Gustavus Adolphus vs Philip II of Macedon vs Oda Nobunaga

best general

  • Gustavus Adolphus

    Votes: 4 18.2%
  • Philip II of Macedon

    Votes: 12 54.5%
  • Oda Nobunaga

    Votes: 6 27.3%

  • Total voters
    22

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,492
T'Republic of Yorkshire
The thing is that Macedonia was on the brink of existential servitude/dissolution as an entity. I don’t think any king has come to the throne with such odds against him as Philip, nor have they simultaneously done so much for the military, economy and social structures of a kingdom whilst also taking a backwater and transferring it into one of the super powers of the ancient world.
Here's one - Oda Nobunaga.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
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Ontario, Canada
I might as well go into Oda Nobunaga just to play devil's advocate. In some way Nobunaga was like a Philip and an Alexander at the same time. While Philip didn't really have many strong predecessors, he was really the strong predecessor to his son Alexander. Gustav II in fact had several predecessors including many uncles as well as his grandfather Gustav I and father Charles IX. Gustav I had actually created the Swedish state by rebelling against the King of Denmark, he also tried to build it up, as did his son Charles IX. Particularly army reforms which were begun under Charles IX, with the intention of fighting the Danes.

Oda Nobunaga was born in 1534 in the middle of the Sengoku Jidai, his father Oda Nobuhide (born 1511) was a minor baron in Owari province. During the Onin War over the succession of the Ashikaga Shogun from 1467 to 1477 basically broke apart the Shogun's feudal power base and he was unable to raise or command armies. Various lords and governors across the country took up arms in support of one member of the Ashikaga family or other, but since the war largely centered around Kyoto a lot of these lords basically just used this as a justification to attack each other. In the provinces the governor's power more or less disintegrated as well and they relied on their feudal underlings to uphold their control, but really they were just puppets for a local warlord. By 1530 when Oda Nobuhide comes in (and many others like the Mori, or Takeda, or the Nagao), Japan had been facing decades of on and off feudal warfare, the central government non-existent and the Shogun only ruling with paper armies and big titles, while the Emperor lived in a literal rundown palace. Seeing the shambles that the state was in Nobuhide basically asserted his power in the most direct way possible, his relatives the main Oda family ruled Owari from the castle of Kiyosu with the Shiba clan governor as their puppet. Nobuhide instead went directly to the minor land owners and feudal barons and got them to side with him, which he used to raise armies. He had taken Nagoya castle from a member of the Imagawa clan and also built Suemori castle. From these positions he carried out multiple campaigns to his east in Mikawa province against the Matsudaira clan. The Matsudaira clan were forced to seek help from their powerful neighbor to the east, the Imagawa clan. At some point he also faced the Saito clan to his north in Mino province as well as his own nominal lord the Oda family of Kiyosu castle. He managed to fight all of these off but without making considerable gains, he ruled maybe the eastern third of Owari province and a couple of castles in Mikawa province as well as an alliance with Saito Dosan of Mino, not bad for a minor land owner who had become an important feudal lord but not exactly legendary either.

