Famous Ancient Roman Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 
Claudius Ptolemy
(Astronomer, Cartographer & Mathematician)
Claudius Ptolemy
7
Birthdate: 0090 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0168 AD
Claudius Ptolemy was a 2nd-century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and geographer, who had written a number of scientific treatises, such as The Great Treatise, Geography, and the Tetrábiblos. He lived in Alexandria under the Roman rule in Egypt. He had also authored Harmonics, a book on music theory.
 2 
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman and Dramatist)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
6
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.
 3 
Plutarch
(Greek Middle Platonist Philosopher, Historian, Biographer and Priest)
Plutarch
4
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.

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 4 
Cicero
(One of Rome's Greatest Orators of Politics and Prose Stylists)
Cicero
8
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.
 5 
Josephus
(Romano-Jewish Historian and Military Leader)
Josephus
7
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

 6 
Pliny the Elder
(Roman Author, Natural Philosopher and Army Commander)
Pliny the Elder
6
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.

 7 
John the Apostle
(One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus)
John the Apostle
5
Birthdate: 0006 AD
Birthplace: Bethsaida, Galilee, Roman Empire
Died: 0100 AD
John the Evangelist is known to have authored the Gospel of John. Christians also believe he was the same as John the Apostle, John the Presbyter, and John of Patmos. He is also known as Saint John, and his feast day is celebrated on December 27.
 8 
Livy
(Roman Historian)
Livy
5
Birthdate: 0059 BC
Birthplace: Padua, Italy
Died: 0017 BC

Livy was a Roman historian. His seminal work, Ab Urbe Condita, covers the history of Rome through several centuries. A respected figure in society, he was on friendly terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He wrote during the reign of Emperor Augustus, who was reportedly his friend. Livy was married and had at least two children. 

 9 
Plotinus
(Ancient Philosopher and Founder of ‘Neoplatonism’)
Plotinus
7
Birthdate: 0204 AD
Birthplace: Lycopolis, Egypt
Died: 0270 AD

Plotinus was a Hellenistic philosopher whose writings on metaphysics have inspired centuries of Jewish, Christian, Pagan, and Gnostic mystics and metaphysicians. His philosophy also had a major influence on the evolution of Christian theology. Plotinus' ideas influenced medieval Islam as well as a group of philosophers and theologians at the University of Cambridge which was known as the Cambridge Platonists

 10 
Lucretius
(Roman Poet and Philosopher)
Lucretius
6
Birthdate: 0099 BC
Birthplace: Ancient Rome
Died: 0055 BC

Lucretius was a Roman philosopher and poet. He is credited with originating the three-age system, which was formalized by C. J. Thomsen in 1836. His only known work De rerum natura, a philosophical poem, influenced several Augustan poets, including Virgil. The poem also played a prominent role in the development of atomism.

 11 
Cato the Elder
(Historian)
Cato the Elder
5
Birthdate: 0234 BC
Birthplace: Tusculum, Italy
Died: 0149 BC

Known for writing the first authentic history of Rome in Latin, Cato disliked luxury and was against the Hellenic culture that the Scipio family propagated. His role in the destruction of Carthage is of major significance. The Roman statesman gained many enemies for his stern actions as a censor.

 12 
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
(A Syrian Monk Who Merged Neoplatonism and Christian Theology in His Treatises)
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
3
Birthplace: Unknown

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.

 13 
Pelagius
(British Monk and Theologian Known for His Theological System Called Pelagianism)
Pelagius
3
Birthdate: 0354 AD
Birthplace: Britannia
Died: 0418 AD

British monk and theologian Pelagius is known for his theological system called Pelagianism that lay-stress on human choice in salvation and freedom of human-will. He censured the theory of original sin of Augustine of Hippo who held that original sin is transmitted by concupiscence. Pelagius was eventually accused of heresy and Pelagianism was condemned at the 418 Council of Carthage.

