Famous Greek Men

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Every time we think of Greece and Greek men, the first thing that pops in our heads is ethereal bunch of good-looking gods and heroes with burly bodies and supernatural powers, angering the deities and slaying the demons even as they billed and cooed with the demure and dainty dames of their times. (Think Zeus, Apollo, Achilles, Heracles, Poseidon, and Jason!) While Greece has given the world a handsome lot of brave and fine looking mythological champions to die for, it has also fashioned a horde of philosophers, poets, playwrights, historians, scientists, actors and leaders whom the world looks up in awe and admiration. From Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to Sophocles, Aesop and Archimedes and from Alexander the Great, Pythagoras and Homer to Billy Zane, Tommy Lee and John Cassavetes, the list stands infinite when you try to gauge the number of legends to have ever walked on the mystical land of Greece. Join us as we delve into the biography and dwell upon the trivia, timeline and interesting facts on some exceptionally famous Greek men that the country has ever reproduced.
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 1 
Tom Hanks
(One of the Most Popular Film Stars Worldwide, Known for Both His Comedic and Dramatic Roles)
Tom Hanks
63
Birthdate: July 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, California, United States

One of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, Tom Hanks is known for both his comedic and dramatic roles. Making his breakthrough with leading roles in the 1980s, he went on to further cement his place in Hollywood in the 1990s by taking up poignant and sensitive roles. He is also a director, producer, and screenwriter. 

 2 
Giannis Antetokounmpo
(Greek-Nigerian Professional Basketball Player Who Plays As a Power Forward)
Giannis Antetokounmpo
49
Birthdate: December 6, 1994
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a professional basketball player and plays for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association. He’s called ‘Greek Freak’ as he hails from Greece and also due to his size, speed and ball-handling skills. He was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player twice and NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. He represents Greece at the international level.

 3 
Aristotle
(One of the Greatest Philosophers and the First Genuine Scientist in History)
Aristotle
15
Birthdate: 0384 AD
Birthplace: Stagira, Greece
Died: 0322 AD

Famous Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, made significant contributions to various fields of science and arts of his era–logic, biology, politics, economics, ethics and aesthetics. Along with Socrates and Plato, he laid much of the foundation of Western philosophy. Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, he founded Lyceum, the school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.

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 4 
Plato
(Philosopher)
Plato
11
Birthdate: May 21, 0428
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Classical Athens, Greece
Died: 0348 BC

Plato was one of the most important Ancient Greek philosophers, who contributed greatly to the fields of mathematics, metaphysics, politics, art, and poetry. Along with his famous student Aristotle and equally famous teacher Socrates, Plato is considered one of the founders of spirituality and Western religion. Platonism remains one of his important contributions.

 5 
Socrates
(Philosopher)
Socrates
19
Birthdate: 0470 AD
Birthplace: Alopece, Greek
Died: 0399 AD

A famous Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with founding Western philosophy along with other popular philosophers of his time. An enigmatic figure, most of his work is documented by his famous student Plato. Socrates is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of all time as he had a strong influence on the philosophers of the modern era.

 6 
Pythagoras
(Philosopher and Mathematician)
Pythagoras
61
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Birthplace: SSamos, Greece
Died: 0495 BC

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.

 7 
Spartacus
(Thracian Gladiator)
Spartacus
4
Birthdate: 0111 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.
 8 
Archimedes
(Mathematician)
Archimedes
37
Birthdate: 0287 BC
Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy
Died: 0212 BC
Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Archimedes is remembered for his contribution to mathematics, especially geometry. He laid down theorems related to the area of a circle, and the area and volume of a sphere, and reached an accurate value of pi. He also invented machines such as the screw pump.
 9 
Zach Galifianakis
17
Birthdate: October 1, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA
 10 
Homer
(Author)
Homer
19
Birthdate: 0928 BC
Birthplace: Ionia, Greece
Homer, a legendary poet from the 8th century B.C., authored the Greek epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. However, the Homeric Question raises doubts regarding the existence of the poet. Some assume the epics were written by a single blind bard, while others believe they were created by multiple authors.
 11 
Euclid
(Mathematician)
Euclid
113
Birthdate: 0330 BC
Birthplace: Greece
Greek mathematician Euclid, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, is remembered as the father of geometry. One of his most significant works was his book on mathematics, Elements. He had worked extensively on conic sections, spherical geometry, and number theory.
 12 
Saint Nicholas
(Former Bishop of Myra and Saint)
Saint Nicholas
11
Birthdate: March 15, 0270
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Patara, Turkey
Died: December 6, 0343
Fourth-century Greek Christian bishop Saint Nicholas gave rise to the legend of "Santa Claus," associated with the tradition of gifting during Christmas. One legend states that he saved three girls from prostitution and dropped sacks of gold coins through their window to help their father pay for their dowry.
 13 
Leonidas I
(King of Ancient Sparta)
Leonidas I
3
Birthdate: 0540 BC
Birthplace: Sparta, Greece
Died: August 11, 0480