Well Nobuhide died unexpectedly in 1551 and his son Nobunaga succeeded him. Similar to Philip, both Nobuhide and Nobunaga had lots of brothers (Nobuhide had sired something like 10 children). Although Nobuhide never had to deal with one of his brothers explicitly trying to overthrow him, while Nobuhide was alive these were more or less loyal. As soon as Nobunaga took power many of his uncles and brothers started to plot against him. His older brother Nobuhiro who did not succeed their father, at times plotted to overthrow him, although Nobunaga dealt with him diplomatically and more or less threatening him. His younger brother Nobuyuki rebelled with the support of many important vassals to boot, Nobunaga defeated his army in the field and forced him to surrender. The second time when Nobunaga heard that Nobuyuki was plotting against him, Nobunaga had him executed. When his uncle Nobuyasu began to make demands for territory, he was murdered mysteriously, some claim Nobunaga had a hand in this. Also many of his vassals had dubious loyalty; Hayashi Hidesada and Hayashi Mimasaka rebelled with the intent of putting Nobuyuki into power, while Mimasaka died in battle Hidesada was pardoned, but decades later Nobunaga released him from service and exiled him. Shibata Katsuie also supported that rebellion but when Nobunaga defeated their armies he too was pardoned, after this it seems he was loyal and became Nobunaga's main vassal, even notifying the lord of Nobuyuki's intentions to rebel again. The other dubious vassal was Sakuma Nobumori who seemingly was planning several times to rebel or kill Nobunaga but for whatever reason never went through with it. Gradually Nobunaga increased his control over the Oda clan while also waging campaigns against the Matsudaira and Imagawa to his east, the main Oda family of Kiyosu, the Oda family of Iwakura and other local barons, and very briefly an attempt to support Saito Dosan who was overthrown and killed by his son. This took up all of the 1550's when finally Nobunaga defeated and killed Imagawa Yoshimoto at the Battle of Okehazama in 1560. It was so astounding that all of the Imagawa forces routed, the Imagawa family almost collapsed and the Matsudaira clan switched sides when Nobunaga followed it up by invading their territory to the east. At this point Nobunaga ruled all of Owari province, had turned much of Mikawa province and had only to deal with the Saito clan in the north.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
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Oda Nobuhide had succeeded in making an alliance with Saito Dosan of Mino province in which his son Nobunaga married Saito's daughter Kicho. This sort of recognition was important for Saito Dosan who had overthrown its ruler Toki Yorinari. Mino was a prosperous province with trade and good administration, which could assemble an army larger than Nobunaga's. Throughout the 1560's, Nobunaga would carry out campaigns against the Saito clan, carrying out rapid campaigns that would isolate enemy castles before the large Saito armies could mobilize. A stroke of luck, Saito Yoshitatsu died in 1561 and was succeeded by his son Saito Tatsuoki. Tatsuoki proved unpopular among the feudal lords, unlike his father and grandfather. Eventually Nobunaga decided to claim Mino province citing his marriage to Saito Dosan's daughter Kicho but also the murder of Saito Dosan by Tatsuoki's father and the fact that Tatsuoki was not well liked. Many of the Mino lords began to switch to Nobunaga's side, some skilled diplomats and bribes helped. Until finally in 1567 he gathered all of these forces and laid siege to the powerful fortress of Inabayama, and finally ending the Saito family's control of Mino. He spent the rest of 1567 and the early part of 1568 reorganizing Mino, carrying out administrative and economic reforms (such as getting rid of silk currency, since Japan in those days was very backwater), but also building up his army. For instance about 1560 Nobunaga had an army roughly 3000 or 4000 strong, during the siege of Inabayama in 1567 he had 13,000 to 15,000 men and in 1568 he supposedly raised a force 60,000 strong (although I would go more towards 20,000 or 30,000).

Previously in 1565 the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru was killed by the Miyoshi clan, who had taken Kyoto and put in place their own puppet Shogun. His younger brother Ashikaga Yoshiaki had roamed the provinces trying to get a powerful lord to back his claim, eventually in 1568 he came to Mino province and Nobunaga agreed to take Kyoto for him. Nobunaga had made alliance with the Matsudaira clan to his east and the Azai clan to his north west. Nobunaga began by sending ultimatums to the Rokaku clan in the south of Omi province and demanding that they join his crusade, the Rokaku rejected these demands and sided with the Miyoshi. However Nobunaga's reaction in mobilizing was not only rapid, so too was his invasion, major fortresses in Omi province were said to be able to hold out months if not years, Nobunaga covered the ground from Mino into Omi, besieged these fortresses and took them within a matter of weeks. Before the Miyoshi had even mobilized their forces, Nobunaga had cleared out Omi province and taken Kyoto. Establishing a government in Kyoto, putting Ashikaga Yoshiaki into power and carrying out administrative and economic reforms in the two provinces (Yamashiro and Omi). Among which include Nobunaga declaring that the new Shogun had no official power and that Nobunaga would rule in his name, that tribute be given to the Emperor and that his palace be rebuilt, and that toll barriers between provinces would be dismantled in order to allow freedom of trade. During that time the notorious Matsunaga Hisahide deserted the Miyoshi and joined Nobunaga, bringing over much of Yamato province as well. The ill prepared Miyoshi clan was indecisive and scrambled to put up a response. Then in 1569 his troops fought Miyoshi-Rokaku insurrectionists in Yamashiro and Omi, while Nobunaga himself invaded Ise province and besieged their fortresses, defeating the Kitabatake family and adding Ise province to his domain. He also ordered fortifications to be constructed to defend Kyoto from further Miyoshi attacks.