 14 
Atticus
(Ancient Roman Philosopher Who Followed Platonism and Rejected the Peripatetic School)
Atticus
3
Birthdate: 0175 BC
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 31, 0032

Ancient Platonic philosopher Atticus lived in the 2nd century, during the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The only known source that reveals about him is Greek historian Eusebius's Preparatio Evangelica. He wrote against the Peripatetic school of philosophy. His polemic claimed Aristotle was an atheist.

 15 
Apuleius
(Numidian Latin-Language Prose Writer, Platonist Philosopher, and Rhetorician)
Apuleius
4
Birthdate: 0125 AD
Birthplace: M’Daourouch, Algeria
Died: 0170 AD
Apuleius was a Numidian prose writer who wrote in latin. A Platonist philosopher and rhetorician, Apuleius studied Platonism in Athens and was initiated into several cults. He is known to have used magic and was once accused of using magic to gain the fortune and attention of a wealthy widow. He is best remembered for his novel The Golden Ass.
 16 
Ammianus Marcellinus
(Roman Historian and Soldier Who Is Known for His Work 'Res Gestae')
Ammianus Marcellinus
3
Birthdate: 0330 AD
Birthplace: Antioch, Turkey
Died: 0400 AD

Roman historian and soldier from the 4th century, Ammianus Marcellinus penned one of the last major historical accounts of the later Roman empire, Res Gestae, also known as Rerum gestarum libri. His writings charted the Roman times from the accession of Emperor Nerva to the death of Emperor Valens.

 17 
Herodian
(Civil servant)
Herodian
2
Birthdate: 0170 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0240 AD
 18 
Macrobius
(Scholar)
Macrobius
4
Birthdate: 0370 AD
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0430 AD
 19 
Quintus Fabius Pictor
(Historiographer)
Quintus Fabius Pictor
2
Birthdate: 0254 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: 0201 AD
 20 
Velleius Paterculus
(Historian)
Velleius Paterculus
1
Birthdate: 0019 AD
Birthplace: Mirabella Eclano, Italy
Died: 0031 AD
 21 
Justin
(Latin Writer and Historian)
Justin
2
Birthplace: Roman Empire
 22 
Valerius Maximus
(Writer and Historian)
Valerius Maximus
2
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 23 
Priscus
(Roman Historian Who Penned the Greek Work History of Byzantium)
Priscus
0
Birthplace: Panion
Died: 0471 AD

Thracian diplomat and historian Priscus was a rare Christian in the Pagan court of Attila the Hun, as a representative of Roman Emperor Theodosius II. He later also traveled to Egypt. The massive 8-volume Greek work History of Byzantium was penned by him. He penned an intriguing account of a dinner with Attila.

 24 
Eutropius
(French Author)
Eutropius
2
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France

Eutropius was an Eastern Roman official who played an important role during Emperor Arcadius' reign. He was a confidante and one of the most important advisors of Arcadius. He also encouraged Gildo's uprising against Stilicho's machinations, thus playing a key role in the Gildonic War. Eutropius was the first eunuch to be appointed as a consul in the Roman Empire. 

 25 
Marcus Cornelius Fronto
(Advocate)
Marcus Cornelius Fronto
2
Birthdate: 0100 AD
Birthplace: Cirta, Algeria
Died: 0166 AD
 26 
Aelius Donatus
(Grammarian)
Aelius Donatus
2
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0380 AD
 27 
George Sphrantzes
(Historian)
George Sphrantzes
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1401
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: 1478 AD
 28 
Joannes Zonaras
(Byzantine historian)
Joannes Zonaras
2
Birthdate: 1074 AD
Birthplace: Byzantine
Died: 1130 AD
 29 
Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger
(Military General)
Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger
2
Birthdate: 1062 AD
Birthplace: Orestiada
Died: 1137 AD
 30 
Sextus Pompeius Festus
(Roman Grammarian)
Sextus Pompeius Festus
2
Birthplace: Narbonne, France
 31 
Ahmed Cevdet Pasha
(Scholar)
Ahmed Cevdet Pasha
1
Birthdate: March 22, 1822
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ottoman Empire
Died: May 25, 1895
 32 
Kâtip Çelebi
(Polymath)
Kâtip Çelebi
1
Birthdate: 1609 AD
Birthplace: Istanbul Eyaleti
Died: October 6, 1657
 33 
Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus
(Historian)
Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus
1
Birthplace: Vaison-la-Romaine, France

Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus was a Gallo-Roman historian who lived during the reign of the emperor Augustus. He hailed from the Celtic Vocontii tribe in Narbonese Gaul. He is believed to have been a polymath and wrote books on the natural history of animals and plants. His best-known work is the Philippic Histories, preserved only in excerpts today. 

