99 Famous People of Ancient Western History
Abraham, Achilles, Adam, Aechylus, Aesop, Ahura Mazda, Akhenaten, Alexander the Great, Allah, Apollo, Archilochus, Archimedes, Aristotle, Aspasia, Athena, Aten, Attila the Hun, Augustus/Octavian, Bridget of Kildare, Cambyses, Charon, Cicero, Cincinnatus, Cleopatra, Constantine, Crassus, Cyrus, Darius, David, Diocletian, Diogenes, Epicurus, Esther, Euripides, Eve, Gilgamech, Hadrian, Hamilcar, Hammurabi, Hannibal, Hasdrubal, Hera, Herodotus, Hesiod, Hippocrates, Homer, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Julius Caeser, Juno, Jupiter, Justinian, Marc Antony, Marcus Cato, Mars, Minos, Moses, Muhammad, Mursilis, Nebuchadnezzar, Nefertiti, Nero, Osiris, Ovid, Pericles, Philip II, Plato, Pompey, Pontius Pilate, Ptolemy, Ramses II, Remus, Romulus, Sappho, Sargon, Saul, Seneca, Shalmaneser, Socrates, Solomon, Solon, Sophocles, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Helena, St. Patrick, St. Paul, St. Peter, Thucydides, Tiberius, Tiberius Gracchus, Tiglath-Pileser, Trajan, Tutankhamen, Virgil, Xerxes, Yahweh, Zeno, Zeus, Zoroaster
Born circa 1900 B.C., Ur, Mesopotamia
Died circa 1725 B.C., Canaan
- The revered father of the Hebrew people who enstated the practice of circumcision.
- Believed to be the father of many other Semitic people with many Muslims tracing heritage back to him also.
- Formed a covenant with God that laid the foundations for Judaism.
- Travelled from his home city of Ur in Mesopotamia to the land of Canaan, but is known for strictly abiding by his beliefs and not allowing his family to be changed by the people he lived among.
Born circa 1215 B.C., Thessaly
Died circa 1183 B.C., Troy
- The legendary hero of the Iliad. Son of a sea nymph, Thetis, and the King of the Myrmidons, Peleus.
- With godly heritage and known for his unstoppable rage Achilles slowly becomes more humanized throughout the Iliad until he dies a mortal death. This is a main theme in the story.
- The Achilles tendon is named after him as that is believed to be the one part of his body that was vulnerable to attack, though that legend didn't begin circulating until the first century A.D. long after the Iliad was written.
Created circa 10,000-6,000 B.C., Garden of Eden
Died circa 9,000-5,000 B.C., Unknown wilderness (note: the range of Adam's possible creation is vast and is widely disputed among Christian researchers.)
- The first human being to inhabit the planet according to Jewish and Christian doctrine. Was made by God out of dust as a perfect and immoral being.
- Adam is the patriarch of the entire human race, with all people believed to be literal descendants of him and his wife, Eve.
- Was the second human to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, plunging humanity into sin.
- Was cast out of the paradisiacal Garden of Eden, where the Tree of Life is kept, and was doomed to toil in the land and eventually die.
Born circa 525 B.C., Eleusis, Attica
Died circa 455 B.C., Gela, Sicily
- Famous Greek playwright known as the father of drama.
- Implimented the use of more than one man interacting with the chorus in his plays. (Usually two men).
- Fought against the Persian Emperor Darius in the Battle of Marathon and latter against Xerxes at the Battles of Salamis and Plataea.
- His participation in the war heavily influenced his writing as is shown in his most famous work, The Persian, which recounted the Greek victory at Salamis.
Born circa 500 A.D., Samos
Died 460 A.D., Delphi, Greece
- Was a slave of a man named Xanthus, but was freed.
- Traveled through Greece telling fables in political circles to sway the changes in government.
- Died at the hands of the Delphians for an unknown reason
Worship Began circa 500 B.C., Media
Worship continues in present day in India
- The God of Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism
- Very similar to the Christian and Jewish idea of an uncreated all powerful creator who will vanquish the evil forces at the end of time.
- It is very uncertain as to when the concept of Ahura Mazda arose and most credit it to the religious leader Zoroaster, which hardly helps as it is uncertain when he lived.
- Briefly was believed to be the twin brother of the evil spirit Angra Mainyu and his opposite but equal counterpart. Now, he is believed to be the complete being, with the evil spirit Angra Mainyu and the good spirit Spenta Mainyu the opposite and equal spirits warring within him.
Born circa 1370 B.C.
Died circa 1336 B.C.
- The Heretic Pharaoh. Born as Amenhotep IV, meaning "Amun is satisfied" he changed his name to Akhenaten, "effective spirit of Aten," when he denounced the worship of many gods and established Aten, the sun disk, as the supreme one true God.
- His was believed to be the first attempt at monotheism in the world.
- Is known for having a peculiar body shape that people theorize may be due to any thing from being a hermaphrodite, to having Marfan's syndrome, to him actually being a woman in disguise.
- His forced monotheism seems to have been hated as he moved the capital of Egypt from fertile Thebes to the middle of the desert at el-Amarna; his statues in his tomb were smashed while those of his well loved wife; Nefertiti, remained unharmed; the nation reverted back to polytheism immediately after his short lived dynasty ended with Tutankhamen; and his tomb was left alone out in el-Amarna, instead of being moved to the Valley of the Kings.
Alexander the Great a.k.a Alexander III
Born July, 356 B.C., Macedon
Died June 11, 323 B.C., Babylon
- Alexander the Great is known as one of the greatest military minds of all time.
- When Alexander's father, Phillip II, was assassinated, Alexander inherited the newly unified Greece thanks to his father's conquests.
- King Alexander had to quell rebellions twice in the southern parts of Greece before gaining complete control.
- Alexander the Great fulfilled both the prophecy of Daniel (Chapter 8) and the suspicions of the Persians, that a unified Greece would conquer Persia.
