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Top 15 Influential Ancient Greeks

Theodoros II . . . Comments

Ancient Greece has had an enormous amount of impact on culture in the Western world. Some of the first works of literature in the west, of which we have record, come from Greece, and although they were created at a time after older works from Mesopotamia, such epic poems as the Iliad and Odyssey have exerted wide influence over generation after generation of western thinkers. Greeks have made huge contributions to the world in various aspects, however this is most noticeable in literature, architecture, Olympic games, science, mathematics and politics. Here is a list of some of the most influential and memorable ancient Greeks.


Hippocrates of Cos

Hippocrates Kerylos

Hippocrates of Cos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles (Classical Athens), and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the father of Western medicine in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields that it had traditionally been associated with (notably theurgy and philosophy), thus establishing medicine as a profession.


Thales of Miletus


Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus, in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition. According to Bertrand Russell, “Western philosophy begins with Thales.” Thales attempted to explain natural phenomena without reference to mythology, and was tremendously influential in this respect.

In mathematics, Thales used geometry to solve problems, such as calculating the height of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. He is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales’ Theorem. As a result, he has been hailed as the first true mathematician, and is the first known individual to whom a mathematical discovery has been attributed. Also, Thales was the first person known to have studied electricity.



220Px-Nama Ath%C3%A9Na Varvakeion

Phidias, or the great Pheidias, was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece. Phidias’ Statue of Zeus, at Olympia, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phidias also designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, namely the Athena Parthenos, inside the Parthenon and the Athena Promachos, a colossal bronze statue of Athena which stood between it and the Propylaea, a monumental gateway that served as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens.

Prior to the Peloponnesian war, Phidias was accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena inside the Parthenon. Pericles’ enemies found a false witness against Phidias, named Menon. Phidias died in prison, although Pericles’ companion, Aspasia, was acquitted of her own charges.




“In making their own evaluation of Solon, the ancient sources concentrated on what were perceived to be the democratic features of the constitution. But…Solon was given his extraordinary commission by the nobles, who wanted him to eliminate the threat that the position of the nobles as a whole would be overthrown.” — Stanton, G.R. Athenian Politics c800-500BC: A Sourcebook, Routledge, London (1990), p. 76.

Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.




Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher, born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos. His exact contributions are difficult to disentangle from his mentor Leucippus, as they are often mentioned together in texts. Their speculation on atoms, taken from Leucippus, bears a passing and partial resemblance to the 19th century understanding of atomic structure that has led some to regard Democritus as more of a scientist than other Greek philosophers; however, their ideas rested on very different bases. Largely ignored in ancient Athens, Democritus was, nevertheless, well-known to his fellow northern-born philosopher Aristotle. Plato is said to have disliked him so much that he wished all his books burned. Many consider Democritus to be the “father of modern science.”



Herodotus Agora Mus1

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria, and lived in the 5th century BC (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC). He has been called the “Father of History,” and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent, and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. The Histories — his masterpiece and the only work he is known to have produced — is a record of his “inquiry” (or ἱστορία historía, a word that passed into Latin and took on its modern meaning of history), being an investigation of the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars and including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Although some of his stories were not completely accurate, he claimed that he was reporting only what had been told to him. Little is known of his personal history, since ancient records are scanty, contradictory and often fanciful.


Leonidas I

Leonidas Evlahos

Leonidas I was a hero-king of Sparta, the 17th of the Agiad line, one of the sons of King Anaxandridas II of Sparta, who was believed in mythology to be a descendant of Heracles, possessing much of the latter’s strength and bravery. Leonidas I is notable for his leadership at the Battle of Thermopylae, which has long been the topic of cultural inspiration, as it is perhaps the most famous military last stand of all time. His “against all odds” story is passed to us from the writings of the Greek Herodotus. He relates the story of 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians defending the Pass of Thermopylae against almost “2 million” Persians for three days.

