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Top Ten Bad A**es of History

Updated on November 27, 2010

For your reading enjoyment, I've compiled a list of, in my opinion, the bravest, most unflinching, charismatic, intelligent and indomitable people in history. Obviously, very deserving individuals will be left out for the simple reason that I don't know every facet of history and simply haven't read much about them.* (Atilla the Hun, for instance) But, hey, it's all in good fun. Enjoy!

* I'm about 99% sure that I'll get flak for not including Genghis Khan, but rest assured, when I make a "top ten most brutal warlords" list, he'll be sitting comfortably at one of the top three spots.

10. Cyrus the Great

"You cannot be buried in obscurity: you are exposed upon a grand theater to the view of the world. If your actions are upright and benevolent, be assured they will augment your power and happiness."
"You cannot be buried in obscurity: you are exposed upon a grand theater to the view of the world. If your actions are upright and benevolent, be assured they will augment your power and happiness."

First King of the Persian Empire

Founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus was spoken of in glowing terms by nearly all he encountered. Aside from being a ferocious combatatant, Cyrus was a merciful and wise ruler, praised by Herodotus and credited by the Bible with the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. Beyond conquering a vast amount of territory, Cyrus' greatness also lied in his ability to govern. The pattern of the Persian empire, one based upon provinces ruled by satraps all answering to a single, centralized authority, was followed for hundreds of years, and inspired the governments of future empires. Cyrus was largely unaffected by power and wealth though. When questioned as to why he didn't invade foreign lands and move from such a barren landscape, Cyrus replied, " Soft countries breed soft men. It is not the property of any one soil to produce fine fruits and good soldiers too."

9. Peter the Great

"I have conquered an empire but I have not been able to conquer myself."
"I have conquered an empire but I have not been able to conquer myself."

Energetic Modernizer, Leader and Shipwright

Peter is a greatly overlooked and underrated figure in history. His childhood, which could have been defined by lavish indulgences and adolescent entertainments, was instead spent on learning, exploration, and "war games" with his playmates. Instead of whiling away time in the palace, Peter was recreating battles with his friends. The older he got, the more realisitc the "battles" became, eventually including elaborate forts. rifles with blanks, uniforms, and of course, some serious injuries. As Peter grew out of war games, his feverish passion for learning led to the formation of the first Russian navy, as all free time was devoted to educating himself and others on ship-building, dockyard construction, and sea-faring. Using Western Europe as his example, Peter completely revamped the Russian empire, modernizing every facet of Russian life and rebuilding his army from the ground up. Peter changed the face of Russia forever, changing her from a backward and dispersed tsardom to an efficient, modern and powerful emipire within his life-span. Peter's childhood disdain for luxury stayed with him his entire life, shrugging off kingly accommodations for simple, practically spartan living arrangements.

Seriously, this book is phenomenal.

8. Xenophon

"The true test of a leader is whether his followers will adhere to his cause from their own volition, enduring the most arduous hardships without being forced to do so, and remaining steadfast in the moments of greatest peril."
"The true test of a leader is whether his followers will adhere to his cause from their own volition, enduring the most arduous hardships without being forced to do so, and remaining steadfast in the moments of greatest peril."

Retreat of the 10,000

As a mercenary for hire from Athens, Greece, Xenophon's career took a turn for the worse in 401 BC, when the supposedly superior army of his employer, Cyrus the Younger, was defeated by the king of Persia, Artaxerxes II at the battle of Cunaxa. Seems Cyrus had failed to mention his true plans of overtaking the Persian empire from his older brother Artaxerxes. Instead, he deceived his Greek mercenaries and told them they would be fighting against the army of Tissaphernes, satrap of Caria and an old rival of Cyrus. To no surprise, the smaller army of Cyrus fell to Artaxerxes' force, and the Greeks found themselves far from home, surrounded by enemies. Through treachery, the Persians assassinated the Spartan Clearchus, leader of the Greek forces, and new leaders were accordingly elected, one of these being Xenophon. Deep within Mesopotamia, Xenophon skillfully led his army of 10,000 900 miles north to the Black Sea, fighting through hostile country every step of the way. Thankfully he lived to tell about it, and we can today read of his exploits in Xenophon's history book, The Anabasis.