So before 1570, not only did Nobunaga take his father's lands in Owari, quelled the dissent within his clan, conquered the rest of Owari, defeated and killed Imagawa Yoshimoto, brought over the Matsudaira and Azai clans to his side, conquered Mino province, took the southern half of Omi, took Kyoto and installed his own puppet Shogun, he also began to create what appeared to be a state government and to carry out important economic and administrative reforms that resembled more closely the policies of Europe and starting to move away from certain feudal ways. I could keep going if anyone really wants me to but I think that Nobunaga's career even up to 1569 highlights the key theme of Nobunaga's career. Had Nobunaga not been killed by his rebellious subordinate, he would have conquered the rest of Japan and set up a national administration. Although he also had ambitions to conquer Korea and China. Since Nobunaga's oldest son Nobutada was also killed, the clan vassals decided to appoint that son's infant child as heir. His other two sons Nobukatsu and Nobutaka died fighting Hideyoshi (although they fought each other first). Eventually Nobunaga's general Hideyoshi became dominant as regent and then took power for himself. Hideyoshi would go on to defeat or turn the other of the Oda generals, then subjugate the clans on the island of Shikoku and the island of Kyushu but also the Hojo in the Kanto region in the east and the northern clans in the Tohoku region. Although where as Nobunaga's unification was largely by force of arms, Hideyoshi largely brought clans over as feudal underlings. Hideyoshi unified Japan in 1590 and spent 1592 to 1598 invading Korea, which failed twice. Then he died from illness in 1598, but he was unable to secure the succession because his presumptive heir, his nephew Hidetsugu, was executed on his orders for reasons unknown. His two oldest children died as infants, so he left only his infant son Hideyori. In order to keep Hideyori in power he appointed five regents, however the most influential Maeda Toshiie (one of Nobunaga's generals), died in 1599. This created tension between Tokugawa Ieyasu (another of Nobunaga's generals, the aforementioned Matsudaira clan) and the other three regents. Leading to outright war and the famous Battle of Sekigahara which Tokugawa Ieyasu won and became Shogun. Although Hideyori was spared and allowed to stay in Osaka castle, later in 1614 when Hideyori came of age he rebelled against Ieyasu and after two campaigns he was defeated and executed. Similar to Alexander and Gustav II, Hideyoshi struggled to have an heir. However this was not a problem which Nobunaga or Nobuhide had, since Nobuhide had 12 sons, and Nobunaga had more than 12 sons (although I only know of 12), but the death of his heir Nobutada was a blow from which the Oda clan did not recover and his own son Oda Hidenobu became a vassal of Hideyoshi and then later Tokugawa Ieyasu.
 

Duke Valentino

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Jul 2017
2,340
Australia
@Lord Oda Nobunaga

Good Devil's Advocate :) When placed into perspective, Nobunaga's rise to power and rule has a lot of similarities to Philip / Alexander.

