My List of the Greatest Commanders in History

Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
I've been compiling a list of the greatest commanders in history. The criteria for making it to the list is essentially that the general in question has to be a campaigner. That is basically the reason why you won't see me adding Divisional commanders or Panzer leaders into the this list. The other criteria is that it actually has to be a good commander that also has good feats, so for example I wouldn't add a commander who has only one good victory to their name. Likewise I won't add a commander who lost constantly and then make the "but they didn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell" argument to justify why they are still a good commander. Winning campaigns gets you into this list, plain and simple it is an exclusive club.

So as you can see I listed them in chronological order because I refuse to rank them as best to worst. I have also tried to write their name as close to the original language as best as possible as well as their loyalties in brackets and their approximate date of birth to date of death. In addition if some of these commanders fought in the same conflicts I have added a specific number besides their name to signify that. Though it is self explanatory I have also put "Admiral" in brackets to any commander who had naval exploits.

Feel free to discuss, criticize, ask questions, suggest your own additions or criteria as you see fit.

Sharrukin of Akkad (Akkad) (2360 BC-2279 BC)
Hammurabi (Babylon) (1810 BC-1750 BC)
Thutmosis III (Egypt) (1481 BC-1425 BC)
Suppiluliumas (Hittites) (1370 BC-1322 BC)
Seti Merenptah (Egypt) (1330 BC-1279 BC)
Muwatallis (Hittites) 1 (1310 BC-1270 BC)
Hattusili III (Hittites) 1 (1300 BC-1237 BC)
Ramesses III (Egypt)(Admiral) (1217 BC-1155 BC)
Ashurnasirpal II (Assyria) (905 BC-859 BC)
Tukultipilashur III (Assyria) (770 BC-727 BC)
Sharrukin II (Assyria) (760 BC-705 BC)
Ashurbanipal (Assyria) (685 BC-627 BC)

Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylon) (634 BC-562 BC)
Kurosh the Great (Achaemenids) (576 BC-530 BC)
Darayaus the Great (Achaemenids) (550 BC-486 BC)
Themistokles (Athens)(Athina)(Admiral) (524 BC-459 BC)
Perikles (Athens) 2(Admiral) (495 BC-429 BC)
Phormion (Athens) 2(Admiral) (470 BC-427 BC)
Alkibiades (Athens/Sparta) 3(Admiral) (450 BC-404 BC)
Thrasybulos (Athens) 3(Admiral) (440 BC-388 BC)
Lysandros (Sparta) 3(Admiral) (440 BC-395 BC)
Agesilaos II (Sparta) 4 (444 BC-360 BC)
Epaminondas (Thebes) 4 (410 BC-362 BC)
Philippos II (Makedonia) (382 BC-336 BC)
Alexandros III the Great (Makedonia) 5 (356 BC-323 BC)
Antigonos Monophthalmos (Makedonia) 5 (382 BC-301 BC)
Seleukos Nikator (Ptolemies/Seleukids)(Ptolemaike/Seleukeia) 5 (358 BC-281 BC)
Chandragupta Maurya (Maurya) (340 BC-297 BC)
Agathokles (Syracuse) (361 BC-289 BC)
Pyrrhos of Epeiros (Epirus) (319 BC-272 BC)
Sun Bin (Qi) (380 BC-316 BC)
Bai Qi (Qin) (320 BC-257 BC)
Wang Jian (Qin) 6 (280 BC-220 BC)
Ying Zheng "Qin Shi Huangdi" (Qin) 6 (260 BC-210 BC)
Xiang Yu (Chu) 7 (232 BC-202 BC)
Han Xin (Han) 7 (140 BC-196 BC)
Wei Qing (Han) (160 BC-106 BC)
Kleomenes III (Sparta) (260 BC-219 BC)
Hamilcar Barca (Carthage)(Qart Hadasht) (275 BC-228 BC)
Hannibal Barca (Carthage/Seleukeia/Bithynia) 8(Admiral) (247 BC-183 BC)
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (Rome) 8 (236 BC-183 BC)
Antiochos III (Seleucids) 8 (241 BC-187 BC)

Viriathus (Lusitani) (160 BC-139 BC)
Gaius Marius (Rome, Populares) 9 (157 BC-86 BC)
Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Rome, Optimates) 9 (138 BC-78 BC)
Quintus Sertorius (Rome, Optimates) 9 (123 BC-72 BC)
Lucius Licinius Lucullus (Rome, Optimates) 9 (118 BC-56 BC)
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Rome, Populares/Optimates) 9 (106 BC-48 BC)
Gaius Julius Caesar (Rome, Populares) 10 (100 BC-44 BC)
Marcus Antonius (Rome, Populares/Triumvirs/Antonians) 10 (83 BC-30 BC)
Monaeses Surena (Parthia) 10 (83 BC-20 BC)
Publius Ventidius Bassus (Rome, Populares/Triumvirs/Antonians) 10 (100 BC-27 BC)
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (Second Triumvirate, Roman Empire)(Admiral) (63 BC-12 BC)
Tiberius Claudius Nero (Rome) 11 (42 BC-37)
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus (Rome) 11 (38 BC-9BC)
Marcus Ulpius Trajanus (Rome) (53-117)
Septimius Severus (Rome, Severans) (145-211)
Liu Xiu "Emperor Guangwu" (Han) (5 BC-57)
Ban Chao (Han) (32-102)
Cao Cao (Han/Cao Wei) 12 (155-220)
Sima Yi (Cao Wei) 12 (179-251)
Zhuge Liang (Shu Han) 12 (181-234)
Sun Ce (Zhong/Sun Wu) 12 (175-200)
Sun Quan (Sun Wu) 12(Admiral) (182-252)
Wang Jun (Cao Wei/Jin) 12(Admiral) (206-286)

