Known as “The Worthies,” they personified the ideals of honor and heroism during the Middle Ages. These mighty warriors were the epitome of the knightly virtues of loyalty, integrity, courage, and chivalry. They were the embodiment of honorable character.

1.  JOSHUA — One of the twelve spies of Israel sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. Only he and Caleb had the faith to believe they could win the Promised Land. The people believed the bad report from the other spies and Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. After the death of Moses, he led the Israelite tribes across the Jordan River, conquered Jericho and most of Canaan, and allocated the land to the tribes. Joshua lived between 1355-1245 BC and died at the age of 110.

2.  DAVID — The great warrior-king. David was the second king of Israel (1002-970 BC) and according to the New Testament, he is an ancestor of Jesus Christ. He is depicted as a righteous king, yet not without faults, as well as a distinguished warrior, shepherd, musician, and poet, having composed many of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms. David is best known as the slayer of the Philistine giant, Goliath, and is a central figure in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths.

3.  JUDAH MACCABEE – Antiochus IV blasphemed the Temple in Jerusalem in 167 BC by slaughtering a pig on the altar. Judah, “the Hammer” was a Judean priest who assumed command of Jewish resistance to Greek-Syrian forces after his father’s death. By way of guerrilla tactics he weakened Greek forces, leading to even greater victories over larger armies at Beth-horon and Emmaus. After this, Judah captured Mt. Zion, purged the Temple of Hellenistic cult practices and re-consecrated it to the worship of Yahweh. The festival of Hanukkah was later instituted to commemorate the gift that keeps on giving.

4.  HECTOR — All of the Nine Worthies are conquering heroes except Hector. Though the greatest warrior of Troy during the Trojan War (1194-1184 BC), he was killed in battle and his body dishonorably mutilated by the Greek champion, Achilles. Homer wrote of Hector as being peace-loving, loyal, bold, devoted to his family, and without darker motives. When the Trojans argued whether the omens were favorable, he responded: “One omen is best: defending the fatherland.”

5. ALEXANDER THE GREAT — Alexander was a Greek prince who was tutored by Aristotle until age 16. Before his death at the age of 32 in Babylon in 323 BC, he had created one of the largest empires of the world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Indian Ocean and from Egypt to the Himalayas. He conquered the Persian Empire in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battle of Issus. Seeking to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea”, he attacked India but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander’s sudden demise was caused by an unknown illness or poison by a Greek rival. He was never defeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders.

6.  JULIUS CAESAR — He was the Roman general and statesman who played a vital role in the evolution of the Roman Republic into a vast empire. Caesar’s conquest of Gaul in 51 BC, extended Rome’s territory from the English Channel to the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both bodies of water. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and the Senate ordered Caesar to lay down his military command and return to Rome. He refused and marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with his legionaries, illegally entering Roman territory under arms. No one could stop him and Caesar emerged as the unrivaled leader of Rome.

7.  KING ARTHUR — This is the legendary Roman-British king, who, according to medieval histories, led the defense of England against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur’s story are mainly composed of folklore and his historical existence is debated among modern historians. Armed with the sword, Excalibur, and with the wizard, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table by his side, he conquered the British Isles, Iceland, Norway, and Gaul. In the 1930s, the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table was formed in Britain to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian concepts of chivalry.

8.  CHARLEMAGNE — The King of the Franks, Charles the Great, was a devout Catholic and maintained a close relationship with the papacy throughout his life. In 772, when Pope Adrian I was threatened by enemies, he rushed to Rome to protect him. Charlemagne also invaded the barbarian tribes to his east and converted them to Christianity. He became the first Emperor of Western Europe since the collapse of the Roman Empire three centuries earlier. His grandfather was Charles Martel who stopped the Islamic invasion of Europe in 732.

9.  GODFREY OF BOUILLON — A Frankish knight who was one of the leaders of the First Crusade which was called by Pope Urban II in 1095 to rescue the Holy Land and save the Byzantine Empire from Islamic domination. The Crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099 and built wooden siege towers to mount the walls. The main attack began on 14 July and Godfrey and some of his knights were the first to take the walls and enter the city. It was an end to three years of fighting, yet he had finally accomplished his noble mission of recapturing the Holy Land. Godfrey became the first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, yet he refused the title “King” as he believed the true king of Jerusalem was Christ.