Famous People Of The 1st Century

The major events that took place in the 1st century played a pivotal role in shaping the history of mankind in the centuries to come. The 1st century is considered part of the Classical era or historical period, which was marked by increasing domination by the Roman Empire. Claudius, the Roman emperor who ruled from 41 CE to 54 CE is considered one of the most significant figures of this era. Chinese emperor Wang Mang, Christian apostle James the Just, and Greek historian and biographer Plutarch are among the other important figures of this time. Check out this section to know more about the famous people of the 1st century.
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 1 
Julius Caesar
(Roman General and Statesman)
Julius Caesar
106
Birthdate: 0100
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 15, 0044

Julius Caesar is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and played an important role in the events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He assumed control of the government after a civil war. He was assassinated by rebel senators on the Ides of March, 44 BC.

 2 
Cleopatra
(Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt (51 - 30 BC))
Cleopatra
114
Birthdate: 0069 BC
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: July 31, 0030

The last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the last true pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra is described as an extremely beautiful woman who was also intelligent and educated with command over numerous languages. Her romance and military alliances with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony have inspired numerous art works.

 3 
Nero
(Roman Emperor)
Nero
67
Birthdate: December 15, 0037
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Anzio, Italy
Died: June 9, 0068

Nero was the fifth Roman emperor whose rule was associated with tyranny. Five years into his reign, he had his mother Agrippina killed. The Great Fire of Rome, which occurred during his reign, is believed to have been instigated by him for political reasons. He was also responsible for eliminating many Christians from the empire.

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 4 
Saint Peter
(First Bishop of Rome and One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ)
Saint Peter
46
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0001 BC
Birthplace: Bethsaida
Died: 0065 AD

One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, Saint Peter played a key role in the formation of Christianity as one of the earliest leaders of the early Church. Considered to be the first Pope by Catholics, Saint Peter appears frequently in influential texts, such as the New Testament. Over the years, Saint Peter has been an important subject of paintings.

 5 
Caligula
(Roman Emperor From 37 AD to 41 AD)
Caligula
63
Birthdate: August 31, 0012
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Anzio, Italy
Died: January 24, 0041

Caligula, the third Roman emperor, is often described as a cruel man who forced his subjects to worship him as their god. Considered an insane tyrant, Caligula is accused of incest and forcing the audience to enter a sporting arena to be eaten alive by wild beasts during the intermission. His stories are famous in popular culture.

 6 
Mary Magdalene
(Disciple of Jesus Who was a Witness to His Crucifixion and Resurrection)
Mary Magdalene
21
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Magdala, Israel

Mary Magdalene was an important biblical figure. It is said that she witnessed many of Jesus' miracles and life events, including his crucifixion and the subsequent resurrection. Since it is claimed that Magdalene was a prostitute, she has been viewed as the patroness of wayward women in the modern era. Her life has inspired several important works of art.

 7 
Tiberius
(Roman Emperor from 14 CE to 37 CE)
Tiberius
17
Birthdate: November 16, 0042
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 16, 0037
Tiberius, the second Roman emperor, ruled from AD 14 to 37. Though his conquests strengthened the Roman empire, he lacked the will to rule. Following his son Drusus Julius Caesar’s death, Tiberius became aloof. He later gave away his administrative powers to his prefects Sejanus and Naevius Sutorius Macro.
 8 
Cicero
(One of Rome's Greatest Orators of Politics and Prose Stylists)
Cicero
42
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: January 3, 0106
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Arpino, Italy
Died: December 7, 0043
Roman statesman, lawyer, and scholar Cicero was one of the greatest 1st-century BC prose writers and orators. He influenced Latin literature immensely and introduced Greek philosophy to the Romans. He was declared an enemy of the state, following his opposition to Mark Antony after Julius Caesar’s death, and was executed.
 9 
Saint Joseph
(Saint and Legal Father of Jesus)
Saint Joseph
18
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0030 BC
Birthplace: Bethlehem
Died: 0020 AD
Famous as the patron of the universal church in Roman Catholicism, Saint Joseph was married to Mary and was the guardian or foster father of JesusJoseph is revered as Saint Joseph in the Oriental Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and the Orthodox Church. Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of workers, in Catholic traditions.
 10 
Spartacus
(Thracian Gladiator and One of the Escaped Slave Leaders in the Third Servile War)
Spartacus
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0103 BC
Birthplace: Thrace
Died: 0071 BC
Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator who led the slave revolt called the Third Servile War, against the Roman Republic. However, historical accounts differ in their portrayal of Spartacus. He has inspired scores of books, films, and series, one of them being a Stanley Kubrick movie based on Howard Fast's novel.
 11 
Claudius
(4th Roman Emperor Who Ruled from AD 41 to 54)
Claudius
30
Birthdate: August 1, 0010
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lugdunum
Died: October 13, 0054

Claudius was made the Roman emperor by the Praetorian Guard after the assassination of Caligula, his nephew and predecessor, and ruled from 41 to 54 A.D. He was slightly limp and deaf since childhood, but his reign was marked by financial stability. He was succeeded by his grand-nephew, tyrant Nero.

