What do boys play in childhood? They love to fiddle with plastic armies, arrange storms of fortifications and play battles. Already at that age some people dream of becoming military men to participate in wake-up battles. However, with age, the passion for the army and the battles usually goes away.
But history knows many examples when children’s fantasies come true in reality at such an early age. In our list, we will talk about those young generals who managed to lead powerful armies before the onset of their twentieth anniversary.
Michael II Assen.
Most of our young leaders were successful, but the Bulgarian ruler was too small and inexperienced. This prevented him from becoming great. In two years the boy was crowned as a co-ruler to his parents to designate an heir. Already at the age of seven, Michael joined the throne after the death of his father, Constantine Tich, in battle. However, the boy could not really rule, his mother, Maria Cantacuzina, was doing it. True power of the family was limited only by the capital. At this time, several groups of insurgents made claims to the throne. It was necessary for the young king to take his place at the head of his army. And although his actual contribution was minimal, the boy appeared several times on the battlefields in a special outfit specially created for him. And in 1279, when the tsar was only 9 years old, the Byzantine emperor decided to place on the throne more suitable for Bulgaria’s leader. The army of an influential neighbor quickly took the capital, Michael II Assen was sent into exile along with his mother. Again in history, the former king appeared in 1302 when, when, with the support of the Bulgarian nobility, he tried to claim his claims to the throne. But the attempt to return the power failed, and the date of Mikhail’s death remains unknown.
Gregorio del Pilar.
During the Philippine revolution and the subsequent war with America, del Pilar managed to become a general. And let it happen just after his 20 th birthday, it is worth considering that the Filipino lived much later than the other members of the list. It is becoming more difficult to manifest oneself at an early age. Gregory was born in 1875, he was the fifth of six children. The young man became a bachelor in 1896 and did not think to become a military man. But immediately after graduating from college in the country, a revolution began. Gregorio del Pilar immediately joined the battles against the Spaniards. A few months later, for his courage and courage in battle, the Filipino received his first military title. At 21, already a captain, Gregorio proposed a courageous attack on the Spanish garrison. The impudent plan was crowned with success – the revolutionaries captured many weapons. And Gregorio himself was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. And after the conclusion of a peace treaty under his terms, del Pilar, along with other leaders, went into exile in Hong Kong. Only a couple of years later, when the Spaniards were bogged down in the war with America, Gregorio and his comrades returned home to finish what had been started. In June 1898, he forced the capitulation of the Spaniards in his hometown of Bulakan, which gave him the rank of general. And this is in 23 years! Gregorio was nicknamed the “boy general”, he was highly respected in the Philippines. A little later, the hero took an active part in the Philippine-American war. Gregorio del Pilar died in battle on December 2, 1899, when he led his soldiers into the attack. Today, the young general is considered a national hero, in the Philippines he has several statues and monuments. Okita Sodzi.
This young man in the strict sense was not a military man, but he was one of the leading members of the police squad in the late segnunate period in Japan. Sodz was the captain, one of the best fencers of his time. And the hereditary Samurai began to train at the age of 9 years. The child prodigy began to win his school teachers in his 12 years. At the age of 18 Okita was already a senior teacher. The following year he became one of the founders of the special unit of Shinsengumi and the first captain.Okita was known for his kindness in life, but in battle he was merciless. Sozhi was not afraid to lead the militants personally to the cause. Over time, the Shinsengumi unit began to play an increasingly active part in the military affairs of the government. So Sodz constantly appeared on the battlefields. But, like many other young generals, he died young, although not in combat. In 1867 Okita seriously fell ill and died of tuberculosis at the age of 24 years. In Japan, Sodz is still considered one of the greatest fencers in the history of the country. Even today, Sodz is a popular hero of mass culture, he participates in comics, anime, video games.
Henry of Navarre was the first monarch of the Bourbon dynasty, its de facto founder. Initially, he was a Protestant and even led the Huguenots in the course of the Religious Wars. However, eventually Henry was forced to become a Catholic, which opened the way to the throne of France. Even in his childhood, Henry’s mother prepared him for great deeds. In 1563, at the age of 10, he had already become governor of Gieny. At the age of 15, Henry took part in his first military company. During the third religious war, he even participated in several battles. As a teenager, Henry became a bright and courageous leader for the Huguenots and several times personally led the troops into battle. At the age of 19, young Henry nearly died in the course of St. Bartholomew’s Night. The next four years he actually spent in captivity among the Catholics, while in 1576 he did not run. Once again going into Protestantism, the King of Navarra immediately gets involved in another religious war, already the sixth in a row. And in 1587 Henry defeated the royalists, which opened the way to the throne. In 1589 Henry IV became the new king of France. Despite his kindness, compassion and cheerful nature, the monarch was killed by a fanatic in 1610. Vladislav III Varnenchik.