- Alexander pushed his army all the way to the boarders of India before being forced to turn back when his own men threatened to rebel.
- Died in Nebuchadnezzar II's palace in Babylon from an unknown illness that lasted 12 days. Some suspect poisoning.
Worship Began circa 610 A.D., Arabian Peninsula
Worship continues across the world today.
- "Allah" translates as, "The One to be worshipped."
- Allah is the God of the Muslim faith.
- Allah is the same God as the Christian and Jewish faiths and Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to their God as Allah.
Worship Began circa 1,100 B.C. Greece
Worship Ended circa 300 B.C. Rome
- An oracular god, Apollo was the patron of the oracle at Delphi.
- He was the sister of Artemis the huntress.
- Apollo was often equated with the sun god, Helio, as his siter was equated with the moon goddess, Selene.
- Unusual among the gods as he had devout cults formed specifically for him. Two cults actually had such a different concept of him that he might as well have been two distinct gods.
Born circa 680 B.C., Paros
Died circa 645 B.C., Thasos
- A poet who made his living by public and private recitals of his work.
- Was considered an equal to Homer by his countrymen and statues to each of them were dedicated on the same day.
- Was known for his harsh satire.
- Supposedly at a feast of Demeter he poured out his emotions in a satirical attack against a man who had promised him his daughter but then rescinded. The insults were said to be so shameful that the man and his daughters hung themselves.
Born circa 287 B.C., Syracuse, Sicily
Died circa 212 B.C., Syracuse, Sicily
- Regarded as the most important scientists in antiquity, Archimedes was a mathematician, engineer, and physicist.
- Archimedes has legends about him creating ancient super weapon's such as the "Archimedes' Death Ray," which is a humorous name for an invention made of polished metal mirrors that he supposedly used to burn ships, and the "Archimedes' Claw" which was supposedly a crane like device that violently latched onto ships and pulled them upward causing them to sink.
- Archimedes died in the second Punic War. According to tradition, he was not supposed to be killed but rather captured. However, he enraged a Roman soldier by ignoring him and telling the soldier to go away while he worked on his math and was killed on the spot.
Born 384 B.C., Stagira, Thrace
Died March 7, 322 B.C., Chalcis
- Student at Plato's Academy in Athens for 20 years.
- Tutored Alexander the Great for seven years at the request of Philip of Macedon, Alexander's father.
- Founded his own school in Athens known as the Lyceum.
- When the Athenians brought charges against Aristotle, he fled the city saying, "I will not allow them to sin twice against philosophy," which is believed to be a reference to the Athenian execution of Socrates.
Born circa 470 B.C., Miletus, Asia Minor
Died circa 400 B.C., Athens, Greece
- Romantically involved with the statesmen, Pericles and Lysicles.
- She was said to be an influential and charismatic speaker.
- The details of Aspasia's life are unknown. She is written about in the works of Plato and has been accused of running a brothel by comic poets.
Worship began circa 1,000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended circa 300 A.D., Rome
- Goddess of wisdom.
- Zeus swallowed Athena's mother, Metis the Titan, whole immediately after impregnating her.
- Unable to die, Athena grew inside of Zeus creating a great pressure on his forehead. She then emerged from his head when Hephaestus, the blacksmith god, broke Zeus's head open to relieve the pressure.
- Often bested Aries the god of war because of her superior wisdom and cuning.
- The Athens take their name from her because, according to myth, she stopped the sea god, Poseidon, from flooding the city and taking it as his own.
Aton a.k.a Aten
Worship began 3000 B.C., Egypt
Worship ended 300 A.D., Egypt
- The sun disk and believed to be the creator of all.
- Associated with Amen-Ra or Re the sun god.
- Became less associated with Re when Akhenaton proclaimed Aton to be not only the supreme god, but the only god, which went in opposition to the Amen-Ra priesthood at Thebes.
Attila the Hun
Born circa 406 A.D., Hun Monarch
Died 453 A.D., Danube
- Along with his brother Bleda, he inherited the united Hun tribes from their uncle Rugila.
- Continuously caused trouble for the Byzantine Empire by putting them under constant attack.
- His empire stretched from Scandinavia to Armenia.
- Cut a swath clear through Europe, defeating the Gothic-Roman alliance along the way and making his way all the way to Italy to marry Honoria, who he felt had been promised to him. He turned back for no known reason before attacking Rome.
Augustus a.k.a. Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus
Born September 23, 63 B.C. Rome, Rome
Died August 19, 14 A.D. Nola, Rome
- Ruled as an autocrat for 41 years which is longer than any subsequent emperor.
- His rule is considered the dividing line between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.
- Ended many cival wars within the nation causing a 200 year era of peace known as the Pax Romana.
- Had to fight with Marc Antony to rule after Julius Caesar's death.
Bridget of Kildare
Born 451 A.D., Kildare, Ireland
Died circa 525 A.D. Kildare, Ireland
- Was born a pagan but changed her beliefs and converted to Christianity.
- After becoming a nun, her and a group of fellow nuns and monks established a convent in which she eventually became Abbess.
- Kildare had a fire in it that was always kept burning according to pagan religious beliefs. Rather than putting it out, Bridget and her fellow nuns gave it a Christian interpretation, which kept healthy relations with the Druids of the area.
- Many believe she did not actually exist but was a Christianized version of a Celtic goddess, used to help convert pagans.
This is three people in history. He was a little known brother of Cyrus I. Cyrus then named his son Cambyses who became ruler of Anshan under the over lordship of the Median Emperor. He lived from 600 B.C to 559 B.C. in Anshan. His son was Cyrus II or Cyrus the Great. Cyrus the Great then had a son: Cambyses II. Camyses ruled over Babylon under his fathers reign and then when Cyrus died, Cambyses became emperor of Persian. It is unsure of when he was born but he died in either 522 or 523 B.C.