7. Queen Boudicca

"Look round, and view your numbers. Behold the proud display of warlike spirits, and consider the motives for which we draw the avenging sword. On this spot we must either conquer, or die with glory. There is no alternative."
"Look round, and view your numbers. Behold the proud display of warlike spirits, and consider the motives for which we draw the avenging sword. On this spot we must either conquer, or die with glory. There is no alternative."

The Warrior Queen

Of the all the atrocities carried out against women by the Roman army, this is one they lived to regret. After his death, Rome ignored the will of Boudicca's husband Prasutagus, which stated that his kingdom be divided between Boudicca, her daughters, and the Roman Empire, and begun plundering the territory that lawfully belonged to her. Had they stopped there, perhaps the warrior queen would have been more merciful, but after flogging her and raping her daughters, Boudicca's wrath was fully unleashed. Her army first marched to the Roman colony of Camulodunum, and destroyed it. They then defeated a retaliatory Roman division, and completely annihilated London, killing all inhabitants and burning it to the ground. The destruction didn't stop there, as Boudicca's avenging army moved from settlement to settlement, destroying all who stood in her way. The Britons met their match though, against the Roman general Suetonius, who employed superior weapons and tactics, and who used a narrow battlefield to negate the advantage of Boudicca's much larger army. Though Boudicca perished, probably by self-poisoning, the ferocity of her attacks due to Roman injustices led to a more tolerant approach towards the tribes of Britain by Rome.

6. King David

A rough day for Goliath
A rough day for Goliath
"Be strong and of good courage; fear not or be dismayed; for the Lord, even my God, will be with thee. He will not fail thee, till thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord."
"Be strong and of good courage; fear not or be dismayed; for the Lord, even my God, will be with thee. He will not fail thee, till thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord."

Warrior of God

David's military accomplishments are legendary. Time and time again he brought his men against greater Philistine forces, and time and time again completely routed them. He paid for his bride with the foreskins of 200 slain Philistine warriors (try to avoid the visual), and sucessfully evaded roving bands of Saul's men bent on destroying him. But it's his first great accomplishment that puts him at number 4: The slaying of Goliath. According to I Samuel, David was only an adolescent when he destroyed Goliath. The courage involved in just confronting a nine-foot tall Philistine warrior covered in bronze armor is staggering enough, but David backed up his threats, and with nothing more than a sling and a stone, cracked Goliath right in between the eyes. He then picked up the warrior's sword and beheaded him, effectively demoralizing the Phillistine army and earning himself a place in history. Not bad for a teenager.

5. King Leonidas of Sparta

“Eat a good breakfast, for tonight we dine with the shades.”
“Eat a good breakfast, for tonight we dine with the shades.”

Death Before Surrender

Well, this is a no-brainer. Anyone who has seen the movie "300" has at least a marginal grasp of what occurred at the pass of Thermopylae in 480 BC, however idealized and fantastic the movie interpretation may be. Even though in truth Leonidas' 300 Spartans were accompanied by approximately 700 Greeks during their last stand, the accomplishment is in no way diminished. After the traiterous Ephialtes revealed a way for the Persians to surround the Greeks, Leonidas and his men remained, in the faint hope that their sacrifice would buy enough time for the rest of Greece to amass a navy large enough to face the Persian threat. For three days they held off a Persian force numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When their spears broke, they fought with their swords. When their swords broke, they fought with their hands and teeth. Eventually, the Greeks, cornered by the massive Persian army, were slaughtered to a man. But their sacrifice not only bought Greece enough time to raise their navy (winning the battle of Salamis, a major turning point in the war) but the effect it had on overall Greek morale was astounding.

4. Joan of Arc

      “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”

The Maiden

Joan of Arc was only 12 years old when she first started receiving visions concerning her role in the expulsion of the English army from France, and boy, did she listen. As a poor, uneducated farm girl, very few took Joan seriously, until she accurately predicted a battle reversal at Orleans, the last stronghold holding out England from the rest of France. Thus began a mind-blowing career, one that still has historians scratching their heads. How could a teenage girl with no military background succesfully lead armies against the English? It is a perplexing, almost unbelievable occurrence, and yet it happened. Joan of Arc proposed that France take the offensive at Orleans. They did, and they won, again and again; first taking back Orleans, then pushing all the way to the town of Reims. Not only was Joan a gifted strategist, she was tough as nails. Shot with arrows and crossbow bolts, hit in the head with a cannonball, not to mention the exhaustion involved in just moving around in that armor, Joan didn't cry, didn't complain, she just shook it off and returned to the battlefield to lead her army to victory. Amazing.