Ardashir (Sassanids) (180-242)
Shapur the Great (Sassanids) (215-270)
Lucius Domitius Aurelianus (Rome) (214-275)
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus the Great (Rome) (272-337)
Shapur II (Sassanids) (309-379)
Julian the Apostate (Rome) (331-363)
Samudragupta (Gupta) (320-375)
Huan Wen (Jin) (312-373)
Liu Yu "Emperor Wu" (Jin/Liu Song) (363-422)
Gwanggaeto (Goguryeo) (374-413)
Flavius Aetius (Western Rome) 13 (391-454)
Attila the Hun (Huns) 13 (400-453)
Genseric (Vandals)(Admiral) (389-477)
Clovis (Frankish Kingdom) (466-511)
Flavius Belisarius (Byzantines) 14 (505-565)
Narses (Byzantines) 14 (478-573)
Flavius Heraclius (Byzantines) (575-641)
Muhammad (Muslim Arabs) 15 (570-632)
Khalid bin Walid (Pagan Arabs/Muslim Arabs, Rashidun) 15 (585-642)
Muawiyah (Rashidun/Ummayad) 15(Admiral) (602-680)
Li Shimin "Emperor Taizong" (Tang) 16 (598-649)
Li Jing (Tang) 16 (571-649)
Li Shiji (Tang) 16 (594-669)
Su Dingfang (Tang) 16 (591-667)

Guo Ziyi (Tang) (697-781)
Charles Martel (Frankish Kingdom) (686-741)
Pepin the Younger (Frankish Kingdom) (714-768)
Charles the Great (Frankish Kingdom) (742-814)
Krum the Fearsome (Bulgarians) (760-814)
Abu Muslim Khorasani (Abbasids) (718-755)
Harun al-Rashid (Abbasids) (763-809)
Tahir ibn Husayn "al-A 'war" (Abbasids) (775-822)
Alfred the Great (Wessex) (849-899)
Simeon the Great (Bulgarians) (864-927)
Otto the Great (Holy Roman Empire) (912-973)
Brian Boru (Ireland) (941-1014)
Basil the Bulgar Slayer (Byzantines) (958-1025)

Mahmud of Ghazni (Ghaznavids) (971-1030)
Tughril (Seljuks) (990-1063)
Canute the Great (England, Denmark, Norway)(Admiral) (995-1035)
Robert Guiscard (Apulia, Calabria, Sicily) (1015-1085)
William the Conqueror (Normandy, England) (1028-1087)
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (Castile, Valencia/Zaragoza) (1043-1099)
Abaoji (Khitan Liao) (872-926)
Zhao Kuangyin "Emperor Taizu" (Later Zhou/Song) (927-976)
Wanyan Aguda "Emperor Taizu" (Jin Jurchens) (1068-1123)
Yue Fei (Song)(Admiral) (1103-1142)
Minamoto Yoshitsune (Minamoto/Fujiwara)(Admiral) (1159-1189)
Frederick Barbarossa (Holy Roman Empire) 17 (1122-1190)
Nur ad-Din Zangi (Zengids) 17 (1118-1174)
Saladin (Ayyubids) 17 (1138-1193)
Richard the Lion Heart (England) 17 (1157-1199)
Genghis Khan (Khereids/Mongols) 18 (1162-1227)
Mukhali (Mongols) 18 (1170-1223)
Subutai (Mongols) 18 (1175-1248)
Batu Khan (Mongols, Golden Horde) 18 (1207-1255)
Kublai Khan "Emperor Shizu" (Mongols, Yuan) (1215-1294)
Tran Hung Dao (Tran)(Admiral) (1228-1300)
Baibars (Ayyubids, Mamluks) (1223-1277)
Ruggiero di Lauria (Aragon)(Admiral) (1245-1305)
Edward Longshanks (England) (1239-1307)
Robert the Bruce (Scotland) (1274-1329)

Vettor Pisani (Venice)(Admiral) (1324-1380)
Edward III (England) 19(Admiral) (1312-1377)
Edward the Black Prince (England) 19 (1330-1376)
Bertrand du Guesclin (France) 19 (1320-1380)
Nuno Alvares Pereira (Portugal) (1360-1431)
Zhu Yuanzhang "Hongwu Emperor" (Red Turbans/Ming) 20(Admiral) (1328-1398)
Xu Da (Ming) 20 (1332-1385)
Lan Yu (Ming) 20 (1330-1393)
Mu Ying (Ming) 20 (1345-1392)
Zhu Di "Yongle Emperor" (Ming, Yan) 21 (1360-1424)
Zheng He (Ming, Yan) 21(Admiral) (1371-1435)
Timur (Chagatai/ Timurids) (1330-1405)
Jan Zizka (Hussites) (1360-1424)
Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola (Milan/Venice) (1382-1432)
Henry V (England) (1386-1422)
Joan of Arc (France) (1412-1431)
Edward IV (England, House of York) (1442-1483)
George Kastrioti (Kastrioti) 22 (1405-1468)
Janos Hunyadi (Hungary) 22 (1406-1456)
Stefan III Cel Mare (Moldovia) 22 (1433-1504)
Murad II (Ottomans) 22 (1404-1451)
Mehmed II (Ottomans) 22 (1432-1481)

Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba (Spain) (1453-1515)
Cesare Borgia (Papal States/Navarre) (1475-1507)
Hernan Cortes (Spain) (1485-1547)
Fernando d'Avalos (Spain) (1489-1525)
Francisco de Almeida (Portugal) 23(Admiral) (1450-1510)
Afonso de Albuquerque (Portugal) 23(Admiral) (1453-1515)
Kemal Reis (Ottomans) (Admiral) (1451-1511)
Ismail Safavi (Safavids) 24 (1487-1524)
Zahiruddin Babur (Safavids/Mughals) 24 (1483-1530)
Selim Yavuz (Ottomans) 24 (1470-1520)
Hayreddin Barbarossa (Ottomans) 25(Admiral) (1478-1546)
Turgut Reis (Ottomans) 25 (Admiral) (1485-1565)
Suleiman the Magnificent (Ottomans) 25 (1494-1566)
Fernando Alvarez de Toledo (Spain) (1507-1582)
Francois duke of Guise (France) (1519-1563)
Alvaro de Bazan (Spain)(Admiral) (1526-1588)
Francis Drake (England)(Admiral) (1540-1596)
Alessandro Farnese (Spain) 26 (1545-1592)
Henry IV of France (Huguenots, France) 26 (1553-1610)
Hemu Vikramaditya (Suri/Hindustan) 27 (1501-1556)
Akbar the Great (Mughals) 27 (1542-1605)
Abbas the Great (Safavids) (1571-1629)
Qi Jiguang (Ming) (1528-1588)
Li Chengliang (Ming) (1526-1618)
Mori Motonari (Mori)(Admiral) (1497-1571)
Takeda Shingen (Takeda) 28 (1521-1573)
Uesugi Kenshin (Nagao, Uesugi) 28 (1530-1578)
Oda Nobunaga (Oda) 28 (1534-1582)
Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Oda/Toyotomi) 28 (1536-1598)
Tokugawa Ieyasu (Imagawa/Oda/Toyotomi/Tokugawa) 28 (1543-1616)
Kuki Yoshitaka (Oda/Toyotomi) 28(Admiral) (1542-1600)
Shimazu Yoshihiro (Shimazu/Toyotomi) 29(Admiral) (1535-1619)
Konishi Yukinaga (Toyotomi) 29 (1555-1600)
Kwon Yul (Joseon) 29 (1537-1599)
Yi Sun Sin (Joseon) 29(Admiral) (1545-1598)
Bayinnaung (Taungoo) (1516-1581)
Naresuan (Taungoo/Ayutthaya) (1555-1605)
Stanislaw Zolkiewski (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) 30 (1547-1620)
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) 30 (1560-1621)

Maurice of Nassau (Netherlands) 31 (1567-1625)
Frederick Henry of Nassau (Netherlands) 31(1584-1647)
Ambrogio Spinola (Spain) 31 (1569-1630)
Johann Tserclaes graf von Tilly (Holy Roman Empire) 32 (1559-1632)
Albrecht von Wallenstein (Holy Roman Empire) 32 (1583-1634)
Gustav II Adolf (Sweden) 32 (1594-1632)
Johan Baner (Sweden) 32 (1596-1641)
Lennart Torstensson (Sweden) 32 (1603-1651)
Fernando de Austria (Spain) 32 (1609-1641)
Raimondo Montecuccoli (Holy Roman Empire) (1609-1680)
Oliver Cromwell (English Commonwealth) (1599-1658)
Robert Blake (English Commonwealth)(Admiral) (1598-1657)
Maarten Tromp (Netherlands)(Admiral) (1598-1653)
Michiel de Ruyter (Netherlands)(Admiral) (1607-1676)
Louis de Bourbon prince de Conde (France) 33 (1621-1686)
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne vicomte de Turenne (France) 33 (1611-1675)
Sebastien le Prestre marquis de Vauban (France) (1633-1707)
Francois Henri de Montmorency duc de Luxembourg (France) (1628-1695)
Karl X Gustav (Sweden) (1622-1660)
Niels Juel (Denmark)(Admiral) (1629-1697)
Jan III Sobieski (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) (1629-1696)
Aurangzeb (Mughals) 34 (1618-1707)
Shivaji Bhonsle (Marathas) 34 (1627-1680)
Baji Rao (Marathas) (1700-1740)
Nurhaci (Qing) (1559-1626)
Dorgon (Qing) (1612-1650)
Zheng Chenggong (Ming, Tungning)(Admiral) (1624-1662)
Kangxi (Qing) (1654-1722)
Alaungpaya (Konbaung) (1714-1760)
Zhao Hui (Qing) 35 (1708-1764)
Fukanggan (Qing) 35 (1753-1796)

John Churchill duke of Marlborough (Britain) 36 (1650-1722)
Eugene of Savoy (Holy Roman Empire) 36 (1663-1736)
Claude de Villars (France) 36 (1653-1734)
Peter the Great (Russia) 37 (1672-1725)
Charles XII of Sweden (Sweden) 37 (1682-1718)
Maurice de Saxe (France) (1696-1750)
Frederick the Great (Prussia) (1712-1786)
Ferdinand of Brunswick (Prussia/Hanover) (1721-1792)
Edward Hawke (Britain)(Admiral) (1705-1781)
Nader Shah (Safavids/Afshars) (1698-1747)
Ahmad Khan Abdali (Afshars/Durrani) (1722-1772)
George Washington (Britain/United States) (1731-1799)
George Rodney (Britain)(Admiral) (1718-1792)
Pierre Andre de Suffren (France) (1729-1788)
Alexander Suvorov (Russia) 38 (1730-1800)
Fyodor Ushakov (Russia) 38(Admiral) (1745-1817)
Tipu Sultan (Mysore) (1750-1799)

Dmitry Senyavin (Russia) 38(Admiral) (1763-1831)
Horatio Nelson (Britain) 39(Admiral) (1758-1805)
Arthur Wellesley (Britain) 39 (1769-1852)
Andre Massena (France) 39 (1758-1817)
Napoleon Bonaparte (France) 39 (1769-1821)
Louis Nicolas Davout (France) 39 (1770-1823)
Jose de San Martin (Argentina) (1778-1850)
Simon Bolivar (Venezuela, Gran Colombia) (1783-1830)
Theodoros Kolokotronis (Russia/Greece) 40 (1770-1843)
Ibrahim Pasha (Ottomans/Egypt) 40 (1789-1848)
Omar Pasha (Ottomans) (1806-1871)
Shaka Zulu (Zulus) (1787-1828)
Zachary Taylor (United States) 41 (1784-1850)
Winfield Scott (United States) 41 (1786-1866)
Helmuth von Moltke (Prussia, Germany) 42 (1800-1891)
Giuseppe Garibaldi (Rio Grande do Sul/Uruguay/Italy/France) 42 (1807-1882)
Patrice de MacMahon (France) 42 (1808-1893)
Louis Faidherbe (France) 42 (1818-1889)
Amedee Courbet (France)(Admiral) (1827-1885)
Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri (Algeria) (1808-1883)
Ivan Paskevich (Russia) (1782-1856)
Konstantin von Kaufman (Russia) (1818-1882)
Robert Lee (United States/Confederate States) 43 (1807-1870)
Ulysses Grant (United States) 43 (1822-1885)
William Tecumseh Sherman (United States) 43 (1820-1891)
David Farragut (United States) 43(Admiral) (1801-1870)
William Thomas Sampson (United States)(Admiral) (1840-1902)
Manuel Baquedano (Chile) (1823-1897)
Saigo Takamori (Japan) (1828-1877)

