Pythagoras was an Ionian Greek philosopher. He is credited with many scientific and mathematical discoveries, including the Sphericity of the Earth, the Theory of Proportions, the five regular solids, Pythagorean tuning, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras influenced other philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. His philosophy also had a major impact on personalities like Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Nicolaus Copernicus.
Cyrus II, or Cyrus the Great, founded the first Persian empire, the Achaemenid Empire. His kingdom extended from Western Asia to Central Asia. He advocated centralized administration, with the help of local governors. The biblical Edict of Cyrus, named after him, talks about the return of the Jews to Israel.
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher whose philosophy came to be known as Confucianism. Confucianism is often credited with shaping Chinese communities and East Asian societies. Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in the history of mankind as his teachings have had a great impact on people around the world. His philosophy continues to remain influential.
Xerxes I ruled the Achaemenid Empire from 486 to 465 BC as the fourth King of Kings. During his reign, Xerxes I supervised the completion of several construction projects at Persepolis and Susa. A popular ruler, his life has been adapted into several plays and films; in the 1960 movie Esther and the King, Xerxes is played by Richard Egan.
There is not a single child in the world who has not heard of Aesop’s Fables, but the legendary Greek fabulist Aesop, known for using animal characters to impart moral lessons, is believed to have never existed, by some historians. Aesop was perhaps a name concocted to unite references for age-old fables.
Also known as Justinian the Great, Justinian I was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. Even though he came from a peasant family, he was well educated in jurisprudence, theology, and Roman history. As emperor, he was known to be highly energetic and ambitious. He brought about several judicial reforms in his kingdom.
Darius the Great was a Persian ruler. He served as the third King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire from 522 BCE until he died in 486 BCE. The empire was at the peak of its glory under his reign and included much of Western Asia and parts of the Balkans. He invested a lot in construction projects.
Khadīja bint Khuwaylid was the first wife of Muhammad ibn Abdullah, the founder of Islam. She is also widely regarded as Muhammad's first follower. A successful businesswoman, Khadīja is an important female figure in the Islamic tradition and is counted among the four ladies of heaven. Khadīja bint Khuwaylid is often referred to as The Mother of Believers by Muslims.
Solon was an Athenian lawmaker, statesman, and poet. He is best remembered for his efforts to legislate against the moral, economic, and political decline in archaic Athens. Although his efforts did not prove to be fruitful during his lifetime, Solon is often credited with laying the foundation for Athenian democracy.
Saint David was a Welsh bishop who lived during the 6th century. His life and teachings inspired Welsh composer Sir Karl William Pamp Jenkins to come up with a choral work titled Dewi Sant. David's teachings also inspired another composer named Arwel Hughes, who composed an oratorio titled Dewi Sant in 1950. David is considered the patron saint of Wales.
Cambyses II was the second King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire. He ruled from 530 BC to 522 BC. He was the son of Cyrus the Great and Cassandane. Before claiming the throne, he served as the governor of northern Babylonia under his father. His reign was relatively brief and marked by his conquests in Africa, notably Egypt.
The 5th-century BC warrior politician Themistocles has gone down in history as one of the first to consolidate the Athenian navy. He is remembered for his victories in wars such as the Battle of Salamis. His exploits have been immortalized in movies such as 300: Rise of an Empire.
Ancient Indian astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta is best remembered for laying down rules to calculate with zero and for penning the texts Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta and Khaṇḍakhādyaka. His other achievements include his work on surds and positive and negative numbers. He also devised a formula for the area of a cyclic quadrilateral.
A legendary figure, Tomyris was the fabled queen of the Massagetai, an Iranian tribal population. She is perhaps best remembered for her campaign against Cyrus II the Great of Persia, whom she attacked and killed, thus defending her forces. She has been the subject of many literary and artistic creations.
Columba was an Irish abbot and missionary evangelist. At the beginning of the Hiberno-Scottish mission, he played a major role in spreading Christianity in what is today Scotland. After studying under some of Ireland's most prominent church figures, he founded several monasteries. He is revered as a Catholic saint and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
Theodora was an Eastern Roman empress who was married to Emperor Justinian. She was one of Justinian's chief advisers; she had a strong influence on Justinian. A saint in the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, Theodora is commemorated on 28 June. Over the years, she has been the subject of several books, films, and video games.