Leonidas I was the king of the Greek city-state of Sparta from 489–480 BCE. He was the son of King Anaxandridas II. He is remembered for his participation in the Second Persian War, especially for his leadership at the Battle of Thermopylae. He died at the battle, gaining legendary status as the leader of the 300 Spartans.

 14 
Herodotus
(The Father of History)
Herodotus
6
Birthdate: 0483 BC
Birthplace: Halicarnassus
Died: 0425 BC

Herodotus was a Greek historian credited with writing a book titled The Histories, a detailed record on the genesis of the Greco-Persian Wars. Dubbed the Father of History, Herodotus is widely believed to have been the first person to write about historical events based on information gathered about the events through a method of systematic investigation.

 15 
Hippocrates
(Physician)
Hippocrates
3
Birthdate: 0460 BC
Birthplace: Kos, Greece
Died: 0370 BC
Hippocrates, or Hippocrates II, also known as the "Father of Medicine,” founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine, which heralded the professional practice of medicine. He also laid down the Hippocratic Oath, an oath still taken by doctors all over the world. His teachings were primarily collated in the Hippocratic Corpus.
 16 
Diogenes Of Sinope
(Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy)
Diogenes Of Sinope
2
Birthdate: 0412 BC
Birthplace: Sinop, Turkey
Died: 0323 BC

Diogenes Of Sinope was a pioneer of Cynic philosophy. It is believed he had expressed his wish to be thrown out of the city after his death, so that animals could eat his corpse. He believed humans needed to learn how to live without fuss and with honesty like dogs.

 17 
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
(Former Prince of Greece and Denmark)
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
11
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: December 3, 1944

Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the son of King George I of Greece, served as a major general in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922. The Turkish forces recaptured Smyrna and Andrew was blamed for the loss of Greek territory. As a result, he was exiled from Greece and he lived in France where he died.

 18 
Aeschylus
(Tragedian)
Aeschylus
1
Birthdate: 0525 BC
Birthplace: Eleusis, Greece
Died: 0456 BC
Aeschylus is credited with pioneering the trend of using multiple characters in theater, allowing them to interact among themselves, instead of the chorus. He is best remembered for his tragedies, most notably The Persians, the trilogy The Oresteia, and Prometheus Bound. His works were awarded at the City Dionysia.
 19 
Saint George
(Christian martyr, Saint)
Saint George
8
Birthplace: Cappadocia, Turkey
Died: April 23, 0303

Saint George was a Christian soldier in the Roman army who is accepted as a saint in Christianity. He was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith and was executed by decapitation, according to Greek tradition.  Saint George's Day is celebrated in his memory on 23 April. He is one of the most venerated saints in Christianity.

 20 
Heraclitus
(Philosopher)
Heraclitus
1
Birthdate: 0535 BC
Birthplace: Ephesus, Turkey
Died: 0475 BC
Greek philosopher Heraclitus belonged to the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire. He earned the nickname The Obscure for his use of paradoxical wordplay. His only available work, On Nature, survives in fragments. Also known as the Weeping Philosopher, he influenced later philosophers such as Plato.
 21 
Aristotle Onassis
(Businessman)
Aristotle Onassis
6
Birthdate: January 20, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Karataş, İzmir, Turkey
Died: March 15, 1975

A Greek shipping magnate who was one of the world's richest men at one point, Aristotle Onassis held the world's largest privately-owned shipping fleet at the peak of his career. He was involved in the privatization of the Greek national airlines as well. He had liaisons with many famous and beautiful women and was married to Jacqueline Kennedy.

 22 
Stefanos Tsitsipas
(Greek Professional Tennis Player )
Stefanos Tsitsipas
31
Birthdate: August 12, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek to win any ATP World Tour title, with his 2018 Stockholm Open win. He is the youngest player to be featured on ATP’s top 10 list and has recorded a career-high global ranking of No. 5, thus becoming the highest-ranked Greek tennis player ever.
 23 
Eratosthenes
(First Person to Calculate the Circumference of the Earth and Earth's Axial Tilt)
Eratosthenes
19
Birthdate: 0276 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Libya, Shahat, Libya
Died: 0194 BC

Greek polymath Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a mathematician, poet, geographer, music theorist, and astronomer. He also served as the Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. He was also the first to calculate the Earth’s circumference and the tilt of the Earth's axis. Nicknamed Pentathlos, he also invented many scientific terms.