This is another example of how you can become a monarch at an early age. King of Poland Vladislav became in 10 years. But the weakness of the monarch led to intrigues inside the courtyard – everyone wanted to seize power and influence. In 1440, when the king was only 17 years old, it turned out that Hungary was vacant in the neighboring kingdom. Then Vladislav with the support of the armies of other countries and with the blessing of Pope Eugene IV spoke against the regent of Hungary Elizabeth of Luxembourg. After her defeat, it was Vladislav III Varnenchik who became the new king of Hungary. Soon, his possessions were threatened by the growing Ottoman Empire. Then, with the support of the Venetian fleet, Vladislav made a sacred campaign. In 1444 the battle of the Polish king with the Turks near Varna took place. Unfortunately, his allies betrayed him and helped him cross the main enemy forces from Asia to Europe. The 20,000-strong army of the Crusaders was taken by surprise by the 60,000-strong army of the Turks. The King of Poland decided that the only chance for victory was an attack by the Sultan himself. And Vladislav personally led the march of his cavalry in the thick of battle. Although the enemies celebrated the courage of the king, this was not enough to win. The Janissaries cut off Vladislav’s head, lifting it on a spear over the battlefield. The body and armor of the monarch never found. This even gave rise to rumors of his miraculous salvation, which forced him to postpone the coronation of the heir. And Vladislav’s head was kept for a long time as a military trophy from the Turkish sultan in a vessel with honey.
The great commander was born in 63 BC. In his will, Julius Caesar adopted this great grand-nephew. It was Caesar that prompted the future emperor to reflect on the career of politics. Particular attention was paid to Octavian oratorical skills, pronouncing his first speech as early as 12 years. At 15 years old the teenager already with might and main carried out the state assignments and even has had time to visit the prefect of Rome. But in 18 years he was sent to Apollonia, in the territory of modern Albania. There Octavian continued his education and prepared for war against Parthia. At the age of 18, the young politician learned about the murder of Caesar.Contrary to the advice, Octavian returned to Rome at the head of a three-thousand-strong army and entered into the inheritance rights. Although the assassins of Caesar were in a state of truce with the consul of Marc Antony, this did not stop Octavian from retaliation. With the support of the Senate, he expelled from Rome first the killers, and then Antonia. At the age of only 19, Octavian became a senator. He continued to acquire friends, bribing and luring to his side and enemies. Later it was the conquest of Egypt and the destruction of Anthony. Thanks to his policy and commanding skills, Octavian Augustus became the first emperor of Rome. A great man died at the age of 75. Scipio African.
This general showed himself as a general during the Second Punic Wars. A glory he brought command over the Roman troops, captivated the very Hannibal in the battle of Zama. However, most Scipio at that time was already 32 years old. The father of the commander was also a Roman general. It was alongside him that young Scipio started his military career. It is believed that he began to fight since 16 years in the post of commander of one of his father’s platoons. In 19 years, in 218 BC. Scipio participated in the Battle of Ticino. Then he led his troops into a suicidal attack to help the surrounded father. At the age of 19 he already fought as a tribune, however, unsuccessfully, with Cannes. Historians of that time noted the exceptional courage and recklessness of the young Scipio. However, his father’s armies did not crown themselves with glory, Scipio himself experienced many hard defeats. Such losses have developed in him from the youth of the quality of the leader. As soon as Scipio was appointed commander of his own army at the age of 25, he never again knew defeats on the battlefield. And after the capture of Hannibal, the Roman people wanted Scipio to become a dictator, but he himself declined such an offer. Up until his resignation in 187 BC. he continued to lead victorious wars. Scipio died at age 53 and is still considered one of the greatest military leaders in history.
Muhammad ibn Qasim.