Although modern historians have questioned the numbers presented by Herodotus, with most at around 100,000 to 250,000 invaders, the story has resonated with authors and poets for centuries over the inspiring bravery and resolution of the Spartans.

The performance of the defenders at the battle of Thermopylae is often used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain to maximize an army’s potential and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds. Even more, both ancient and modern writers used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the superior power of a volunteer army of freemen defending native soil. The sacrifice of the Spartans and the Thespians has captured the minds of many throughout the ages and has given birth to many cultural references as a result.



Domenico-Fetti Archimedes 1620

Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, including siege engines and the screw pump that bears his name. Modern experiments have tested claims that Archimedes designed machines capable of lifting attacking ships out of the water and setting ships on fire using an array of mirrors.

Archimedes is generally considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity, and one of the greatest of all time. He used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, and gave a remarkably accurate approximation of pi. He also defined the spiral bearing his name, formulae for the volumes of surfaces of revolution and an ingenious system for expressing very large numbers.

Unlike his inventions, the mathematical writings of Archimedes were little-known in antiquity. Mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, but the first comprehensive compilation was not made until c. 530 AD by Isidore of Miletus, while commentaries on the works of Archimedes, written by Eutocius in the 6th century AD, opened them to wider readership for the first time. The relatively few copies of Archimedes’ written work that survived through the Middle Ages were an influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance, while the discovery, in 1906, of previously unknown works by Archimedes in the Archimedes Palimpsest has provided new insights into how he obtained mathematical results.




Pythagoras made influential contributions to philosophy and religious teaching in the late 6th century BC. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic and scientist, but he is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. However, because legend and obfuscation cloud his work even more than with the other pre-Socratic philosophers, one can give account of his teachings to a little extent, and some have questioned whether he contributed much to mathematics and natural philosophy. Many of the accomplishments credited to Pythagoras may actually have been accomplishments of his colleagues and successors. Whether or not his disciples believed that everything was related to mathematics and that numbers were the ultimate reality is unknown. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom and Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Plato, and through him, all of Western philosophy.



Pericles Pio-Clementino Inv269 N2

Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator and general of Athens during the city’s Golden Age — specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as “the first citizen of Athens.” Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the “Age of Pericles,” though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.

Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient world. He started an ambitious project that generated most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This project beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist.

Pericles’ most visible legacy can be found in the literary and artistic works of the Golden Age of Athens, most of which survive to this day. The Acropolis, though in ruins, still stands and is a symbol of modern Athens. A famous modern Greek historian wrote that these masterpieces are “sufficient to render the name of Greece immortal in our world.” Pericles also is lauded as “the ideal type of the perfect statesman in ancient Greece”, and his Funeral Oration is nowadays synonymous with the struggle for participatory democracy and civic pride.




Plato, was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. In the famous words of A.N. Whitehead: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them.” Plato’s dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric and mathematics.



Aristotle Altemps Inv8575

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates, Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics.

Aristotle’s views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics. In the zoological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism had a profound influence on philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions in the Middle Ages, and it continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues (Cicero described his literary style as “a river of gold”), it is thought that the majority of his writings are now lost and only about one-third of the original works have survived.




In the Western classical tradition, Homer is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.

The formative influence played by the Homeric epics in shaping Greek culture was widely recognized, and Homer was described as the teacher of Greece.

The Iliad and the Odyssey reveal much about the values of the ancient Greeks. The heroes display honor, courage, and eloquence, as when Achilles rallies his troops. For almost 3,000 years, the epic of Homer have inspired writers and artists around the world.



Socrates Louvre

Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Many would claim that Plato’s dialogues are the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.

Through his portrayal in Plato’s dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. It is Plato’s Socrates that also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of epistemology and logic, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains strong in providing a foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

As one recent commentator has put it, Plato, the idealist, offers “an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of the ‘Sun-God,’ a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic.”


Alexander the Great


Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας), was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella, Greece in 356 BC, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. He was undefeated in battle, and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders.

Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II of Macedon, to the throne in 336 BC after Philip was assassinated. Upon Philip’s death, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and an experienced army. He was awarded the generalship of Greece and used this authority to launch his father’s military expansion plans. In 334 BC he invaded Persian-ruled Asia Minor and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. At that point his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.

Seeking to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea,” he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in several states ruled by the Diadochi – Alexander’s surviving generals and heirs.

Alexander’s legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander’s settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics.

Theodoros II

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  • Yafeelluck?


    • conglomonary

      they all look like they need to get some sun in these pictures, too much time thinking not enough doing if you ask me

      • Jack

        Socrates was a war hero, given Athens highest commendation. All the ancient Greeks served in their military during the campaign seasons. Alexander and Leonidas were too much of thinkers?

        The true irony of your incorrect statement is that sitting and typing poorly thought out comments on the computer belies both thinking and acting, if you ask me.

  • chichirica

    I had finished reading the list before I found out that it was about influential “greeks” and not ” geeks”

    • Public Enema

      aww u tried to make a funny

  • ASH

    boring list

    • Frank

      Boring ;ist” translates as “I’m such a f*cking moron I can’t understand the subject matter so instead I choose to disparage the list.”

      • ASH

        no frank it means we have all read this shit before on this site and its getting kinda boring

      • Al

        Wow such a vicious verbal attack

    • rajimus123

      agreed, such a used up topic. great to know the greek civilization peaked 2000 years ago. Newsflash: anything to do with mathematics and health that the “greeks were first in” is a crock since most of those ideas came with trade from the mauryan and cholan empires.

  • Metalwrath

    Cleopatra? Would have diversified the list a little.

    • True indeed – but was she really influential or just famous?

      • Princess711

        She most definetly was influential! She seduced extremely powerful and influential men and used them to her advantage :)

      • Diomedes

        Well Aristophanes was famous, influential, and a hilarious genius, and he wasn’t on this list. This list should’ve been written by a scholar of Classical Civilisation.

    • Jazz

      Cleopatra? Am I missing something.

      • Frank

        Yes you are. Cleopatra was a queen of the Ptolemaic Greek dynasty.

    • Armin Tamzarian

      I read somewhere that she was nicknamed “muriochaunê/mêrichanê”, which quite literally means “she who opens her mouth for a thousand men”, and “cheilôn”, which means “lips”, but I haven’t been able to corroborate that story with any historical sources. The original comes from (as far as I’ve been able to trace it) the book “The cradle of erotica” by Kinsley and Masters, but they don’t give their source as far as I can tell.

      If anyone knows where to find those references, please do tell me!

      • Armin Tamzarian

        That is “the cradle of ero.tica”.

  • Art Vandelay

    Well done!

  • Zodpo

    Great list, thanks!

  • karl

    really thought Homer or Socrates would have been first but still not a bad choice :)

  • snickersman

    Great list about the Greeks. I’m of Greek-Italian heritage and list like these make me feel proud of Greek history.

    • wauners

      that’s good because present greek actions have been less than exemplary… bye bye euro all for the sake of a dish of mousaka and a wee glass of uzo..

  • vermilionskin


  • chela

    this topic is so used up! so boring!

    • Frank

      Chela is so used up! So boring! Would you prefer a barely comprehensible list full of pop culture grabage like those morons at smashing lists write?

  • Oscar

    What about Poseidon?!

    • Ironman

      Are you trying to be funny? Poseidon was the god of the sea in Greek mythology. Not an actual person…Oh yeah, you’re only here to make the first comment…

      • poseidon

        i reckon i deserved it :'(

        • Perseus

          Shut up uncle! YOU DON’T!

          • cblouin

            Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! cant write enough Ha’s for this one!

            Love it! You just cant invent this kinda sh1t man! love it!

  • Anon

    Man, this list is completely dominated by Greeks :\

    Other than that great list

    • Troll Wrangler

      … troll or just stupid?

