Military Challenge Coins — A Fantasy History
Prowess in military duty is often rewarded with military challenge coins. But these awards are a relatively modern phenomenon, dating only as far back as World War I or so. With a little poetic license, we can’t help but wonder how many military honor coins would have been given to the great military leaders of the past (and how they would have reacted).
Sun Tzu (c. 544-496 BC). He did write “The Art of War,” the best-selling book in the topic of military (and business and debate too!). It’s obvious the man needs some kind of award.
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). Conquering most of the civilized world before the age of 30 certainly would have Alexander’s pouch full of challenge coins.
Julius Caesar (100-44 BC). His military feats basically gave the world the Roman Empire, from defeating the barbarians to winning a civil war against Pompey. Perhaps Brutus was just really jealous at the potential of challenge coins Caesar might have accumulated.
Genghis Khan (1162-1227). The Mongol leader formed the largest empire the world has ever known, mainly thanks to his horse-riding armies. The problem with giving Khan challenge coins is that the enemy would have heard him a mile away.
Joan of Arc (1412-1431). It’s not just a man’s world. Joan paved the way for France’s freedom. For her dedication to her native land, the unappreciative British later staged a roast in her honor. She surely would have carried many challenge coins to reward her valor.
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Short in height, but long in military accomplishments. Since he was eventually exiled to an island, Napoleon would have had plenty of time to count his challenge coins.
Robert E. Lee (1807-1870). One would be hard pressed to find a more honorable and brilliant commander (who, it must be noted, fought against his own country.) He might have rejected any challenge coins made in the North, though.
Obviously, there are many more renowned military commanders worthy of military honor coins. Yet this list surely would have earned their share of military challenge coins.