In this installment, we're digging deep into the world's legends, myths and other epic writings, to bring you 10 of the fiercest battles fought within them. So get ready, grab your swords or magic wands and charge into our picks for the top 10 mythical battles!
The death of the gods, their ultimate destruction from a cataclysmic battle with evil, out of which a new age will rise, the last battle of the world, in which gods and men alike will meet their destruction by monsters during a time of darkness. The dead will rise, as armies ride, and all will meet their fall. The fire giant Surter will beseech Asgard, setting fire to Bifrost as well as their homes, the great Midgard serpent will emerge from the depths of the oceans, meeting Thor, costing both beings their lives. The great wolf Fenrir will finally break free from his shackles to kill the Allfather Odin, while the sun and moon will be swallowed by the wolves, Sköll and Haiti. All of the nine realms will be beset in purging flames, sinking them all into the boiling sea. There is no avoiding and no preventing the end times, though Ragnarök is the end of times, Odin had predicted it was not the end of the world.
In accordance with ancient Greek myth, before the time of the gods, mighty beings known as titans ruled, born to the sky father, Ouranos; whom together with his wife Gaia, would have twelve children, six male, and six female, known as titans. Each of the male titans was to pair off with their sisters and reproduce. Kronos, who would become leader of the titans, would take his sister Rhea, before the birthing of their first child, Kronos would be warned by his parents that he'd face defeat at the hands of his own son. Kronos, in an attempt to prevent this prophecy from coming true, would eat each of his children upon their birthing; this would happen five times before Rhea would seek counsel from her parents Gaia and Ouranos, to keep her sixth child, Zeus, from the same fate as his siblings. Zeus would grow fast, and confront his father; finding means to force Kronos into vomiting up his siblings, shortly thereafter, the Titanomachy would begin. The war between god and titan would wage for 10 years, the gods from atop Mount Olympus and the titans atop Mount Othrys. Though neither side seemingly gained a foothold in the battle, Gaia would advise Zeus to set free his six monstrous cousins; three Cyclopes, and three Hekatoncheires; who would reward their liberator Zeus with weaponized lightning and thunder. Zeus would use his new weapons to finally best his opponent Kronos, as well as the rest of the titans, and upon their defeat, the Titans would be dragged to Tartaros where they were sentenced to live out the remainder of their lives.
Hindu Mythological Wars (Hindu)
The mythical battles described in the Hindu Texts of ancient India that depict fierce demons, noble heroes, mystical holy weapons, magic and magical beings, and gods, are known in collection as the Hindu Mythological Wars. Most epics in Hindu mythology pertain to the triumph of righteousness, or Dharma, over the wickedness of humanity, or Adharma, usually with the elimination of demonic lords of great evil. The tellings usually involve a battle between the Deva, or the embodiments of all that is pure, a good deity, against the Asura, the sinful, materialistic and power-seeking deities.
Battle of Mag Itha (Irish)
According to the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a collection of poems and epics, the very first battle to beseech Ireland was the Battle of Mag Itha, in which an invading force, the Muintir Partholóin, fought the current occupiers of Ireland, the Formorians, led by Cichol Gricenchos. Though there are many variations of tellings and outcomes of the battle, from one saying that not one soldier had fallen in combat, as the war was fought entirely with magic, to the utmost annihilation of the Formorian army. The more commonly accepted belief is that King Cichol would be slain in combat, while fighting against Partholóin and his forces routing the Formorians in the process.
Trojan War (Greek)
This legendary battle, depicted in Homer's Iliad, written sometime in the 8th century BCE, depicts the Greek besieging the city of Troy. The war started when Helen, wife of Menelaus, the King of Sparta, was seduced, and consequently abducted by the Trojan prince, Paris, after he accepted help from the goddess, Aphrodite, to win the most beautiful woman in the world. Though many heroes fought ferociously on both sides, victory would go to the Greeks; the final decisive action being that of the Trojan Horse. A massive wooden horse, big enough for a small concealed group of soldiers to hide inside, would be wheeled in after the Trojans took it within the city walls, and during their drunken, careless celebration of "victory", the hidden Greek soldiers would emerge, open the gates to the city, and easily killed everyone in the city of Troy.