3. Paul of Tarsus

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Joy in Suffering

After being blinded for three days, Paul of Tarsus converted to Christianity and pretty much hit the ground running. Shipwrecks, imprisonment, and torture, not to mention being ostracized by entire cities (Like Ephesus), Paul endured almost every discomfort known to mankind, and yet, at the end of day, didn't complain, rather boasted about it all. There is something very impressive about a guy who preached to unruly mobs bent on ripping him apart and yet kept a smile on his face. Paul didn't lead armies into battle, or ascend the hightest peaks, but his passion was second-to-none, and his courage exlempary. Paul never gave up, never relented. As soon as his life's mission was clear, he ran with it, and lived with fervor, compassion and unflinching bravery.

2. Alexander the Great

I touched Asian soil first! I win!
I touched Asian soil first! I win!
"I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion."
"I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion."

Leader of Men, Lord of Asia

Where to begin? From childhood to death, Alexander encompassed the term "badass." As a child, he tamed his loyal steed, Bucephalus. A feat that full-grown men, horse-trainers at that, failed to accomplish. He led his men into battle at the head of his cavalry, was stabbed, shot with arrows, and clubbed over the head numerous times, and surpassed the endurance level of his entire army time and time again. During a desert march, in which hundreds of Alexander's men fell from exhaustion and dehydration, some of his soldiers were able to procure a scant amount of water, putting it in a helmet and presenting it to their leader. Alexander, though grateful, dumped it on the ground, choosing instead to share every discomfort of his army.

The morning of the battle of Gaugamela, camped before hundreds of thousands of enemy soldiers, Alexander overslept, and had to be woken by his men. Upon waking, Alexander was in an excellent mood, and felt that victory over the Persian army had already been gained. I have to wonder, where does one conjure up that sort of fearlessness?

1. Jesus of Nazareth

Not exactly the meek and humble look.
Not exactly the meek and humble look.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Compassionate and Unflinching

The usual pictures don't exactly bring the word bad ass to one's lips: Jesus with children on his lap, smiling passively, gently remonstrating his disciples or being flogged with no signs of resistance. But these portrayals don't really do the man justice. The truth is, Jesus had the ability to do just about anything he wanted to, and yet he chose to live a life of scarcity, humility, and passion. But of course, the things he did decide to do were phenomenal: walking on water, ordering storms to subside, fasting for 40 days and nights in the desert, taking on the demon-possessed, raising the dead, ousting the money-changers from the Temple with a cord of whips, healing the blind, the lame and the sick, and willingly accepting execution by the Roman government, to name a few. And the charisma required to persuade a cranky, blue-collared fisherman (Peter) to leave his life's work and follow a radical rabbi is hard to fathom. But while he was a caring and compassionate man, he never sugar-coated his words. He made no excuses for his actions, and was always brutally honest. And asking for forgiveness for his enemies while hanging upon a cross? That's bad ass.


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    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Tanner, nope, they don't. It isn't mentioned in Jewish sources until that date, but that has nothing to do with it's existence, rather it's insignificance. Your position is archeologically unsupportable. Better luck next time.

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      Tanner 5 years ago

      Historians believe that the city of Nazareth was built around 300 years AFTER the man who claimed to be the son of God named Jesus died. How could he possibly be "of Nazareth?"

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      Kruimel 5 years ago

      i'd definetely scratch jezus, he didn't Really do anything bad, ever, so either the title is wrong, or i just can't see him on #1.

      i'd look in to jefta or samson for biblical badd-asses... David is known to be a follower, think of Abner or Asaël whitouth them he would have been killed by saul's troops, and even when he got badd advice he followed, the coward even send his neihbour in front line to take his wife. (he had het even before uria died. he did ofcourse trow a rock at a giant, wich is awesome, but just not as brutal as killing a couple of hundreds with a mule-jaw imo.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Lone Ranger, you make me laugh. Well done!

      CJ, thanks for the props good sir! And I agree, Boudica had some serious gams. I only wish my legs were that big.

      Meed, I graduated from Portland State. Thanks for your comment.