Era of belief began 1000 B.C., Greece
Era of belief ended 300 A.D., Greece
- The ferryman who takes the dead across the river Acheron.
- Charged one obolus coin, which is why many Greeks buried their dead with coins on their tongues.
- Charon is depicted as either a cranky, insulting old man, a winged demon, or a cloaked skeleton.
Cicero (in Latin pronounced Kikero)
Born January 3, 106 B.C., Arpinum, Rome
Died December 7, 43 B.C., Formia, Rome
- Lawyer, Statesman, philosopher and orator
- Considered one of Rome's best orators ever.
- Credited for introducing Greek philosophical principles to Rome and created a vocabulary for them in Latin.
- Was beheaded by his own people who had listed him as an enemy of the state by the influence of Marc Antony. It is said that Marc Antony's wife Fulvia took his head, cut out the tongue and stabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin to insult his powerful oratory skills.
Born 519 B.C., Rome
Died circa 440 B.C., Rome
- Cincinnatus was an early Roman statesman and is considered to be a semi-legendary figure as it is difficult to discern the true events of his life from the exaggerated ones.
- He first became dictator in 458 B.C. at the request of the people so that he could protect them against the Aequi and Volscian tribes that threatened them.
- He came out of retirement and became dictator again in 439 B.C. to stop a revolt by the plebeians.
Born 69 B.C., Alexandria, Egypt
Died 30 B.C., Alexandria, Egypt
- Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt, making her of Greek decent.
- She had love affairs with both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.
- She tried to keep Egypt free of Roman rule through diplomacy. Her efforts failed as she chose to stay by Marc Antony's side when he fought over leadership with Octavian and lost.
- Supposedly she took her own life by having an asp bite her.
Constantine I a.k.a. Constantine the Great
Born February 27, 280 A.D., Naissus
Died May 22, 337 A.D., Rome
- Fought against Licinius and many other rivals before becoming the emperor of all Rome.
- Known for being the first to openly embrace Christianity and promote freedom of religion for all.
- Constantine is known for his famous dream in which he say the chi rho, a Greek symbol for Christ, in the sky along with the phrase, "By this sign, you shall concur." It was after this that he won leadership of Rome.
- Rebuilt the city of Byzantium, declaring it to be New Rome. He gave it a senate similar to Rome. He supposedly had many religious relics there to protect it. New Rome was changed to Constantinople where he is buried and eventually became the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Born 115 B.C., Rome
Died 53 B.C., Parthia
- One of the richest men in Rome.
- Entered into the First Triumvirate with Pompeius Magnus and Julius Caesar.
- Was defeated at Parthia, which he attacked so that he could match the military strength of Caesar and Pompey, despite the fact he had the aid of the King of Armenia.
Cyrus the Great a.k.a. Cyrus II
Born circa 576 or 590 B.C., Persia
Died 530 B.C., Massagetae
- First king of the Persian Empire after leading the Persians to concur the Medes.
- Expanded the empire by concurring Babylon.
- Will always be remembered as the turning point between the Medo-Persian Empire and the Persian Empire.
Darius the Great a.k.a. Darius I
Born circa 549 B.C. Persia
Died circa 485 B.C. Persia
- Revised the Persian system of administration and the legal code.
- He twice had to stop revolts in Babylon, three times in Susiana, and also one in Ionia. The last one led to the conflict between Greece and Persia and the Persian defeat at Marathon.
- Divided the empire into provinces under rule of governors.
- Built the new capital of Persepolis.
- Vainly tried multiple times to conquer Greece in retaliation for their assistance in the Ionian rebellion.
Born circa 1025 B.C., Bethlehem, Israel
Died circa 965 B.C., Jerusalem, Israel
- Complimented in the Bible as "a man after God's own heart" David is regarded as the greatest king in Israel's history.
- He was a warrior king who expanded his country into a small empire conquering any army who opposed him.
- David was renowned for his great fighting prowess and reliance on God which are evident in his slaying of Goliath the giant and of many Philistines throughout his lifetime.
- Though a righteous man, David sinned terribly by having an affair with a woman named Bathsheba and having her husband killed when he found out she was pregnant.
- He started the tradition of Israelite royalty being from the tribe of Judah.
- The Messiah came from his bloodline as reward for his righteousness.
Born circa 245 A.D., Dioclea
Died circa 312 A.D., Salona
- Made many reforms including the establishment of an autocratic government.
- Laid the foundations for the second phase of the Roman Empire, the Tetrarchy.
- Was the first Roman emperor to voluntarily step down from office. Rather then wait until he died, Diocletian retired from being Emperor to grow cabbages.
Again, this is a name that was used by several important historical figures. One a Greek philosopher who lived around 460 B.C. Another philosopher in 412 B.C. Another man was an Athenian educated Seleucian who appeal a fee charged to Athens by the Romans in 155 B.C. The list goes on.
Born 341 B.C., Samos
Died 270 B.C., Athens
- He believed, like Democritus before him that there are un-cuttable fundamental particles that make up everything in the universe.
- He taught that the gods do not punish man but that everything is determined by the movement of monads or atoms.
- Taught that pain and pleasure are measurements of what is bad and good.
Esther a.k.a. Hadassah
Born 480 B.C.
Died 420 B.C.
- Esther is a very celebrated figure in Jewish society. Her account was so feared by Hitler that he had the book banned because it might rally Jews' spirits.
- She was forced into a contest to determine the new wife of Xerxes, King of Persia. After a year she was found to please him the most and became queen.
- When Xerxes agreed with his advisor, Haman, that all the Jews living among the Persians should be killed, she pleaded for her people, revealing herself to be Jewish and winning the king's favor.
- Is known for approaching the king uninvited. This action would have been punished by death had the king not found favor in her and held his scepter out to receive her.
Born 480 B.C., Athens
Died 406 B.C., Macedonia
- Famous Greek playwright.