      • TrollOrStupidSpotter


  • Public Enema

    veo ke no eres segundo esta vez….

    • mom424

      Pobre Oscar, frustró de nuevo.

  • Vanowensbody

    Great list. Well done.

  • Public Enema

    Meh. Nothing truly original. This is all high school material

  • Was surprised, knew most of them mostly ’cause they made high school hell. Odd how Greece is going through such a financial mess with a history of such great people

    • circlefan

      that is when the saying “do not rest on your laurels” comes in…

    • Proud to be Greek

      Thats because many of the Politicians arent Greeks and because of the New World Order

  • Classicist

    You’re missing some very major greeks here. Thucydides is probably the most glaring omission that I can think of. On top of that you missed the four major play-writes, Cleisthenes, Peisistratus, Themistocles, Xenophon, and several others.

    • Diomedes

      As a fellow classisicist, I was personally disappointed by the lack of Aristophanes.

  • grendel

    Good list. All we need is the follow up list “top ten misconceptions about Greeks!”

  • GrannySmasher

    Copy and paste any part of this list into google, and you will find it is 100% word for word from wikipedia.


    • Armin Tamzarian

      It’s probably written by a Greek. The only thing more powerful than their blind patriotic fervour is their laziness.

      Average Greek: “What? Work to save my country? Fuck that! I’ll riot because I can’t retire at 55! Let those other countries pay for our debts! We founded history goddammit!”

      • Hypatia

        Fool. The average Greek today is working 6 or 7 days a week, some with no pay. They work a month more per year than the Germans, so don’t go talking about “laziness” unless you live there now, today and know what is going on. The crooked politians and the World Bank is the problem. The Greeks, not so much–they’re paying for the problem. Oh, and yeah, Germany never paid reparations or paid back what Greece loaned them nearly a decade ago…

    • blaqthafrican

      its called research you idiot

      • whitethaamurrican




  • Armin Tamzarian

    Alexander wasn’t Greek, but Macedonian. Macedonia wasn’t considered part of the Greek world, and neither was their capital Pella.

    Also, you forgot one of the most influential rhetoricians of all time, Demosthenes, you forgot Alcibiades, you forgot Zeno, you forgot Sappho, you forgot Menander, you forgot Aristophanes you forgot Euclides, you forgot Aeschylos, you forgot Sophocles, you forgot Euripides, you forgot Pyrrho, et cetera.

    • just saying

      but the author states: …(Alexander) was a king of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. Born in Pella, Greece in 356 BC,…

      • Armin Tamzarian

        Ancient Greece wasn’t a political nor a geographical entity. It’s a name for the culturally similar, but politically independent poleis, which spread from Southern France all the way to the Levant.
        Macedon wasn’t considered Greek by the other Greeks, it didn’t have a polis-structure, it wasn’t culturally Greek (apart from the leading classes, who imitated Greek culture trying to fit in).

        So claiming Macedon was Greek is like saying Turkey is a western state because it’s in Europe.

    • Efstratios

      Dude..Alexander the Great was Greek, not Makedonski. The modern country of Macedonia has NOTHING in relation to the Ancient Macedonia in Greece. The modern Macedonians are Slavs. The ancient macedonians were Greek. Alex spoke Greek, was Greek, he had Greek parents and his teacher (Aristotle) was Greek.

      • Armin Tamzarian

        I’m not talking about the modern Macedon. I’m talking about the ancient Macedon. Which was seen by Greeks as a barbaric state, i.e. non-Greek. Your arguments don’t really make sense, otherwise half of Europe was French in the 17th century, because everyone of importance spoke French, and had a French teacher. He nor his parents were Greek.

        • Yonan

          Then, how come Macedons took part in the Olympics? Way Before PHILLIP and Alexander….
          As you may know ONLY GREEKS were allowed to take part in it

          • Armin Tamzarian

            As far as I know, there was only one Macedonian who got to compete, and that was Phillip I. And he only got to compete after long deliberations. If I’m not mistaken, it was mainly based on political considerations, not ethnic ones.