      Apolmc, not to get overly theological, but Jesus was God incarnate, meaning that in all matters physical, he experienced the exact same bodily discomforts as we. Jesus was and is God, yes, but he was also 100% human. An important point to be aware of when contemplating his suffering. Thanks for your exclamatory comment.

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      CJ Sledgehammer 6 years ago

      You know, Jason, upon scrutinizing the picture above, I am not so sure Queen Boudicca's military success came from being such a fine general and military tactician as much as it came from having such a fine pair of legs. Little wonder she could raise an army of 100,000 soldiers to fall upon the mighty Romans. :0)

      Peace out - C.J. Sledgehammer

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      Apolmc 6 years ago

      But Jesus is God! You are comparing God to men!

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      Meed 6 years ago

      Interesting list, I happen to find the story of Joan in a historical sense, to be absaloutely fascinating. I want to, if I dont end up writing, become a History teacher. I appreciate your unbiased and open minded list. I understand that you have a few commenters here who leave flame bait, which one can expect from the mentioning of the Christian religion. What I'm entertained with most is your rebuttle of each. Where did you earn your degree?

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      CJ Sledgehammer 6 years ago

      Well, Jess, it looks like wherever they are - they are not on Jason's list. If memory serves, weren't there over 200 people at the Alamo? So, if there were 200 or so, who should Jason exclude from his list above, and what bad a-s from the Alamo should be included and why?

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 6 years ago

      Marvelous list, Jason, well done!!!

      You have some interesting choices and surprises, but after I read the rationale behind them - it made sense to me too!

      Fun from start to finish. I just can't wait to read more.

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      Vinoth 6 years ago

      Liked the list but was expecting the "Little Rascal" Napoleon to be somewhere in the list.

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      Lone Ranger 6 years ago

      While taking Silverpiper out behind the shed Jason asked:

      "And by the way, putting Bear Grylls on a history hub is a little absurd, ain't it?"


      I would have to disagree with you Jason. Although Bear is our contemporary I did see him attack a rotten log once and having ripped said log apart with his bare hands, he devoured a few hundred large ants and went looking for more. Now, before you start dissing on the Bear, keep in mind these ants were horrible creatures with large mandibles, red glowing eyes, and a lust for human flesh.

      Now, I have seen Bear eat things that would cause Alexander the Great to choke on his own vomit. Just give Bear 10,000 bi-sexual Greeks and he, too, would conquer the entire Middle-East in record time all-the-while enslaving millions of ant colonies along the way.

      Best wishes, be well and behave - L.R.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Oh boy! Here we go again....


      Yet another brilliant comment! I can't tell what part I like best, the numerous typos coupled with the self-adulation of being a "historian," or the elementary "all history is biased" lesson paralleling a criticism that I write biased history.

      I stand amazed that, for whatever reason, men of history with religious leanings (and like I commented before, they are the vast majority) are somehow considered offensive and thus outside of the scope of historical reference. Let me get this straight, Bear Grylls (a Christian) Winston Churchill (a Christian) Arminius (a pagan), and Vlad Tepeche (Um, tepes?) (A professed Christian but more of a Satanist) are all fair game, but as soon as I throw Jesus or David into the list I'm misrepresenting history? Excuse me?

      It's so easy to talk yourself up online, isn't it? Labeling yourself a "historian" and clumping all history together as being "written by those whi have the power." If you'd ever actually had an education in history, you'd find that just isn't true, and in fact, as ironic as this is, the one source used in this hub devoid of a power bias is the Bible, which throws a bit of wrench in your silly little theories, doesn't it?

      Please, I implore you, stop leaving the most asinine, uneducated, and ridiculous comments ever on this hub! I will once again repeat myself: This was written for fun, it's a stupid top-ten list, get over it.

      And by the way, if I'm not willing to call myself a historian, you have definitely not earned that moniker. I can only assume you've yet to graduate high school. Furthermore, you do realize the difference between a mythological character (Odin) and a historical one (everyone on this list), don't you?

      P.S. Gee, Winston Churchill and Attila the Hun? WOW! Who are those guys? You are such a brilliant historian! I better look them up, because they definitely weren't covered in HST 103 and 102 (which I took over ten years ago). And by the way, putting Bear Grylls on a history hub is a little absurd, ain't it?

