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Captain Obvious
Here's one of my favorites:


It's about St. Herman, who introduced Orthodoxy to Alaska. He wasn't killed in battle, or anything of the sort, but I still find his life quite heroic.

I tried to find a more abbreviated version of his life that I liked, but was unable to do so, so I'm posting a link :).

There's also a man, a minor man in the narrative, that stood out to me in Polybius' histories, but for the life of me, I can't remember his name. He was a consul that shared generalship with a rather impetuous man. His peer pushed them into battle with Hannibal that they could not win on his day of command (Romans alternated between days of command). Since there was no way to really avoid battle, and he could not break camp and leave, he went ahead and led the doomed battle. Rather than stationing himself out of harm's way so that he might capitalize on his collegue's mistake, he fought on the forefront with the cavalry (the Carthagenian cavalry greatly outnumbered his) and died in battle. His collegue was condemned a fool and he hailed a hero after their battle was lost. The Romans saw the wisdom of his plan, outwait the Carthagenians, over his collegue's head-long rush for battle.

I'm going to continue to look for names, but since I can't remember them, I fear I may have to reread the third book of Polybius, which may take a bit :(. My apologies for that.


Space Chief
Martin Luther King. Abraham Lincoln. Most people dealing with liberation and freedom. Ghandi especially.


Citizen Mod
mrscarrdero and I watched HERO last night and I could not stop thinking about you and your thread. Did that movie somehow inspire the reason you posted this topic. The only reason I ask is because it made me interested in heroes throughout the century as well.


Well-Known Member
Actually, I have always been obsessed with them. It comes from all the stories when I was a kid. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc etc...I think we should all strive to be just like them.

I am sure we have all heard about the same ones in our history, I just want to learn about new ones, I think they deserve to be remembered.


Well-Known Member
I have a new hero for you:

King Christian X of Denmark who disobeyed Hitler, and protected the Jews:


If it is true...he his my hero.

I found some articles saying it wasn't....if you know, please tell me, here they are:

Mary Campbell ([email protected]) writes:
| I've come across a de-bunking of a story that I had always accepted as
| true, and am curious to know how the story started.
| I've just been to an exhibit commemmorating a mass escape of Danish Jews
| from Nazi-occupied Denmark to neutral Sweden, organized by the Danish
| resistance.
| One of the posters in the exhibit mentions the story that Christian X,
| then King of Denmark, when told by the Nazis that Danish Jews must wear
| the Star of David, said that he and his family would wear the Star of
| David also.
| I've heard this story before, always presented as fact, but according to
| this poster the story is a "myth" and Christian X said no such thing (no
| other information is supplied).
| The exhibit was put together by the Danish National Museum and the Museum
| of Danish Resistance 1940-1945, who presumably should know what they're
| talking about.

In fact, the Danish Jews never did have to wear the star while in Denmark. Those who were sent to concentration camps were forced to wear the star at the camps. (The story about most Danish Jews being helped to safety in Sweden is, fortunately, quite true.) | So -- if this is indeed a UL, does anyone know how it got started, and by| whom?

It's never easy and generally not possible to say who started such legends. We may be able to say that the earliest published source appears to be X, but the person who wrote X probably heard it from somewhere else. It's not impossible that this story grows out of Allied war propaganda, which not surprisingly was written to make Allied countries and their leaders look like a real great bunch of folks. Truth sometimes gets stretched in war... Or it could have grown out of the fact that Danes had a great deal of pride in and affection for Christian X. Compared to some of the leaps we see in urban folklore, "If the Jews here had been made to wear yellow stars, the King would have worn one, too!" isn't far from "The Jews were made to wear yellow stars, so the King wore one, too!" One variant of the story states that the King wasn't really wearing a star, but a yellow flower in his lapel. This parallels a real incident in Norway, and there may have been a similar incident in Denmark for all i know. In Norway the royal family left the country. (As did the government, which means that the Norwegian armed forces surrendered, but not the Norwegian government or state - an interesting little twist that makes Norwegian war history a bit more complicated.) Not unrelatedly, all public expressions of support for the royal family were banned. However, on King Haakon's 70th birthday, a large number of men wore flowers in their lapels (as they would have if the King had been home) and were arrested as a result. The flower-in-the-lapel story seemed to have jumped the Kattegat and blended in with the King-wearing-yellow-star story. Maybe.


