Latest Entries »

Undefeated generals

Many, many great military commanders have emerged amongst the myriad strands of human history. Napolean, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Hannibal, Patton, Frederick the Great, Huayna Capac, Julias Caeser, Sargon II, Cao Cao, the list goes on and on and on. But far fewer never lost a single battle. Below I’ve compiled a list of some of history’s undefeated generals, with some information about each one. Many of these generals I had not heard of before, but discovered them during my research.

Alexander the Great – not for nothing is this commander called Great. The son of Philip II of Macedon, a great commander in his own right, Alexander inherited the title of King of Macedon at the age of 16. He quelled Greek revolts against his rule before invading the Balkans, Persia, Egypt, and India. He died in Babylon at the age of 32. In 16 short years, he had created an empire that stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River, from the Nile in Egypt to modern-day Kandahar in Afghanistan. Sadly, within a few years of his death, his mighty empire was torn apart by civil wars between his generals and heirs.

Sources: Wikipedia – Alexander the Great

Alexander Suvorov – A general in the Russian Empire who earned the title of generalissimo, the highest military rank in the Empire. Born in 1730 into a noble family, Suvorov joined the military in 1748, and honed his skills fighting the Prussians during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). He then battled Poland, followed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. He achieved many great victories against the Turks, including a successful capture of the supposedly “impregnable” fortress of Izmail. After these victories, he was immediately sent back to Poland to quell revolts there. Several years later he came out of retirement to participate in an invasion of Italy, which was then under the control of French Revolutionary forces. During the campaign, Suvorov was forced retreated his starving forces across the frozen Alps, a spectacular military feat compared with Hannibal’s crossing of those same mountains some 2,000 years before. Suvorov died the following year.

Sources: Wikipedia – Alexander Suvorov; Joseph Cummins – The War Chronicles: From Flintlocks to Machine Guns, pg. 27; R. R. Milner-Gulland, Nikolai J. Dejevsky – Atlas of Russia and the Soviet Union, pg. 114; Richard Harris BarhamThe Ingoldsby Legends, Volume 2, pg. 29-30

Jan Žižka (c.1360-1424) – Czech general and a member of the Hussites, followers of religious reformer Jan Hus. He fought against the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald, but started rising to prominence during the Hussite Wars. He successfully repelled invasions by the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) and Hungary, and led troops during a subsequent civil war. Following his victory in the civil war, he launched an unsuccessful but tactically brilliant invasion of Hungary. Ever an innovator, Žižka helped pioneer the Wagenburg (“wagon fort”), where the Hussites would arrange wagons and carts in a circle or square formation surrounding their troops, from which they could fire on enemy troops with crossbows, guns, and artillery.

Sources: Wikipedia – Jan Žižka; André Crous – “Jan Žižka biopic in the works”; Mikulas TeichBohemia in History, pg. 90

Khalid ibn al-Walid – A companion to the Islamic prophet Mohammed, al-Walid was a brilliant commander who led the forces of Medina under Mohammed and subsequently served under Mohammed’s successors, Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Khattab. Between the years 632 to 636 he united Arabia under the Caliphate and conquered Syria and Mesopotamia, among other victories. He fought over a hundred battles, including major battles, minor skirmishes, and personal duals. Ultimately, he was relieved of command by Umar ibn Khattab, who believed that al-Walid’s victories were causing Muslim’s to trust in Al-Walid instead of in God. On his deathbed, he expressed to his wife his regret that he did not die as a martyr in battle. His wife replied that “You were given the title of ‘Saif-ullah’ meaning, ‘The Sword of Allah’ and, the sword of Allah is not meant to be broken and hence, it is not your destiny to be a ‘martyr’ but to die like a conqueror.”

Sources: Wikipedia – Khalid ibn al-Walid

Maurice, Count of Saxony (aka Maurice de Saxe) – A Saxony German who fought in French service, Maurice was born in 1696 and started serving in the military at age 12. The many wars he participated in include the War of the Spanish Succession, the Great Northern War (between Russia and Sweden), a campaign against the Ottoman Empire, the War of Polish Succession, and War of the Austrian Succession. He died in 1750, a legendary hero in France.

Sources: Wikipedia – Maurice de Saxe; Memim Encyclopedia – Maurice de Saxe

Muqali – A Mongol general who served under Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. Originally in service of a rival to Genghis Khan, Muqali was captured and subsequently joined Genghis. Though perhaps not as overall a great a general as his fellows Jebe and Subutai, he was indispensable to Genghis in the Mongol invasions of China. In his seven years of service, he reduced the northern Chinese dynasty of Jin to a single lone province. He even managed to maintain a vigorous invasion of China when most of his forces were dispatched to help invade the Khwarazm dynasty (in Central Asia and modern-day Iran). On his deathbed he proudly declared that he had never suffered defeat.

