Famous Greek Intellectuals & Academics

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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.
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 1 
Aristotle
(One of the Greatest Philosophers and the First Genuine Scientist in History)
Aristotle
23
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.

 2 
Plato
(Greek Philosopher and Founder of Platonist School)
Plato
16
Birthdate: May 21, 0428
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Classical Athens, Greece
Died: 0348 AD

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
(Greek Philosopher Who is Credited as the Founder of Western Philosophy)
Socrates
10
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.

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 4 
Herodotus
(The Father of History)
Herodotus
5
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
(Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy)
Diogenes Of Sinope
7
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
(First Person to Calculate the Circumference of the Earth and Earth's Axial Tilt)
Eratosthenes
7
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.

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 7 
Heraclitus
(Ancient Greek Philosopher)
Heraclitus
4
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.
 8 
Epicurus
(Ancient Greek Philosopher Who Founded 'Epicureanism;, a Highly Influential School of Philosophy)
Epicurus
5
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.

 9 
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.

 10 
Thucydides
(Athenian Historian and General)
Thucydides
4
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.
 11 
Pythagoras
(Greek Philosopher, Mathematician and Founder of Pythagoreanism)
Pythagoras
4
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Birthplace: Samos, 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.

 12 
Xenophon
(Greek Historian and Philosopher)
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.

 13 
Democritus
(Ancient Greek Pre-Socratic Philosopher)
Democritus
4
Birthdate: 0460 AD
Birthplace: Abdera, Greece
Died: 0370 AD

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.

 14 
Polybius
(Greek Historian of the Hellenistic Period)
Polybius
4
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Birthplace: Megalopolis, Greece
Died: 0118 AD

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.

 15 
Strabo
(Geographer, Philosopher, Historian)
Strabo
5
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.

 16 
Parmenides
(Philosopher)
Parmenides
4
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. 
 17 
Galen
(Physician)
Galen
4
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 
Zeno of Citium
(Philosopher)
Zeno of Citium
4
Birthdate: 0334 BC
Birthplace: Kition
Died: 0262 BC

Zeno of Citium was a Hellenistic philosopher. He is credited with founding the Stoic school of philosophy, which became famous as one of the most important schools of philosophy throughout the Hellenistic period and the Roman era. Stoicism has been revived in the current era and is referred to as Modern Stoicism.  

 19 
Thales
(Philosopher)
Thales
4
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.

 20 
Epictetus
(Greek Stoic Philosopher)
Epictetus
4
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.

 21 
Anaximander
(Philosopher)
Anaximander
4
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.

 22 
Hesiod
(Ancient Greek Poet and Philosopher)
Hesiod
4
Birthdate: 0750 AD
Birthplace: Aliağa, İzmir, Turkey

Hesiod was an ancient Greek poet who was credited by ancient authors with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars often cite his work as an important source for early economic thought, Greek mythology, archaic Greek astronomy, farming techniques, and ancient time-keeping.

 23 
Clement of Alexandria
3
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0215 AD
 24 
Hipparchus
(Astronomer & Mathematician)
Hipparchus
6
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 
Protagoras
(Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher and Rhetorical Theorist)
Protagoras
4
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, 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.
 26 
Chrysippus
(Greek Stoic Philosopher)
Chrysippus
4
Birthdate: 0279 BC
Birthplace: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Chrysippus
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.

 27 
Anaxagoras
(Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher)
Anaxagoras
4
Birthdate: 0500 AD
Birthplace: Klazomenai, Turkey
Died: 0428 AD

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.

 28 
Empedocles
(Greek Philosopher)
Empedocles
4
Birthdate: 0494 AD
Birthplace: Agrigento, Italy
Died: 0443 AD

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.

 29 
Apollonius of Tyana
(1st-Century Greek Neopythagorean Philosopher)
Apollonius of Tyana
4
Birthdate: 0003 AD
Birthplace: Tyana, Turkey
Died: 0097 AD

Apollonius of Tyana was a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher best remembered through Philostratus' work, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which was written more than a century after his death. Apollonius is said to have had extra-sensory perception and is even compared with Pythagoras and Jesus Christ. Apollonius of Tyana has even influenced contemporary literature and films among other works of art.

 30 
Pytheas
(Geographer, Explorer)
Pytheas
3
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.   

 31 
Arrian
(Greek Historian, Military Commander & Philosopher of the Roman Period)
Arrian
3
Birthdate: 0086 AD
Birthplace: İzmit, Kocaeli, Turkey
Died: 0146 AD

Greek historian Arrian is best remembered for his treatise of the campaigns of Alexander the Great, spanning over 7 volumes, titled The Anabasis of Alexander. He also penned Indica, elaborating on Nearchus’s journey to the Persian Gulf. He wrote books on hunting and philosophy, too.