 34 
George The Syncellus
(Byzantine historian)
George The Syncellus
1
Birthplace: Byzantine
Died: 0810 AD
 35 
Marcus Minucius Felix
(Apologist)
Marcus Minucius Felix
1
Birthplace: Cirta, Algeria
Died: 0260 AD
 36 
Nicephorus Gregoras
(Astronomer)
Nicephorus Gregoras
1
Birthdate: 1295 AD
Birthplace: Heraclea Pontica
Died: 1360 AD
 37 
Lucius Annaeus Cornutus
(Roman Stoic Philosopher Who Was Banished by Nero for Being Critical of Him)
Lucius Annaeus Cornutus
1
Birthplace: Leptis Magna, Libya
Died: 0065 AD

Roman Stoic philosopher of the 1st century, Lucius Annaeus Cornutus soared to fame during the reign of Emperor Nero. He was also an educator and friend of Roman poet and satirist Persius. He penned many works such as Theologiae Graecae but was banished by Nero for being critical of him in his works.

 38 
Menander Protector
(Historian)
Menander Protector
1
Birthplace: Constantinople, Roman Empire
 39 
Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus
(Historian)
Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus
1
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0526 AD
 40 
Nigidius Figulus
(Roman Philosopher and Author Who Revived Many Pythagorean Doctrines)
Nigidius Figulus
1
Birthdate: 0098 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: 0045 AD

Roman philosopher and author Nigidius Figulus was a friend of philosopher Cicero, who supported him during the Catilinarian conspiracy. His iconic works on Roman religion include De diis. He also penned Commentarii grammatici. He also worked on Pythagorean doctrines, such as math, astrology, and magic.

 41 
Marcus Antistius Labeo
(Jurist)
Marcus Antistius Labeo
1
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0010 AD
 42 
Diadochos of Photiki
(Saint)
Diadochos of Photiki
1
Birthdate: 0400 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0486 AD
 43 
George Hamartolos
(Byzantine historian)
George Hamartolos
1
Birthdate: 0842 AD
Birthplace: Byzantine
Died: 0867 AD
 44 
Fenestella
(Historian)
Fenestella
0
Birthdate: 0052 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0019 AD
 45 
Euthymius Zigabenus
(Byzantine theologian)
Euthymius Zigabenus
0
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 1120 AD
 46 
St. Theodotus
(Theologian)
St. Theodotus
1
Birthplace: Not known
Died: 0303 AD
 47 
Joseph Genesius
(Author)
Joseph Genesius
0
Birthdate: 0000
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Constantinople
 48 
Manuel Moschopoulos
(Grammarian)
Manuel Moschopoulos
0
Birthdate: 1265 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople
Died: 1316 AD
 49 
Eutyches
(Orthodox Abbot Who Opposed Nestorianism and Established Eutychianism)
Eutyches
2
Birthdate: 0380 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 0456 AD

Orthodox abbot Eutyches served as an archimandrite of a monastery outside Constantinople and first gained notice when he opposed Nestorianism at the First Council of Ephesus. However, while denouncing Nestorianism as heresy, he himself established Eutychianism, an extreme heresy that stressed on the exclusive existence of the divinity in Christ.

 50 
Troilus
(Greek Mythical Figure Who Was a Trojan Prince and Was Killed by Achilles)
Troilus
0

In Greek mythology, Troilus was a Trojan prince and the son of King Priam of Troy. In medieval writings, Troilus appeared as an innocent boy betrayed by a girl named Cressida, a tale that inspired Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. He was killed by Achilles while he drank from a fountain.