Sunday, 13 September 2009


According to the Random House Dictionary, the term warrior has two meanings. The first literal use refers to "a person engaged or experienced in warfare." The second figurative use refers to "a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics."
In tribal societies engaging in endemic warfare, warriors often form a caste or class of their own. In feudalism, the vassals essentially form a military or warrior class, even if in actual warfare, peasants may be called to fight as well. In some societies, warfare may be so central that the entire people (or, more often large parts of the male population) may be considered warriors, for example in the Iron Age Germanic tribes or the Medieval Rajput.
Professional warriors are people who are paid money for engaging in military campaigns and fall into one of two categories: Soldiers, when fighting on behalf of their own state; or mercenaries, when offering their services commercially and unrelated to their own nationality. The classification of somebody who is involved in acts of violence may be a matter of perspective, and there may be disagreement whether a given person is a hooligan, gangster, terrorist, rebel, freedom fighter, mercenary or a soldier.

Warrior code
In many societies in which a specialized warrior class exists, specific codes of conduct (ethical codes) are instituted in order to ensure that the warrior class is not corrupted or otherwise dangerous to the rest of society. Warrior codes often have common features and usually value honour in the forms of faith, loyalty and courage. Examples include the Nine Noble Virtues of Germanic folklore, medieval knights' code of chivalry, the Kshatriya code of Dharma in India, the system of values of ancient Armenian army or Japan's samurai class which uses a warrior code known as Bushido (The Way Of The Warrior) and xiá in China. See also noblesse oblige.
Warriors' honor is dependent on following the code. Common virtues in warrior code are mercy, courage and loyalty.
warrior culture is a culture that heavily emphasizes battle and war and greatly prizes feats of arms. Warrior cultures often incorporate a cult of personality around military leaders, are ruled by an elite warrior class, and have a warfare based economy. Examples of societies in history that could be designated as warrior cultures include:



Feudal societies are not always warrior cultures, since although feats of arms are prized, there is not necessarily an emphasis on battle and war. In some feudal societies, the soldiery was provided through conscription of the peasant class. It could be argued that the modern Israelis are a warrior-race, as both men and women are trained to fight, and all citizens must undergo military training at some point.

Military castes
Many cultures and states have castes, estates or social groups dedicated to warfare. This includes the kshatriya caste in ancient India, the samurai class in feudal Japan, and nobility (especially knighthood) in feudal Europe.

Women as Warriors
Since Eurypyle, Candace, Deborah, and Vishpala there have been references to women warriors throughout history. Boudica led an enormous army against the Romans in Britain that is well documented in Roman history, but lost completely in the native country. In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, along with the Trinovantes and others, in revolt. At first she was very successful. Her troops destroyed Camulodunum (Colchester), formerly the capital of the Trinovantes, but by then transformed into a colonia (a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers) and the site of a temple to the former emperor Claudius, forcibly built and maintained at local expense, and routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve the settlement.
Until modern times, however, warrior women mostly have been noted by historians as an exception or a curiosity. Religious traditions prior to historical records feature deities, often among their earliest, that include a fierce warrior goddess prior to displacement by warrior gods. The lioness often is associated with the goddesses and observation of the cooperative hunting techniques of lionesses may have influenced the symbolic association. Myths are the vestiges of more ancient religious traditions that have been lost or purposely were kept secret from outsiders and never recorded. One later example of a group of fighting women is the legend of the Amazons recorded in Classical Greek mythology.
Today, women are recruited to serve in the military in most countries. Only a few countries permit women to fill active combat roles, including Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland. In other countries, however, women do serve in combat situations.


1. Warrior, Random House Dictionary,

Ayvazyan A. "The Code of Honor of the Armenian Military (4-5th centuries)" Shannon E. French, Code of the Warrior - Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present (2003).
Marion F. Sturkey "Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines" (2001)
For Further Reading
“Leave No Man Behind: Recovering America’s Fallen Warriors.” Leonard Wong. Armed Forces & Society, Jul 2005; vol. 31: pp. 599-622.
“The Western Ethical Tradition and the Morality of the Warrior.” Bradley C. S. Watson. Armed Forces & Society, Oct 1999; vol. 26: pp. 55-72.
“Leaving No Warriors Behind: The Ancient Roots of a Modern Sensibility.” Elizabeth D. Samet. Armed Forces & Society, Jul 2005; vol. 31: pp. 623-649.
“Humanitarians or Warriors?: Race, Gender, and Combat Status in Operations Restore Hope.” Laura L. Miller and Charles Moskos. Armed Forces & Society, Jul 1995; vol. 21: pp. 615-637.

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