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      siverpiper 6 years ago

      You may be a historian my friend, but so am I. In short, all history is biased, it isbwritten by those whi have the power. This is no different than whay you are doing. People like you ruin history with your biases, you with your Christian beliefs. Now, I am also a Christian, but there is no need to infuse spiritual prophets into this, Jesus for example. Hey, why not throw Moses in there, or how about Odin? He was the main influence for Santa Claus you know...hey, how about Santa!? You see what I mean?

      Ps- Charles Martel, Robert the Bruce, Arminius, Jack Churchill, Winston Churchill, Alfred the Great, Pier Gerlofs Donia, Attila the Hun, Vlad Tepeche, even Bear Grylls perhaps?...look these gentlemen up.


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      Caleb 6 years ago

      There is indeed hard evidence of Jesus' existence, but I don't think there was anything supernatural about him. I imagine he was more of an influential preacher who sacrificed himself for the greater good. That's still a pretty badass thing to do, though.

      However, it might not be a good idea to include religious figures like Him in a list like this. Though I take no offence, there are all too many people who would. By all means, speak your mind, but for your sake, you should be careful.

      Nice list, btw.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Haha, yes, I think Aragorn would be a bit to handle for nearly all of the aforementioned, but if I'm gonna go fantasy-esque, I'd be remiss to mention Gandalf and Aslan for the top two! (I LOVE LTR by the way, I was a total geek for Tolkien for most of my teenage years).

      It's funny, I usually keep my cool when people post inflammatory comments on my more "controversial" hubs, but when it's something as innocent and well-meaning as this, I can't stand it! Taking offense at a silly list meant for pure entertainment is so ridiculous to me, not to mention, the majority of these people just leave a comment and never come back. Lame.

      Anyway, thanks so much for the kudos L.R.! I really appreciate it.

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      Lone Ranger 6 years ago

      Good Morning, JR!

      Sorry about the long-winded post above. If you want to delete it, you won't hurt my feelings. I thoroughly enjoyed your Hub from beginning to end along with the subsequent dialog. I could sense the frustration building up inside you with those who complained about YOUR list, but what I really enjoyed was the lectures that followed. I guess, I was just in a playful mood and thought you would appreciate the absurdity of my post.

      By the way, I have done quite a bit of research on the Roman Empire and knew a thing or two about ancient Briton/Roman conflicts. I was happy to see that you mentioned Boudicca. I remember reading how young Roman soldiers were terrorized with fear upon seeing, for the first time, thousands of wild-eyed, crazy, topless Druids (both male and female) running up and down the beachhead waving torches, spears, and swords in the air, while some even convulsed as if possessed by demons.

      Thanks, JR, you are not only inspiring, but you're entertaining, too! :0)

      God's speed to you, my friend - L.R.

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      Lone Ranger 6 years ago

      Dear JR:

      This was a great list until I hit the top 5. Nowhere on your list did you mention lord Aragorn of Gondor formerly known as "Strider". I am deeply hurt and offended that he did not make your list. Do you actually think Alexander the Great could have defeated an army of 10,000 orks and cave trolls? I didn't think so.

      And what about when Aragorn had to go down that creepy mountain path into that creepy cave which was made by the dead and then had to convince the ghost army to fight for him? What about that? Do you think Joan of Arc would have come out of there alive? Not on your life.

      What about when Aragorn rode his horse into battle against those wargs (wolf-like creatures) who carried goblins on their backs? He didn't flinch for a second. Do you really think Xenophon would have survived?

      What about Aragorn's bravery at the battle of Helm's Deep when he led the people of Rohan to victory over 10,000 fighting Uruki. Do you think King Cyrus the Great could have mustered enough courage to defeat such an overwhelming force?

      Aragorn also became king of Gondor and united Middle Earth, which had never been done before. So, next time you want to piece together a top 10 list, I will expect to see some of my favorite heros from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on your list.

      Now, if you want to talk about real bad asses, then I would also like to see Jason Bourne on that list. Sure, Jesus made a whip and drove some bad guys out of the Temple, but Jason would have broken some arms and snapped some necks using only a paper clip. Now that's real leadership coming from a real All-American bad ass! :0)

      Best wishes - L.R.

