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Drawing of a Thracian peltast of 400 BC
The warrior goddess Athena of Greek mythology - Musée du Louvre
Geronimo, perhaps the most famous Apache warrior.

A warrior is a person experienced in or capable of engaging in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class. According to the Random House Dictionary, the term warrior has two meanings. The first literal use refers to "a man 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." [1]

Contents

Overview

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 men 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, pirates, terrorist, rebel, and bandits. Even true warriors of ordinary are 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 cultures

A 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 may even have a warfare based economy.

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.

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

There are references to occasional female warriors from antiquity, mostly as an exception as in the case of the famous warrior Queen Isabella de Castile who married King Fernando de Aragon combining a queendom and a kingdom along with the rest of the Spanish provences to create the nation of Spain. 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. One later example of a purported group of fighting women is the legend of the Amazons recorded in Classical Greek mythology.

Notes

  1. ^ 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." Warrior, Random House Dictionary, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/warrior  

References

For Further Reading

  • Wong, Leonard, "Leave No Man Behind: Recovering America’s Fallen Warriors." Armed Forces & Society, July 2005; vol. 31: pp. 599-622. [1]
  • Watson, Bradley C.S., "The Western Ethical Tradition and the Morality of the Warrior." Armed Forces & Society, October 1999; vol. 26: pp. 55-72.[2]
  • Samet, Elizabeth D., "Leaving No Warriors Behind: The Ancient Roots of a Modern Sensibility." Armed Forces & Society, July 2005; vol. 31: pp. 623-649.[3]
  • Miller, Laura L. and Charles Moskos, "Humanitarians or Warriors?: Race, Gender, and Combat Status in Operations Restore Hope." Armed Forces & Society, July 1995; vol. 21: pp. 615-637.[4]

References

  1. ^ Sagepub.com
  2. ^ Sagepub.com
  3. ^ Sagepub.com
  4. ^ Sagepub.com
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