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.
Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.
4 Lu Bu
8 Cao Cao
Cao Cao was a Chinese warlord, poet, and statesman. He played an important role in laying the foundations for the state of Cao Wei, which was formed shortly after his death. Although he was posthumously honoured with the title Emperor Wu of Wei, Cao Cao never ruled as an emperor, but kept Emperor Xian under his control.
Born to a freed slave, Pertinax joined the Roman army early in life and soon rose to be a commander. He was declared the emperor after Commodus was murdered but was himself killed within three months of his rule. Septimius Severus later organized a state funeral and also deified him.
10 Guan Yu
Guan Yu was nicknamed Beautiful Beard for his long, flowing beard. Featured in literary works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan was a Chinese military general who served Liu Bei of the Eastern Han dynasty. Lord Guan is now revered as a deity in Chinese folk culture.
Shimon bar Yochai was a 2nd-century tannaitic sage in ancient Judea. One of the most eminent disciples of Rabbi Akiva, he is credited with the authorship of the Zohar, the chief work of Kabbalah. The legal works of Sifre and Mekhilta are also attributed to him. He is held in unique reverence by kabbalistic tradition.
Blessed with beguiling beauty, Antinous was quick to catch Roman emperor Hadrian’s attention, who took him as his lover. Antinous died shortly before turning 20, with some calling it a suicide and others suggesting it was a sacrifice. He was deified by Hadrian, who named a city in his honor.
Tacitus was a Roman politician and historian. He is widely considered one of the greatest Roman historians of all time. Tacitus is best remembered for his fascinating insights into the psychology of politics, especially power politics.
14 Gaius Marius
Galen was a Greek physician, philosopher, and surgeon in the Roman Empire. Regarded as one of the most proficient medical researchers in ancient history, Galen influenced the growth of several scientific disciplines, such as neurology, pharmacology, pathology, physiology, and anatomy. Thanks to the translation of his works into Arabic, Galen's approach to medicine remains influential in the Islamic world.
17 Liu Bei
Liu Bei was a warlord in the Eastern Han dynasty. He is credited with founding the state of Shu Han. Liu Bei went on to reign as the emperor of Shu Han from 221 until his death in 223. Liu Bei is best remembered for his remarkable skills as a leader and politician. His life has inspired several TV series.
Greek bishop Irenaeus, now revered as a Catholic saint, is remembered for his clashes with the Gnostics and his notable work Adversus haereses. Irenaeus apparently preached about the validity of the Jewish Bible, while the Gnostics were against it. Legend has it that he had seen Polycarp of Smyrna.
Justin Martyr was a philosopher and early Christian apologist. He is best remembered for his text, the First Apology, which attempts to convince Emperor Antoninus to give up the persecution of the Church. He was martyred and is venerated as a saint by Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
21 Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus was the Roman emperor from 161 to 169, alongside his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius. Their succession together marked the first time that the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors. The eldest son of Lucius Aelius Caesar, Verus hailed from the Nerva-Antonine dynasty. He ruled for only a few years before he died of an illness in 169.
Polycarp was a Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to some sources, he had been a disciple of John the Apostle, one of Jesus’ disciples. Along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, he is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. He died a martyr, according to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and is considered a saint.
Born to pagan parents in North Africa, Tertullian was initially gearing up to be a lawyer. Following his conversion to Christianity in Rome at about 40, he became a leader of the African church and wrote several Christian treatises, to eventually become the father of Latin Christianity.
27 Dong Zhuo
Tiberius Gracchus was a Roman politician best remembered for proposing the Lex Sempronia Agraria, a law aimed at improving the lives of the poor. The law suggested the transfer of land from wealthy landowners to poorer citizens. Unsurprisingly, Tiberius Gracchus was killed due to his populist program and his uncompromising behavior.
32 Baldwin V
36 Sima Qian
The first noted Chinese historian, Sima Qian is best remembered for authoring the history of China titled Shiji. The son of Sima Tan, a court historian of the Han dynasty, Qian traveled widely and was also responsible for modifying the Chinese calendar. He was later castrated for defaming Emperor Wu.
44 Cai Lun
Cai Lun was a Chinese inventor who served as an eunuch court official of the Han dynasty. Cai Lun played an important role at the imperial court of Emperor He, overseeing the production of weapons and instruments for imperial use. He is credited with inventing paper as we know it today and is hence considered the inventor of modern paper.
47 Zhao Gao
Zhao Gao was a eunuch who served the emperors of the Qin dynasty. He conspired to overthrow Qin Shi Huang and hid his death from the emperor’s eldest son, sending him a false letter that stated the emperor wanted the prince to commit suicide. Zhao was eventually assassinated.