Born to Cyrus the Great of Persia, Bardiya was also known as Tanyoxarces. Though most sources believe he was the king of Persia, some sources claim an impersonator ruled Persia, pretending to be the real son of Cyrus. Both historian Herodotus and king Darius believed the impersonator was Gaumata, a magus.
Zerubbabel was a governor of Yehud Medinata, a province in the Achaemenid Empire. The grandson of Jeconiah, Zerubbabel is credited with leading the first group of Jews, who returned from the Babylonian exile, in the first year of Cyrus the Great. Zerubbabel is also credited with laying the foundation of the famous Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Khosrow I was a 6th-century Persian king of the Sasanian Empire. Though most of the information on him is known through legends, he is believed to have been a patron of the arts. He introduced major tax reforms and also brought changes to the Sasanian bureaucracy.
Nabonidus was the last ruler of Neo-Babylonian Empire. A strong believer of the moon god Sin, Nabonidus was faced with a revolt by the worshippers of Babylon’s national god, Marduk, and thus left his kingdom in the hands of his son, co-regent Belshazzar. He was later exiled.
Romulus Augustus went down in history as the last Western Roman emperor. The son of Orestes, who was killed by German warrior Odoacer, Romulus was spared and allowed to move to southern Italy. Though not much is known of him, it is believed he lived till the rule of Theoderic.
Harshavardhana, the second son of king Prabhakaravardhana of Thanesar, became a king at 16. Also known as Harsha, he reigned over a vast region of North and Northwestern India from 606 to 647 CE. Hieun Tsang’s Harshacharita detailed how Harsha converted from Hinduism to Buddhism, banned animal slaughter, and built monasteries.
Park Chung-hee served as the president of South Korea from 1962 to 1979. He had also chaired the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction. As the leader of the South Korean army, he had launched the 1961 coup and established a dictatorship. He was assassinated by his close aide Kim Jae-gyu.
Abu Bakr was a companion and father-in-law of the founder of Islam, Muhammad. After Muhammad's death, Bakr played an important role in leading the Muslims as the first Rashidun Caliph. Under Abu Bakr’s leadership, the Muslim state expanded over the entire Arabian peninsula. Abu Bakr's work during his reign eventually led to the Muslim conquests of the Levant and Persia.
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was a Christian Neoplatonist who is believed to have been a Syrian monk using a pseudonym. His Greek treatises merged Neoplatonism and Christian theology, though his identity hasn’t yet been confirmed. Some of his best-known treatises include On the Divine Names and On the Celestial Hierarchy.
Cambyses I was the king of Anshan from c. 580 to 559 BC. He was an early member of the Achaemenid dynasty and was a great-grandson of its founder Achaemenes. Not much is known about his life other than the fact that he reigned under the overlordship of Astyages.
Spanish scholar Isidore of Seville is widely remembered as the last of the Western Latin Fathers. His Etymologies was a chief reference book for years. The 7th-century archbishop of Sevilla wrote about varied subjects, such as religion, science, history, and linguistics. He had a major role in the Councils of Toledo.
Emperor Yang of Sui is remembered for constructing countless canals and palaces in China during his reign. He apparently took over the throne after executing his father and brother. Though a patron of the arts, he killed two poets when he found they wrote better poetry than him.
Empress Suiko reigned as the 33rd monarch of Japan from 593 to 628. Suiko is often recognized as the first of eight women to assume the role of empress regnant in Japan. Empress Suiko reigned until her death and she is venerated even today at a memorial Shinto shrine in Osaka.
Apart from being a regent of Japan, Taishi Shōtoku, or Prince Umayado, had also enriched Japanese literature, chronicling the history of the country. He introduced the Seventeen-article constitution and also promoted Buddhism and Confucianism. He improved Japan’s diplomatic and cultural ties with China, by resuming sending envoys to the country.
The Book of Ezekiel, or The Prophecy of Ezechiel, of the Hebrew Bible talks about Ezekiel, the prophet. He is said to have lived near the Chebar River during the Babylonian Captivity. In about 592 BC, Ezekiel received a religious call, having viewed the “throne-chariot” of God in a vision.
Pope Gregory I served as the bishop of Rome from 590 until his death in 604. He is best remembered for sending the Gregorian Mission to Britain, which was successful in converting the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. He is also credited with developing the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and is widely regarded as its de facto author.
Bahram Chobin was a nobleman, political leader, and general of the late Sasanian Empire. He also served as its ruler from 590 to 591. A respected political leader renowned for his character, skills, and accomplishments, Bahram Chobin came to be known as a hero and his life inspired several folktales and literary works.