This Arab military leader went down in history as a legend of the Arab caliphate. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic caliphate broke up into four major parts. Muhammad ibn Qasim himself was born in 695 in Syria. The art of management and war, he learned from his uncle-governor. For some time, Ibn Qasim visited the governor of Persia and even managed to suppress the rebellion there. On the battlefield, the young Arab was at a very young age, having been commanded by the army at the age of 17. It was with her that the main conquests of Ibn Qasim began. He conquered the regions of Sindh and Punjab, reaching the Indus River and spreading Islam in these lands. This was the third attempt by the Arabs to conquer this region, the two previous ones ended in a deafening fiasco. However, Kasim was accompanied by success. His army occupied the city in the country. At first the corps numbered only 6 thousand soldiers, but the glory of the young general was flying ahead of him, the army quickly grew to 25 thousand. It is interesting that even at such a young age the general was distinguished by ruthlessness toward his enemies. He did not hesitate to take hostage members of the rebel families to force them to lay down their arms. The success of the army consisted of strict discipline, as well as the use of excellent equipment. Arabs used Mongolian bows and siege machines. And after the conquest of the eastern lands, Kasim began to ably rule there. He managed to impose bloodlessly the power of Muslims in response to religious tolerance and observance of local religious customs. The general was preparing the army for new conquests, when a change of power took place in the caliphate. The new leader appointed a new governor, and Kasim himself was arrested. At the age of 19, the young general was executed. According to one version, it was wrapped in skins of oxen and so carried through the desert, where Kasim and suffocated. And for another – he was simply tortured to death.
Joan of Arc.
Today this national heroine is considered sacred, and in fact she was executed at the time just on charges in connection with the devil.And although Jeanne was not as adept at fighting herself as other members of the list, it is worth considering her successes, if only because she was a woman. Unthinkable thing – a teenage girl led one of the leading armies of the world in those days when women did not fight at all on the battlefield. She gave birth to Jeanne in the small French village of Domremi in 1412. Her house currently houses a museum of the famous countrywoman. In her thirteen years, Zhanna, according to her, heard the voices of Archangel Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria and Margarita of Antioch. Then they began to appear to the girl in visible images. The saints claimed that it was she who was destined to expel the British invaders from the territory of France. At age 17, Jeanne was able to receive an audience with King Charles VII, striking him with her prediction of lifting the siege from Orleans, which seemed impossible. Impressed King after long hesitation and checking Jeanne entrusted her command of the army. Specially for the girl armor was made, she was even given a special permission of the church to wear menswear. And to verify her statement in the deity of the mission, Jeanne was sent to lift the siege from Orleans, where she arrived in April 1429. Historians continue to argue whether Jeanne really took part in hostilities or simply raised the morale of the French. Nevertheless, in the conditions of the battle the girl showed fearlessness. She was in the thick of events and even was wounded by an arrow in the neck. No one doubted that it was Joan who became the main heroine of the battle, which freed Orleans from a long siege. Those victories made Joan of Arc a hero. The army headed by it began to attack fortified points of the British, driving out the invaders from there. In the course of the decisive battle at Pata, the British army was demolished in a humiliating manner. With the support of the people’s favorite, Charles VII was anointed in Reims. In the spring of 1430 the fighting became sluggish. The 18-year-old warrior herself went to Compiegne to help the besieged city. During the retreat, she left the battlefield last, Jeanne surrounded and seized by the Burgundians. Obliged to her Charles VII did not bother to save his heroine, and Jeanne herself was sold to the British. Several attempts to flee failed. Above the young Frenchwoman, a church court was held, which accused her of heresy. A 19-year-old girl was sentenced to be burned at the stake, according to an eyewitness, she did not show any fear during the execution. Even the executioner hesitated, afraid to become accursed. In 1456, the good name of Joan of Arc was officially restored, and in our time, in 1920, the Orleans’ canon was canonized. In France, this saint is one of the most revered.
Alexander the Great.
It is not difficult to name the main conqueror and commander in the history of civilization. It’s surprising that he managed to prove himself at a young age. Alexander was born in 356, his father was the Macedonian king Philip II. According to legend, already at the age of 10 years Alexander tamed the wild horse Bucephalus. And at 13 years the future king begins to learn from Aristotle, along with Ptolemy, Cassandra and Hephaestion. At the age of 16, Alexander returned to his native Macedonia to rule instead of his belligerent father. It was then that Alexander first manifested himself as a military leader. A small Thracian tribe rebelled against him. The young heir brutally suppressed a mutiny, and on the site of the settlement created a city named after himself. Alexander had time to fight and with his father. The Macedonians successfully fought against the Greek city-states, subordinating all but Sparta. Thus appeared the Hellenic Alliance controlled by him. But in 336 Philip was killed as a result of the conspiracy. Alexander severely cracked down on his competitors, becoming the legal king at the age of only 20 years. The news of Philip’s death caused the Greeks to start up, they immediately raised an uprising. Alexander at the head of 3 thousand horsemen went to his first independent campaign.The rebels were brutally punished – the ancient city of Thebes was plundered, and all its inhabitants became slaves. Then there was the story, which made Alexander a military genius. At least he twice conceded to the Persians in the ratio of forces two to one, but he emerged victorious (the battles at Issus and Gaugamela). But then the young king was not even thirty. By the time of his death at age 32, Alexander had captured most of the ancient world. But the greatest commander began his way to glory at a young age.