 12 
Boudica
(Queen of the Iceni Tribe of Celtic Britons)
Boudica
11
Birthdate: 0030 AD
Birthplace: Britannia
Died: 0061 AD

Boudica served as a queen of the Iceni tribe. She is regarded as a British folk hero for leading an uprising against the Roman Empire, which wanted to conquer her land. She has remained a prominent cultural symbol in the UK. A bronze statue named Boadicea and Her Daughters is located in London, facing the Palace of Westminster.

 13 
Trajan
(Roman Emperor)
Trajan
19
Birthdate: September 18, 0053
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hispania Baetica
Died: August 8, 0117

Trajan was the Roman emperor from 98 to 117 CE. Remembered as a successful soldier-emperor, he presided over a great military expansion, leading the Roman Empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death. He was the second of the Five Good Emperors and focused on implementing social welfare policies for the benefit of his citizens.

 14 
Pontius Pilate
(5th Governor of the Roman Province of Judaea)
Pontius Pilate
22
Listed In: Leaders
Birthplace: Roman Empire
Pontius Pilate was a Roman governor of Judaea, who served under Emperor Tiberius. The Bible mentions him as the one who presided over Jesus’s trial and ordered his crucifixion. The Gospels describe him as someone who was reluctant to kill Jesus, and the Ethiopian Church venerates him as a saint.
 15 
Pompey
(Roman General and Statesman)
Pompey
18
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 29, 0106
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Picenum
Died: September 28, 0048

Considered ruthless by his opponents, Pompey was an ancient Roman general who was a veteran of many wars and played a key role in changing Rome from a republic to an empire. Pompey was first an ally of his more illustrious compatriot Julius Caesar whose daughter he married, and then became his enemy. He was assassinated in Egypt, an end not uncommon in history.

 16 
Virgil
(Ancient Roman Poet of the Augustan Period)
Virgil
13
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 15, 0070
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cisalpine Gaul
Died: September 21, 0019
1st-century B.C. Roman poet Virgil is best remembered for his epic The Aeneid, which was based on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He has also written the Latin poems the Eclogues/Bucolics and the Georgics. His Aeneid, considered ancient Rome’s national epic, inspired other influential works, such as Dante’s Divine Comedy.
 17 
Titus
(Roman Emperor)
Titus
15
Birthdate: December 30, 0039
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome
Died: September 13, 0081

Titus was the ruler of the Roman Empire from 79 to 81 CE. Before ascending the throne, he played a crucial role as a military commander, working alongside his father Vespasian during the First Jewish-Roman War. After becoming the emperor, Titus oversaw the completion of the Colosseum. His life and work are depicted in literature, paintings, and visual arts.

 18 
Vespasian
(Roman Emperor Who Reigned from AD 69 to 79)
Vespasian
11
Birthdate: November 18, 0009
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Falacrine
Died: June 23, 0079
Vespasian, the Roman emperor from 69 to 79 AD, established the Flavian dynasty. He was the first emperor from an equestrian family and a great military leader who was the legate of Legio II Augusta. Nero committed suicide when Vespasian besieged Jerusalem, leading to the Year of the Four Emperors.
 19 
Domitian
(Roman Emperor)
Domitian
9
Birthdate: October 24, 0051
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome
Died: September 18, 0096
Domitian, son of Vespasian, reigned as the Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the last ruler of the Flavian dynasty and was assassinated by his own court officials. His authoritarian regime witnessed the reduction of the Senate’s powers and the strengthening of the defenses and the Roman economy.
 20 
Pliny the Elder
(Roman Author, Natural Philosopher and Army Commander)
Pliny the Elder
4
Birthdate: 0023 AD
Birthplace: Como, Italy
Died: 0079 AD

Pliny the Elder was a Roman natural philosopher, author, and army and naval commander of the Roman Empire. His work Naturalis Historia became an editorial model for the present-day encyclopedias. Today, his statue greets the visitors of Cathedral of S. Maria Maggiore in his hometown, Como.

 21 
Jesus Christ
(Founder of Christianity Who is Believed to be the Incarnation of God )
Jesus Christ
91
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0004 AD
Birthplace: Judea, Roman Empire
Died: 0033 AD
First-century Jewish preacher Jesus, known as the Son of God, led to the formation of Christianity, the world’s largest religion. He was born to Joseph and the Virgin Mary. His miracles irked the Roman government, who then tried him and crucified him. Jesus later rose from the dead.
 22 
Marcus Licinius Crassus
(Roman General and Statesman)
Marcus Licinius Crassus
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0115 AD
Birthplace: Roman Republic
Died: 0053 AD

Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. A patron of Julius Caesar, he became involved in the unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate. An excellent military commander and a wealthy man, he died at the battle of Carrhae.