 24 
Sophocles
(Tragedian)
Sophocles
0
Birthdate: 0497 BC
Birthplace: Colonus, Athens, Greece
Died: 0406 BC

Sophocles was an ancient Greek writer. He is one among three tragedians from his era whose plays have survived. Sophocles was the most decorated and celebrated playwright for almost five decades, during which he won 24 out of 30 dramatic competitions, which took place in the city-state of Athens during the religious festivals of the Dionysia and the Lenaea.

 25 
Thanasis Antetokounmpo
(Greek Professional Basketball Player Who Plays the Small Forward)
Thanasis Antetokounmpo
9
Birthdate: July 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Greek basketball player Thanasis Antetokounmpo, older brother of NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo, plays for the NBA team Milwaukee Bucks. Known as “The Greek Streak” and “The Elevator,” he was chosen to play for the Nigerian team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but he chose to play for Greece instead.
 26 
Kostas Antetokounmpo
(Basketball player)
Kostas Antetokounmpo
7
Birthdate: November 20, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Kostas Antetokounmpo is a Greek basketball player who has played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for teams like Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. Apart from the NBA, Antetokounmpo has also particiapted in major European club competitions like Euroleague. Kostas Antetokounmpo was a star during his senior year in high school, leading his team to a state championship.
 27 
Hephaestus
(Son of Zeus)
Hephaestus
0
Birthplace: Greece
 28 
Plutarch
(Philosopher, Biographer)
Plutarch
2
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.

 29 
Epicurus
(Ancient Greek Philosopher Who Founded 'Epicureanism;, a Highly Influential School of Philosophy)
Epicurus
2
Birthdate: 0341
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Samos, Greece
Died: 0270 BC

Greek philosopher Epicurus is remembered for establishing a school of philosophy known as Epicureanism. He believed that people could achieve ataraxia and aponia, freedom from fear and pain, unless they indulged in amoral behavior. He established a school named The Garden in Athens, where students could discuss philosophical ideas.

 30 
Yanni
(One of the Best-Selling Musical Artists and Leading Figure of 20th-Century New Age Music)
Yanni
1
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kalamata, Greece

Yanni is a Greek keyboardist, pianist, composer, and music producer. He achieved international recognition by organizing and producing concerts at historic monuments, such as Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Adhering to his one world, one people philosophy, Yanni works with musicians of various nationalities to create music that incorporates an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.

 31 
El Greco
(Greek Painter, Sculptor and Architect of the Spanish Renaissance)
El Greco
3
Birthdate: October 1, 1541
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Heraklion, Greece
Died: April 7, 1614
Artist Doménikos Theotokópoulos never let anyone forget his Greek heritage and almost always signed his art in Greek letters. Popularly known as El Greco, he was a significant figure of the Spanish Renaissance. His best-known works remain The Burial of the Count of Orgaz and The Assumption of the Virgin.
 32 
Pericles
(First Citizen of Democratic Athens)
Pericles
3
Birthdate: 0494 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0429 BC

Pericles was an influential and prominent Greek statesman and orator. He also served as the general of Athens during fifth-century Athens, which came to be known as the Golden Age of Athens. Thanks to his efforts, Athens became known as the cultural and educational center of the ancient Greek world. Pericles is also credited with beautifying and protecting the city.

 33 
Thucydides
(Athenian Historian and General)
Thucydides
3
Birthdate: 0460 AD
Birthplace: Halimus
Died: 0400 AD
Athenian historian and general Thucydides is remembered for his History of the Peloponnesian War. He was believed to be unbiased in reporting the events of his time and is considered a pioneer of political realism. Some of his other works are the Melian dialogue and Pericles' Funeral Oration.
 34 
George I of Greece
(Former King of Greece (1863 - 1916))
George I of Greece
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1845
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: March 18, 1913

George I of Greece reigned as the king of Greece from 1863 until his murder in 1913. During his reign of nearly 50 years, which is the longest in the history of modern Greece, George helped expand Greece's territory significantly. During his reign, Greece also became increasingly prosperous and attained a popular place on the European stage.

 35 
Galen
(Physician)
Galen
1
Birthdate: 0130 AD
Birthplace: Pergamon, Turkey
Died: 0200 AD

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.