      Sorry, JR, I just couldn't let an opportunity like this pass me by. :0)

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Alexander was great ,This is really great write up..Thanks for that

    • hummingbird211 profile image

      hummingbird211 6 years ago from Delhi,India

      I read it like I was reading a really interesting piece of fiction. Rated up interesting and awesome.Loved it !

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      Harry 6 years ago

      LOL! This is a great list. I am going to use that quote by Cyrus often. Thanks very much.

    • wise like solomon profile image

      wise like solomon 7 years ago from Biblical Proportions

      Awesome post but where's Napolean? That short little gusto deserves a spot over several of these.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks a lot Patty Inglish!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Rated Up, Aweseom, and Beautiful. Not what I expected and I shared it with others. Great Hub!

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      @ Pamela, thanks for the comment!

      @ Ageingrebel, wow, yet another brilliant observation, and again, it's just so easy to criticize the research of others without offering any valid or scholarly alternative, isn't it? Please inform us all as to what about Xenophon lacks historical criticism, won't you? Should I perhaps take the postmodern stance and paint all of history with a huge question mark? And while you're at it, what are your own credentials in the study of history? A few hours on the History Channel and some web surfing?

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      Ageingrebel 7 years ago

      At first I thought you were naïve for taking everything Jesus supposedly did without any sign of critical thinking. Then I read the part about Xenophon and lol'd hard at your lack of historical criticism. Fail.

    • Pamela Sarzana profile image

      Pamela Sarzana 7 years ago from northern Indiana

      Awesome, Interesting, Detailed, Good List! Great Hub!

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Oh goodness, poor Alicks is offended by my list! I'll make sure to change it right away!!!

      So, let me get this straight, the list is ok, but only until there are any men and women deemed "religious" by you on it? Here's an eye-opener for you, if I did that, there would be NO list. Joan of Arc, Cyrus the Great, Paul of Tarsus, King David, Xenophon, King Leonidas...these were ALL extremely religious people. In fact the 300 Spartans wouldn't have been in the mess they were in if it weren't for being so religious.

      Furthermore, of COURSE Christ existed, that is no assumption at all. We have more historical attestation (even from secular sources) for him than for others on this list, and yet how odd is it that he happens to be the only one people complain about? You think that somehow because Christ was the son of God that being nailed to a cross felt a little less miserable? He was fully God but fully MAN, meaning that every second of torture was every bit as painful for him as it would be for you and I. In fact, his being the Son of God made it even more amazing that he did this, because after all, if you were being tortured by a mob of humans, and could at any time stop it with divine intervention, you're telling me you wouldn't? I know I would.

      At the end of the day, I am utterly sick and tired of people reading a list that is clearly just for fun and taking offense to it, and then proceeding to tell me what I need to do to make their fragile sensitivities all better. I mean really, you are aware this isn't the nightly news correct? I can be as subjective as I want, and I choose to put the "highly offensive" Jesus Christ on the list. From the Muslim guy complaining that there were no Muslims, to the kid who called me racist since these are "all figures from western history," I'm really convinced that there are just too many of you out there in web land with nothing better to do than to find things to be offended by and complain about them. How about making your own list? Oh, wait, that's FAR too constructive, correct? Whining and moaning is a lot more enjoyable, and easy.

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      Alicks 7 years ago

      yeah. List is ok for you and people that believe like you. Honestly though, if you really wanted to do justice to history's greatest men and women you should take the religious figures off of here.

      They may, or may not, have done things comparable to what some real people on your list have certainly done. And Jesus, #1? Seriously, I mean even if we ASSUME he really existed and did all those things, then supposedly he was the son of God. How is it fair to compare his pre-destined accomplishment of sacrificing himself for humanity to those of mortal humans with no divine guidance or intervention of any kind.

      Just saying.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Wow, this was really interesting. I am not usually a fan of history--but you made it interesting. Great Hub!

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks for your comment World Traveler. @Eric, I didn't forget anything, Hannibal is completely overrated. Taking elephants through the Alps would be tough, sure, but also completely unnecessary and a waste of resources and manpower.

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      World-Traveler 7 years ago from USA

      Historians are of great importance. Without historians, leaders and society itself may repeat the mistakes of the past.

      The turmoil that is now be evidenced in the Middle East may be interpreted as lessons not learned by many of the current rulers of many of those turbulent countries.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks Luis! Not too sure about the "semi-historical" line, but nevertheless a very kind compliment. Thanks for reading!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 7 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Great hub from a semi historical point of view. Very informative and leads one to do further research.

