Azula vs. Galen Marek

After two days of prep time who will prevail in a fight to the death between the Dark Knight and the God of War?

Batman vs. Kratos

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Arminius of the Cherusci vs. Shaka kaSenzangakhona : Opening Statement and Grading Scale

Arminius leading his Germans down the slopes to ambush the Romans

 When we think of the term "Giants of History" we often think of a  famous figure who changed the world in an obvious and fundamental way. If you were to ask the average Joe on the street, his answer would probably be Adolf Hitler, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Kennedy, Osama, or some other figure mentioned frequently in the media . If you were to ask them for a classical figure that fits that description , they would most likely stumble before saying someone to the effect of Alexander, Caesar or Genghis. While all of these answers are correct, this is merely scratching the surface of history. Two lesser known figures that don't often get mentioned are Shaka Zulu and Arminius, aka "Herman the German".

             (Although not strictly appropriate, this is a great song that talks of the various conflicts of Europe, from ancient to modern.)
 These men truly  were giants of history, radically changing the history of the Western and South African worlds respectively. Had Arminius not stopped Varus in Teutoberg Forest, history as we know it may have been radically different. Had Germania been Romanized, simply put, Rome would not have fallen in 476 b.c. It is uncertain when exactly Rome would have fallen or how far into Europe Rome would have expanded . Could Rome has become the true masters of all of Europe, with an empire expanding Malta to Lapland, from the Western tip of Spain to Moscow? And what effect would a unified empire have on the world today? Could Islam be a relatively local religion, confined to only to Arabia at best? One must remember that the only reason the Arabians  were able to conquer so much so fast was due to Byzantium  already being exhausted in a war; a unified Rome would not have this issue. Moving further on, how would Rome have fared against the Mongols?

   The Hypothetical scenarios are endless and contagious. The fact is that Arminius's victory was simply so brilliant that it completely convinced Rome that Germany was unconquerable. He won with soldiers that armor wise, weapon wise, and training wise would be considered inferior to the Romans. Arminius instead used innovation and genius tactics to exploit the Roman's inherent weaknesses.  Arminius is rightfully regarded as a hero by the German nation, which wouldn't exist without him. But Arminius is only one side to this match's coin, and his opponent is just as impressive as him.

Shaka kaSenzangakhona, better known as Shaka Zulu,  Africa's greatest commander
 By all accounts, Shaka Zulu should not have survived long enough to become king of the Zulus, or any other nation. A bastard child, he was ostracized by even his mother's own tribe. It can be said that tough times breed tough men, and for Shaka every syllable of that phrase is true. His will indomitable, he improved himself in ways that few would have the will to do, and unlike most commanders, who are described as above average fighters at best, Shaka may have literally been the best fighter in the entire Zulu nation. His martial skill combined with his tactical genius made him unbeatable.

 Looking at Shaka's campaign's and comparing it to the other great commanders  many similarities start to emerge. His izimpondo zenkomo= is a double envelopment tactic very similar to Hannibal's, he reorganized his army's structure in a very similar way to the Romans, and he knew how to exploit opportune moments like Alexander. Like Genghis Khan, he emerged from being an outcast to being  the dominating figure in his world, and like Alexander he died before his full potential was ever reached.

    Given this information one might therefor accuse Shaka of being a copycat. This would be completely false, as Shaka never read about an of these greats, as he never learned how to read. Shaka Zulu turned the Zulus from a backwater tribe to the dominant tribe in all of South Africa, and a force to be reckoned with even today. Shaka Zulu is often underestimated by Deadliest Warrior fans, which is unfair to the great warrior,  and completely ignorant of his history.

   While my last matchup had a lot of similarities between the two figures, these guys seem to be polar opposites in many ways. While Arminius was fighting to drive an empire out and later on possibly unify the German tribes, Shaka spent his time trying to create an empire, succeeding wonderfully.   Arminius was from a privileged background, and was formerly educated by the Romans. Shaka had no education and instead relied on his natural intellect and drive to achieve phenomenal success. For similarities both relied on lightly armored troops and flexible battle plans, and both are immortalized by their respective associated nations.

 Now onto the categories.

Grading Scale:

Long range: /35

Mid Range: / 30

*Close Range: /25

Special : /20

*Rare Weapons: 

* Support Animal: /10

Head : /10

Torso: /20

Arms: /10

Legs: /10

Blocking: /20


*Tactics  and battle formation: /30

Morale : /15

Motivation: 10

Loyalty of men: /10

*Psychological Aspects : /15

Rules Of Combat: /20

Mobility: /15

Known Weaknesses? -10

Training/Experience/ Quality of Enemies: /20

Martial Arts/Fighting Style: /15

** Innovation: /20

*Personality: /10

* Denotes new category or explanation needed. 

** Denotes credit to Mike, aka iHonk.

Close Range: Both Shaka and Arminius placed a high emphasis on close range warfare, and for that reason the points for this category have been raised.

Rare Weapons: For the weapons that may have no been exactly common, but would have played a role nonetheless.

Support Animal: Both Arminius and Zulu used animals to win battles, though Shaka's use of them was a little more unconventional then Arminius's .

Tactics and Battle Formation: Shaka placed a huge emphasis on his battle formation(which he personally designed) , which is why tactics has now been modified to include them. When deciding edges I will seek to determine to the best of my ability how Shaka's formation will hold up to Arminius's tactics and own formations (or lack of) .

Psychological aspects :  Both leaders were well aware of how psychology had an impact on the battle, and this category will include both morale raising (for their own side) and morale lowering (for the opposing) aspects.

Innovation: (with Credit to Mike) : Both men were well known for introducing new tactics, formations and even weapons to their army. This category will be used to determine how well they well be able to respond to new challenges and situations.

Personality: Self Explanatory. This category will help determine how the personalities of the leaders will impact the battle.


  1. Your stuff gets more epic every match, great music choice as well. I'm eager to see if Arminius gets the Lorica Hamata or some inferior armor; that factor aside, I think these two are surprisingly equal. Shaka has been done many times by bloggers, so I'm curious to see if you can unearth anything new about him for us DW fans. Good Luck!

    My prediction, with what little I know now, is for Shaka to narrowly win. As Thrand pointed out, the Ishlangu was an inch or two thick and could stop bullets from a distance. I feel that this shield superiority combined with Shaka's dueling tactics he learned from his tribe will be the deciders.

    But, that's only my view going into this.

  2. I could get my teeth into this :D I really liked your talk about how history could have gone without these men. It boggles the mind how differently things could have gone if one small thing had changed. Damn, that's hefty.

    But Herman the German? They call him that? Whoa, I wonder what he'd have to say about that?

    in any case, I really love this match already. I read about Shaka and Arminius on Wiki and to say the least I'm impressed by both men.

    I tell you though, if the Romans never fell, they'd wish they'd fallen to avoid the wrath of Ghenghis. Now if Ghengis is the man, but that's a story for another time.

    I can't wait for more ;)


    Master of the Boot

    PS: great music!

  3. This looks very promising! Both of these men were excellent leaders and fighters in their own right, leading from the front lines without hesitation. That was a great intro; keep up the good work!

  4. Great introduction for these two warriors. I agree that ranking systems should be changed depending on the warriors fighting, and it appears you have a great grasp on these two legends.

    Everyone greatly underrates Shaka as a good warrior, and Arminus is a worthy opponent for him.

  5. This sounds awesome! Even if I'm late reading this.