            Ian Worthington, Alexander the Great: A Reader, Routledge, 2003, p. 21: “To Greek literally writers before the Hellenistic period the Macedonians were ‘barbarians’. The term referred to their way of life and their institutions, which were those of the ethne and not of the city-state, and it did not refer to their speech. We can see this in the case of Epirus. There Thucydides called the tribes ‘barbarians’. But inscriptions found in Epirus have shown conclusively that the Epirote tribes in Thucydides’ lifetime were speaking Greek and used names which were Greek.”

          • yonan

            More thanone Macedon took part in the Olympics. Macedonians who took place in the Olympic games:
            – King Alexander I
            – King Arhelaos Perdikas
            -King Philip II
            -Damasias from Amphipolis
            -Lampos from Philippi
            You are right, only free men who spoke Greek could compete, from any country or city-state.
            But still, I believe they were Greeks of Argeads origin (From Argos in the Peloponnese).
            Keep in mind that in ancient Greece as well as modern Greece, Greek is not only the Greek from Athens…you have the Ionan dialect, Doric,Macedonian, Cretan,Cyprus like in modern greek you have the modern greek the pontius dialect the Cyprus dialect the creatan dialect etc…

      • wauners

        No. aristotle was Macedonian also.

    • mastros

      nice logic :) and ofcourse John F. Kennedy is not American but from Brookline, Massachusetts and Berlusconi its not from italy but from Milan :)

      Macedonia was a state in northern ancient Greece and Alexander (?????????? ) its a greek name.

      “The spread of Hellenistic culture was sparked by the conquests of Alexander the Great. After his ventures of the Persian Empire, Hellenistic kingdoms were established throughout south-west Asia (the ‘Near’ and ‘Middle East’) and north-east Africa (ancient Egypt and Cyrene in ancient Libya). This resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, and moreover Greek colonists themselves”

      Cant get more greek than this :)

      • Armin Tamzarian

        See my above comment. Alexander and his forefathers tried to imitate Greek culture to try to fit in with the civilised parts of Europe. But that doesn’t make them Greek, just like imitating Japanese culture doesn’t make you Japanese.

        • The Mick

          tried to imitiate? really? His father was Philip (greek) his mother was Olympia (greek) , he spoke greek, read greek, wrote greek, which part of this dont you get?? or is your judgment clouded by bias and prejudice?

          • Armin Tamzarian

            Jup, like the majority of prominent Europeans in the 17th, 18th and 19th century spoke, wrote and read French, and gave their children French names, and had French names themselves. Does that mean that 99% of the prominent Europeans were French?

            In other words, Alexander was Macedonian. Macedon wasn’t a Greek state. So Alexander wasn’t Greek. Despite the language he spoke, and his name. That’s not so hard, is it?

          • The Mick

            i just re-read your comment. “his forefathers”?
            oh, you mean his father Philip II (Greek), his grandfather (paternal) Amyntas (Greek), his maternal grandfather Neoptolemus (Greek) or Neo’s father Alcetas (Greek)…

          • Armin Tamzarian

            They weren’t Greek either, neither culturally nor politically.Why is it so hard for Greeks to understand that yes, maybe there are some great people in history who weren’t Greek?

            I’m still waiting for the first idiot to bring up the belief that Napoleon and Columbus were Greek. Because apparently, you can’t become famous without being Greek. At least, not in a good way.

        • mastros

          lol, plz tell me that you are joking. They had no reason to imitate Greek culture cause they were Greek also. your comment is invalid because if u are born in a part of japan with Japanese parents and you grow up with Japanese culture and language yes that makes you Japanese..
          same goes with Macedonia. it was a part of ancient Greece,both his parents were greek,they spoke Greek language,their believe was Greek polytheism and they had Greek Culture.

          • Armin Tamzarian

            They didn’t have a polis-structe, only the upper crust of society spoke Greek, and it was only them who imitated Greek culture and beliefs.