      This hub is typical of a very well written hub that sparks interest and conversation.

      Thanks for sharing

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      nikknack7 7 years ago

      Killing a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey and Samson doesn't even get honorable mention?

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      ken 7 years ago

      Fantastic lst mate

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon


      firstly, your assertion that there is NO historical proof for the existence of Jesus and David is absolutely absurd. I've got a degree in history and am currently working on an M.A. in biblical studies, and at this point in my life whenever I hear someone make such a ridiculous claim, all I can do is roll my eyes and hope that such ignorance will someday come to an end.

      And guess what? This is hubpages, not fox news or any other news station for that matter. Where did you get the impression that writers here are somehow expected to maintain an objective stance? You're offended? I honestly couldn't care less. There is an overabundance of "offense" these days, and to suggest that I need to somehow cater to your frail sensibilities by censoring my own opinion is the height of absurdity. For the love of all that is holy, can people stop leaving such idiotic comments?

    • profile image

      Chris 7 years ago

      Okay the list is good. But Jesus and David? WTH? There are no historical proof that either of those men existed. Jesus should be replaced with Alexander the Great and David with Napoleon. This offends people who are not Christian, this list is biased like fox news. So please take note and don't involve religious figures the next time you make a list. (Unless its about religion) Cheers

    • profile image

      Riki 7 years ago

      That was awesome. Are you a christian? I am. JESUS is 'bad ass' like you said. He put sinners in their place. In JOHN when HE found people in HIS temple sinning HE made a whip and with righteous indignation drove them out. So here all these men are afraid and running away from one MAN< JESUS. HE defended women who were being mistreated by other men. And you're also right that demons as powerful as they are are terrifide and submit to my GOD JESUS. I have a quote about me PERFECT SAVIOR, "JESUS was merciful not a pasifist, only the ignorantly unsaved think so."

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Great list JR, for personal valor have to agree about David--I find it interesting that his description of the lion and bear encounter to Saul stressed his stewardship-like responsibility in retrieving the sheep unharmed as well as his complete trouncing of them. I think I might include Anne Frank and Theodore Roosevelt for different reasons. Thanks for the new information.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Really? A civil war vet would put Alexander the Great to shame? So much for your credibility. And like I said to numerous sad little people who find offense in nearly everything, this a list for fun, not a political statement, so get over it and find something better to do with your time. I honestly don't care if you like it or not, but thanks so much for the negativity. God knows we need more of it these days.

    • profile image

      GPBA... Not 8 years ago

      Yeah... scrolled downed to number 1 and knew where this was going. Just cause they did great thing doesn't make em badasses. I'm really kinda put off at some of your selections. A Civil War or WWII vet could descibe badass experiences to put any of these men to shame... and they have. Sorry. I have to give your site a thumbs down.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks very much De Greek! Yes, for better or for worse, I guess I am somewhat interesting. ;)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 8 years ago from UK


      You are an interesting young man and it's a pleasure to find someone of your obvious youth take an interest in history. Well done :D

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 8 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Good list and an entertaining read. Well done.

      Perhaps if you are compiling a further list in the future you might consider including Mahatma Gandhi, as I feel that his contribution to world history was exemplary.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Wah. It's my list shafqat. Make your own. And guess what? If you do, I can guarantee I won't whine if you don't put someone like Jesus or Alexander on it. Why can't people just have fun anymore? Geesh.

    • profile image

      shafqat 8 years ago

      no this is not fair. this list is uncomplete and contovercial because it dose not containe the names of great muslims. you know muslims era had great impect on the wolrd and they are very influenced persons, specially the prophet of islam " hazrat MUHAMMAD (PBUH)" and his companions. he is the greatest personality ever in the world.

    • profile image

      genghis khan 8 years ago

      where is genghis khan

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      well yeah, of course in that regard he is. But I don't consider Jesus in the competition for "best man in history." Being God, he has a bit of an unfair advantage. ;)

    • profile image

      ErictheRed 8 years ago

      Pretty sure Jesus is the Best Man in history, being God and all, plus when He comes back to wipe the wicked from the face of the earth.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      There is no "Best Man" in history, Don't be ridiculous.