 23 
Plutarch
(Greek Middle Platonist Philosopher, Historian, Biographer and Priest)
Plutarch
8
Birthdate: 0046 AD
Birthplace: Chaeronea, Greece
Died: 0119 AD

Plutarch was a Greek philosopher, essayist, biographer, and historian. He also served as the priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is best remembered for his work Parallel Lives, a series of 48 biographies of noteworthy men. His writings had a huge influence on French and English literature. Writers like Shakespeare were influenced by his works.

 24 
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman and Dramatist)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
21
Birthdate: 0004 BC
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: 0065 AD
Roman Stoic philosopher and dramatist Seneca the Younger is remembered for his tragic plays such as Medea and Phaedra. He was exiled to Corsica by emperor Claudius but later returned as a tutor to Nero. He became Nero’s advisor later but committed suicide for being part of the Pisonian conspiracy.
 25 
Josephus
(Romano-Jewish Historian and Military Leader)
Josephus
4
Birthdate: 0037 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0100 AD

Josephus was a Romano-Jewish historian. He played a major role during the First Jewish–Roman War, where he fought against the Romans as head of Jewish forces. However, he surrendered to Roman forces in 67 CE. As a historian, Josephus' works provide the first-known source for stories considered Biblical history. These stories include the narration of the Siege of Masada

 26 
Mark the Evangelist
(Christian Saint Who Founded the Episcopal See of Alexandria)
Mark the Evangelist
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0012 AD
Birthplace: Shahat, Libya
Died: 0068 AD

Mark the Evangelist is credited with authoring the Gospel of Mark, the second of the four canonical gospels. Also credited with founding the Church of Alexandria, Mark is regarded as one of the most prominent episcopal sees of early Christianity. Over the years, Mark the Evangelist has been the subject of several paintings.  

 27 
Nerva
(Roman Emperor)
Nerva
7
Birthdate: November 8, 0030
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Narni, Italy
Died: January 27, 0098

Nerva was the Roman emperor from 96 to 98. He was aged 66 when he ascended the throne, after serving other emperors for several decades. Even though he ruled for just 15 months, historians consider him a wise and moderate emperor. He selected Trajan as his heir, thus ensuring a peaceful transition of power after his death.

 28 
Hero of Alexandria
(Greek Mathematician and Engineer)
Hero of Alexandria
29
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: 0010 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0070 AD

Greek inventor and mathematician Hero of Alexandria is remembered for his iconic work on geometry, Metrica, which was lost for many years but was then discovered after 1896. His most significant contributions include the Heron’s formula to find the area of a triangle, the Hero engine, and a wind-harnessing machine.

 29 
Horace
(Leading Roman Lyric Poet During the Time of Augustus)
Horace
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: December 8, 0065
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venosa, Italy
Died: November 27, 0008

Horace was a Roman lyric poet who was influential during the time of Augustus. Renowned for his Odes, Horace's ode-writing style was imitated by a number of aspiring poets in England during the 17th and 18th centuries when ode-writing was considered highly fashionable.

 30 
Germanicus
(Roman General)
Germanicus
13
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 24, 0015
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: October 10, 0019
Germanicus Julius Caesar, son of Nero Claudius and Antonia the Younger, was a Roman general. He was known for his chiseled physique and his military prowess. He took over the provinces of Cappadocia and Commagene, and also proceeded to fight against the governor of Syria, before he died of poisoning.
 31 
Galba
(Roman Emperor)
Galba
7
Birthdate: December 24, 0003
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Terracina, Italy
Died: January 15, 0069
Galba reigned as the Roman emperor from 68 to 69 and was the Year of the Four Emperors’ first emperor. He was the governor of Hispania when the rebellion of Gaius Julius Vindex broke out in Gaul, and he took over the throne after the tyrannical Nero's suicide.
 32 
Pliny the Younger
(Author, Lawyer)
Pliny the Younger
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0061 AD
Birthplace: Como
Died: 0112 AD

Pliny the Younger was an author, lawyer, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Although Pliny the Younger wrote several letters, only 247 of them have survived and are of great historical value as they provide an insight into the relationship between provincial governors and the imperial office at that time.

 33 
Luke the Evangelist
(Greek Evangelist)
Luke the Evangelist
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0016 AD
Birthplace: Antakya, Hatay, Turkey
Died: 0084 AD

Widely considered as the author of the two books of the New Testament, Saint Luke the Evangelist contributed far more to the New Testament than any other author and had a huge impact in the development of Christianity. He was also the companion of St. Paul the Apostle, a physician as well as the patron saint of artists and physicians.