- Is said to be the last of the great tragedians.
- Is thought to have written ninety-five plays in his lifetime.
Created 10,000-6,000 B.C., The Garden of Eden
Died 9,000-5,000 B.C., Unknown Wilderness
- First woman and second human being created.
- Wife of Adam and mother of all humanity.
- First to listen to the snakes advice and disobey God by eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
- Like her husband, Eve was caste out of the Garden of Eden.
Born 2670 B.C.
Died 2610 B.C.
- According to the Sumerian king list, Gilgamesh was the fifth kind of Urak.
- Is supposedly two thirds god and one third human.
- He was said to have superhuman strength and to have built a wall around his city to defend from threats.
- Supposedly his people diverted the flow of the Euphrates River so they could bury him in the riverbed.
Born January 24, 76 A.D., Rome
Died July 10, 138 A.D., Baiae
- A stoic-epicurean emperor.
- The third of the "Five Good Emperors."
- He himself said he was born in Rome in his autobiography, but there is a tradition he was born in Seville, Spain.
- Built Hadrian's Wall in Britannia to protect against the hostile Caledonians. It also showed his will for Rome to work on internal improvements rather than continuing it's conquests.
Born 270 B.C., Carthage
Died 228 B.C., Hispania
- Greatest Carthaginian military leader of his time.
- Had a deep hatred for Rome.
- Began a conquest of Hispania but died before it's completion.
- Hamilcar was the father of the famous Hannibal who he trained to be his successor and instilled his hatred for Rome.
Born circa 1810 B.C., Babylon
Died circa 1750 B.C., Babylon
- Member of the first dynasty of Babylon.
- Hammurabi expanded his Empire less through conquest and more through internal strengthening and diplomacy.
- Hammurabi is best known for his code of law. Before this was written Law was simply mob mentality for peasants and whatever the king says for nobles. But with this code inscribed on a stone monument and placed in a public area for all to see, everyone was held to the same set of laws. Even the king could be held accountable for breaking them.
Born 247 B.C., Carthage
Died 183 B.C., Libyssa
- His name means "grace of Baal." Ball was the patron god of Carthage.
- He is best known for crossing the Alps into Italy using Elephants and engaging in a 15 year war there.
- Though he was able to defeat Roman armies time after time, he didn't have enough men to take the capital, which was evident upon entering Italy. He instead traveled around the country defeating their armies and destroying their crops.
- He may have become strong enough to take Rome had his brothers come to his aid, but they were both defeated.
- He returned to Carthage where he defended the city against the Roman counter attack.
- Rome demanded that he be removed from Caryhage because of the thread he posed and so he was exiled to Mesopotamia. They later decided that he should be handed over to them and when Prusias, ruler of the land he was staying in, agreed, he took poison rather than be captured by his enemy.
Born circa 240 B.C., Carthage
Died 207 B.C., Gaul
- Younger brother of Hannibal and fellow general in the Second Punic War.
- Fought in Hispania while his older brother moved on to Italy.
- Was summoned to Hannibal's aid but never made it past Gaul, being cut down in a battle against two Roman armies.
- His head was severed and thrown into Hannibal's camp to discourage him.
Worship began 1000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended 300 A.D., Rome
- Queen of the gods and wife of Zeus.
- She is the god of marriage.
- Hera is best known for he opposition to Zeus on many matters that even caused fear in the king of the gods.
- She epitomizes the duality between the subservient nature of an ancient woman to her husband and yet the great influence she could have over him.
Born circa 484 B.C., Halicarnassus
Died circa 425 B.C., Athens
- Considered the Father of History.
- Wrote The History, a book recounting the most prominent events of the ancient Greek world at the time.
- Traveled as far as Ukraine, Sicily, Italy, and the first cataract of the Nile in Egypt.
- It's believed that his focus in his book on the united Greek forces defeating the Persians, is to criticize the Peloponnesian War, which had recently broke out between Athens and Sparta, the two major contributors in defeating the Persians.
Born circa 730 B.C., Greece
Died circa 670 B.C., Greece
- Hesiod was a poet and rhapsode.
- Hesiod lived before recorded history and very little is known about him.
- His writings give insight into ancient Greek mythology, farming, astrology, and time-keeping.
Born 460 B.C., Kos
Died 370 B.C., Kos
- Father of modern day medicine.
- Said to be the first to discern between medicine and philosophy, arguing that illness is not of a supernatural origin.
- Started the Koan style of medicine which focused more on prognosis and treatment then of diagnosis.
- The Hippocratic Oath that all doctors say is named after him for his schools strict professionalism.
Born circa 730 B.C., Ionia
Died circa 670 B.C., Greece
- The most famous Greek poet and rhapsode.
- Like Hesiod, Homer lived before recorded history and little is known about him.
- Credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
- Was believed to be blind and to have recited his verses from memory and possibly in song.
Born circa 7 B.C., Bethlehem, Judea
Died circa 25 A.D., Jerusalem, Judea
- Called the Christ in Greek or Messiah in Hebrew which means the anointed one.
- Claimed to have been the prophesied redeemer of humanity of Jewish belief.
- Jesus is generally considered to be the most influential person in history as his followers constitute the largest religion in the world: Christianity.
- Was famous for teaching peace and tolerance to all men and for supposedly performing many miracles.
- Was martyred in Jerusalem by Roman officials persuaded by Jews who accused him of heresy for his teachings.
John the Baptist
Born circa 8 B.C., Jerusalem, Judea
Died circa 23 B.C., Jerusalem, Judea
- Jesus' cousin who heralded his coming.
- Is believed to have lived in the desert and to have worn camel's skin and eated locusts with honey.
- Baptized people as a symbol of the cleansing they would go through at the coming of the messiah.
- Was imprisoned by King Herod who feared his public influence. Herod's wife and niece then tricked him into having John beheaded.
