxford
    Died April 6, 1199, Châlus, Duchy of Aquitaine

    Byname Richard The Lion-heart, or Lion-hearted, French Richard Coeur De Lion duke of Aquitaine (from 1168) and of Poitiers (from 1172) and king of England, duke of Normandy, and count of Anjou (1189–99). His knightly manner and his prowess in the Third Crusade (1189–92) made him a popular king in his own time as well as the hero of countless romantic legends. He has been viewed less kindly by more recent historians and scholars.

  • Robert Bruce

    Born July 11, 1274
    Died June 7, 1329, Cardross, Dumbartonshire, Scot.

    Original name Robert VIII de Bruce, or Robert the Bruce king of Scotland (1306–29), who freed Scotland from English rule, winning the decisive Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and ultimately confirming Scottish independence in the Treaty of Northampton (1328).

  • Robert E. Lee

    Born Jan. 19, 1807, Stratford, Westmoreland county, Va., U.S.
    Died Oct. 12, 1870, Lexington, Va.

    In full Robert Edward Lee Confederate general, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, the most successful of the Southern armies during the American Civil War (1861–65). In February 1865 he was given command of all the Southern armies. His surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865, is commonly viewed as signifying the end of the Civil War.

  • Saladin

    Born 1137/38, Tikrit, Mesopotamia
    Died March 4, 1193, Damascus

    Arabic in full Sala h Ad-din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (“Righteousness of the Faith, Joseph, Son of Job”), also called Al-malik An-na sir Sala h Ad-din Yusuf I Muslim sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and the most famous of Muslim heroes. In wars against the Christian crusaders, he achieved final success with the disciplined capture of Jerusalem (Oct. 2, 1187), ending its 88-year occupation by the Franks.

  • Sam Houston

    Born March 2, 1793, Rockbridge County, Va., U.S.
    Died July 26, 1863, Huntsville, Texas

    Byname of Samuel Houston U.S. lawyer and politician, a leader of the struggle by U.S. emigrants in Mexican territory to win control of Texas (1834–36) and make it part of the United States.

  • Sebastien Le Prestre De Vauban

    Born May 15, 1633, Saint-Léger-de-Foucherest [now Saint-Léger-Vauban], Fr.
    Died March 30, 1707, Paris

    French military engineer who revolutionized the art of siege craft and defensive fortifications. He fought in all of France's wars of Louix XIV's reign (1643–1715).

  • Selim I

    Born 1470, Amasya, Ottoman Empire [now in Turkey]
    Died Sept. 22, 1520, Çorlu

    Byname Yavuz (“The Grim”) Ottoman sultan (1512–20) who extended the empire to Syria, the Hejaz, and Egypt and raised the Ottomans to leadership of the Muslim world.

  • Shaka

    Born c. 1787
    Died Sept. 22, 1828

    Zulu chief (1816–28), founder of southern Africa's Zulu Empire, who created a fighting force that devastated the entire region.

  • Simon Bolivar

    Born July 24, 1783, Caracas, New Granada [now in Venezuela]
    Died Dec. 17, 1830, near Santa Marta, Colombia

    Byname The Liberator, Spanish El Libertador South American soldier and statesman who led the revolutions against Spanish rule in New Granada (renamed Colombia, or Gran Colombia, in 1819 and including Venezuela and Ecuador as well as Colombia), Peru, and Upper Peru (Bolivia). He was president, actually dictator, of both Colombia (1821–30) and Peru (1823–29).

  • Stephen The Great

    Born 1435
    Died July 2, 1504

    Byname Stephen the Great, Romanian Stefan cel Mare voivod (prince) of Moldavia (1457–1504), who won renown in Europe for his long resistance to the Ottoman Turks.

  • Suleyman I, The Magnificent

    Born November 1494/, April 1495
    Died Sept. 5/6, 1566, near Szigetvár, Hung.

    Byname Süleyman the Magnificent, or The Lawgiver, Turkish Süleyman Muhtesem, or Kanuni sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566, who not only undertook bold military campaigns that enlarged his realm but also oversaw the development of what came to be regarded as the most characteristic achievements of Ottoman civilization in the fields of law, literature, art, and architecture.

  • Sun Tzu

    flourished 4th century BC

    Also spelled Sun-tzu reputed author of the Chinese classic Ping-fa ( The Art of War ), the earliest known treatise on war and military science. The book is traditionally attributed to Sun Tzu (personal name Sun Wu), a military strategist and general who served the state of Wu near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC). It is more likely, however, that it was written early in the Warring States (403-221 B.C.).

