Warrior

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A warrior is a person specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based warrior culture society that recognizes a separate warrior class or caste.

Contents

History

Samurai, member of the Japanese warrior caste Samurai and Ainu Fuzoku Ema.jpg
Samurai, member of the Japanese warrior caste
14th century knight Pippo Spano, member of the Order of the Dragon Andrea del Castagno - Pippo Spano, Niccolo Acciaiuoli, Francesco Petrarca - Google Art Project.jpg
14th century knight Pippo Spano, member of the Order of the Dragon

Warriors seem to have been present in the earliest pre-state societies. Along with hunting, war was considered to be a definitive male activity. No matter the pretext for combat, it seemed to have been a rite of passage for a boy to become a man. Warriors took upon costumes and equipment that seemed to have a symbolic significance; combat itself would be preceded by ritual or sacrifice. Men of fighting age often lived apart in order to encourage bonding, and would ritualise combat in order to demonstrate individual prowess among one another. [1] Most of the basic weapons used by warriors appeared before the rise of most hierarchical systems. Bows and arrows, clubs, spears, and other edged weapons were in widespread use. However with the new findings of metallurgy, the aforementioned weapons had grown in effectiveness. [2]

When the first hierarchical systems evolved 5000 years ago, the gap between the rulers and the ruled had increased. Making war to extend the outreach of their territories, rulers often forced men from lower orders of society into the military role. This had been the first use of professional soldiers —a distinct difference from the warrior communities. [3]

The warrior ethic in many societies later became the preserve of the ruling class. Egyptian pharaohs would depict themselves in war chariots, shooting at enemies, or smashing others with clubs. Fighting was considered a prestigious activity, but only when associated with status and power. European mounted knights would often feel contempt for the foot soldiers recruited from lower classes. In Mesoamerican societies of pre-Columbian America, the elite aristocratic soldiers remained separated from the lower classes of stone-throwers. [4] The samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of Japan from the 12th to the late 19th century. [5]

In contrast to the belief of the caste and clan based warrior who saw war as a place to attain valor and glory, warfare was a practical matter that could change the course of history. History always showed that men of lower orders who, provided that they were practically organized and equipped, almost always outfought warrior elites through an individualistic and humble approach to war. This was the approach of the Roman legions who had only the incentive of promotion, as well as a strict level of discipline. When Europe's standing armies of the 17th and 18th centuries developed, discipline was at the core of their training. Officers had the role of transforming men that they viewed as lower class to become reliable fighting men. [4]

Inspired by the Ancient Greek ideals of the 'citizen soldier', many European societies during the Renaissance began to incorporate conscription and raise armies from the general populace. A change in attitude was noted as well, as officers were told to treat their soldiers with moderation and respect. For example, men who fought in the American Civil War often elected their own officers. With the mobilization of citizens in the armies sometimes reaching the millions, societies often made efforts in order to maintain or revive the warrior spirit. This trend continues to the modern day. [6] Due to the heroic connotations of the term "warrior", this metaphor is especially popular in publications advocating or recruiting for a country's military. [7]

Women as warriors

Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh, leader of the Dahomey Amazons, holding a severed head. Dahomey amazon1.jpg
Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh, leader of the Dahomey Amazons, holding a severed head.

While the warrior class in tribal societies is typically all-male, there are some exceptions on record where women (typically unmarried, young women) formed part of the warrior class, particularly in pre-modern Japan.[ citation needed ]

A purported group of fighting women is the legendary Amazons, recorded in Classical Greek mythology. Similarly, the Valkyries are depicted in Norse mythology, particularly the Icelandic Etta. During the Viking Age a type of female warrior was the skjaldmær, or shieldmaiden. Hard historical evidence of non-mythological female warrior classes have been harder to come by, but some studies have been done (e.g. Birka warrior). However, groups of female warriors typically belong in folklore and mythology, rather than in reality where there were only exceptional cases of women engaging directly in combat roles.[ citation needed ]

Women warriors in viking society has also been a recurring subject seen in many old viking sagas and depictions. This was also reinforced by a found in Birka Sweden when a 2017 study led by Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson produced DNA results confirming the remains excavated in Birka, Sweden, were a female warrior. [8] This find was met with some criticism mainly because of old and outdated understandings of viking society and the gender roles of Norse society. However this criticism was later debunked when scientific methods proved the warrior was in fact a woman and was a warrior based on the location and items of the burial.