Oyama Iwao (Japan) (1842-1916)
Togo Heihachiro (Japan)(Admiral) (1848-1934)
Charles John Napier (Britain)(Admiral) (1786-1860)
James Bremer (Britain)(Admiral) (1786-1850)
Hugh Gough (Britain) (1779-1869)
Garnet Wolseley (Britain) (1833-1913)
Frederick Roberts (Britain) (1832-1914)
Herbert Kitchener (Britain) (1850-1916)
Edmund Allenby (Britain) 45 (1861-1936)
John Jellicoe (Britain)(Admiral) (1859-1935)
Radomir Putnik (Serbia) 45 (1847-1917)
Joseph Gallieni (France) 1849-1916
Louis Hubert Lyautey (France) (1854-1934)
Ferdinand Foch (France) 45 (1851-1929)
Philippe Petain (France) 45 (1856-1951)
August von Mackensen (Germany) 45 (1849-1945)
Erich von Falkenhayn (Germany) 45 (1861-1922)
Erich Ludendorff (Germany) 45 (1865-1937)
Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck (Germany) 45 (1870-1964)
Reinhard Scheer (Germany)(Admiral) (1863-1928)
Franz von Hipper (Germany)(Admiral) (1863-1932)
Mustafa Kemal (Ottomans/Turkey) 45 (1881-1938)
Jozef Pilsudski (Austria-Hungary/Poland) (1867-1935)
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (Russia/Finland) 46 (1867-1951)
Rodolfo Graziani (Italy) 46 (1882-1955)
Albert Kesselring (Germany) 46 (1885-1960)
Erwin Rommel (Germany) 46 (1891-1944)
Erich von Manstein (Germany) 46 (1887-1973)
Karl Doenitz (Germany) 46(Admiral) (1891-1980)
Walter Model (Germany) 46 (1891-1945)
Mikhail Frunze (Soviet Union) (1885-1925)
Georgy Zhukov (Soviet Union) 46 (1896-1974)
Aleksander Vasilevsky (Soviet Union) 46 (1895-1977)
Nikolai Vatutin (Soviet Union) 46 (1901-1944)
Andrew Cunningham (Britain) 46(Admiral) (1883-1963)
Chester Nimitz (United States) 47(Admiral) (1885-1966)
William Slim (Britain) 47 (1891-1970)
Isoroku Yamamoto (Japan) 47(Admiral) (1884-1943)
Hisaichi Terauchi (Japan) 47 (1879-1946)
Tomoyuki Yamashita (Japan) 47 (1885-1946)
Jiang Jieshi (Nationalist China) 47 (1887-1975)
Peng Dehuai (Communist China) 48 (1898-1974)
Lin Biao (Communist China) 48 (1907-1971)
Vo Nguyen Giap (Vietnam) (1911-2013)
Sam Manekshaw (India) (1914-2008)
Last edited:
Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
Here are ones that I am unsure about:

Sesostris I (Middle Kingdom Egypt)(Libya, Nubia, Libya) (1990 BC-1926 BC)
Sesostris III (Middle Kingdom Egypt)(Nubia, Canaan) (1900 BC-1839 BC)
Ahmose (New Kingdom Egypt)(Hyksos, Canaan, Nubia, Nubia) (1560 BC-1514 BC)
Thutmose I (New Kingdom Egypt) (1530 BC-1493 BC)
Ramesses II (New Kingdom Egypt) (1300 BC-1213 BC)
Mursili II (Hittite Empire) (1350 BC-1295 BC)
Esarhaddon (Neo-Assyria)
Cyaxeres (Median Empire)
Harpagus (Median Empire/Achaemenid Empire) (600 BC-535 BC)
Kimon (Athens) (510 BC-450 BC)
Gelon (Syracuse) (510 BC-478 BC)
Dionysius the Elder (Syracuse) (405 BC-367 BC)
Timoleon (Syracuse) (380 BC-335 BC)
Brasidas (Sparta) (460 BC-422 BC)
Demosthenes (Athens) (460 BC-413 BC)
Krateros (Macedon/Antipatrids) (370 BC-321 BC)(Issos, Hydaspes, Crannon, Hellespont)
Ptolemaios Soter (Macedon/Ptolemies) (367 BC-282 BC)
Eumenes of Cardia (Perdiccans, Eumenids) (362 BC-316 BC)(Hellespont, Nora, Paraitakene, Gabiene)
Perdikkas (Macedon, Perdiccans) (355 BC-320 BC)(Thebes, Granicus, Issos, Gaugamela, Persian Gates, Sogdiana, Kophen, Hydaspes, Mallian Rock, Cappadocia, Nile)
Lysimachos (Thrace) (355 BC-281 BC)
Demetrios Poliorketes (Antigonids) (337 BC-283 BC)
Marcus Furius Camillus (Roman Republic) (446 BC-365 BC)
Fabius Maximus Rullianus (Roman Republic) (360 BC-293 BC)
Marcus Claudius Marcellus (Roman Republic) (270 BC-208 BC)
Gaius Claudius Nero (Roman Republic) (247 BC-190 BC)
Titus Quinctius Flamininus (Roman Republic) (229 BC-174 BC) (the Aous, Cynoscephalae, Sparta, Thermopylae)
Philopoemen (Achaean League) (253 BC-183 BC)
Ptolemaios III Euergetes (Ptolemaic Egypt) (260 BC-222 BC)
Demetrios Aniketos (Indo-Bactrians) (230 BC-180 BC)
Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus (Roman Republic) (229 BC-160 BC)
Scipio Aemelianus (Roman Republic) (185 BC-129 BC)
Mithridates I of Parthia (Parthia) (195 BC-138 BC)
Menander I (Indo-Greek Kingdom) (165 BC-130 BC)
Judah Maccabeus (Hasmonean Judea) (200 BC-160 BC)
Spartacus (Slave Rebels) (111 BC-71 BC)
Burebista (Dacian Kingdom) (110 BC-44 BC)
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (Roman Empire) (5-67)
Gaius Suetonius Paulinus (Roman Empire) (10-80)
Gnaeus Julius Agricola (Roman Empire) (40-93)
Marcus Aurelius (Roman Empire) (121-180)
Lucius Verus (Roman Empire) (130-169)
Avidius Cassius (Roman Empire) (130-175)
Cniva (Goths)
Gallienus (Roman Empire) (218-268)
Claudius Gothicus (Roman Empire) (210-270)
Odenathus (Rome/Palmyra) (220-267)
Marcus Aurelius Probus (Roman Empire) (232-282)
Diocletian (Roman Empire) (244-311)
Maximian (Roman Empire) (250-310)
Galerius (Roman Empire) (260-311)
Fritigern (Goths) (340-380)
Theodosius the Great (Roman Empire) (347-395)
Stilicho (Eastern Rome/Western Rome) (359-408)
Chandragupta II (Gupta) (350-414)
Vahriz (Sassanids) (
Khosrau I (Sassanids) (496-579)
Khosrau II (Sassanids) (570-628)
Shahrbaraz (Sassanids) (570-630)
Shahin Vahmanzadegan (Sassanids) (570-626)
Kardarigan (Sassanids) (570-629)
Muqan Qaghan (Turkic Khaganate) (520-572)
Theoderic (Ostrogoths) (454-526)
Chlothar (Franks) (497-561)
Urien Rheged (Rheged) (500's)
Chlothar II (Franks) (584-629)
Cadwallon ap Cadfan (Kingdom of Gwynedd) (600-634)
Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn (Principality of Powys) (620-656)
Penda of Mercia (Kingdom of Mercia) (606-655)
Ecgfrith of Northumbria (Kingdom of Northumbria) (645-685)
Musa ibn Nusayr (Umayyad Caliphate) (640-716)
Tariq bin Ziyad (Umayyad Caliphate) (670-720)
Muhammad ibn Marwan (Umayyad Caliphate) (660-720)
Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik (Umayyad Caliphate) (680-738)
Suluk Khagan (Turgesh Khagan) (690-738)
Constantine V (718-775)
Abd al-Malik ibn Salih (Abbasid Caliphate) (750-812)
Khaydhar ibn Kawus al-Afshin (Abbasid Caliphate) (790-841)
Offa of Mercia (Kingdom of Mercia) (730-796)
Egbert of Wessex (Kingdom of Wessex) (771-839)
Louis the Pious (Frankish Empire) (778-840)
Niall Caille (Kingdom Ailech) (800-846)
Mael Sechnaill mac Maele Ruanaid (Kingdom of Meath) (820-862)
Henry the Fowler (Germany, East Frankia) (876-936)
Nikephoros II (Byzantine Empire) (912-969)
John Tzimiskes (Byzantine Empire) (925-976)
John Kourkouas (Byzantine Empire) (890-946)
Mael Sechnaill mac Domnaill (Kingdom of Meath) (949-1022)
Rajaraja Chola (Chola) (947-1014)
Boleslaw the Great (Poland) (967-1025)
George Maniakes (Byzantine Empire) (998-1043)
Bohemond of Antioch (Tarento, Antioch) (1058-1111)
David IV of Georgia (Georgia) (1073-1125)
Abd al-Mu'min (Almohad Caliphate) (1094-1163)
John II Komnenos (Byzantine Empire) (1087-1143)
Manuel Komnenos (Byzantine Empire) (1118-1180)
David Soslan (Georgia) (1150-1207)
Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170)
Philip Augustus (France) (1165-1223)
Frederick II (Holy Roman Empire, Sicily) (1194-1250)
Sundiata Keita (Mali) (1217-1255)
Aleksander Nevsky (Novgorod, Vladimir, Kiev) (1221-1263)
Leszek II the Black (Poland) (1241-1288)
Ladislaus IV of Hungary (Hungary) (1262-1290)
Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad (Ghurid Sultanate) (1149-1206)
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad (Ghurid Sultanate) (1139-1202)
Shamas-ud-Din Iltutmish (Delhi Sultanate) (1180-1236)
Alauddin Khilji (Delhi Sultanate) (1266-1316)
Muhammad bin Tughluq (Delhi Sultanate) (1300-1351)
Edward Bruce (Kingdom of Ireland) (1280-1318)
John Hawkwood (1320-1394)
Henry II of Castile (Castile) (1334-1379)
Alberico da Barbiano (Papal States/Milan) (1344-1409)
Muzio Attendolo Sforza (Bologna/Florence/Naples)
Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (Moscow, Vladimir) (1350-1389)
Moctezuma (Aztec Empire) (1398-1469)
Tupac Inca Yupanqui (Inca Empire) (1440-1493)
Sonni Ali (Songhai Empire) (1430-1492)
Askia the Great (Songhai Empire) (1443-1538)
Deva Raya (Vijayanagar Empire) (1380-1422)
Deva Raya II (Vijayanagar Empire) (1400-1446)
Krishna Deva Raya (Vijayanagar Empire) (1471-1529)
Aliya Rama Raya (Vijayanagar Empire) (1485-1565)
Francesco I Sforza (Milan) (1401-1466)
Braccio da Montone (Florence/Naples/Papal States) (1368-1424)
Carlo Malatesta (Milan/Papal States/Venice) (1368-1429)
Federico da Montefeltro (Urbino) (1422-1482)
Matthias Corvinus (Hungary) (1443-1490)
Richard III (England) (1452-1485)
Muhammad Shaybani (Uzbek Khanate) (1451-1510)
Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha (Ottoman Empire)(1500-1580)(Malta, Yemen, Cyprus, Persia)
Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada (Spain)(1509-1579)
Stefan Batory (Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, Transylvania) (1533-1586)
Stanislaw Koniecpolski (Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth) (1590-1646)
Stefan Czarniecki (Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth) (1599-1665)
Carl Gustav Wrangel (Sweden) (1613-1676)
Hong Taiji (Qing Empire) (1592-1643)
Santaji Ghorpade (Maratha Empire) (1660-1696)
Karl XI (Sweden) (1655-1697) (Halmstad, Lund, Landskrona)
James FitzJames (Britain/France) (1670-1734)
Leopold Joseph von Daun (1705-1766) (Moys, Kolin, Domstadl, Hochkirch, Maxen, Meissen, xLiegnitz, xTorgau, xBurkersdorf)
Ernst Gideon von Laudon (1717-1790) (Domstadtl, Hochkirk, Kunersdorf, Landeshut, Glatz, xLiegnitz, Schweidnitz, Belgrade)
Jozef Poniatowski (Poland, France) (1763-1813) (Polish-Russian War 1792, Kosciuszko Uprising, Fourth Coalition, Fifth Coalition, Invasion of Russia, Sixth Coalition)
Karl von Osterreich-Teschen (Austria) (1771-1847) (Belgium 1792/94, Germany 1795/96, Italy 1797, Swiss 1799, Italy 1805, Germany 1809)
Joseph Radetzky von Radetz (Austria) (1766-1858) (Second Coalition, Third Coalition, Fifth Coalition, Sixth Coalition, Italian Revolt 1831, 1st Italian Independence)
Mikhail Kutuzov (Russia) (1745-1813) (Russo-Turkish War 1768/74, Russo-Turkish War 1787/92, Third Coalition, Russo-Turkish War 1811/12, Invasion of Russia)
Mikhail Barclay de Tolly (Russia) (1761-1818) (Third Coalition, Fourth Coalition, Finnish War, Invasion of Russia, Sixth Coalition, Seventh Coalition)
Andrew Jackson (United States of America) (1767-1845)
Ranjit Singh (Sikh Empire) (1780-1839)
Imam Shamyl (Caucasian Imamate) (1797-1871)
Porfirio Diaz (Mexico) (1830-1915)
Crazy Horse (Sioux Nation, Oglala tribe) (1840-1877)(Platte Bridge, Fetterman, Wagon Box, Rosebud, Little Bighorn, Slim Buttes, Wolf Mountain)
Menelik (Kingdom of Shewa, Ethiopian Empire) (1844-1913)
Mikhail Skobelev (Russian Empire) (1843-1882)
Luis Alves de Lima e Silva (Brazilian Empire) (1803-1880)
Douglas Haig (United Kingdom) (1861-1928)
Joseph Joffre (France) (1852-1931)
Svetozar Boroevic (Austria-Hungary) (1856-1920)
Max Hoffman (German Empire) (1869-1927)
Muhammad ibn Abd el Karim (Rif Republic) (1882-1963)
Abdulaziz ibn Saud (Saudi Arabia) (1875-1953)
Mikhail Tukhachevsky (USSR) (1893-1937)
Konstantin Rokossovsky (USSR) (1896-1968)
Douglas MacArthur (United States of America) (1880-1964)
Archibald Wavell (United Kingdom) (1883-1950)
Bernard Montgomery (United Kingdom) (1887-1976)
Shojiro Iida (Japan) (1888-1980)
Hitoshi Imamura (Japan) (1886-1968)*
Shunroku Hata (Japan) (1879-1962)
Yasuji Okamura (Japan) (1884-1966)*
Matthew Ridgway (United States of America) (1895-1993)
Gerald Templer (United Kingdom) (1898-1979)
Moshe Dayan (Israel) (1915-1981)
Ariel Sharon (Israel) (1928-2014)
Norman Schwarzkopf (United States of America) (1934-2012)
James Mattis (United States of America) (1950. 66)
David Petraeus (United States of America) (1952. 64)
Ahmad Shah Massoud (Afghanistan, Tajiks) (1953-2001)
Qasem Soleimani (Islamic Republic of Iran) (1957. 59)