Well-Known Member
huajiro said:
The Saint Patrick's Brigade:

by John Vincent

An Irish Batallion unique in military history.

Thank you Huajiro.

I had no idea.


Well-Known Member
No problem Linwood....pretty cool eh?

Jewscout....I am waiting for your input on the last hero I put....I have another that is realted for you.


Religious Zionist
Oh sorry huajiro.....Yeah i've heard about the King of Denmark and some of the things he supposedly did to help the jews. I think, for the most part it's very true...i'm not really sure. Anywho great hero huajiro!

Actually did you know that some Japanese aided in the rescue of Jews from Europe as well??:)

Mister Emu

Emu Extraordinaire
Staff member
Premium Member
May I ask what makes you admire him?
Of course, Zhuge Liang was arguably the greatest strategist that has ever lived, this alone would make me an admirer as I like to think of myself as a military strategist of some ability(though I don't know how true this is :D ).

Not only this, but he was a expert statesman, deftly controlling the state of Shu-Han as prime minister under Liu Bei and Liu Chan(?).

He was also a genius inventor, credited with the multi-bolt crossbow, the wheel barrow, and an automated supply wagon in the shape of an ox as well as others.

Finally, he was a great person, who valued honor, justice, compassion, he selflessy served the kingdom of Shu, dieing of over-exertion during a campaign against the kingdom of Wei.


Well-Known Member
Speaking of Japanese Jewscout....here is the true "Last Samurai":

A Giant of a Man

Saigo Takamoriwith dog and a servant
Saigo Takamori was born as the son of a low-ranking samurai. After some military and religious training, he joined the services of Shimazu Nariakira, the local daimyo of Satsuma, on the Southern island of Kyushu.

After the death of his lord, Saigo Takamori fell in disgrace. He was even banned to a remote island and had unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide. Saigo was later readmitted to serve in the daimyo's army and was among the commanders of the successful march of the Satsuma and Choshu troupes towards Kyoto.

Saigo was of an impressive appearance. He was 180 cm (nearly 6 feet) tall, a huge giant for his time and for Japanese men. And while tall people often tend to be skinny and fragile, Takamori was quite the opposite - a stout giant with a huge head and a neck like a bear.

The Samurai Class

The origins of the samurai as a class of its own go back to the times when the Heike and Genji fought bitter wars against each other during the 10th and 11th century. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 1537-1598 introduced far-reaching reforms to the status of the warrior class. To have better control over the samurai they were ordered to live permanently in castles. Before Hideyoshi's reforms, most samurai cultivated a piece of land. And only in war times they were called to arms. In order to feed and maintain the new warrior class, Hideyoshi had introduced a system of rice taxation.

Hideyoshi had introduced a rigid system of social classes with samurai on top of the hierarchy, next the farmers, then the crafts persons, and the merchants at the lowest end (shi-no-ko-sho samurai-farmer- craftsmen-merchant). The membership to a class was defined by birth. Moving from one class to another was impossible.

The samurai had far-reaching privileges. Only they were allowed to wear weapons. To a certain degree they were above the law and could for instance kill a commoner who had insulted them. The life of a sumurai was defined by bushido - a code of honor, which is not easily accessible to Westerners. Central points of bushido are the total loyalty towards one's master and the conviction that an honorable death is preferable to a life in shame.

After Hideyoshi came Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1543-1616. He finished the job of pacifying and unifying Japan. Ieyasu moved the capital to Edo and established the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate (military rulers), which should last until 1868. This period of roughly 265 years was a time of peace, stability and modest wealth under the strict rule of the Tokugawa bakufu.

The samurai class was about 8% of the total population. Due to the absence of war, they were now without their original occupation. Many of them took some public posts as civil servants. But basically they were an idle class that had to be fed by the classes of the farmers, craftsmen and merchants.

The Restoration of the Emperor

In January 1868, troupes from Satsuma and Choshu had marched to Kyoto in a coup d'etat, occupied the imperial palace and proclaimed the restoration of power to the emperor. The Japanese emperor had been a purely representative figure for more than a thousand years. Driving force behind this move were powerful clans - mainly from the South - opposed to the Tokugawa family. The emperor was more like a chess figure, of whom they took use to achieve their goals and gain public support.