 36 
Vangelis
(Composer, Record producer, Film score composer)
Vangelis
1
Birthdate: March 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Volos

Greek composer Vangelis is one of the finest and most versatile figures in electronic music. He soared to international fame with his Academy Award-winning soundtrack of the film Chariots of Fire. Starting to learn the piano at age 3, he later experimented with jazz and rock-n-roll.

 37 
Thales
(Philosopher)
Thales
6
Birthdate: 0624 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

One of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, Thales was a 6th-century mathematician who believed that the Earth was a flat disk floating on a huge ocean. Legend has it that he had predicted a solar eclipse that stopped a major battle and had also laid down several geometrical theorems.

 38 
Democritus
(Philosopher)
Democritus
3
Birthdate: 0460 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, Greece
Died: 0370 BC

Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher whose philosophies predated Socratic philosophies. He is credited with formulating one of the earliest atomic theories of the universe. Best known for his work on subjects like biology, anthropology, and cosmology, Democritus is considered by many to be the father of modern science. He was also a pioneer of geometry.

 39 
Philip II of Macedon
(King of Ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon)
Philip II of Macedon
0
Birthdate: 0382 BC
Birthplace: Pella, Greece
Died: 0336 BC

Philip II of Macedon reigned as the king of Macedon from 359 BC to 336 BC. He is credited with reforming the Ancient Macedonian army, which helped secure several victories on the battlefield. Under his reign, the kingdom of Macedonia conquered and dominated Ancient Greece. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander the Great.

 40 
Euripides
(One of the Most Famous Greek Tragedians)
Euripides
0
Birthdate: 0480 AD
Birthplace: Salamis, Greece
Died: 0406 AD

One of the three ancient Greek tragedians, together with Sophocles and Aeschylus, Euripides wrote around 92 plays, out of which 18 or 19 have survived intact. He is known for theatrical innovations that influenced modern drama as well. This particularly includes his representation of mythical heroes as common people in exceptional circumstances. His notable works include Hippolytus, Alcestis and Medea.

 41 
Aesop
(Greek Fabulist and Storyteller)
Aesop
23
Birthdate: 0620 AD
Birthplace: Delphi, Greece
Died: 0564 AD

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.

 42 
Xenophon
3
Birthdate: 0430 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0354 BC

Remembered as both an Athenian military leader and an author, Xenophon, a friend of Socrates, remains a major link between historians and the Greek philosopher, with his works such as Symposium and Memorabilia. He also led the Ten Thousand, in a Persian expedition under Cyrus the Younger.

 43 
Aristophanes
(Playwright)
Aristophanes
0
Birthdate: 0446 BC
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0386 BC
Known widely as the Father of Comedy, Greek playwright Aristophanes had contributed to the Old Comedy genre. His works, peppered with satire, mirror the ancient Athenian life. He won the City Dionysia drama contest with his play The Babylonians. He was also in trouble for caricaturing Cleon in his plays.
 44 
Constantine II of Greece
(Last King of Greece, from 6 March 1964 Until the Abolition of Greek Monarchy on 1 June 1973)
Constantine II of Greece
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Psychiko, Greece

Constantine II of Greece reigned as the King of the Hellenes from 1964 until 1973 when the Greek monarchy was abolished. His reign culminated in the Greek junta and the former King of Greece was forced into exile when the countercoup against the junta failed. Constantine is also a former sailor who won an Olympic gold in the 1960 Olympics.

 45 
Constantine I
(Former King of Greece (1913 - 1917))
Constantine I
2
Birthdate: August 2, 1868
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: January 11, 1923
Constantine I reigned as the king of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and again from 1920 to 1922. He led the Greek army during the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. The National Schism was a result of his disagreement with Eleftherios Venizelos on whether Greece should join World War I.
 46 
Yorgos Lanthimos
(Film director, Film producer)
Yorgos Lanthimos
1
Birthdate: September 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
 47 
Themistocles
(Military Leader)
Themistocles
1
Birthdate: 0524 BC
Birthplace: Frearrioi (modern Feriza close to Anavyssos)
Died: 0459 BC

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.

 48 
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.

 49 
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
(Ottoman Governor of Egypt)
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
4
Birthdate: March 4, 1769
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kavala, Greece
Died: August 2, 1849

Muhammad Ali of Egypt was the de facto ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848. He was also the Albanian Ottoman governor and is considered the founder of modern Egypt. He implemented drastic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres in Egypt. He established the Muhammad Ali dynasty that ruled Egypt until the revolution of 1952.

 50 
Antinous
(Companion of Hadrian)
Antinous
5
Birthdate: 0111 AD
Birthplace: Bolu, Turkey
Died: October 30, 0130

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.