Here's one - Oda Nobunaga.
Addressing this as a whole, I do believe that Philip had more of an impact in terms of altering the structure of his kingdom socially, militarily and economically relative to Oda, but in a sense that's also subjective interpretation.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
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Ontario, Canada
After the above, Nobunaga spends 1569 to 1570 fighting the Azai, Asakura, Miyoshi and what remains of Rokaku. Then in 1570 when he was attacking the Miyoshi, the Ikko-Ikki militant Buddhist sect attacked Nobunaga, and simultaneously Nobunaga attacks the Enryaku Buddhit sect and exterminates them, even the Shogun turns on him. All of a sudden the Takeda attack at the end of 1572 and hit Nobunaga's eastern flank, giving Tokugawa Ieyasu a major blow. Nobunaga is forced to bunker down and take a central position in Mino and Omi in order to counter attacks from all sides. But Takeda Shingen was unable to siege out Tokugawa Ieyasu in Hamatsu castle and withdraws back over the mountains into his domain, and then dying shortly after. Nobunaga is then given respite to wage ruthless war against Azai and Asakura, and succeeds in wiping out both. Then he attacks Kyoto and forces the Shogun to abolish his government, although Nobunaga doesn't take the title of Shogun he sets up his own government in Kyoto, and declares himself a servant of the Emperor. This pretty much gives Nobunaga blank check to do whatever he wants and not just rely on raw military force. Then he attacks the Miyoshi and forces them to terms, when their lord threatens to break the treaty his own vassals have him killed.

But at this point the Takeda clan in the east is still somewhat of a threat, as are the Ikko-Ikki militants that are carrying out uprisings in the Central provinces around Kyoto. He had actually put their main temple complex under siege since 1570. In 1574 he reduced their fortresses of Nagashima in Ise province after three failed attempts (during the first one his older brother Nobuhiro was killed). Then in 1575 Takeda Katsuyori attacked Tokugawa Ieyasu, Nobunaga rushed to support him with 30,000 men and gave the Takeda a crushing blow at the Battle of Nagashino. That battle in particular is known for Nobunaga's use of firearms. However Nobunaga had also used firearms to great effect during a siege of an Imagawa castle in the 1550's, in which he had his gunners peppering the defenders with constant fire, as his other soldiers scaled and assaulted the walls. The Ikko-Ikki were also known for their use of the arquebus, which they used offensively in massed infantry assaults. Anyway, after the major victory at Nagashino, he rapidly maneuvered his army north into Echizen province and carried out a ruthless war of extermination against the Ikko-Ikki partisans.

Then in 1576 the Uesugi clan in the north east and the Mori clan to the east, declared war against Nobunaga. He attempted to cut off the Ishiyama fortress as they were being supplied by sea, however the Mori fleet defeated his own fleet. Then in 1577 the notorious Matsunaga Hisahide rebelled in Yamato province, while at the same time Uesugi Kenshin took Noto province and invaded Kaga province. Nobunaga's subordinate Shibata Katsuie moved into Kaga province and was forced into a river crossing by Uesugi Kenshin, and was defeated. The big fear was that this would lead to Uesugi Kenshin, Mori Terumoto and Matsunaga Hisahide attacking Kyoto from various sides. However Nobunaga's son Nobutada, aided by Hideyoshi, defeated and killed Matsunaga in Yamato. Nobunaga rapidly went to the north east to reinforce Shibata and ordered a strategic withdrawal back into Echizen province. Uesugi Kenshin actually died the next year and this eventually led to a succession war between his nephew and his adopted son.

Meanwhile in 1578 Nobunaga's subordinates Kuki Yoshitaka and Takikawa Kasumasu were building a new fleet, the former built 6 "O Ataka Bune" which were large square ships equipped with firearms and the latter built a large Chinese ship. This fleet defeated the Mori fleet and Nobunaga was able to completely cut off the Ikko-Ikki at the Ishiyama Honganji. Nobunaga also ordered Hideyoshi and Akechi Mitsuhide to carry out an invasion of the Mori clan and their allies. However this was a rather slow attrition war with maneuvers, withdrawals and sieges that lasted until 1582 (and may have lasted into 1583 had Nobunaga not died). Then in 1580 Shibate Katsuie and Maeda Toshiie had begun invading the north east controlled by the Uesugi. The Ishiyama Honganji finally surrendered and its defenders were spared. The Mori had been slowly reduced fortress by fortress. In 1581 Nobunaga carried out an invasion of Iga province, which his second son Nobukatsu had attempted to conquer but was defeated.

