Known as the Highest Authority of the World Government, the Five Elders are the rulers of the entire world with tremendous political power superior to their fellow World Nobles, second only to Im. They have complete control over all Government affiliated organizations such as Cipher Pol units, and even the Marines as they are all completely subservient to their commands.
Even the orders of the Fleet Admiral of the Marines can be vetoed by their decisions. They can declare a Buster Call attack on any island that they deem a threat and can pass that authority onto lower World Government ranking agents. Their decisions shaped the world for the past 900 years. They annihilated many enemies and scholars for researching the Forbidden Void Century.
Throughout the series it’s clear that the World Government’s rankings are given mostly through power. So by this logic it would be kind of reasonable to assume that the people controlling the stronger military force in the One Piece World are at the top because of the strength they posses. So it’s possible that they indeed are the strongest in the World Government.
They definitely show signs of being fighters. They all look intimidating and they have scars. If they were just political figures living in Mary Geoise then there is very little chance they would have ever been put in a situation that would give them permanent scars. This shows that they have been in fights and have seen some danger.
Also the fact that they are completely OK with being alone with Shanks could also be a pretty huge sign. There’s no way they would do that with someone who could easily kill them.
Interestingly enough, the Gandhi-esque Gorosei member wields what appears to be the Shodai Kitetsu, one of the Saijo o Wazamono grade swords.
To be able to control “cursed” sword, you need to have strong will and Haki, you need to prove yourself worthy of that sword. We’ve alredy seen how Zoro was struggling with Enma, which is one of the 21 great graded swords.
Imagine how much power you would need to be able to hold one of the cursed 12 supreme graded swords – which is exactly what the Gandhi-esque Gorosei is doing with Shodai kitetsu (one of the 12 supreme graded swords which is considered to be the most cursed out of the Kitetsu line).
So if anyone ever had doubts about Gorosei’s strength, there is no question now. They are insanely strong.
So what do you think? Will the Five Elders ever have a real fighting role in One Piece?