            The normal, regular Macedonian Joe the Plumber probably didn’t speak Greek, he held other believes, and had his own culture that differed from the Greek culture.

            So unless you are willing to concede that Greece, for a large period of time during the 19th century , was German and Danish because you had German and Danish kings, you’re not going to make any sense.

          • The Mick

            “prominent” europeans spoke french because it was an elitist language and used to distinguish lower and upper class people. what part dont YOU get?

          • Armin Tamzarian

            So was Greek. Although it’s still a heavily debated topic, the origins of the Macedonian language are still unclear. But it’s more likely it wasn’t a Greek language.

          • Armin Tamzarian

            Also, so you do admit that speaking French doesn’t mean one is French? Then why do you use speaking Greek as proof of being Greek?

          • Arse.Anal

            Shut up Armin! If your parents are Greek, if your grand parents are Greek, and your fore fathers are Greek then it makes you GREEK! regardless of your social status or what was believed way back then!

            It’s like saying American Indians aren’t real Americans because they belong in a different culture different to that of an American…

            You don’t make any sense…
            I get it now,
            I could go on and blabber about the social inequities, cultural differences, etc, of time immemorial but then again, just like you, I wouldn’t make any sense…

          • manuel.k

            The Roman elite also spoke Greek and reveled in Greek culture. That doesn’t make them Greek. Same with the Eastern Romans. They were Greek but called themselves Roman.

          • Arse.Anal

            But the Roman Elites doesn’t have Greek heritage isn’t it? That makes your comment totally irrelevant… Again, If your father, grand father and fore fathers are Greek, then it makes you one!

    • Proud to be Greek
      Strabo, Macedonia, it ‘s Greece too (????? ??? ????? ??? ? ?????????) 1rst century BC

      • Armin Tamzarian

        Of course Macedonia would be called a part of Greece then. After Alexander there were major shifts in power and society, like the Hellenic empires and the Roman conquest, which largely dissolved the traditional view of Greek and non-Greek territory. Traditionally Greek territories, like southern Italy, were then considered Roman. Large swaths of land in Asia and Africa (Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Empire, etcetera) were considered Greek.

        We are talking about Alexander, and if he, as a Macedon, was viewed by the Greeks as one of them. Not about Strabo and how he saw Macedonia some 300 years later.

        • bigski

          we need randall to straighten this sh!t out….

    • wauners

      Aristotle was also a Macedonian….and Plato really had more of an impact than Socrates – it is unclear how much of what is put into Socrates’ mouth in the platonic dialogues was Socrates’ and how much was Plato’s.

    • Arse.Anal

      The List did say TOP 15 influential ancient Greeks… Common sense Armin, you lack it… Fckin’ show-off

      • inconspicuousdetective

        does anybody care about greece anyway? shut the hell up, you’re all terrible when it comes to oneupsmanship.

        • George

          Armin, clearly, you try to escalate your un Greeking of Alexander, but facts is facts. Alexander was Greek as all of his ancestors were Greek, and you are wrong, so, wuit being a agent provocateur for all we know. And modern Macedonia is slavic part of Yugoslavia. Quit that talking would you? History is history and nothing else…

  • John V. Karavitis You have to wonder how different our world would be today if the Ancient Greeks had spent less time trying to kill each other and more time building a true civilization. In addition, almost all of the individuals mentioned above were PHILOSOPHERS. So, their environment was conducive to having people use leisure time to ponder deep questions of the meanings of life and reality. Makes you think.

  • Alcibiades was the Bill Clinton of that age. I wouldn’t consider a scumbag like Alcibiades worthy of inclusion in this list, although his actions did in fact heavily impact Ancient Greek history.

  • oouchan

    Interesting read today. I can see a second list as some influential Greeks such as Thucydides and Euclid are missing.

    Good list.