Then in 1582 Shibata and Maeda continued into Uesugi lands, Hideyosh had laid siege to the fortress of Takamatsu. Nobunaga and his son Nobutada, together with Tokugawa Ieyasu, carried out a massive invasion of the Takeda domain in the east, with the Hojo clan in Kanto region choosing to support him. Nobunaga was then planning invasions of the island of Shikoku and the island of Kyushu. He also was planning to bring reinforcements to Hideyoshi and sent Akechi Mitsuhide ahead, while Nobunaga went to Kyoto. At was at this juncture that Akechi Mitsuhide decided to turn back and attack Kyoto, and killed Nobunaga and his son Nobutada. We don't really have all the details, somehow Nobunaga was killed after him and a small group of retainers held out inside the Honno temple within the city of Kyoto. The common narrative is that Nobunaga fought them for a bit, realized he wouldn't win and went inside the temple to stab himself in the ritualistic samurai way. Somehow the temple caught fire and Akechi was unable to take his head, however the body was never recovered. Nobutada who was besieged in the Nijo palace decided to do the same rather than be taken alive.

Akechi Mitsuhide took Kyoto and had the Emperor make him Shogun, also took Nobunaga's castle at Azuchi, somehow that castle caught fire as well. But Akechi's rule was short lived because within two weeks Hideoyshi had made peace with the Mori clan, as Takamatsu castle was on the verge of falling, rushed towards Kyoto with his army, met up with forces under Nobunaga's third son Nobutaka and the general Niwa Nagahide and they defeated and killed Akechi at the Battle of Yamazaki.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
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@Lord Oda Nobunaga

Good Devil's Advocate :) When placed into perspective, Nobunaga's rise to power and rule has a lot of similarities to Philip / Alexander.



Addressing this as a whole, I do believe that Philip had more of an impact in terms of altering the structure of his kingdom socially, militarily and economically relative to Oda, but in a sense that's also subjective interpretation.
When Nobunaga came to power he faced similar issues that Alexander and Philip did.
Had Nobuhide lived long enough to carve a large chunk of territory then I would compare him to Philip. However Nobuhide died unexpectedly and Nobunaga was forced to take power, as Philip did, and defeat his enemies. But It doesn't end there because Nobunaga then goes on to take Mino, then Omi, Ise Yamato and Kyoto. I suppose this is comparable to when Philip defeated Athens and Thebes (or perhaps it was when Nobunaga conquered Owari and Mino). The rest of Nobunaga's campaigns I would compare to Alexander's invasion of the Persian Empire. Although since this was all in Japan it is hard to make an exact comparison. Nobunaga had probably intended to invade Ming China and Joseon Korea, this is similar to Philip prior to being murdered. A plan that was attempted by Hideyoshi but which resulted in failure during the two Korea campaigns.

Technically Philip and Makedonia had more of an impact over the world. Since Japan did relatively little until in industrialized in the late 1800's, and even then only succeeded in so far as taking Taiwan and Korea. They had questionable influence over Asia even into WW2. But Nobunaga died without having unified Japan, he wanted to conquer the remaining feudal domains militarily, reorganize their territories and set up a national government over Japan, perhaps similar to the Absolutism of Louis XIV. Hideyoshi on the other hand unified Japan, through force of arms, but also by making concessions to these lords and incorporating them as feudal territories, a less direct method of rule than Nobunaga's. A system which didn't really change under Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga's legacy was still great as it was the army and state which he created that served as the basis for unification under Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Without Nobunaga destroying the major warlords there basically would be no unified rule in Japan.