In 1868 the young emperor Prince Mutsuhito, only 15 years old, (was) moved from Kyoto to his new residence in Tokyo. It marked the official end of the Tokugawa rule and the beginning of the Meiji era, named after the name which the young emperor had chosen. Meiji means the Enlightened Leader.

On May 15, 1868, a last uprise of adherents of the old shogunate order was turned down in the bloody battle of Ueno, the site of the park with the same name in Tokyo. Two thousand men loyal to the Tokugawa shogunate were gunned down by imperial troops under the leadership of Saigo Takamori.

The emperor held no real power, but he should become the flagship symbol of the new era. The actual power was exercised by a few noblemen and samurai from the Southern provinces of Satsuma and Choshu like Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi. These men were called the oligarchs. They secluded the young emperor from any outside influences and from the public. During the first years all decrees of the government were signed by the emperor and propagated to the public as the emperor's will.

Only in later years, the emperor gained more freedom and began to travel all over Japan on official visits. But that happened at a time when the system of Meiji government was firmly established and when the country and the public were unified under a new Japanese nationalism.

Abolishment of Samurai Privileges

Although the fight against the old order of the Tokugawa shogunate had been led with the battle cry sonno joi, meaning something like "respect the emperor and expel the barbarians", the advocats of strict reforms after Western models soon got the upper hand. The new Meiji era marked the beginning of an extremely ambitious program of reforms in all areas of the Japanese society. Japan catapulted itself from a feudal state to a modern, powerful Asian nation shaped after Western models.

The driving force behind this process of modernization was Okubo Toshimichi. He and Saigo Takamori came both from Satsuma and had been close friends in the beginning. And also Toshimichi was the son of a samurai of lower ranks.

It was clear that something like the medieval class structure and customs of samurai and local aristocratic leaders could not be tolerated any longer under the new leadership. In 1871 far-reaching reforms had been introduced, which in practice abolished the class of the samurai and expropriated the once so powerful daimyo, the aristocratic regional leaders.

In January of 1872 the Japanese government had announced its intention to establish a national Japanese army of conscripts after Western patterns.

Saigo Takamori had supported the reforms in the beginning. But when the privileges of his own samurai class were abandoned, his conservative character was in conflict between the loyalty towards his country on one hand and towards his own class on the other hand.

Another bone of contention between Saigo and the majority of the Meiji government was the Korean issue. Takamori was a strong advocat of a swift invasion of Korea. The majority was against - not so much for ethical reasons. But they considered such a move as premature, too risky and were afraid of intervention by the Western powers. This discussion sheds an interesting light on the developments that unfolded twenty years later, when a nationalistic Japan invaded and occupied Korea in the Sino-Japanese war of 1894/95.



Well-Known Member
Last Samurai...part 2:

The Satsuma Rebellion of 1877

The Final Battle, from a triptychby Toshinobu Yamazaki
In the beginning of the Meiji government, many samurai found an employment in the imperial forces. The new conscript army must have been rather unattractive for the samurai. Thus the samurai class not only lost all privileges, but many saw themselves deprived of any possibilities to make a living and maintain themselves and their families.

As a consequence local riots broke out like in Saga in Kyushu province in 1874. The central government could not tolerate any losses of power or establishments of independant, regional war lords and crushed these riots swiftly by sending the newly formed national army into the region to restore law and order.

Wearing swords was forbidden in 1876 with the exception of ceremonial events. Overall a reasonable and appropriate decision. But it upset the majority of the samurai.

In 1876 Saigo Takamori resigned from his government post and went back to Kagoshima. He founded a local military school and dissatisfied samurai gathered around him in large numbers.

The central government watched the open build-up of a regional, political and military force in Satsuma with great concern. In late 1876 it came to an open conflict when samurai rebels raided and occupied ammunition and weapon depots of the central government.

The samurai rebels urged and proclaimed Saigo Takamori as their leader. According to most historians, he was surprised by the swift escalation of the situation and only reluctantly took the leadership of the rebellion. Half-hearted or not, Saigo organized the military rebellion and put together an army of roughly 25,000 men that later may have grown in size, when more samurai volunteers rushed to the rebel forces.

Saigo had the original intention to march with his army towards Tokyo. His first military charge was the siege of the imperial garrison in the castle of Kumamoto. That was probably a decisive military mistake. While Saigo's army was bound by the siege, the government gained additional time to deploy troops and bring military supplies to the South.