Sources: Wikipedia – Muqali; Leo de Hartog – Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World

Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck – A German commander who led Gemany’s forces in that country’s East African campaign during World War I. With a combined German-African army that never numbered more than 14,000, he managed to hold off British, Belgian, and Portuguese forces totaling around 300,000. He battled across modern-day Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. A master at guerilla warfare and fluent in Swahili, he managed to attract recruits, mostly African, and launched raids to acquire more food and ammunition. Historian Charles Miller opined that “It is probable that no white commander of the era had so keen an appreciation of the African’s worth not only as a fighting man but as a man.” On November 25, 1918, Lettow-Vorbeck had to surrender his undefeated army to the Allies.

Sources: Wikipedia – Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck; Steven J. Rauch – World War I: A Student Encyclopedia, Spencer Tucker and Priscilla Mary Roberts, eds., pg. 1089; Dean Nicholas – “Video: The Funeral of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck”

Scipio Africanus – Arguably Rome’s greatest general, Scipio, later dubbed Africanus due to his successful African campaigns, expanded the burgeoning Roman Republic’s territories beyond the Italian peninsula. Born in approximately 236 B.C., Scipio joined the military at an early age, fighting against Carthage in the Second Punic War. Though he fought in armies that saw defeat at that hands of Carthage, once Scipio himself, ate age 25, was given troops to command, he never lost a single battle. While the Carthaginian general Hannibal busied himself invading the Roman homelands in Italy, Scipio battled Hannibal’s brothers in what is modern-day Spain. Highly successful in this endeavor, he was unanimously elected consul and invaded the Carthaginian home territories in Africa. He famously squared off with Hannibal, who up to that point had been undefeated, and thoroughly crushed Hannibal’s Carthaginian forces. After over a decade of subsequent political service, he retired to his country seat at Liternum.

Sources: Wikipedia – Scipio Africanus; socionaut – “B.H. Liddell Hart’s ‘Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon’ (Steak Knives)”; Daniel A. Fournie – “Second Punic War: Battle of Zama”

Zafar Khan – A commander under the Khilji dynasty, which ruled the Delhi Sultanate in what is now India and Pakistan, is known primarily for his successful attempt to repel invasions by the Chagatai Khanate, a break-away state from the Mongol Empire, in the 1290s. The Mongols were supposedly so terrified of Zafar that, afterward, whenever their horses refused to drink water, the Mongols would ask them if they’d seen Zafar Khan. Zafar ultimately was trapped and killed during a battle against the Mongols when he pursued them too recklessly once the Mongols started retreating.

Sources: Wikipedia – Zafar Khan; Sunil K. SaxenaHistory of Medieval India, pg. 70-71

So, the above is what my research came up with. I know the list is not exhaustive, so who did I miss? If you want more historical articles, then recommend a topic and I’ll see what I can do.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:11-15 NIV

During my final semester at UMass Amherst this spring, I was taking two course, Public Anthropology and Historical Archaeology, that involved social justice as a central theme. We looked at how whole systems of injustice and oppression arise and develop, and how most people unknowingly contribute to oppression. Many of the readings about the systematic injustice perpetrated every day throughout the world left me saddened and angered. I started thinking of how these ideas relate to 1 Peter, where Peter demonstrates what a life changed by Christ looks like, and realized that one of the foremost ways, perhaps THE foremost way, of demonstrating how Christ has transformed my is to care for and pursue justice for the oppressed. These thoughts all started to coalesce one day as I was working in the Franklin Dining Hall kitchen, and I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to be a Christian.
View full article »

On August 3, 2014, my grandfather, Albert Lindenschmid, passed away at age 95. This biography is written in honor of him.

Born on February 14, 1919, in Ennahofen, Baden-Würtemburg, Germany, Albert grew up with two brothers and a sister, Greta. He developed an interest in flying, and eventually joined a private flying club. After WWII broke out, Albert and his brothers were drafted into the military. Albert served in the Luftwaffe, the German air force, and during this time took a correspondence course in mechanics and learned to fly sailplanes. Both his brothers eventually died in battle, and thus, per German military policy, he was allowed to avoid the front lines. Instead, he worked as a mechanic, overseeing the maintenance of several planes. He attained the rank of corporal, but turned down a promotion to sergeant since most sergeants ended up on the front lines. He eventually was captured by American forces and held in a French prison camp until after the war.
View full article »

Well, this is it. I’ve graduated. Time to face the big, mean world. For a year. I plan to start grad school next fall. But, in the mean time, it means finding work, getting a car, paying off student loans. At this point I’m still processing it all, so I don’t have anything profound to say. God has blessed me with an intellect and mind for academia, a state to support someone like me who cannot afford to pay much for education, and loving family and friends to support me. For those who want to know, I got a 3.898 GPA. Not too bad. I’ve got some posts coming up, if I can tear myself away from Wikipedia.

