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 specializing in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based warrior culture society that recognizes a separate warrior class or caste.


  • Warrior classes in tribal culture 1
  • Military castes in feudal society 2
  • Behavioral codes 3
  • Modern "warriors" 4
    • Modern warfare 4.1
    • Figurative use 4.2
    • Spiritual warrior 4.3
  • Others 5
  • Warrior communities 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • External links 9

Warrior classes in tribal culture

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 and Indian clans like the Rajputs.

Military castes in feudal society

The military caste in a feudal society is evolved from—but not identical with—the warrior class in a tribal society.

Many pre-modern states had castes, estates or social groups dedicated to warfare. This includes the Khalsa and Kshatriya castes in ancient and modern India, the samurai class in feudal Japan, the Timawa and Maharlika classes in pre-colonial Philippines and noble knights in feudal Europe.

Behavioral codes

In many societies in which a specialized warrior class exists, specific codes of conduct (ethical code or honour code) are established to ensure that the warrior class is not corrupted or otherwise dangerous to the rest of society. Common features include valuing honour in the forms of faith, loyalty and courage.

Examples include the following:

Warriors' honour is dependent on following the code. Common virtues in warrior codes are mercy, courage, and loyalty.

Modern "warriors"

Modern warfare

An Indian Mughal Era Warrior and his wife

With the end of the Middle Ages and the professional standing armies of Early Modern warfare, the concept of a "warrior class" or "military caste" became an anachronism. The term "warrior" is still sometimes used, anachronistically, to refer to professional soldiers or mercenaries.

Due to the heroic connotations of the term "warrior", this metaphor is especially popular in publications advocating or recruiting for a country's military.[1]

Figurative use

In addition to the literal meaning, now mostly historical, the term has acquired a figurative sense referring to "a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics."[2] The "warrior" metaphor in sports is particularly popular in combat sport, as evident from brand names such as Warrior-1 MMA, Cage Warriors, Supreme Warrior Championship, etc.

Spiritual warrior

A spiritual warrior is a person who battles with the "universal enemy," self-ignorance (avidya), the ultimate source of suffering according to dharmic philosophies.[3] The term is applied in religious and metaphysical writing. There are self-described spiritual warriors.[4] The spiritual warrior can be described as an archetype character on a journey for self-discovery.[5]


Classification of warriors in Meranau

  • Gandamatu (Iron man)
  • Macarompen (Brave Heart)
  • Mawaraw (Brave man)
  • Tarapas (Hunter)

Warrior communities


  1. ^ e.g. Wong, Leonard, "Leave No Man Behind: Recovering America’s Fallen Warriors." Armed Forces & Society, July 2005; vol. 31: pp. 599-622. Sagepub.com Bradley C.S. Watson, "The Western Ethical Tradition and the Morality of the Warrior." Armed Forces & Society, October 1999; vol. 26: pp. 55-72.Sagepub.com Samet, Elizabeth D., "Leaving No Warriors Behind: The Ancient Roots of a Modern Sensibility." Armed Forces & Society, July 2005; vol. 31: pp. 623-649.Sagepub.com 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. Sagepub.com
  2. ^ Warrior,  
  3. ^ Grant, Kara-Leah (2009), "How yoga has the power to transform and release avidya (self-ignorance)", The Yoga Lunch Box, October 13, 2009 [2]
  4. ^ Oddo, Richard J ('A spiritual warrior') (1990), "Sharing of The Heart", Self-Published, 1989, ISBN 0-945637-02-0
  5. ^ Murdock, Maureen (1990), "The Heroine's Journey", Shambhala, June 23, 1990, p11, ISBN 0-87773-485-2


  • Ayvazyan A. "The Code of Honor of the Armenian Military (4-5th centuries)" (2000).
  • 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)

External links

  • Head-Hunting Roman Cavalry
  • Roman centurions
  • Roman Warrior Culture
  • Late Roman warrior culture
  • Warrior culture in the Scottish Highlands