Born July 12, 100 B.C., Rome
Died March 15, 44 B.C., Rome
- A great conqueror for Rome, Julius Caesar traveled all over the Mediterranean quelling rebellions.
- After the fighting he was the most powerful general in all of Rome and took the position of Imperator.
- Fearing that he would become to powerful and wishing to maintain a republic and not an empire, many senators attacked and killed Julius Caesar at a senate meeting.
- Two of his killers where Brutus and Cassius, close friends and allies of Caesar.
Worship began 1000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended 300 A.D., Rome
- Juno was the Roman version of the goddess Hera
- Wife of Jupiter and mother of Mars, the god of war who was very important ot the Romans.
- Juno was also a member of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Minerva.
- The month of June is named after her.
Jupiter a.k.a. Jove
Worship began 1000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended 300 A.D., Rome
- Jupiter was the Roman version of Zeus.
- The planet Jupiter is named after him because it was the largest and he was the king of the gods.
- His name comes from Indo-European origin and means "Father god."
Born circa 482 A.D., Tauresium
Died November 13-14 565 A.D., Constantinople
- Was born a peasant but was raised by his uncle, Justin, who was part of the imperial guard.
- When Emperor Anastasius died, Justin took the thrown with the help of his nephew Justinian and when Justin became senile Justinian became de facto ruler and proper emperor after Justin's death.
- He was the only Roman Emperor to reclaim the territories of the Western Roman Empire and actual succeeded in taking the city of Rome itself.
- He also lead a successful conquest in northern Africa.
Born January 14, 83 B.C., Rome
Died August 1, 30 B.C., Alexandria, Egypt
- Marc Antony was a great supporter of Julius Caesar and, to the dismay of a crowd, tried to place a diadem on his head proclaiming him king.
- He also tried to head off Caesar before he got to the senate chamber where he was to be assassinated to warn him of the plot.
- After Caesar's death Marc Antony competed with Octavian for control of Rome.
- He allied himself with Cleopatra of Egypt, who was also his lover.
- He was defeated by Octavian and committed suicide by falling on his sword under the false impression that Cleopatra had already done so.
Marcus Cato a.k.a. Cato the Elder
Born 234 B.C., Tusculum
Died 149 B.C., Rome
- Was a contemporary of Scipio Africanus who he contended with over power.
- Had a successful military career that included fighting against Hannibal Barca in the Second Punic war.
- As consul he lead the Romans to defeat Antiochus the Great and the Seleucid Empire at the Battle of Thermopylea.
Worship began 1000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended 300 A.D., Rome
- The god of war.
- Heavily revered in Roman society because they were such a warlike state.
- Was originally a god of fertility and vegetation but was changed to a god of battle as the empire grew.
- Is believed to come from the Etruscan god of agriculture, Maris.
Born circa 1500 B.C., Crete
Died circa 1450 B.C., Crete
- A legendary character who was the son of Zeus and Europa.
- After becoming the King of Crete he banished his two brothers Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon.
- Lived three generations before the Trojan War.
- Retired to a cave in his old age were he supposedly received instructions from Zeus who introduced to Minos the concept of pederasty which he in turn passed on to the Greek civilizations.
Born circa 1300 B.C., Egypt
Died 1180 B.C., Canaan
- Was put in a basket and sent down a river as a baby by his sister to avoid the killing of Hebrew boys by Pharaoh. He was then found and raised by a princess of Egypt.
- Learning of his heritage he supposedly was charged by God with the task of going before Pharaoh to demand his people be set free from slavery. When Pharaoh refused, Moses call granted the power to call a plague upon Egypt of supernatural origin and catastrophic consequences.
- After ten plagues, he led the Hebrews for forty years in the wilderness en route to the promised land of Canaan which they would later conquer and make the Kingdom of Israel.
- It was under Moses leadership that the Hebrew people received most of their laws, including the Ten Commandments, and became what we today consider Jewish.
- Moses supposedly was killed by God for not following his specific instructions for the carrying out of a miracle, but not before he was brought up a mountain to see the land he had brought the Israelites to conquer.
Born 570 C.E., Mecca
Died June 8, 632 C.E., Medina
- Founder and holy prophet of the Muslim faith.
- Implored the people of his area to return to the belief in one true God rather than the pagan worship of many gods.
- Was not received well in the city of Mecca which he fought many battles against over the years.
- Was also not well received by Jews who could not believe that a prophet would ever come from a non-Jew. To this Muhammad pointed out that Abraham was not a Jew.
- United many tribes in Arabia with Medina as its capital.
- Began receiving the inspired word of god when he was forty in a cave where he fasted and worshiped annually during the month of Ramadan.
Born circa 1640, Hittite Kindom
Died circa 1595, Hittite Kingdom
- Lead the Hittites to victory in Syria where they destroyed Aleppo.
- Lead them to further victory with the sacking of Babylon which ended the rule of the descendants of Hammurabi.
- Was assassinated by his Brother-in-law, Hantili, when who he returned to his Kingdom. Hantili then succeeded him as King.
Born circa 625 B.C., Babylon
Died circa 562 B.C., Babylon
- Considered the greatest king of Babylon but has been vilified for his treatment of the Jews.
- Nebuchadnezzar sieged and conquered Jerusalem, destroying the Temple of Solomon in the process.
- He enslaved the inhabitants of Judah and brought them to Babylon.
- Brought about the Neo-Babylonian Empire sometimes referred to as the Chaldeans after the dynasty that he belonged to.
- Was fare to those he conquered, only willing to destroy a city if absolutely necessary and showing royal officials great courtesy. This can be seen in his treatment of Jeremiah, and Danial and his companions.
Born 1370 B.C., Egypt
Died 1330 B.C., Egypt
- Wife of Akhenaten and possible coregent with him during parts of his reign.
- Stepmother of Tutankhamen.