In a new study the researchers of the original study have reaffirmed their conclusion that this mighty individual was a woman. The new study addresses all the questions people raised, and more. Genetic analysis revealed that the bones had XX chromosomes which invalidates Jesch's criticisms. She was buried in an area that "reinforces a warrior interpretation — being situated outside the gate of the Birka hill fort and adjacent to two other burials containing numerous weapons," the researchers wrote in the study. [9] [10]

Many women not only fought on the field[ citation needed ] but led entire hosts of men within Pictish, Brythonic, and Irish tribes in Pre-Christian culture. Boudicca of the Iceni is a famous example of a female leader of warriors, who rebelled against Roman rule in Britain. Tomoe Gozen is celebrated in Japanese history as a woman samurai general (Onna-bugeisha) in the 12th century. Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War. These women survive in few historical testimonies like those of the Byzantine Empire.[ citation needed ]

Warrior communities


See also

Related Research Articles

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Samurai Military nobility of pre-industrial Japan

Samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870s. They were the well-paid retainers of the daimyo. They had high prestige and special privileges such as wearing two swords. They cultivated the bushido codes of martial virtues, indifference to pain, and unflinching loyalty, engaging in many local battles. During the peaceful Edo era they became the stewards and chamberlains of the daimyo estates, gaining managerial experience and education. In the 1870s they were 5% of the population. The Meiji Revolution ended their feudal roles and they moved into professional and entrepreneurial roles. Their memory and weaponry remain prominent in Japanese popular culture.

Vikings Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates

Vikings were Norse people, who from the late 8th to late 11th centuries, raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, and explored westwards to Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. The term is also commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to include the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age, 793–1066 AD. This period of Nordic military, mercantile and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, Estonia, the British Isles, France, Kievan Rus' and Sicily.

Japanese-American service in World War II

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<i>Bushido</i> Moral code of the samurai

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Berserker Old Norse warriors fighting in a trance-like fury

Berserkers were warriors depicted in the Old Norse written corpus as fighting in a trance-like fury and wearing animal skins, a characteristic which later gave rise to the modern English word berserk.

<i>Hagakure</i> book by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Hagakure, or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠聞書), is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the clerk Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now Saga Prefecture in Japan. Tashiro Tsuramoto compiled these commentaries from his conversations with Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716; however, it was not published until many years afterwards. Written during a time when there was no officially sanctioned samurai fighting, the book grapples with the dilemma of maintaining a warrior class in the absence of war and reflects the author's nostalgia for a world that had disappeared before he was born. Hagakure was largely forgotten for two centuries after its composition, but it came to be viewed as the definitive guide of the samurai during the Pacific War. Hagakure is also known as The Book of the Samurai, Analects of Nabeshima or Hagakure Analects.

Shield-maiden woman who had chosen to fight as a warrior in Scandinavian folklore and mythology

A shield-maiden was a female warrior from Scandinavian folklore and mythology. It has long been debated whether shield-maidens were fictional or historical personages.

Benkei Japanese warrior monk

Saitō Musashibō Benkei, popularly known as simply Benkei, was a Japanese warrior monk (sōhei) who lived in the latter years of the Heian Period (794–1185)[1]. Benkei led a varied life, first becoming a monk, then a mountain ascetic, and then a rogue warrior. He later came to respect and serve the famous warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune. He is commonly depicted as a man of great strength and loyalty, and a popular subject of Japanese folklore, showcased in many ancient and modern literature and productions.

Viking Age arms and armour

Knowledge about military technology of the Viking Age is based on relatively sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and laws recorded in the 14th century.

Dahomey Amazons Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey in the present-day Republic of Benin

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Martial race Jats, Rajputs, Marathas and Others

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Endemic warfare state of continual or frequent warfare

Endemic warfare is a state of continual or frequent warfare, such as is found in some tribal societies.

Horses in warfare History and description of the use of equines in warfare by humans

The first use of horses in warfare occurred over 5,000 years ago. The earliest evidence of horses ridden in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons. By 1600 BC, improved harness and chariot designs made chariot warfare common throughout the Ancient Near East, and the earliest written training manual for war horses was a guide for training chariot horses written about 1350 BC. As formal cavalry tactics replaced the chariot, so did new training methods, and by 360 BC, the Greek cavalry officer Xenophon had written an extensive treatise on horsemanship. The effectiveness of horses in battle was also revolutionized by improvements in technology, including the invention of the saddle, the stirrup, and later, the horse collar.

A variety of roles were played by women in post-classical warfare. James Illston says "the field of medieval gender studies is a growing one, and nowhere is this expansion more evident than the recent increase in studies which address the roles of medieval women in times of war....this change in research has been invaluable". He provides a 20-page bibliography of dozens of recent scholarly books and articles, most of them connected to the crusades. See also Women in the Crusades.

Early Germanic warfare

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Bóndi was the Norse core of society, formed by farmers and craftsmen in the Scandinavian Viking Age, and constituted a widespread middle class. They were free men and enjoyed rights such as the use of weapons and the privilege to join the Thing as farm owners landlords.

Birka female Viking warrior

The Birka female Viking warrior was a woman buried with the accoutrements of an elite professional Viking warrior in a 10th century chamber-grave in Birka, Sweden. Thought to be a male warrior since the grave's excavation in 1889, the remains have been proved to be female by both osteological analysis and a DNA study in 2017. The study concludes the artifacts buried with the woman are evidence she was a high-ranking professional warrior. That conclusion has been disputed as premature by some archaeologists and historians who say the artifacts are not evidence that women were warriors in patriarchal Viking culture. This controversy has contributed to the debate about the gender roles performed by women in Viking society.

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Bibliography