 34 
Jude the Apostle
(One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament)
Jude the Apostle
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0001 AD
Birthplace: Galilee, Israel
Died: 0062 AD
 35 
Epictetus
(Greek Stoic Philosopher)
Epictetus
0
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Hierapolis Ancient City, Turkey
Died: 0135 AD

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who viewed philosophy as a way of life rather than a theoretical discipline. He taught philosophy vehemently and founded a school of philosophy in Nicopolis. Arrian, his most famous pupil, is credited with publishing Discourses, a series of informal lectures given by Epictetus. Today, the philosophy of Epictetus is being applied in various fields.

 36 
Ignatius of Antioch
(Syrian Bishop)
Ignatius of Antioch
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Roman Syria
Died: 0108 AD

Ignatius of Antioch went down in history as a man who was arrested and executed for his non-allegiance to Roman gods. The seven letters he wrote while being escorted from Antioch to Rome as a prisoner later served as a mirror that reflected his concern for Christianity, against false teachings.

 37 
Vitellius
(Roman emperor)
Vitellius
6
Birthdate: September 24, 0015
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: December 20, 0069
 38 
St Paul
(Christian Apostle Who Was Regarded as One of the Most Important Figures of the Apostolic Age)
St Paul
26
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Birthplace: Tarsus, Turkey
Died: 0065 AD
Paul the Apostle, or Saint Paul, was a Christian apostle who disseminated Christ’s teachings and established Christian communities in Asia and Europe. Of the 27 books in the New Testament, about 14 are said to be authored by Paul, though only seven are said to be genuinely written by him.
 39 
Andrew the Apostle
(Apostle)
Andrew the Apostle
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Birthplace: Galilee, Israel
Died: November 30, 0060
 40 
Hezekiah
(King of Judah)
Hezekiah
3
Birthdate: 0739 BC
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0687 BC
Often likened to David, Hezekiah was the ruler of the southern kingdom of Judah. He succeeded his father, Ahaz, at 25. He reformed the Temple and abolished idolatry. His reign witnessed the Assyrians capture Israel and Sennacherib lead the siege of Jerusalem, following which a plague destroyed the Assyrian army.
 41 
Marcus Junius Brutus
(Former Politician most famous of the assassins of Julius Caesar)
Marcus Junius Brutus
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0085 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: October 23, 0042
 42 
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Arpino, Istria or Asisium
Died: 0012 BC
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa is chiefly remembered in history for crushing Mark Antony and his forces at the Battle of Actium. A close friend of Octavian, who later took over as Emperor Augustus Caesar, he is credited with completing the Pantheon and building scores of baths, gardens, and sewers in Rome.
 43 
Judas Iscariot
(Betrayer of Jesus)
Judas Iscariot
26
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: 0033 AD

Judas Iscariot was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is remembered for betraying Jesus Christ by kissing him and thereby revealing his identity as a rabbi in front of the authorities who had come to arrest the rabbi. Judas remains a controversial biblical figure and his name is used synonymously with treason or betrayal.

 44 
Mary, Mother of Jesus
(Mother of Jesus)
Mary, Mother of Jesus
10
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 8, 0018
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nazareth
Died: 0033 AD

The mother of Jesus Christ and the wife of Joseph, Mary, also known as the Virgin Mary, finds mention in both the New Testament and the Quran. Though most Catholic scholars believe in traditional Marian dogmas, Protestants have often argued, questioning ideas such as the Assumption of Mary.

 45 
Saint James the Great
(Saint)
Saint James the Great
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0005 AD
Birthplace: Bethsaida, Israel
Died: 0044 AD
 46 
Philo
(Jewish Philosopher Who Lived in Alexandria)
Philo
0
Birthdate: 0020 BC
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0050 BC

Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria was perhaps the first to use allegory to fuse Jewish scriptures with Greek philosophy. Though not much is known about his life, it is believed Philo was a lover of theater, boxing contests, and lavish dinners. His written works showcase the development of Hellenistic Judaism.

 47 
John The Baptist
(Jewish Prophet and Christian Saint)
John The Baptist
11
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Herodian Tetrarchy, Roman Empire
Died: 0030 AD

John the Baptist was a 1st century AD Jewish preacher. The Gospels mention John as the forerunner of Jesus, as John announces Jesus's arrival and Jesus describes him as “Elijah who is to come.” It is also believed that John had baptized Jesus. John was eventually beheaded by Herod Antipas.

 48 
St. James the Less
(Religious Figure)
St. James the Less
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0000
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Palestine
Died: November 30, 0062
 49 
Tigranes the Great
(King)
Tigranes the Great
0
Birthdate: 0140 BC
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0055 BC
 50 
Chumo the Holy
(King of Goguryeo)
Chumo the Holy
1
Birthdate: 0058 AD
Birthplace: South Korea
Died: 0019 AD