- May have ruled solely for a brief period after her husbands death under the name Neferneferuaten-nefertiti.
- Was believed to be much more well liked then her husband as her statues were not smashed in their tomb.
Born December 15, 37 B.C., Rome
Died June 9 68 A.D., Rome
- Last emperor of the Julio-claudian dynasty.
- Is reviled as a tyrant and a persecutor of Christians who was famous for allegedly "fiddling while Rome burned." Many sources indicate that Nero may have actually been well liked and there is no backing behind the claim that he regarded the burning of Rome with happiness or even flippancy.
- He warred and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire.
- Was born Lucius Dominitus Ahenobarbus
Worship began 3000 B.C., Egypt
Worship ended 500 A.D., Egypt
- God of life, death, and fertility.
- Was the judge of the dead but also the one who allowed life.
- At times was considered the primary deity of the henotheistic society.
- Is said to be Anubis' father as he replaced him as the god primarily associated with the afterlife.
- Was murdered by Set but resurrected for a time by his wife Isis who then became pregnant with Horus, the god of new beginnings.
Born March 20, 43 B.C., Sulmona
Died 17 A.D., Tomis
- A Latin poet ranked with Virgil and Horace in importance.
- Had an impact on art and literature for centuries into the middle ages.
- Wrote of love, women, and mythological transformation.
Born 495 B.C., Athens
Died 429 B.C., Athens
- A great statesman and general for Athens, he was the leader of their forces (strategos).
- Lived during the Golden Era between the Persian War and the Peloponnesian War.
- Faught for 2 years in the Peloponnesian War before dying from an unknown epidemic that many accused him of bringing on Athens because he sailed to war after witnessing a lunar eclipse.
- He knew better than most of the true nature of eclipses having been educated by Anaxagoras.
- Had he lived Athens may have won the war against Sparta because it is said that his successors were inferior to him.
Born 382 B.C., Macedon
Died 336 B.C., Macedon
- Father of Alexander the Great, Philip III, and possible Ptolemy Soter.
- United the Greek city states into one nation under Macedonian rule.
- As a child was a well treated hostage in Thebes, Egypt.
- Came to the thrown only after his elder brothers, Alexander II and Perdiccas III. And he was only elected regent for the true rightful heir, Amyntas IV, who was Perdiccas' infant son. He managed to secure the thrown for himself though.
- Was assassinated by one of his own body guards at his daughter's wedding.
Born circa 428 B.C., Athens
Died circa 348 B.C., Athens
- Student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle.
- Left Athens for a long time because he was disgusted with them for executing Socrates.
- Wrote many books on philosophy, most famous of which are the Apology and the Republic.
- Developed a philosophy of greater and greater levels of truth known as Platonism.
- Founded the first school of higher learning in the western world, known as the Academy.
Born September 29, 106 B.C., Picenum
Died September 29, 48 B.C., Egypt
- Roman statesman and general who very well could have gone on to fill Julius Caesar's role in Rome.
- He entered into the First Triumvirate with Caesar and Crassus.
- He fled Rome from Caesar during their civil war, allowing Caesar to capture the treasury which was kept at the temple of Saturn.
- He managed to once beat Caesar in a battle, but failed to pursue and destroy his enemies much smaller army.
- Pompey was killed in a boat going to shore at Egypt where he believed he had found safe haven. Really, the Egyptian king had arranged for his assassination by two of his old comrades, in order to gain prestige with Caesar.
Born circa 10 B.C., Roman Empire
Died circa 36 B.C., Roman Empire
- Pontius Pilate was the man who is believed to have presided over the trial and sentencing of Jesus Christ.
- According to the Bible, Pilate found no guilt in Jesus and was confused as to how the Jews welcomed him as a prophet just a week before but know demanded his death.
- Being a governor in a territory that balked at their Roman overlords and were known to cause uprisings, he was put in the difficult situation of trying to avid a riot as it could cost him his life.
- According to some accounts, Jesus himself told Pilate that it was not he who was responsible for the death but rather the people pressuring him and that he would not be in the wrong for issuing the sentence. Either way, Pilate is famous for washing his hands as a display that he was not at fault in the matter of killing what he considered to be an innocent man.
Born 367 B.C., Macedon
Died 283 B.C., Egypt
- Possibly the half-brother of Alexander the Great.
- One of Alexander's most trusted generals.
- In the civil war that broke out after the death of Alexander, Ptolemy was one of the generals to secure land and proclaimed himself the king of Egypt.
- From his dynasty, Cleopatra came.
Ramses II a.k.a. Ramses the Great
Born circa 1290 B.C., Egypt
Died circa 1213 B.C., Egypt
- A member of the nineteenth dynasty.
- Is said to be the greatest king of Egypt.
- Has many monuments built to himself across the land of Egypt.
- Is believed to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus who Moses went before to demand his people's freedom.
- Fought with the Hittites and one a famous battle at Kadesh despite the fact that he was tricked. Though he won the battle he lost the war as he didn't have enough troops of supplies to continue.
Born circa 771 B.C., Temple of Vesta
Died circa 753 B.C., Rome
- One of the legendary founders of Rome.
- Supposedly fathered by the god of war, Mars.
- Supposedly descended from Aeneas, a survivor of Troy.
- Was killed by his brother Romulus over who should rule the new city of Rome.
Born 771 B.C., Temple of Vesta
Died 717 B.C., Rome
- Twin brother of Remus.
- Romulus crowned himself the first king of Rome after killing his brother, the city's cofounder.
- Named the city after himself.
Born circa 620 B.C., Lesbos
Died circa 570 B.C., Lesbos
- Like her fellow poets, Hesiod and Homer, very little is known about Sappho except her poetry.
- She was an educated woman, which was very rare for her time.
- She was born into an aristocratic family which afforded her a sophisticated language and many rare places to visit and write about.