  • fraterhater

    An often forgotten fact about Aristotle was that he was ‘a bugger for the bottle’

    Sorry had to…

    • Haley

      It’s the truth, dtiang a GDI is hard. Too many social barriers. After 2 years I had to part ways with my GDI boyfriend.

  • Mira Bel

    My brain has been fed well this morning :) Great list, we need more of these.

  • Njm

    Good list :)

  • The Mick

    i would have included Iktinos and Kallicrates on this list. They were the architecst of the Parthenon, so perfect in design that it remains the world’s most copied building (architecturally speaking).

    I would also include Hippodamus, considered the first town planner and the inventor of the ‘grid-iron’ plan that is still used today.

    But i guess they aren’t a ‘household’ name amongst ancients Greeks.

  • Roxie

    Xena of Amphipolis?

  • Sbtier

    On Pythagoras, the list is correct in that he is credited with work he didn’t do. But it was mostly work done by the Babylonians, not his colleagues. Greek mathematicians, in general, got far more credit for mathematical discoveries than they deserve.

  • dear lord, you people are amazing and by amazing I mean annoying.

    again, it’s just a list, and yet people are bitching about everything.

    Seriously guys. If you’re going to come and attack eachother for the smallest things, then why do you guys come at all. Find another listsite. It’s that simple.

  • Pauly

    Great list. Good to see the intelligent side of this site return. I was scared a list about the Kardashians was next for a while.

  • Ted Theodore Logan

    All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

    • Bill Prescot Esquire

      As quoted from the ancient text of Wyldeious Stallionous.

  • Kombushaa

    I read somewhere that Phythagoras stole his theorema. I don’t know if it is true but it doesn’t make him less of a genius.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    I love history lists, this one was a great read, I enjoyed it.

    • mom424

      Happy to see you’re still choking down that sandwich…… :)

  • OmegaMan

    Good list. :)

    And I like the fact that the list was not kept limited to standard 10 in order to include more greats of Greek history.

  • salo hes

    Leonidas was a true living person? I though its just a mythology… Greeks are becoming more interesting , the more you learn about them.

  • Cata

    What a surprise a mass murderer makes #1 for cultural influence. I suppose in 3045AD we will say Hitler was the most influential german.

    • mom424

      Ha, probably thought he was bringing enlightenment/freedom/prosperity to the barbarians/infidels/unwashed hordes.

      – “Same old story, same old song and dance”

    • wauners

      In a sense Hitler being the most influential German would be justified – to call a person “influential” is not to glorify their actions, just to acknowledge a fact.

      It doesn’t matter that he (Alexander) was a mass murderer, that was a different time to which our modern liberal ethics can’t be applied.

      • Cata

        Interesting that you assume that murdering people and taking their land was somehow thought of as ethical in that time frame. It has nothing to do with being modern or liberal, people always feared conquerors and their ability to consume their people and land.

  • mom424

    Excellent list – like we all can’t do with a little remedial Greek? Nicely written, informative, and lots of leftovers for a follow-up.

    Good job.

  • Jenny

    This list is too Greek! Sorry, havent heard much about lists being too American lately so I had to throw something in. :)

    • brian

      Are you joking, I’m not sure there’s any list that doesnt say that

  • asdf

    Every entry in this list is plagiarized word-for-word from Wikipedia. If you’re too lazy to contribute something original, at least cite your sources.

  • One of the best lists I have ever seen!
    Greeks are Great!

  • undaunted warrior 1

    @ mom 424, I will never forget that – you are one in a million.


  • ItaloCanadese

    There is definitely a debate regarding Alexander’s ethnic background. It is still going strong, especially between Greece and FYR Macedonia. But in the end, he did unite the Greek poli and did help Hellenize the Mediterranean world.

    There have been many figures like Alexander, such as Napoleon and Hitler, who were on the periphery of their nation that they would later control. Look at Napoleon, the guy in name and language was Corsican, which was far more influenced by Italian culture than by the French. He would later became the emperor and face of France, just like Alexander became synonymous Greek power and influence.

  • Innty

    Theodoros the plagiarist…..