Nobunaga also spent much of his time carrying out military, economic and administrative reforms. Unlike many other lords, Nobunaga was able to field a huge professional army, rather than part time soldiers that were busy with farming, at the time of his death Nobunaga probably had over 100,000 men. This also included the use and mass production of the arquebus, and Nobunaga even cast his own cannons. When he conquered Mino in 1567 he also immediately began to reform the administration and economics. Which only increased when he took Kyoto in 1568. Doing all sorts of things like appointing overseers to provinces, dismantling toll barriers, carrying out surveys of lands, taxing temples, allowing for religious discourse, issuing and standardizing currency, issuing "Red Seal" Edicts, disarming the Ikko-Ikki militants, improving the bureaucracy, weakening the power of merchant guilds, standard taxes, pardoning debt and taking major economic centers like Sakamoto, Kyoto, Osaka and Sakai. He also built and fixed roads to Kyoto to improve the efficiency of his armies and to give the peasants and merchants an easier trip, this was of course helpful for the economy. In addition to this he also made trade agreements with the Portuguese, which brought rare goods from Europe, South East Asia, India, China and Korea. Without these things there would be no Japan, the country was a backwater and cesspit for warlords, paling in comparison to Ming China or Joseon Korea.

Japan was poor, socially backwards, isolated and lacking in order or law. After the Three Unifiers Japan flourished economically, socially and culturally and had 250 years of peace. One area that Nobunaga did not touch on that much was social reform, it was indirect in the form of better economic opportunities but Nobunaga was not willing to undo the social hierarchy. Where as Hideyoshi and Ieyasu explicitly drafted laws to preserve the social hierarchy by ensuring feudalism and preventing upward mobility, even carrying out a nation wide sword ban so that only Samurai could keep swords. Unlike Nobunaga, they even brought back toll barriers to prevent peasants, and people in generally, from moving freely but also preventing peasants from leaving the farmlands and going into cities. Nobunaga also allowed the Jesuits to preach Catholicism and was tolerant of Christianity, however Hideyoshi was skeptical and Ieyasu was largely intolerant. Hideyoshi for instance banished the Spanish Franciscans, Ieyasu attempted to limit the influence of the Portuguese Jesuits. Ieyasu's successors would go on to persecute Christians and completely isolate Japan, banishing the Jesuits and allowing only Dutch merchants to trade in specific ports. What a society under Nobunaga would have looked like is hard to say, maybe similar to the feudal structure, but a feudalism which was centralized under the state with more emphasis on cities and trade and probably having a larger Christian presence. Although Nobunaga was also careful to keep the Jesuits in line. He was kind of secular with regards to religion, although obviously having a preference for Japan's Shinto-Buddhism but no specific preference for say the Lotus Sect or the Pureland Sect.
 
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Feb 2019
631
Thrace
In the words of Diodorus Siculus: “having started from the most insignificant beginnings, [Philip] built up his kingdom to be the greatest of the dominions in Europe.”

My vote goes to him.
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,492
T'Republic of Yorkshire
When Nobunaga came to power he faced similar issues that Alexander and Philip did.
Had Nobuhide lived long enough to carve a large chunk of territory then I would compare him to Philip. However Nobuhide died unexpectedly and Nobunaga was forced to take power, as Philip did, and defeat his enemies. But It doesn't end there because Nobunaga then goes on to take Mino, then Omi, Ise Yamato and Kyoto. I suppose this is comparable to when Philip defeated Athens and Thebes (or perhaps it was when Nobunaga conquered Owari and Mino). The rest of Nobunaga's campaigns I would compare to Alexander's invasion of the Persian Empire. Although since this was all in Japan it is hard to make an exact comparison. Nobunaga had probably intended to invade Ming China and Joseon Korea, this is similar to Philip prior to being murdered. A plan that was attempted by Hideyoshi but which resulted in failure during the two Korea campaigns.