- Is believed to have been a lesbian by many because of her poems to women. The word lesbian in fact comes from the name of her birthplace: Lesbos.
Born circa 1500 B.C., Sumeria
Died circa 1440 B.C., Sumeria
- Sargon is considered one of if not the earliest emperor. He preceeded the first Babylonian Empire and the Assyrians.
- His empire spanned across most of the fertile crescent.
- It is said that when he invaded Babylon and desecrated the temples there, he angered the Babylonian patriot god, Marduk, who then cursed Sargon to have rebellion throughout his land and never peace.
- Marduk's curse brought the downfall of Sargon's empire.
Born circa 900 B.C., Israel
Died circa 850 B.C.Israel
- Saul was the first king of Israel and a celebrated man in the earlier days of his reign.
- His increased madness towards the end of his reign leads many theologians to believe that since the Hebrews demanded a king instead of relying on God, God therefore punished them by making Saul king.
- Saul united all the tribes of Israel for the first time since the exodus.
- Saul fell out of God's grace when he plundered an army he was told to completely destroy.
- Was very close to David until later years when David was anointed the new king of Israel and a civil war broke out between them.
Born circa 4 B.C., Hispania
Died circa 65 A.D., Rome
- Son of another Seneca who was a famous Roman orator.
- A sickly child who was sent to Rome for schooling and then to Egypt for treatment of his illness.
- Was almost killed in a conflict with Emperor Caligula, but was spared because the Emperor thought he would die soon anyway because of his sickness.
- Was the tutor of Emperor Nero and latter his advisor.
Born circa 1274 B.C., Asshur
Died circa 1245 B.C., Asshur
- Assyrian king who vastly expanded the empire.
- Claimed to have blinded 14,400 enemy prisoners in one eye.
- Would often deport captured people to foreign lands rather than slaughter them.
- Was the ancestor to Shalmaneser V, who is believed to be the Assyrian King that captured the the lost tribes of Israel.
Born circa 470 B.C., Athens
Died circa 399 B.C., Athens
- Socrates was the teacher of Plato.
- He developed the Socratic method, a philosophical method of question and answer that is designed to get to the heart of matters.
- He was opposed to the democratic ruling of Athens and felt that government should be a council of philosophers deciding on matters.
- The oracle at Delphi claimed that he was the wisest man in Greece.
- Though Socrates disbelieved her at first and set out to prove her wrong, he found no man in Greece wiser than himself.
- He was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens and was sentenced to death which he humbly accepted. He drank hemlock as his death penalty.
Born 800 B.C., Jerusalem
Died 720 B.C., Jerusalem
- Solomon was the son of King David and the heir to the thrown.
- He was the bastard child of David and Bathsheba.
- The Bible claims he was the wisest man on earth.
- Unlike his father, who was a warrior king, Solomon expanded his kingdom through diplomacy and trade.
- It is said that God was often displeased with him for allowing his many wives to influence him with pagan beliefs.
- Despite his great wealth, success, and heresy, he is believed to have written the book of Ecclesiastes in his old age, which is notorious for its view of worldly things as meaningless.
Born circa 638 B.C., Athens
Died circa 558 B.C., Athens
- Athenian lawmaker.
- One of the Seven Wise Men of Greece.
- Advised Athens to war over possession of the island of Salamis and became a hero when they won.
- Solon introduced the concept of a trial by jury.
- Also credited with introducing pederastic education.
Born 495 B.C., Attica
Died 406 B.C., Athens
- Second of the three great tragedians.
- Wrote 123 plays in his life.
- Only seven have survived to modern times.
- As a child he led the chorus of boys at the Athenian celebration of the victory over the Persians at Salamis.
St. Benedict of Nursia
Born circa 480 A.D., Nursia
Died circa 543 A.D., Monte Cassino
- A famous monk who constructed many monasteries throughout Italy.
- Towards the later years of his life, he lived mostly in seclusion but became a highly respected man in the area.
- It is said that whenever an abbot would die at a nearby monastery, the inhabitants would beg him to become their abbot.
- Founder of the Benedictine order.
Born circa 248 AD Drepanon, Bithynia
Died circa 328 AD Nicomedia, Bithynia
- Mother of Emperor Constantine the first, Helena was made empress dowager by her son when he came to power in 306 AD, even though his father, Constantius Chlorus had renounced her.
- After a family tragedy in which her favorite grandson Crispus Caeser was executed, Helena traveled to the Holy Land, building churches on the supposed sites of the Nativity and the Ascension.
- Later in the century Helena was credited with finding the cross and over the years the story was embellished and romanticized.
Born circa 600 A.D., Britain
Died circa 660 A.D., Ireland
- Early Christian missionary and a patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare.
- Was captured at the age of sixteen by Irish invaders and kept as a slave for six years.
- When he escaped and returned home, he went to school and became a deacon and eventually a bishop.
- He returned to Ireland as a missionary and was very successful at converting the inhabitants.
- St. Patrick's Day is in honor of him.
Born circa 20 B.C., Tarsus
Died circa 70 B.C., Rome
- The most prolific writer in the New Testament, with 13 books credited to him.
- Known as the apostle to the gentiles, Paul's mission was the conversion of people to Christianity throughout the Greek world.
- Was originally a Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians before Jesus supposedly appeared to him on the road to Damascus.
- Paul remained a devout Jew throughout his missions, even though he broke Jewish law if he felt it could aid in his work.
- Was arrested in Israel and spent many years in and out of court traveling from Jerusalem to Rome in the process.
- He was eventually martyred in Rome by beheading.
Born circa 1 A.D., Capernaum
Died circa 70 A.D., Rome
- Peter was the leader of the apostles and took overcharge of the Christian faith after Jesus ascension.
- Like Paul, he traveled around the Greek world teaching and writing letters outlining Christian ethics.
- He is considered the first Pope by Catholics.
