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""Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Boudicca..."" Topic

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42flanker18 May 2023 1:35 p.m. PST

"Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Boudicca. These are the names that normally top the list when it comes to the greatest military leaders in history, but…."


I had to read this twice. Does this trio strike anyone else as faintly preposterous?

"Who would be in your list? And do you agree with Professor King?"

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 2:29 p.m. PST

Boudicca? No, not with the greatest. I think Alexander stands on his own. I don't believe anyone else rises to his level.

Korvessa18 May 2023 4:06 p.m. PST

I think Hannibal was just as good afield commander as Alexander.

To me, there were two main differences:
1) Alexander was a monarch, Hannibal was not. Alexander could command resources and grand plans, that Hannibal could not.

2) Their enemies were different. Persians would surrender, Rome was never going to.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 4:46 p.m. PST

it's all personal opinions. 🙂

Alexander never lost. He beat the best armies of his period. Greeks, Thracians, Persians, Scythians, Illyrians, various Indians and some others. He died young, so we will never know what could have happened later.

I would probably include Subutai and or one or more of the Khans in the conversation as well.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP18 May 2023 5:00 p.m. PST

Seeing Boudicca on this list is sufficient for me not to waste time reading the full article.

Napoleon was good. The list of his tactical mistakes is short. I am not sure he was ever beaten on even odds.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 5:30 p.m. PST

Anybody who lost their war is not to be included in a trio of "the greatest."
Battles are objectives; you can win all you want, but if you can't achieve the overall goal, you've blown it.

So Alexander the Great belongs at the top.
Genghis Khan is there as well.
Subotai, also.

Napoleon is second tier (he lost.) Indeed, I'd list George Washington over Napoleon, because Washington saw what strategy was necessary to win his war, and did it. Napoleon failed to see the strategy necessary to win, and thus lost.

Boudicca is barely an honorable mention. She had no way to win, and couldn't see that. That's very poor generalship.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 5:52 p.m. PST


"Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Fred the plumber. These are the names that normally top the list when it comes to the greatest military leaders in history, but…."

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 7:17 p.m. PST

That's why Caesar is second tier, since he lost his last knife fight.

Stalin on the other hand…

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 7:18 p.m. PST

By the title, I thought this was going to be a joke:

Alexander, Napoleon, and Boudicca walk into a bar,…

Zephyr118 May 2023 10:04 p.m. PST

Boudicca has name recognition, but that doesn't make her a 'greatest military leader'…

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2023 11:39 p.m. PST

Boudica? The British are obsessed with Boudica. Alexander the Great and Napoleon absolutely belongs on such a list but not Boudica.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2023 4:48 a.m. PST

Boudica with all due respect only has name recognition in the UK – I suspect most North Americans have no clue who she was

I agree that no matter now noble her intentions (which is very much open to debate) there was no way she could have won – Romans were too persistent and, in open battle, too capable

Choctaw19 May 2023 6:27 a.m. PST

Boudica? LOL

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2023 10:48 a.m. PST

The author apparently never heard of Aethelflaed or Amanirenas, Kandake (Candace) of Meroe/Ethiopia. Both were women who actually won their wars, and against competent male foes. (In Amanirenas‘s case no less than Augustus Caesar.)

42flanker19 May 2023 1:18 p.m. PST

As far as Boudicca was concerned, her name was attached to one brief campaign which ended in in utter defeat- and death.

We know nothing of her 'generalship', if there was any. Whatever her influence on events might have been, slaughtering civilians and veterans is hardly a strategy, nore does the rout of an outnumbered enemy contingent betoken 'greatness.'


Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP19 May 2023 1:19 p.m. PST

Deucey, My Brother, you beat me to it!


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2023 1:52 p.m. PST

Alexander, Napoleon, and Boudicca walk into a bar…

The bartender looks up and says "Hey, lady, you can't bring your own drinks in here."

arthur181521 May 2023 9:37 a.m. PST

If you actually listen to the podcast, Anthony King states that he has chosen five divisional commanders from whom one can learn about the problems of command, rather than just generals who achieved great success. Boudicca is only mentioned in the 'blurb', I suspect, so as to include a famous female commander. King never suggests that she was a great commander.

Archon6421 May 2023 10:50 p.m. PST

Boudicca? Doing great massacring civilians until a Roman army shows up.

Something Wicked22 May 2023 4:56 a.m. PST

Of course, the Romans never did any civilian massacreing themselves.

Apart from Thessealonica, Yodfat, Carthage, and dozens of others…

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 9:58 p.m. PST

Deucey beat me to it!!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 8:25 p.m. PST

Parzival --

That is brilliant!!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2023 6:26 a.m. PST

Piper909– Thanks! Took me a minor bit of Wiki-searching to come up with it (not being a drinker), but I thought I'd recalled reading the names as references to beverages in the past…

Another possible line would be "You can't bring your own food in here."
Alexander= a type of grape
Napoleon= the well-known pastry

Alas, either way it's a bit of an obscure play. Glad someone got it!

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2023 6:49 a.m. PST

Alcohol related:

Well she did manage to get a brewing company named after her

Boudicca's Beers

"The Boudicca Brewing Company is an independent brewery in Norfolk, dedicated to producing delicious vegan beers."

I'm confused, aren't all beers technically vegan? Someone putting meat in beers?

Ok after I wrote this, I looked it up:

"In a nutshell, the thing that makes a beer non-vegan is the use of finings. Finings are used for clarifying beer during the brewing process and can significantly speed up the time it takes to clarify a beer. There are 2 key fining agents often used by breweries in the brewing process both of which are animal products."

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