Western Civilization was not always the military and scientific powerhouse it has been over the past 500 years. It was made so by the actions of an elite cadre on men fighting thoughout many generations. It was made so by the tips of axes, swords, and rifles. I present to you three such men who defined the borders of Western Civilization and carved out a future for the West to prosper.

1. Charles Martel (The Hammer)

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Martel Bashing Skulls

The Battle of Tours

732 AD, Europe, much like today was under siege from Islamic invaders. The Moors had pushed through the Iberian Peninsula and had their eyes on the heartlands of Europe. Charles did not have a professional army at his command, but rather farmers, usually only able to fight between planting and harvest.

His rag-tag group of warrior farmers were outnumbered roughly three to one, and were up against battle-hardened professional soldiers. Using defensive tactics, close-knit formations, and the terrain to his advantage, Martel was able to halt the Islamic invasion into Europe.

2. Jean De Valette

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Siege of Malta

In 1565 AD, The Ottoman Empire was quickly expanding westward, having already taken much of the North African coastline and the Balkans. All that stood in their way from further conquest was a tiny island in the Mediterranean occupied by small order of 700 knights. If the Ottomans took the island they would gain a stepping stone into Sicily, Italy, and further into Europe.

The Knights Hospitaller were reinforced by the native Maltese people, a small number of Italian, Greek, and Spanish warriors, along with their servants. Even with these reinforcements the Knight’s forces were outnumbered eight to one. In one month’s time a force of 50,000 Ottoman warriors along with 70 siege cannons captured Fort St. Elmo.

The bodies of the knights killed there were decapitated, lashed to make shift crucifixes, and floated toward Fort St. Angelo. De Valette responded to the insult by ordering his men to fire the heads of dead Ottoman soldiers out of cannons targeted at the Ottoman encampments.

The siege carried on; about two months later the Ottomans had breached the walls on the main island and expected victory, but it was not to be. De Valette himself took up his pike charged toward the breach, inspiring his men. The Ottomans pouring in through the breach were cut down and slaughtered, while being pushed forward by the mass of bodies behind them.

De Valette’s men held out ferociously for one more month until a relief force of 28 ships carrying 10,000 warriors from all over Christian Europe drove off the Ottomans.

3. John III Sobieski

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Polish Hussars

The Siege of Vienna

In 1683 AD, The Ottoman Turks were staging a massive assault on Vienna, a major strategic point which, if taken, would leave the doors of Europe wide open for Islamic domination. Again Western forces were severely outnumbered. A coalition of Germanic nobles, The Holy Roman Empire, and the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, were up against 300,000 Islamic invaders.

The fortifications of Vienna were the strongest and most advanced for their time, with hundreds of state-of-the-art cannons placed strategically across the walls. Turkish sappers dug tunnels under the walls and placed kegs of black powder in key areas.

For two months Vienna was cut off and starved. The walls were being blown to pieces and food supplies were non-existent. Just when the city was about to fall, 80,000 of Europe’s finest, under the command of King Sobieski, came to Vienna’s defense. King Sobieski, a tactical genius, had roughly 60,000 infantry men fight earlier in the day.

Then after hours of fighting, the Turks were worn and tired. King Sobieski then led the largest calvary charge in history. All at once 20,000 horsemen charged downhill at the exhausted Turks. At the front of the charge were 3,000 Polish Hussars; the most well trained, best equipped, badass, heavy calvary ever.

The result was a bloodbath. Not until modern immigration policy has the Islamic world ever tried to invade the West at such a scale.

Lessons

These three heroes of the West demonstrate all of Jack Donovan’s 4 traits of masculinity, strength, courage, mastery, and honor. These men did not fight alone, they were leaders. Leading by example, they fought on the front lines alongside their men, putting themselves in eminent danger.

This method of leadership inspired courage within the hearts of their troops. In modern times many think leadership is simply putting on an authoritative face and telling others what to do; these three men prove that vile notion wrong. Together Martel, De Valette, and Sobieski gave the West a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor.

Read More: What The West Can Learn From India’s Checkered History