Most epic battle/war/conflict in history

Apr 2010
That's why I mentioned that countries would not see that much destruction until WWII.

Talk to McPherson. He is the one I quoted.

Regardless, wars starting first with the ACW started becoming increasingly bloody because their tactics were not sufficient for the new technology that was used.

This begain with the ACW, and then, of course WWI with the horrible tactics they used with charges and machine guns.

At the end of the ACW the South had 4% of it's population dead, 40% of it's livestock destroyed, and 2/3rds of it's wealth evaporated. It redefined the entire nature of a country that would become the most powerful country on the planet in less than a century and a half.

I think all of these things alone make it worthy of an "epic" war.
Since ancient times there were wars that left countries and entire regions with much more destruction than the ACW or even WW1 and WW2. The roman conquest of Gaul almost depopulated a region where more than 25 million people lived. The Assyrians caused destruction and death upon some of their enemies that would make the percentages you show of the south's losses seem like nothing. The mongols almost completely depopulated some regions where millions lived. The Volga Bulgarians were completely destroyed by them and the capital of Bolgar that had almost a million inhabitants was wiped out with all of the people - compare that to "4% of the population.....and half the livestock" LOL. The thirty years war saw the death of 1/3 of the entire population of the german states - thousands of villages and cities were completely destroyed i doubt just 40% of the lifestock and 2/3 rds of the ecnomy suffered. And don't forget were are not talking about a few american states with a few million people (the south), but the entire are of central Europe with many millions of people. And that was 200 years before the ACW. I have you a link to the An Lushan Rebellion that actually happened in the 8th century. As you see history from ancient times is simply full of huge conflicts that caused destruction much bigger than that in the ACW and beat it both by numbers and percentages, so if you want to give it the status of an "epic" conflict than you will have to do the same thing for at least 100 other conflicts that have bigger percentages and/or numbers and that in turn will somehow devalue the term "epic". I think only 5 to 10 of the greatest conflicts in history, with largest numbers, casualties and percentages of destruction should be called "epic" and the ACW definitely doesn't rank that high.

Maybe to you. Can you please explain why the American Civil War is the most reenacted War around the planet? Obviously reenactors around the world disagree with you. I met a group of American Civil War reenactors from Italy and I asked them if any of their members had ancestors that fought in the ACW. None of them did. I was baffled by it as well.
If those reenactors have the same lack of knowledge about historical conflicts as you do i don't find it hard to believe they would disagree with me. Of course, they could also chose to reenact that particular war for a number of other reasons too - they simply enjoy the style of warfare more, it is cheaper to reenact that than would be for example a medieval knight battle or a roman legion etc. This argument is simply not valid in our current discussion which is about percentages and numbers that you seem to have a wrong perception about.
Likes: Gvelion
Sep 2015
So for a top 10, I'm going to go with the following at present:

1 Second Punic War
2 World War II (and associated conflicts)
3 Polish-Soviet War
4 Dutch War of Independence
5 Japanese Invasions of Korea
6 Goguryeo-Tang War
7 American Civil War
8 Peloponnesian War
9 War of the Roses
10 Manchu Conquest of China

And since it sometimes comes up as to why I didn't cite something in particular, I will add that I also considered near the end: Great Northern War, Napoleonic Wars, Mamluk-Ilkhanate War, Algerian War of Independence, Thirty Years War, Goryeo-Khitan Wars, English Civil War, and several somewhat hard to define wars involving the Ottoman Empire in the 15-16th Centuries.
Oct 2016
epic modern war; WWII. every continent involved (except Antarctica), from New Guinea tribesmen to Eskimos recruited for Territorial Guard duties in Alaska.
epic modern campaign; WWII Eastern Front. the two greatest armies on earth fighting on hundreds of miles.
epic modern battle; the Bulge. pockets of freezing Americans holding on. Bastogne will be forever remembered as 'The Roadblock'.

epic ancient war; I'd say the conquests of Alexander. Changed the focus of civilization from East (Persia) to West (Greece).
epic ancient campaign; Hannibal in Italy. years of battle in the enemy's back yard. Rome survived thanks to its moderate governing policies; Carthage was seen as invaders, not liberators.
epic ancient battle; Carchemish. Persia/Babylon alliance hammers the Assyrians, who will never recover. turning point in the ancient world. (Zama was certainly a big one too.)
Mar 2016
By using "epic" in the sense not of "it was really cool" but the enormous impact and importance of the conflict, as well as the general sense of drama, I'd probably go with the war between Alfred the Great of Wessex and Guthrum of the Danes, specifically the lead-up to and the Battle of Edington; the King of Wessex emerging from exile in the marshes to make a last stand against the Danes; the last hope of a Christian England against the conquering pagan vikings. Had Alfred lost, it's likely that England would never again become Christian, and obviously the consequences of that would be massive.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
Maybe in Protestant World word "epic" means "important".... but it is not... Epic.. from GREEK (femenin form for adjective ἐπικός (EPIKOS) consisted by name or substantive ἔπος (EPOS) means what is talked by the word, also meaning Word, speech, poetic speech, and sufix ικός (IKOS). means relative to...

So Epic means RELATIVE TO THE WORD... to the Poetic Speech...EPOS came from Indoeuorpean WEKW who gave latin words as VOX, VOCABULUM or VOCALIS... Greek used the EPIC (ἐπικός) to recit poems...NEVER WRITTEN...only centuries and thousand years later... those NEVER WRITTEN poems were written... BREAKING the Epic.
The Epic means never written poems... So... NOT EVEN ONE BATTLE written in this forum is Epic.. and less than none WW2 where 100% battles were written...and filmed
We can speak about them but not written... the battles you wrote it is about Marketing, Publicity. Propaganda... but NEVER about Epic..

That is what happen when you banned the Old Greek in School!

If WW2 is "Epic"... I am Donald Trumpet!

PD: Marketing and Hollywood script don´t mean Epic!!!!


Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
Welsh Marches
Indeed, it's an idiom, soemething on a grand scale comparable to what you find in an epic poem or comparable prose narrative. Epic poems can originate as written works, moreover, they need not be of oral origin (and of course the great majority of those that we have were not oral in origin, for obvious reasons).


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
As for Heroic , the battle for Stalingrad train station on September 13th , the place changed hand 15 times in 6 hours
Apr 2018
Mythical land.
rise of marathas who ended up,ending the mughal empire in 18th century india is quite epic.
struggles of shivaji against mughals are truely epic.

Similar History Discussions