Famous Greek Intellectuals & Academics

Talk about intellectuals and academicians and the list cannot be complete without the mention of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle! Some of the world’s most famous and influential intellectuals and academicians of all time belong to the land of Greece. An ancient country with a history dating back to the prehistoric era, Greece has been home to renowned intellectuals and academicians who have greatly contributed to the world civilization through their deep-seated knowledge and understanding. Aristarchus of Samos presented the world’s first ever known model of the solar system that placed the Sun at the centre of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. Alexamenus of Teos was the first to write philosophical dialogues. These intellectuals and academicians contributed to the ancient, byzantine and Modern Greek literature. Furthermore, Greek intellectuals and academicians are credit with introducing important literary forms such as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, and comedy into world literature. In their pursuit of the same, the Greeks strongly influenced Western art that idolized beauty and elegance. Check this section for the life and works of famous Greek intellectuals and academics.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Aristotle

Aristotle
20
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0384 BC
Birthplace: Stagira, Greece
Died: 0322 BC

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.

 2 Plato

Plato
15
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0428 BC
Birthplace: Classical Athens
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.

 3 Socrates

Socrates
10
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0470 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0399 BC

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.

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 4 Herodotus

Herodotus
5
Famous As: The Father of History
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.

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 5 Diogenes Of Sinope

Diogenes Of Sinope
6
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 6 Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes
6
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 0276 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Greece
Died: 0195 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.

 7 Heraclitus

Heraclitus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0535 BC
Birthplace: Ephesus
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.
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 8 Epicurus

Epicurus
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 31, 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.

 9 Plutarch

Plutarch
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Historian, Biographer, Essayist, & Middle Platonist
Birthdate: 0045 AD
Birthplace: Chaeronea, Greece
Died: 0120 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.

 10 Pythagoras

Pythagoras
4
Famous As: Philosopher and Mathematician
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Birthplace: Samos
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.

 11 Xenophon

Xenophon
4
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.

 12 Hippocrates

Hippocrates
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: 0460 BC
Birthplace: Kos, Ancient 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.

 13 Thucydides

Thucydides
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0460 BC
Birthplace: Halimous, Athens (modern Alimos), Greece
Died: 0400 BC
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.

 14 Democritus

Democritus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 15 Parmenides

Parmenides
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0515 BC
Birthplace: Elea, Magna Graecia
Died: 0450 BC
Parmenides, founder of the Greek school of thought known as Eleaticism, is also remembered for his poem On Nature, only fragments of which remain now. Known for his iconic phrases such as “Out of nothing nothing comes,” he is also referred to as one of the pioneers of metaphysics. 

 16 Strabo

Strabo
4
Famous As: Geographer, Philosopher, Historian
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Amaseia, Pontus , (modern-day Amasya; Turkey)
Died: 0024 AD

Strabo was a Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work Geographica, an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge. Written in Greek during Strabo's time, Geographica holds great historical significance as it houses a descriptive history of places and people from different regions. Among his descriptions were places like the city of Alexandria and India.

 17 Galen

Galen
4
Famous As: Physician
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.

 18 Thales

Thales
4
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 19 Polybius

Polybius
4
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0208 BC
Birthplace: Megalopolis, Arcadia
Died: 0125 BC

Polybius was a Greek historian who lived during the Hellenistic period. He is best remembered for his work The Histories, which covers the period of 264–146 BC in detail. It includes his eyewitness accounts of significant events like the Sack of Carthage and Corinth in 146 BC. Unfortunately, many others of his works have been lost.

 20 Anaximander

Anaximander
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0610 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

Greek philosopher Anaximander is remembered as the first philosopher who penned down his studies. He was a pioneer in the field of cosmology and was the first to draw a model of the Earth, describing it as a cylinder. Among his other works is his very own world map.

 21 Epictetus

Epictetus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0055 AD
Birthplace: Hierapolis, Phrygia, 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.

 22 Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0215 AD

 23 Saint Cyril

Saint Cyril
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0826 AD
Birthplace: Thessaloniki, Greece
Died: February 4, 0869

 24 Hipparchus

Hipparchus
6
Famous As: Astronomer & Mathematician
Birthdate: 0190 BC
Birthplace: Nicaea, Kingdom of Bithynia
Died: 0120 BC
In his early years in Bithynia, Hipparchus spent most of his time compiling weather records. He devoted almost his entire life to astronomical research. Remembered as the man who founded trigonometry, he also discovered the precession of the equinoxes. However, most of his written work hasn’t survived.