Check out a blog post I wrote for one of my classes:

What is a Feminist?

So one of the courses I’m taking this semester is Public/Engaged Anthropology, which is exploring how to involve communities at all levels of anthropology, from helping design research questions to producing the final publications to distributing the information. Thursday this past week I heard a guest lecture from Whitney Battle-Baptiste, a black feminist archaeologist (meaning she’s a black feminist archaeologist, and she does black feminist focused archaeology). She explained that for years she resisted the label feminist, because most of the African-American community views feminism as anti-family, anti-men, and fairly self-centered. And she eventually came to the realization that it’s not. Sure, their are feminists who might fall under those labels, but most do not. Battle-Baptiste stressed that “feminism” really is “feminisms” – it’s the idea of listening to multiple voices and allowing multiple viewpoints to be expressed. Her admission of this struggle helped me, because this is something I’ve struggled with. Since working at the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum last summer, I’ve struggled with whether I should call myself a feminist. As a man coming from a white, conservative, Christian perspective, “feminism” came to me with a lot of negative connotations, just like it did for Battle-Baptiste. But I certainly support equal political and social rights for women. I support equal political and social rights for everyone, actually. And I love studying issues of gender, class, and social interactions. Therefore, I’m proud to say: I’m a feminist.

I made this declaration a few days ago on Facebook, with the hashtag #letthefiringsquadcommence. A lot of interesting conversations sprang up, and I think (as I expected) I sparked some controversy from some of my other conservative-minded friends. So my question is: What does feminism mean to you?

Saviour's Samurai:

I think James could have defined law a little better and considered Romans 2, but other than that this is pretty good.

Originally posted on Quantum Crusader:

WRITTEN 2014/01/02

Read only law from the New Testament, and you would think God is a jerk who just likes to tell us about more impossible things to do. Read only grace from the New Testament, and you would think that God suddenly turned into a sixties-era hippie when the Old Testament ended. While grace is (in my opinion) more important for us than the law, it loses its power and purpose without the law.

The law stands, even today. Before any intervention otherwise, you are obligated to fulfill the entire law to earn God’s favor. Even past offenses will result in judgment. Too bad for you then.

Then came grace, through Christ’s death, which does not nullify or cancel the law but instead fulfills it.


That means we must somehow get that grace in order to be justified against our wrongdoings before God, but God gives…

View original 460 more words

Okay, my opinion on the Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful” Ad:
1. America does not have an official language
2. America is the most ethnically/culturally diverse country in the world
3. You can share kinship and national identity and pride with people who don’t speak the same language (and not share kinship and identity with those of your own language)

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I last posted. Basically, I just didn’t get around to posting anything during Winter Break, and I had some trouble logging on to my account the past few weeks.
My previous semester went very well, I ended up with a 4.0, which was better than I expected (I thought for at least one course I would have gotten an A-), but I’m certainly not going to complain!
What I did over break:
View full article »

Article 1 of Life in Godliness

“I am a god / Even though I’m a man of God / My whole life in the hands of God / So y’all better quit playing with God” – Kanye West, “I Am a God”

Every day, the world tells us that we need to stand out from the crowd, that our identity is dependent on how many people notice us. Every day, the media bombards us with flamboyant personalities and celebrities who go to greater and greater lengths to get attention. Every day, countless girls despise their own bodies, driving themselves to starvation for a perfect body that people will notice. Every day, countless guys resort to recklessness and violence in an attempt to prove themselves as men worthy of notice. But Christians can live free from the hopeless images and laws of the world, as we have died and been reborn with our identity in Jesus. Sadly, however, because we live in a fallen world, remnants of our old, sinful identity remain. Thus, we must rely on the constant outpouring of grace from the Holy Spirit. And we must remember that we are not alone. We should surround ourselves with fellow believers who will encourage us to stand strong in the Word of God and keep ourselves modest. And that is why I have written the following essay, to encourage my fellow believers to stay strong in Christ. The following work is the result of years of personal discovery, research, and quite a lot of advice from people older and more spiritually mature than myself. I therefore pray that God will use my words to encourage, convict, and build up other believers to be stronger and bolder in their faith, and to resist the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

View full article »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 513 other followers