Indeed, the central Meiji government, legalized by a decrete to crush the rebellion - signed by the emperor - acted swiftly and sent the new national army. The siege of Kumamoto castle was ended after 54 days. Saigo's troops were defeated and slowly pushed back to Kagoshima in the utmost South.

The Last Battle

After numerous skirmishes and battles, Saigo Takamori with a small number of roughly 300 die-hard samurai gathered for a last stand in the hills of Shiroyama not far away from Kagoshima Castle and with a great view upon the sea.

By now, the rebels were hopelessly outnumbered, short of food, bare of ammunition and exhausted. It had been raining for days which made their old-fashioned cannons unuseable.

By now, Saigo and his last men knew that they had no chance and that their cause was lost. What kept them from surrendering was this strange (for Western minds) perception of honor. "An honorable death is preferable to a life in shame." To some unconfirmed reports, the commander of the imperial forces had sent a last letter to Saigo urging him to give up the hopeless fight.

In the early morning hours of September 24, 1877, the final artillery bombardment began. We could not find any detailed reports about the battle. This is probably an indication that the assault was not a hand-to-hand combat, but an artillery massacre against a small group of men who virtually had only their swords left to defend themselves.

The bodies of Saigo Takamori and other leaders of the rebellion were found beheaded. The last samurais had committed seppuku by cutting off each other's head with one strike of the sword. This was the traditional samurai way of committing suicide on the battlefield when no time was left for a ceremonial suicide.

Saigo Takamori - a Tragic Hero?

Statue in Ueno Park
Saigo Takamori was revered by the ordinary Japanese people as a hero. And this attitude has not lost any of its momentum until our days - especially in the South of Japan. His esteem in the area of Kagoshima is best comparable to the esteem of General Robert E.Lee in Texas.

One can find a statue of Saigo Takakamori in full (Western) uniform in the Central Park of Kagoshima. And another - even more famous statue was erected in Ueno Park in Tokyo. It shows the great statesman and "last samurai" leisurely dressed in a kimono walking his dog.

Many years later, the Meiji government made a clever move. They pardoned the popular hero posthumously in 1889, promoted him to highest honours and did their best to establish the image of a tragic hero.

The Satsuma Rebellion and Ukiyo-e

The news of the Satsuma rebellion had created a great thirst among the public to learn and view more about the events. Many ordinary Japanese could not at all or only poorly read and write at that time. And photography was still at its beginning. Therefore images made in traditional Japanese woodblock technique were a major means of bringing exciting events to the public.

Japanese newspapers employed or gave commissions to popular woodblock designers like Yo****oshi. And for print publishers it was a good business in a generally reclining market.

The impression quality of these prints is not always the best. News related ukiyo-e was produced fast. Those who were on the market first, made the business. Collectors should know this and should be willing to make compromises. The charm of these designs and the value lie more in the historic subject and the rarity of individual designs. Also yokohama-e, images of Westerners and their customs and achievements are in this category.

Prints related to the Satsuma rebellion were designed by more or less all artists of the period like Kunichika or Yo****ora. And at the head of the pack was of course Yo****oshi - the leading designer for sensational subjects of crime and blood.

For Yo****oshi, who for years had hardly enough to eat, the huge demand for popular illustrations of the Satsuma rebellion was like a turning point of his career. He was flooded with commissions. And 5 years later, in 1882 he received a steady employment by Tokyo's leading newspaper.


Well-Known Member
Mister Emu said:
Of course, Zhuge Liang was arguably the greatest strategist that has ever lived, this alone would make me an admirer as I like to think of myself as a military strategist of some ability(though I don't know how true this is :D ).

Not only this, but he was a expert statesman, deftly controlling the state of Shu-Han as prime minister under Liu Bei and Liu Chan(?).

He was also a genius inventor, credited with the multi-bolt crossbow, the wheel barrow, and an automated supply wagon in the shape of an ox as well as others.

Finally, he was a great person, who valued honor, justice, compassion, he selflessy served the kingdom of Shu, dieing of over-exertion during a campaign against the kingdom of Wei.
Thanks for explanation


Well-Known Member
I just want to say I love this thread.

I check it every day and sit here and think and think but I just truly can`t think of a personal historical hero.

Is that weird or what?


Well-Known Member
Thanks Soultype and Linwood. I am glad that you like it....it is my favorite subject....aside from my son (sorry to be repetitive)