*-Hitoshi Imamura (Shanghai 1932, Manchukuo 1936/37, China 1938/41, Dutch East Indies 1941/42, Solomon Islands 1942/45, New Guinea 1942/45)
*-Yasuji Okamura

Naval commanders
Xanthippos (525 BC-475 BC) (Marathon, Salamis, Mycale, Sestus)
Kleitos the White (Amorgos, Echinades, Byzantion, Chersonesos)
Fujiwara Sumitomo (893-941)
Yu Yunwen (Song) (1110-1174) (Tangdao, Caishi)
Harald Hardrada (1015-1066) (Stiklestad, Rus, Anatolia, Sicily, Olivento, Montemaggiore, Ostrovo, Denmark campaigns, Nisa, Haakon Revolt, Fulford, Stamford Bridge)
William Longespee (1176-1226) (Damme, Bouvines, Lincoln)
Hubert de Burgh (1170-1243) (Chinon, Dover, Sandwich)
Andrea Doria (1466-1560)
Wang Hong (Ming) (1466-1540) (1st Tamao, 2nd Tamao)
Abraham Duquesne (France) (1610-1688)
Anne Hilarion de Costentin comte de Tourville (France) (1642-1701)
George Rooke (England) (1650-1709)
Charles Hector comte d'Estaing (France) (1729-1794) (
Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse (1723-1788)
George Anson (1697-1762) (World Voyage, 1st Cape Finisterre, Havana, Manila)
Gustav III (1746-1792) (Russo-Swedish War 1788-1790)
James Saumarez (1757-1836) (First Coalition, Second Coalition, Gunboat War, Anglo-Russian War)
Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860) (Napoleonic Wars, Chilean Independence, Peruvian Independence, Brazilian Independence, Greek Independence)
Andreas Vokos Miaoulis (1769-1835)
Guillermo Brown (1777-1857) (Argentine Independence, Cisplatine War, Uruguayan Civil War)
Marcello Amero D'Aste (1853-1931) (Italo-Turkish War, WW1)
Luigi Amedeo di Savoia (1873-1933) (Italo-Turkish War, WW1)
Paolo Emilio Thaon di Revel (1859-1948) (Italo-Turkish War, WW1)