    • profile image

      Sepad Hattori 8 years ago

      But "Cyrus The Great" The Best Man Of Human History.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      What's the title Sepad? Did I say that? read.

    • profile image

      Sepad Hattori 8 years ago

      These are the best men in history ????

    • gandalfthegrey profile image

      gandalfthegrey 8 years ago

      Good site!

      You could add many thousands, Earth's History has been bloody and violent since the beginning, seeking power, Life.

    • profile image

      Sica 8 years ago

      LOL Jesus =))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    • profile image

      Andy 8 years ago

      Alexander the Great is good....but his father Philip II was a total bad ass!

    • profile image

      A Texan 8 years ago

      It was an informative read and I guess the list is good. Someone mentioned Erwin Rommel if you want to include Generals who are very brave because they lead armies go right ahead, but a true badass would be Audie Murphey

    • persianqu33n profile image

      persianqu33n 9 years ago

      thank you i really enjoyed it :)

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 9 years ago

      Thank you for a well thought out Hub that brought to light some amazing military leaders. Excellent to read. What do you think about adding my favorite as an honorable mention--Patton.

    • Joseph2307 profile image

      Joseph2307 9 years ago

      Nice job... The first 3 I were picked up the same guys... Well done....

    • mrboffo profile image

      mrboffo 9 years ago from Saginaw, MI

      VERY fun read. Kudos on this one. You totally went a different way than what I expected - Jesus and Paul as bad-asses? Very cool.

    • profile image

      Hxprof 9 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      I enjoyed this piece. You chose people from various walks of life, and that makes for an engaging read!

    • profile image

      Starburstia 9 years ago

      wow peeps. rar. now, now, blake, stop being critical. and jreuter, stop being nasty.


      anyway, cool list. just ignore those flames!

    • BDazzler profile image

      BDazzler 9 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA


    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 9 years ago from ma

      Great list of historic badass figures. I wish I had seen this list while in high school. It would have given great ideas for reports. Definitely want to look more into Queen Boudicca. She sounds cool and I never heard of her before.

    • J D Murrah profile image

      J D Murrah 9 years ago from Refugee from Shoreacres, Texas


      Bravo! This is a good list. The selection is thought provoking and well documented. I look forward to reading more of your work. I am curious where Julius Ceasar, Hannibal and Vercingetorix fit into your selections? Another noteworthy one is Moses. He developed quite a military reputation when leading the Egyptian armies in their campaigns.

      Best Regards,

      Jeff Murrah

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

      Read with great interest.

      All of these men and ladies were not only great but good. All worthy of being commented on.

      They were all good

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks Walker, Masonsmom and glassvisage. Glass, I like Napoleon too, I guess I just wanted people who were more &quot;in the thick of it&quot; if you know what I mean. From what I understand, Napoleon was a brilliant strategist, but he usually stayed comfortably in the rear of his army, commanding from a safe point. A smart move, definitely, just not very bad ass. But I admit, I'm not greatly educated on Napoleon, if I'm wrong let me know. I plan on studying him in greater depth soon. A very interesting character for sure. Thanks for reading!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      What a fun way to look at history... I wish my favorite Napoleon was here :)

    • MasonsMom profile image

      MasonsMom 9 years ago from U.S.A.

      This is a great list! I enjoyed the pictures as well. It's kinda funny to think of Jesus as a &quot;bad ass&quot; but He is the Ultimate! :)

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Fun hub! Some of history's greatest bad-asses, for sure.

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks Cheryl, this was a fun one to write, but time-consuming, as I really knew very little about Boudicca and Joan of Arc prior to writing this. The funny thing is, after reading up on Joan of Arc, I actually changed her ranking from 8 to 4. She was way too tough to be 8th. Thanks too for the suggestions of Henry and Rommel. I'll most likely use them!

    • CherylTheWriter profile image

      CherylTheWriter 9 years ago from Humble, Texas (the ultimate oxymoron)

      Awesome. I can see you put some thought and study into this list, drawing upon all manner of sources and not allowing modern prejudices to sway your decisions. Good job.

      I particularly like the fact that your definition of &quot;bad ass&quot; includes the ability to change the world, for better or worse, something that simple war lords such as Genghis Khan never quite achieved for all their martial glory. For your war lords list, please consider two of my personal favorites, Henry V and Erwin Rommel.


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