 32 
Theophrastus
(Plant biologist)
Theophrastus
4
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: Eresos
Died: 0287 BC

Best known for his works Historia Plantarum, or Enquiry into Plants, and Plant Explanations, botanist Theophrastus hailed from Lesbos in Greece. Acquainted with Plato and Aristotle, he ruled the Peripatetic school for over 3 decades. He has also penned works on metaphysics, history, grammar, ethics, and physics.

 33 
Megasthenes
(Historian, Diplomat)
Megasthenes
4
Birthdate: 0350 BC
Birthplace: Anatolia
Died: 0290 BC

Megasthenes was an ancient Greek diplomat, historian, and explorer. He is remembered for his description of India in his book Indica. Although Megasthenes' Indica has since been lost, literary fragments found in the works of writers who quoted his work have been used to partially reconstruct Indica. Megasthenes is credited with being the first Western author to write about India.

 34 
Eusebius
(Greek Saint and Bishop of Caesarea Maritima)
Eusebius
4
Birthdate: 0265 AD
Birthplace: Caesarea, Israel
Died: May 30, 0339

Eusebius of Caesarea was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He was a bishop of Caesarea Maritima and a scholar of the biblical canon.  As "Father of Church History," he wrote the Ecclesiastical History and a biographical work on Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. He is regarded as one of the most learned Christians of his time.  

 35 
Appian
(Historian)
Appian
3
Birthdate: 0095 AD
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: 0165 AD

Appian was a Greek historian who flourished during the monarchy of Antoninus Pius, Trajan, and Hadrian. Appian, who held Roman citizenship, is best remembered for his principal surviving work Roman History. The work is considered important and valuable for its description of the Roman Empire, especially during the civil wars.

 36 
Anna Comnena
(Greek Princess & Scholar)
Anna Comnena
3
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.
 37 
Gorgias
(Philosopher)
Gorgias
3
Birthdate: 0483 BC
Birthplace: Lentini, Italy
Died: 0375 BC
 38 
Antisthenes
(Philosopher)
Antisthenes
3
Birthdate: 0445 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0365 AD
 39 
Vicky Pryce
(Economist)
Vicky Pryce
3
Birthdate: 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
 40 
Sextus Empiricus
(Philosopher Who Produced the Only Extant Comprehensive Account of Greek Skepticism)
Sextus Empiricus
3
Birthplace: Unknown
 41 
Dionysius the Areopagite
3
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
 42 
Leucippus
(Philosopher)
Leucippus
3
Birthplace: Greek
 43 
Valentinus
(Theologian)
Valentinus
3
Birthdate: 0100 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0160 AD
 44 
Quintus Curtius Rufus
3
Birthplace: Greece
Died: 0053 AD

Quintus Curtius Rufus remains one of the rare Roman writers whose history of Alexander the Great’s reign has survived. While the book consisted of 10 volumes, the first 2 parts were later lost. No other work refers to his book, proving he had probably hidden his work for a long time.

 45 
Pyrrho
(Greek Philosopher Who the First Greek Skeptic Philosopher and Founder of 'Pyrrhonism')
Pyrrho
3
Birthdate: 0360 AD
Birthplace: Elis, Greece
Died: 0270 AD

Pyrrho was a Greek philosopher best remembered for being the first skeptic philosopher from Greece. He is also credited with founding Pyrrhonism, a school of philosophical skepticism. His pupils went on to become famous, some of them being Nausiphanes, Hecataeus of Abdera, and Arcesilaus, to name a few.

 46 
Andreas Papandreou
(Prime minister of Greece from 1981 to 1989 and from 1993 to 1996)
Andreas Papandreou
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chios, Greece
Died: June 23, 1996

Andreas Papandreou was a Greek politician and economist. An influential political figure, Papandreou is credited with founding PASOK, a political party which he led between 1974 and 1996. Andreas Papandreou also served as the Prime Minister of Greece on two occasions. He is also remembered for popularizing turtleneck sweaters among his political supporters, causing an uproar among his political foes. 

 47 
Gregory Palamas
(Theologian)
Gregory Palamas
3
Birthdate: 1296 AD
Birthplace: Constantinople, Turkey
Died: November 14, 1359
 48 
Hecataeus of Miletus
3
Birthdate: 0550 AD
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0476 AD

Hecataeus of Miletus was a Greek geographer and historian best remembered for his composition of historical and geographical works. Regarded as the first known Greek historian, Hecataeus was one of the first classical authors to write about the Illyrian and Celtic peoples. Hecataeus of Miletus is also considered the Father of Geography.

 49 
Diotima of Mantinea
(Philosopher)
Diotima of Mantinea
3
Birthplace: Mantineia, Greece
 50 
Georgios Papandreou
(Politician, Economist, Diplomat, Lawyer)
Georgios Papandreou
3
Birthdate: February 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kalentzi
Died: November 1, 1968

Georgios Papandreou was a Greek politician who served as the Prime Minister of Greece on three occasions between 1944 and 1965. Papandreou, whose illustrious political career spanned over 50 years, is also credited with founding the Papandreou political dynasty. Georgios Papandreou was also counted among the best orators in Greece.