 25 Chrysippus

Chrysippus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0279 BC
Birthplace: Soli, Cilicia
Died: 0206 BC

Chrysippus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. A pupil of Cleanthes, Chrysippus became the head of the Stoic school after the former's death around 230 BC. Chrysippus is credited with expanding the fundamental doctrines of the school's founder, Zeno of Citium. Thanks to his expansion of the doctrines, Chrysippus is widely regarded as the Second Founder of Stoicism.

 26 Empedocles

Empedocles
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Sicily, Italy
Died: 0430 BC

Empedocles of Acragas was the man behind the proposition that there are four elements, or roots, that make up all structures of the world: air, water, earth, and fire. He also introduced the concepts of Love and Strife. His work has been summarized in the poems Purifications and On Nature.

 27 Protagoras

Protagoras
4
Famous As: Greek Philosopher
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, Thrace, Ancient Greece
Died: 0420 BC
Best known for the saying “Man is the measure of all things,” Greek philosopher Protagoras gained immense fame and respect as a teacher and a Sophist based in Athens. Ancient legends claim he was accused of impiety, following which his books were destroyed and he was exiled.

 28 Anaxagoras

Anaxagoras
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0510 BC
Birthplace: Clazomenae
Died: 0428 BC

Greek philosopher Anaxagoras discovered the real cause of eclipses. A Greek from the Persian empire, he might have been part of the Persian army that invaded Greece in the Greco-Persian Wars. He later settled in Athens but was forced out for not believing in the sun and moon gods.

 29 Arrian

Arrian
3
Famous As: Greek historian
Birthdate: 0086 AD
Birthplace: Nicomedia
Died: 0146 AD

 30 Theophrastus

Theophrastus
4
Famous As: Plant biologist
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: Eresos
Died: 0287 BC

 31 Megasthenes

Megasthenes
4
Famous As: Historian, Diplomat
Birthdate: 0350 BC
Birthplace: Anatolia
Died: 0290 BC

 32 Pytheas

Pytheas
3
Famous As: Geographer, Explorer
Birthdate: 0350 BC
Birthplace: Marseille, France
Died: 0285 BC

Pytheas was a Greek geographer, astronomer, and explorer. Best known for his legendary voyage to northwestern Europe, Pytheas was the first scientific visitor to witness and describe polar ice, the Arctic, and the Germanic and Celtic tribes. He is also the first explorer to see and describe the midnight sun.   

 33 Apollonius of Tyana

Apollonius of Tyana
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0015 AD
Birthplace: Tyana, Turkey
Died: 0100 AD

 34 Gorgias

Gorgias
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0483 BC
Birthplace: Lentini, Italy
Died: 0375 BC

 35 Andreas Papandreou

Andreas Papandreou
3
Famous As: Politician, Economist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 5, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chios
Died: June 23, 1996

 36 Antisthenes

Antisthenes
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0445 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0365 AD

 37 Anna Comnena

Anna Comnena
3
Famous As: Greek Princess & Scholar
Birthdate: December 1, 1083
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died: 1153 AD
Daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, Anna Komnene is best remembered for writing Alexiad, a genuine treatise of the life and times of her father. She had written the book while imprisoned at the Kecharitomene Monastery, after a failed attempt to depose her brother, John II Komnenos.

 38 Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: June 30, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

 39 Leucippus

Leucippus
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Miletus
Died: 0370 BC

 40 Dionysius the Areopagite

Dionysius the Areopagite
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

 41 Valentinus

Valentinus
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0100 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0160 AD

 42 Quintus Curtius Rufus

Quintus Curtius Rufus
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Greece
Died: 0053 AD

 43 Pyrrho

Pyrrho
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0360 BC
Birthplace: Elis, Greece
Died: 0270 BC

 44 Hecataeus of Miletus

Hecataeus of Miletus
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0550 AD
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0476 AD

 45 Diotima of Mantinea

Diotima of Mantinea
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Mantineia, Greece

 46 Posidonius

Posidonius
3
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: 0135 BC
Birthplace: Apamea, Syria
Died: 0051 BC

 47 Gregory Palamas

Gregory Palamas
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1296 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople, Turkey
Died: November 14, 1359

 48 Georgios Papandreou

Georgios Papandreou
3
Famous As: Politician, Economist, Diplomat, Lawyer
Birthdate: February 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kalentzi
Died: November 1, 1968

 49 Cleopatra the Alchemist

Cleopatra the Alchemist
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 50 Epimenides

Epimenides
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Knossos, Greece