1. Khalid ibn al-Wahid
With respect to both Alexander the Great and the “I’m So Hood” Miami-based DJ, you can go undefeated in every battle you fight, but you know you’re gangsta when you have more than 100 battles to your credit, lose none of them, and still say on your deathbed, “I’ve fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no spot in my body left without a scar or a wound made by a spear or sword. And yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel. May the eyes of the cowards never rest.” Before finally resting his own war-hardened mind, body and soul, al-Wahid was known for uniting the Arabic world like none before or after him, and coming up with most of the military tactics still used today in the Muslim world.
While history’s still debating whether or not the Carthaginian general had dark or fair skin (Carthage is part of North Africa, after all), nobody’s questioning the legacy of Hannibal’s brilliant military strategy. Praised by such celebrated conquerors as Napoleon Bonaparte for coming this close to conquering the Roman Empire, Hannibal put a 15-year dent in its rule by knowing his own strengths and weaknesses (mercenary armies with less loyalty; fighting on foreign land), as well as those of his enemies, and brilliantly using them to create advantage. Add skilled leadership sheer willpower, guts, and of course dozens of huge, slow-galloping war elephants, and you have a guy whose name was so feared and respected in his time that it fit perfectly on a famous fictional psychiatrist… who ate people.
After defending his Apache tribe’s lands for decades against the advances of Mexico and Texas, the so-called “worst Indian that ever lived,” was thrust into becoming a legendary warrior by the massacre of his mother, wife and three children by Mexican soldiers. In retaliation, he took a knife from his tribal leader, and charged at any group of Mexicans he found despite running towards a shower of bullets. It is estimated that he ordered raids on more than 100 settlements as Apache war chief, resulting in more than 5,000 killings–600 of which he and his crew of 16 allegedly committed. He continued terrorizing all who occupied the American west for decades until he finally surrendered in 1886. As a POW, he was treated like a celebrity, signing autographs and selling memorabilia at the 1904 World’s Fair, and even riding in Teddy Roosevelt’s inaugural parade before dying of pneumonia at Fort Sill, OK, at 79 years old. Even then, he reportedly told his nephew that he should have fought until he was “the last man alive.” If nothing else, that might explain why Yale’s infamous Skull & Bones society claims to have exhumed the skull of “the worthy Geronimo the Terrible.”
4. Genghis Khan
That rock star-haired Star Trek villain’s wrath had nothing on that of Genghis. The Mongolian military commander brought together all of the tribes of his nomadic people, creating the Mongol Empire (the largest by land measurement in history) and slaughtering lots of people along the way. No one’s suggesting that’s good, or the fact that he killed his brother over hunting spoils, or had a one-time BFF-turned-competitor killed via back-breaking, or crushed a Russian prince to death using a large platform on which he normally ate dinner, or tricked a city’s population into surrendering before killing them all and making a pyramid with their heads as a symbol of victory. But you can’t argue with his results, or his proficiency at empire-building through other means–it’s estimated that 16 million people today are his descendents, proving you can make love and war.
A Roman slave and gladiator who led a huge slave rebellion against the Roman Empire. Some estimates say that after he and 70 or so fellow fighters freed themselves (using kitchen utensils, allegedly), his army of freed slaves and followers is said to have eventually included over 100,000 slaves. Showing immense talent not only as a warrior but also a tactician, he used Mount Vesuvius as a strategic base of operations, used guerilla warfare to defeat several attempts by the Romans to crush the revolt before he was finally surrounded and killed in battle. Though he was a terrifying symbol to the powers that were during his moment in history, he’s become an enduring symbol of resistance and an inspiration to many and there is absolutely no doubt, that he is the bomb dot com.