The Most Important Military Leaders in World History

List Rules
List includes military leaders from all countries and all eras.

Military history has a few figures who didn't just win battles or campaigns, but changed the world and the destiny of their nations. From the earliest world conquerors, men who laid waste to the entire known world; to modern tactical geniuses using weapons that previous generations only dreamed of, these are the best military leaders, those who were known, feared and respected by both their people and their opponents.

Some of the best army generals in the world and best international army leaders are known even by people who know little else about military history. Others are less well-known but no less important. And every country in history has their own heroes, leaders who commanded forces in the battles that shaped their destiny. This list is far from comprehensive, and can never be, but attempts to find a cross-section of legendary warrior-kings, great strategists, modern innovators, and legendary blood and guts men and women who personally fought in combat.

Vote up the greatest military leaders below, and vote down the ones who might be overrated. Be sure to add other famous military leaders who aren't already listed to make the debate even more complete.

Ranked by
  • Alexander the Great
    1
    4,428 votes
    Dec. at 33 (355 BC-322 BC)
    Never lost a battle and spread Hellenistic civilization across the known world.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    2
    4,178 votes
    Dec. at 51 (1769-1821)
    Conquered continental Europe and revolutionized military tactics.
  • Hannibal Barca
    3
    2,836 votes
    Dec. at 64 (246 BC-182 BC)
    Legendary Carthaginian general who nearly sacked Rome and spread fear through the Empire.
  • Julius Caesar
    4
    3,440 votes
    Dec. at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)
    Personally led the Roman armies at the height of their power.
  • Genghis Khan
    5
    3,709 votes
    Brutal conqueror who sacked much of the known world.
  • Augustus
    6
    249 votes
    Dec. at 76 (62 BC-14)