- Paul was martyred in Rome, but not being a Roman citizen, he was made to suffer crucifixion instead of simple beheading. It is said that he felt he was unworthy to died in the same manner that Christ did, and so he was crucified upside down.
Born circa 460 B.C., Alimos
Died circa 400 B.C., Greece
- Famous historian who wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War.
- Was a strategos in the Athenian navy but was exiled for his failure to help the key city of Amphipolis when it was attacked by Spartans.
- Travelling throughout the Peloponnesian regions freely as an exile he was able to get a better perspective on the war which he used to write his book.
- It is considered the first ancient Greek historical account that leaves out the use of gods and goddesses as causes for political events and rather described man being the cause of all that occurred.
Born November 16, 42 B.C., Rome
Died March 16, 37 A.D., Rome
- Successor of Augustus and the second Roman emperor.
- Ruled during the ministry and martyrdom of Jesus Christ.
- Was not a Julian by blood line but was adopted by Augustus as a child.
- He did marry Augustus' daughter which kept the bloodline but due to the mix, historians refer to the dynasty after Tiberius as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Claudius being what his middle name was before he changed it to Caesar.
Born 163 B.C., Rome
Died 133 B.C., Rome
- Roman politician who tried to make agrarian reforms in the republic.
- He was met with heavy resistant which eventually led to his death at the hands of a conservative faction of the Roman Senate.
- His family was very wealthy and was well connected to the government.
Born circa 765 B.C., Assyria
Died circa 727 B.C., Assyria
- Created the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
- Conquered most of the world known to Assyria at the time.
- Followed the precedence of other Assyrian kings and deported many of his captured enemies.
- May have been the king to conquer the Israelites and take away the ten lost tribes.
Born September 18, 53 B.C., Italica
Died August 9, 117 B.C., Selinus
- Served in the Roman army and worked his way up through the ranks.
- Emperor Domitian's successor Nerva was not liked by the army and appointed Trajan to be his successor to gain favor.
- Trajan is known for being a stark contrast to Domitian, as he was peaceful. He freed many people enslaved by the late emperor and returned much seized property.
Born circa 1360 B.C., Armarna
Died circe 1378 B.C., Armarna
- Tutankhamen was the son of the heretic Pharaoh, Akhenaton.
- Going against his father's religious movement, Tutankhamen allowed polytheist worship again.
- He is best known for having one of the best preserved tombs in Egypt. No grave robbers seemed to have gotten to it before Archaeologists discovered it.
- Ruled for a very short time and died of a head wound at the age of 18 or 19.
Born October 15, 70 B.C., Rome
Died September 21, 19 B.C., Rome
- Famous Roman poet who wrote the Aeniad which became the Roman Empire's national epic.
- The epic recounts the mythological story of Aeneas, a survivor of Troy who's descendants, Romulus and Remus, went on to found Rome.
- Virgil abandoned the study of rhetoric, medicine, and astronomy for the study of philosophy.
Born circa 500 B.C.
Died circa 430 B.C.
- Xerxes ruled the Persian Empire at it's peek, inheriting it from his father Darius.
- He lead the war against Greece after his father, and witnessed the devastating blow to his army at the battle of Thermopoly.
- His army eventually was defeated and he returned to Persia, never to raid Greece again.
- He is also the king in the book of Esther. He chose Esther to replace his deposed Queen Vashti.
- He ordered the genocide of all Jews in his empire under the influence of adviser, Haman, but eventually changed his mind at Esther's revelation that she was Jewish.
Worship began circa 10,000 B.C., The Garden of Eden
Worship is still practiced today
- Yahweh is the proper name of the Hebrew, Christian, and Muslim God in the Hebrew language.
- The name means I Am, which signifies the inability for any worldly terms to qualify or define him.
- The name was not spoken by Hebrews for fear of misusing it. Instead other terms such as Elohim, Sabbaot, and El Shaddai were used.
- It is uncertain exactly what time period the concept of an uncreated creator who is infinite came about, but the term Yahweh was first used during the Israelites time in the Sinai wilderness, after the exodus from Egypt.
Born 425 A.D., Byzantine Empire
Died 291 A.D., Byzantine Empire
- Was a Byzantine Emperor in the empire's early years.
- Despite constant civil disorder, Zeno was somewhat successful in foreign affairs.
- Zeno, though born of a people looked upon as barbarians, he found favor in the Emperor Leo I as a valiant warrior. Through this he moved up the ranks until eventually he succeeded Leo as emperor.
Worship began 1000 B.C., Greece
Worship ended 300 A.D., Rome
- Zeus was the youngest child of Chronos but was his successor because of his great valor in the war of the gods.
- Greek legend has it that Chronos feared one of his children becoming greater than him and so he devoured them as they were born, eating three girls and two boys. Being immortal, the children could not die but rather grew in him. Zeus' mother hid him away and he was raised by humans. He then came back and freed his siblings from Chronos' stomach and overthrew him.
- He chose to reign over the sky as his domain and is depicted as the bringer of rains and as using lightening as his weapon. Though he was god of the sky, he was also the king of all the gods.
Zoroaster a.k.a. Zerathustra
Born circa 1200-600 B.C., Persia
Died circa 1130-530 B.C., Persia
- Zoroaster is the founder of Mazdaism, today known as Zoroastrianism.
- The religion believes in an uncreated creator god called Ahura Mazda. It is unclean if there is any relation between this god and the God of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths.
- It is believed by many that Zoroastrianism is a duelist religion, believing in two god, one evil and one good, but both even in strength and it is up to man to choose which to follow. But this there was only a cult of people within Zoroastrianism who believed that, and most believe that in the end, the supreme god will defeat the evil god.
- Zoroaster is one of the least known figures in history, which is stunning considering the impact he had on the middle eastern world. His religion was the official one of the Persian Empire and is still practiced today in parts of India. It is considered to be the oldest living religions in the world.
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