  • Someone

    These are all great people but what about a few famous greek women? Sappho or Cynisca of Sparta?

    • Giggler

      Let’s not forget Clamydia!

      • WingWanger

        Isn’t Clamydia a thing you get on your wing wang? :P

        • Deity appellation Control Board

          No. Clamydia is the patron saint of sea food.

    • Hypatia

      Or… Hypatia of Alexandria

  • xaaykung

    Would’nt you know a war monger and conquerer would be number 1 and not the scholar or diplomat. Figures.

  • Segues is Bum Juice

    WHOA!! Wait a minute…. no brainy comments from Segues!?!? Quick, call 911…she must have fallen and banged her overly large head on one of the 4,000 books she owns!!

    Something must be wrong!!!!!!!

  • Yonan

    @Armin Tamzarian
    Then, how come Macedons took part in the Olympics? Way Before PHILLIP and Alexander the 3rd (born 356)….
    Alexander 1st of Macedon was the first Macedonian to took part in the Olympics around 504 or 500 BC. Those were the 2nd Olympics.
    As you may know ONLY GREEKS were allowed to take part in it

  • memebase

    Don’t read this S.hi.t Go to Cracked!

  • kevingaskins

    How did the ancient Greeks explain tides and how the moon effects the ocean? Did they know it had an effect on it? Or was it something they just didn’t notice?

  • Benj

    Euclid could have been a special mention here. ;)

  • djC

    This is like the 200th list about anicent Greece.

    • It’s about Ancient Greeks, not Anicent :)

      What Anicent is?

      • Sortano

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  • missmozell

    Well, being chiseled in stone does tend to give that washed-out effect.

  • wingracer

    I always liked Alcibiades. Sure, not all that influential on the grand scale but man that dude was interesting.

  • Osheensmith

    I can not forget it ancient Monument .

  • Me

    Alexander the Great may have spoken Greek but he is still macedonian.

    • True Macedonians are Greeks. The new Slavic country is not the real ancient Macedonia. Slavs came in Europe 900 years after Alexander’s existence! Get serious FYROM is a joke.

  • Hypatia

    Macedon was not ‘a state in northern ancient Greece’ –certainly not to Alexander, his generals, or anyone living at that time.

  • mae-mae

    how about cleisthenes? isn’t he considered influential? i think he deserves #1…just my opinion though! :)

  • Top Ten Artillery
    Nice post will be book marking this blog

  • Robin

    Kind of missing the dramatists. They can’t all be on there, but at least one of the three greats (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides) should be on here.

  • Aleksandar

    The almost three of this people Aristotle ,Homer and Aleksandar can`t be a Greeks because this people are Macedonian . The people who knows history the state of Greeks is establish in 1830 and in those period exist only state Macedonia ,state Persia and cities Sparta ,Athena and other cities in nowadays known lend Greek .Other can be Spartanian ,Athenians but not Greeks.Word Greek is known in 18 cebtury not before that.

    • Damian

      Aleksandar: the name “Greek” is over 2000 years old? Its origin is Graeci, which was the name the Romans gave us (YES, us the Hellinistic Greeks) way before the 18th Century,and way before the Slavic peoples migrated down from the north in the 9th Century. Why dont you learn some history before spewing stupidity? Did they not teach you any in your Slavic schools?

  • Diomedes

    Plato should be top of the list!
    Socrates wrote nothing.
    We have three testimonials: Plato’s brilliant version. Socrates as a buffoon by Aristophanes ( The Clouds ). Socrates as an ordinary soldier by Xenophon ( The Anabasis ). There is little doubt that our Socrates of today is the creation of Plato.
    How about Sappho? Even her existing fragments make her the finest woman poet of all time.

  • Diomedes

    Aleksander you know passable English: Stop reading FYROM propaganda ( Greek word ) and learn something – anything! Ignorance and stupidity, in your case, is not a virtue!

  • Draco

    Pythagoras made an awesomely awesome theorem.