Battle of Banquan (Chinese)
Recorded as the first battle to occur in China, this battle would take place between the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi, and the Flame Emperor, Yandi, due to the rising number of conflicts that happened among the nomadic tribes around 2500BCE. The Yan Emperor and his tribes kept moving across the nation due to their increasing population. In the process, many skirmishes would take place with the local tribes, against the huge population of the Yan tribe, the smaller nomadic tribes faced total assimilation; forcing them to ask the Yellow Emperor for aid. The yellow army would meet the Yan army at the Battle of Banquan, which ended with the defeat of the Yan Empire and the assassination of their Emperor, all the tribes would swear allegiance to the Yellow Emperor, hence creating the Yan Huang Zisun peoples.
War of Vesosis and Tanausis (Roman)
From Jordanes' account of the war, this battle would take place between the Goths, ruled by Tanausis, and the Egyptians, after the Egyptian king, Vesosis, declared war against them. The Goths would rise to meet their would-be invaders at the river, Phasis. The king of the Goths would have his army march to engage the Egyptians, finding victory and crushing their forces, dealing a massive blow to Vesosis and his plans. This would force Vesosis' retreat, making him flee back to Egypt. If it was not for the Nile river and its impassible waters and surrounding heavy fortifications that Vesosis had ordered built, Tanausis would have dealt the final blow to him and his army while on their own lands. Tanausis would find no means to overcome Egypt's stalwart fortifications, would leave, and begin a new campaign to conqour most of Asia.
The tale of the Amazonomachy is one told through the ancient Athenian art of Greece. They depict the many scenes and battles of the Amazons; a nation of fierce, warrior women. The west metopes of the Parthenon, one of the temples of the Acropolis of Athens; tells of the battle between the Amazons and the Greeks, with most scholars agreeing it represents the Amazon invasion of Attica. Upon the shield of Athena Parthenos, a statue of Athena, crafted from gold and ivory, the scene of a fallen Amazon is depicted. At the temple of Apollo, at Bassae, there are a number of slaves that tell the tales of the Trojan Amazonomachy, and the Heraclean Amazonomachy, telling the story of Heracles, ninth labour, the procure the belt of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. With a final one located at the Mausoleum at Halicarnassos, in which Heracles is shown grasping an Amazonian by the hair, holding his club above her.
Æsir–Vanir War (Norse)
On the basis of Norse mythology there exists gods from two tribes; that of the Aesir, and the Vanir. Most of Norse mythology shows harmonious co-existence between the two, leaving it nearly impossible to differentiate them. But before peace, comes war... and it is no different for gods it seems. It starts with the Vanir goddess, Freya, a supreme practitioner of magic. Under the name Heiðr, she would come to Asgard, home to the Aesir, wherein they became zealously stricken by her powers, and what they could do for them. Upon realizing this violates the core of their values, the Aesir would turn on Freya, blaming her for their imperfections, and burned Freya alive three times in an attempt to murder her, and three times she would rise, reborn from her ashes. This would lead to a hatred between the Vanir and Aesir, which would eventually erupt into turmoil and war. The war would wage for some time, and in the end, both sides would grow weary of the seemingly endless war, and would agree to a truce.
Battle of Brávellir (Nordic)
It is said that when the king of Denmark Harald Wartooth lay on his death bed, he summoned for his nephew, Sigurd Hring, the king of Sweden. Harald, realizing he was due to die of old age, and fearing he would spend his afterlife in Niflheim, proposed to Sigurd, they fight a great battle, that he may die a warriors death and ascend to Valhalla. In accordance to the tales of the Danish historian, Saxo Grammaticus, both rulers would prepare for seven long years, gathering armies of 200,000 strong; both their ranks filled with warriors of great renown and legend. The old, half-blind king Harald, rode out to battle, sword in each hand, slaughtering any enemy in front of him. After the deaths of 15 kings, and the sum of 30,000-40,000 men were slain, Harald would meet his end by the hand of the All-father, Odin himself. When Sigurd received word of his opponent's death, he immediately signaled an end to the fighting, rode out to locate Harald's body and horse, and built a funeral pyre so that he may swiftly ride off to the halls of Valhalla.