Technically Philip and Makedonia had more of an impact over the world. Since Japan did relatively little until in industrialized in the late 1800's, and even then only succeeded in so far as taking Taiwan and Korea. They had questionable influence over Asia even into WW2. But Nobunaga died without having unified Japan, he wanted to conquer the remaining feudal domains militarily, reorganize their territories and set up a national government over Japan, perhaps similar to the Absolutism of Louis XIV. Hideyoshi on the other hand unified Japan, through force of arms, but also by making concessions to these lords and incorporating them as feudal territories, a less direct method of rule than Nobunaga's. A system which didn't really change under Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga's legacy was still great as it was the army and state which he created that served as the basis for unification under Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Without Nobunaga destroying the major warlords there basically would be no unified rule in Japan.

Nobunaga also spent much of his time carrying out military, economic and administrative reforms. Unlike many other lords, Nobunaga was able to field a huge professional army, rather than part time soldiers that were busy with farming, at the time of his death Nobunaga probably had over 100,000 men. This also included the use and mass production of the arquebus, and Nobunaga even cast his own cannons. When he conquered Mino in 1567 he also immediately began to reform the administration and economics. Which only increased when he took Kyoto in 1568. Doing all sorts of things like appointing overseers to provinces, dismantling toll barriers, carrying out surveys of lands, taxing temples, allowing for religious discourse, issuing and standardizing currency, issuing "Red Seal" Edicts, disarming the Ikko-Ikki militants, improving the bureaucracy, weakening the power of merchant guilds, standard taxes, pardoning debt and taking major economic centers like Sakamoto, Kyoto, Osaka and Sakai. He also built and fixed roads to Kyoto to improve the efficiency of his armies and to give the peasants and merchants an easier trip, this was of course helpful for the economy. In addition to this he also made trade agreements with the Portuguese, which brought rare goods from Europe, South East Asia, India, China and Korea. Without these things there would be no Japan, the country was a backwater and cesspit for warlords, paling in comparison to Ming China or Joseon Korea.

Japan was poor, socially backwards, isolated and lacking in order or law. After the Three Unifiers Japan flourished economically, socially and culturally and had 250 years of peace. One area that Nobunaga did not touch on that much was social reform, it was indirect in the form of better economic opportunities but Nobunaga was not willing to undo the social hierarchy. Where as Hideyoshi and Ieyasu explicitly drafted laws to preserve the social hierarchy by ensuring feudalism and preventing upward mobility, even carrying out a nation wide sword ban so that only Samurai could keep swords. Unlike Nobunaga, they even brought back toll barriers to prevent peasants, and people in generally, from moving freely but also preventing peasants from leaving the farmlands and going into cities. Nobunaga also allowed the Jesuits to preach Catholicism and was tolerant of Christianity, however Hideyoshi was skeptical and Ieyasu was largely intolerant. Hideyoshi for instance banished the Spanish Franciscans, Ieyasu attempted to limit the influence of the Portuguese Jesuits. Ieyasu's successors would go on to persecute Christians and completely isolate Japan, banishing the Jesuits and allowing only Dutch merchants to trade in specific ports. What a society under Nobunaga would have looked like is hard to say, maybe similar to the feudal structure, but a feudalism which was centralized under the state with more emphasis on cities and trade and probably having a larger Christian presence. Although Nobunaga was also careful to keep the Jesuits in line. He was kind of secular with regards to religion, although obviously having a preference for Japan's Shinto-Buddhism but no specific preference for say the Lotus Sect or the Pureland Sect.
Okehazama. 'Nuff said.

Nobunaga did have some luck, but no ruler rises to power without luck. The death of Shingen and Kenshin right after they inflicted defeats on him proved crucial, IMO. Shingen would never have made the mistakes Katsuyori did.
 
Jun 2010
136
Fallingwater
In the words of Diodorus Siculus: “having started from the most insignificant beginnings, [Philip] built up his kingdom to be the greatest of the dominions in Europe.”

My vote goes to him.
How about specifically regarding their prowess on the battlefield?
 

mariusj

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,037
Los Angeles
Addressing this as a whole, I do believe that Philip had more of an impact in terms of altering the structure of his kingdom socially, militarily and economically relative to Oda, but in a sense that's also subjective interpretation.
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