Lian Po (Zhao) 300 BC-240 BC (Zhao-Qi wars, Zhao-Wei wars, Zhao-Qin wars, Zhao-Yan wars)
Li Mu (Zhao) 280 BC-229 BC (Xiongnu campaign, Qin invasion)
Sima Zhao (Cao Wei) 211-265 (Jiang Wei's Expeditions, Battle of Dongxing, 3rd Shouchun Revolt, Cao Mao coup, Conquest of Shu, Zhong Hui Rebellion)
He Qi (Eastern Wu) 170-227 (Southern Counties, Shanyue tribes, Battle of Xiaoyao Ford, You Tu revolt, Battle of Dongkou, Battle of Qichun)
Fu Jian (Former Qin) 338-385
Tuoba Gui (Northern Wei) 371-409
Tuoba Si (Northern Wei) 392-423
Tuoba Tao (Northern Wei) 408-452
Erzhu Rong (Northern Wei) 493-530
Yang Jian (Sui) 541-604
Yang Guang (Sui) 569-618
Xue Rengui (Tang) 614-683
Gao Xianzhi (Tang) 700-756 (First Western Campaign, Second Western Campaign, An Lushan Rebellion)
Li Guangbi (Tang) 708-764
Yelu Deguang (Liao) 902-947
Yelu Xiuge (Liao) 940-998
Cao Bin (Song) 931-999
Wu Jie (Song)
Yelu Dashi (Kara Khitan) 1087-1143
Li Yuanhao (Western Xia) 1003-1048
Wanyan Chen (Jin Jurchens) 完顏陳
Meng Gong (Song)
Zhengde Emperor (Ming) 1491-1521
Wu Sangui (Ming/Qing) 1612-1678 (Shun revolt, Qing conquest of Ming, Three Feudatories)
Changling (Qing)(White Lotus Rebellion 1800/03, Kokonor revolt 1807, Ch'ishan revolt in Shaanxi 1814, Kokonor revolt 1822, Altishar 1826/28, Altishar 1830/31)
Yang Yuchun (Qing)(White Lotus Rebellion 1796/1800, Gansu/Sichuan/Shaanxi insurgents 1800/03, Shaanxi mountain bandits 1803/05, Ning-shan mutiny 1806, Henan rebels 1813, Ch'ishan revolt in Shaanxi 1814, Altishar 1826/28)
Zuo Zongtang (Qing) 1812-1885 (Taiping Rebellion, Nian Rebellion, Dungan Revolt 1862/77)
Dong Fuxiang (Qing) 1839-1908 (Dungan Revolt 1862/77, Dungan Revolt 1895, Boxer Rebellion)
Yuan Shikai (Qing/Republic of China/Empire of China) 1859-1916 (Imo Incident, Gapsin Coup, Donghak Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion, Xinhai Revolution, Second Revolution, Bai Lang Rebellion, National Protection War)

Mongols, Tibetans and Koreans
Modu Chanyu (Xiongnu) 234 BC-174 BC
Geunchogo (Baekje) 346-375
Jangsu (Goguryeo) 391-413
Eulji Mundeok (Goguryeo)
Yeon Gaesomun (Goguryeo) 603-666
Wang Geon (Goryeo) 877-943
Gang Gam-Chan (Goryeo) 948-1031 (Third Goryeo-Khitan War)
Yun Gwan (Goryeo) 1040-1111 (Jurchen campaigns)
Ogedei Khan 1186-1241 (Jin, Khwarezmia, Persian revolt, Fall of Jin, Eastern Xia, Korea, Song)
Hulagu Khan 1218-1265 (Persia, Baghdad, Syria 1259, Ayn Jalut, Caucasus Nogai, Khorasan/Afghanistan Negudar)
Ghazan Khan 1271-1304 (Nawruz revolt, Chagatai raids, Khorasan revolt, Baydu revolt, Nawruz/Khorasan, Chagatai/Khorasan, Jalayir/Anatolia, Syria, Neguderis, Sulemish/Anatolia, Aleppo, Wadi al-Khazandar, Damascus, Syria 1301, Marj al-Saffar)
Esen Taishi 1400-1455 (Moghulistan, Mongolia, Manchuria, Qara Del, Ganzhou, Xuanfu Liaodong, Datong, Tumu, Beijing, Togto Bukha Khagan, Moghulistan, Tashkent, Transoxania, Mongol Revolt)
Dayan Khan 1464-1543
Galdan Khan 1644-1697
Songtsan Gampo 600-649
Mangsong Mangtsen 645-676
Tridu Songtsen 676-704
Me Agtsom 704-755
Trisong Detsen 742-797

Taira Masakado 900-940 (Johei-Tengyo no Ran)
Minamoto Yoshiie 1039-1106 (Zenkunen War, Gosannen War)
Taira Kiyomori 1118-1181 (Hogen Rebellion, Heiji Rebellion, Gempei War)
Emperor Go-Daigo 1288-1339
Nitta Yoshisada 1301-1338
Ashikaga Takauji 1305-1358
Kato Kiyomasa 1561-1611 (Yamazaki, Shizugatake, Kyushu, Imjin War, Sekigahara)
Date Masamune 1567-1636 (Souma, Ashina, Ouchi, Hatakeyama/Satake/Ashina/Soma, Ashina/Satake, Sekigahara, Osaka)
Shibata Katsuie 1522-1583

South East Asia
Kertanegara (Singasari)
Gajah Mada (Majapahit)
Ly Thuong Kiet (Ly)
Le Loi (Le)
Le Thanh Tong (Le)
Nguyen Hue (Tay Son)
Jun 2017
It's basically impossible to tell for times before rome since there is not much writing. Anyway I chip in for skipio africanus and alexander the great because why not.


Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
i think it's just too long a list to add the adjective Greatest to. As well as most of them there simply inst the detailed reliable accounts to base accurate judgements on.
Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
To me it is just a figure of speech. The point was just to make a massive list of some of the greatest generals. But be sure that these generals were all pretty good, at least decent. Even by my own high standards they were able to make the final draft and I was considering on dropping a few of the ones here.

But with regards to information you are mostly correct. I threw in Chandragupta Maurya cause I figured that it was pretty much mandatory considering that he conquered northern India and set the stage for unification of the sub-continent (which was completed by his grandson Ashoka).
Jan 2015
Cao Cao again. What the hell did he do to be in the list!? The only one time he control his army without his top generals and advisors, he lost. And he stayed inactive for half of his life and most if not all his feats was from his generals and advisors.

Seriously, there are plethora of better Chinese generals but you have to choose the questionable ones like Wang Jun and wacked Cao. And where is Sun Jian? You REALLY think Sun Quan is a better general than Sun Jian? You added Ying Zheng for serious! What the hell!? What was the one time when he personally lead the army? Both him and Sun Quang are not even campaigner as it's their advisors and generals who did everything! And not a single Wei general! You know, the ones that are considered to be the top generals of the era? Have you ever heard of Lian Po? How about Li Mu? And 楽毅? Not even Bai Qi was considered to be their equal but you let Ying Zheng of all people be in the list but not them? How about Guo Ziyi, Li Guangbi and An Lushan?

And you bothered to add the Qing generals but not Ming Yuan Chonghuan who, you know, gave both Nurhaci and Hong Taiji a run for their money? And no Hong Taiji but Dorgon? What?

I am done.
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Jan 2015
Ontario, Canada
Cao Cao again. What the hell did he do to be in the list!? The only one time he control his army without his top generals and advisors, he lost. And he stayed inactive for half of his life and most if not all his feats was from his generals and advisors.
Yeah Cao Cao didn't really do anything... he only started with an army of 5,000 men and then defeated Yu Du, Yufuluo, Tao Qian, Liu Bei multiple times, Lu Bu, Yuan Shu, Yuan Shao, Zhang Lu and then held the border against both Sun Quan and Liu Bei and conquered all of northern China setting up for the inevitable defeat of the Shu and Wu kingdoms in the south. Not a big deal.

Also stay inactive for half of his life? I don't even know what that is supposed to mean.

Seriously, there are plethora of better Chinese generals but you have to choose the questionable ones like Wang Jun and wacked Cao. And where is Sun Jian? You REALLY think Sun Quan is a better general than Sun Jian? You added Ying Zheng for serious! What the hell!? What was the one time when he personally lead the army? Both him and Sun Quang are not even campaigner as it's their advisors and generals who did everything! And not a single Wei general! You know, the ones that are considered to be the top generals of the era? Have you ever heard of Lian Po? How about Li Mu? And 楽毅? Not even Bai Qi was considered to be their equal but you let Ying Zheng of all people be in the list but not them? How about Guo Ziyi, Li Guangbi and An Lushan?

And you bothered to add the Qing generals but not Ming Yuan Chonghuan who, you know, gave both Nurhaci and Hong Taiji a run for their money? And no Hong Taiji but Dorgon? What?

I am done.
Maybe I should start by saying that I am not finished with the list and it is always open to be amended.

Wang Jun was the Jin naval commander that was responsible for the defeat of Wu and the reunification of China under the Jin dynasty. How is that inconsequential?

Ying Zheng never led an army but you don't need to lead troops into battle to be considered a commander, he was the Supreme Commander of the Qin army so I give him points for strategy. By that logic George C. Marshal wasn't a military commander either. That was also my logic for Sun Quan and Sun Quan did in fact conduct operations personally.

Sun Jian's career was ridiculously short. He defeated Hua Xiong, retook Luoyang after Dong Zhuo was already retreating before the entire might of the coalition, did some fighting against Liu Biao and then got killed.

Cao Cao is a Wei general, well no he is their leader but good enough.
Sima Yi is a Wei general...

I've never heard of Yue Yi. I did in fact include Guo Ziyi, I'm not familiar with Li Guangbi's accomplishments, all I know is that he campaigned against An Lushan. Didn't include An Lushan because he was a terrible general, he lost way more battles than he won and his revolt was put down.
Lian Po is difficult for me to pin down because most of his campaigns were limited operations against a neighboring state, his brief stint against the Qin was cut short when the King of Zhao removed him from command. Likewise with Li Mu were his campaigns were basically success against the Xiongnu, defeating Huan Ji and then being executed by the King of Zhao. Also you will find that in my second post I am still trying to find information on these two generals.

I did include a lot of Ming generals, I forgot about Yuan Chonghuan and don't have enough information on him anyways. Hong Taiji's career was literally just invaded the Joseon of Korea, defeated some Mongol tribes in Inner Mongolia and then get wrecked by the Ming every time he tried to invade China. Dorgon for his part actually conquered China and was one of Hong Taiji's generals during the invasion of Korea.
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Feb 2016
Atlantic Ocean
May i add Sir John Monash to the list? (The great war)

He is credited as "the only general of creative originality produced by the First World War." and was Australians first Australian General. he was a amazing general who was intricite in his planning to the smallest details such as in the Battle of Hamel he made sure that hot meals were brought up to the front line.

He was also known for his use of Combined arms and for his participation in the Battle of Amiens, which was described as "The black day for the german army" and was one of the most decisive engagements of the war


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Simon de Montfort (1160-1218) — couldn't seem to find him on either list? Not a nice guy, but considering his string of successes in the Albigensian crusades I think he would merit inclusion in the Medieval section.

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