  • Tariq Ibn Ziyad

    Died c. 720

    Also spelled Tarik Ibn Zeyad general who led the Muslim conquest of Spain.

  • Themistocles

    Born c. 524 BC
    Died c. 460

    Athenian politician and naval strategist who was the creator of Athenian sea power and the chief saviour of Greece from subjection to the Persian Empire at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC.

  • Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

    Born Jan. 21, 1824, Clarksburg, Va. [now in W.Va.], U.S.
    Died May 10, 1863, Guinea Station [now Guinea], Va.

    Byname Stonewall Jackson Confederate general in the American Civil War, one of its most skillful tacticians, who gained his sobriquet “Stonewall” by his stand at the First Battle of Bull Run (called First Manassas by the South) in 1861.

  • Thomas Cochrane

    Born Dec. 14, 1775, Annesfield, Lanarkshire, Scot.
    Died Oct. 30, 1860, London, Eng.

    British admiral, who ranks among the greatest of British seamen.

  • Timur

    Born 1336, Kesh, near Samarkand, Transoxania [now in Uzbekistan]
    Died Feb. 19, 1405, Otrar, near Chimkent [now Shymkent, Kazakstan]

    Also spelled Timour, byname Timur Lenk, or Timurlenk (Turkish: “Timur the Lame”), English Tamerlane, or Tamburlaine Turkic conqueror of Islamic faith, chiefly remembered for the barbarity of his conquests from India and Russia to the Mediterranean Sea and for the cultural achievements of his dynasty.

  • Toussaint Louverture

    Born c. 1743,, Bréda, near Cape François, Saint-Domingue [Haiti]
    Died April 7, 1803, Fort-de-Joux, Fr.

    Louverture also spelled L'Ouverture, original name (until c. 1793) François Dominique Toussaint leader of the Haitian independence movement during the French Revolution, who emancipated the slaves and briefly established Haiti as a black-governed French protectorate.

  • Ulysses S. Grant

    Born April 27, 1822, Point Pleasant, Ohio, U.S.
    Died July 23, 1885, Mount McGregor, N.Y.

    Original name Hiram Ulysses Grant U.S. general, commander of the Union armies during the late years (1864–65) of the American Civil War, and 18th president of the United States (1869–77).

  • Vo Nguyen Giap

    Born 1912, An Xa, Vietnam

    Vietnamese military and political leader whose perfection of guerrilla as well as conventional strategy and tactics led to the Viet Minh victory over the French (and to the end of French colonialism in Southeast Asia) and later to the North Vietnamese victory over South Vietnam and the United States.

  • William Halsey, Jr.

    Born Oct. 30, 1882, Elizabeth, N.J., U.S.
    Died Aug. 16, 1959, Fishers Island, N.Y.

    In full William Frederick Halsey, Jr., byname Bull Halsey U.S. naval commander who led vigorous campaigns in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He was a leading exponent of warfare using carrier-based aircraft and became known for his daring and imaginative tactics.

  • William T. Sherman

    Born February 8, 1820, Lancaster, Ohio, U.S.
    Died February 14, 1891, New York, New York

    American Civil War general and a major architect of modern warfare. He led Union forces in crushing campaigns through the South, marching through Georgia and the Carolinas (1864–65).

  • William The Conqueror

    Born c. 1028, Falaise, Normandy
    Died Sept. 9, 1087, Rouen

    Byname William The Conqueror, or The Bastard, or William Of Normandy, French Guillaume Le Conquérant, or Le Bâtard, or Guillaume De Normandie duke of Normandy (as William II) from 1035 and king of England from 1066, one of the greatest soldiers and rulers of the Middle Ages. He made himself the mightiest feudal lord in France and then changed the course of England's history by his conquest of that country.

  • William Wallace

    Born c. 1270,, probably near Paisley, Renfrew, Scot.
    Died Aug. 23, 1305, London, Eng.

    One of Scotland's greatest national heroes, leader of the Scottish resistance forces during the first years of the long, and ultimately successful, struggle to free Scotland from English rule.

  • Winfield Scott

    Born June 13, 1786, Petersburg, Va., U.S.
    Died May 29, 1866, West Point, N.Y.

    American army officer who held the rank of general in three wars and was the unsuccessful Whig candidate for president in 1852. He was the foremost American military figure between the Revolution and the Civil War.

  • Xenophon

    Born 431 BC, Attica, Greece
    Died, shortly before 350, Attica

    Greek historian, author of the Anabasis. Its prose was highly regarded by literary critics in antiquity and had strong influence on Latin literature.

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