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.
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.
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.
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.
Greek king Pyrrhus, son of prince Aeacides, belonged to the Hellenistic period and ruled Epirus. His destructive losses in the wars that he fought gave rise to the term “Pyrrhic victory.” He fought against Rome in the Pyrrhic War and later died while fighting a street war in Argos.
Seleucus I Nicator was Alexander the Great’s right hand in his fight against Porus in India. He became the Babylonian governor after Alexander’s death and eventually formed the Seleucid empire. His conflict with Chandragupta Maurya ended with a marital alliance, and he secured his ties by sending Megasthenes to Pataliputra.
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.
Hephaestion was an ancient Macedonian army general and nobleman who served under Alexander the Great. A close ally of Alexander the Great, Hephaestion shared all his secrets with the former and their relationship has been compared to that of Patroclus and Achilles. Hephaestion has been portrayed in many films such as the 2004 epic historical drama film Alexander.
After losing his father as a child, Alcibiades came under the tutelage of Socrates. He was known for his shifting allegiance, siding with Athens first, and then Sparta, during the Peloponnesian War. He was known to win wars more with his deceptive means than his military tactics.
Maria Amalia Mercouri was a Greek actress, singer, politician, activist, and socialist. Mercouri had a profound acting career and is remembered for her portrayal of Ilya in the film Never on Sunday, which earned her a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award. As a politician, Mercouri served as the Minister of Culture and Sports, the first female to do so.
Alexis Tsipras is a Greek politician who served as the Prime Minister of the country from 2015 to 2019. From 2018 to 2019, he served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The current Leader of the Opposition, Alexis Tsipras has also been serving as the president of Syriza, the left wing political party in Greece . In 2015, he was named among 100 most influential people by Time.
Miltiades the Younger was a Greek Athenian military leader who served as an eponymous archon of Athens from 524 to 523 BC. He is best remembered for playing a major role in the Battle of Marathon against the invading Persian force. The battle resulted in the crushing defeat of the Persians and gave rise to the famous Greco-Persian Wars.
Irene of Athens ruled over the Eastern Roman Empire between 797 and 802. She started her political career by becoming the empress consort to Emperor Leo IV. She then served as regent during her son Constantine VI's rule before co-ruling along with him. In 797, she organized a conspiracy to gouge out her son's eyes to become the sole ruler.
Yanis Varoufakis is a Greek-Australian economist and politician who served as minister of finance for a few months in 2015 under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Essex. He began a career in academic economics before entering politics. Along with US Senator Bernie Sanders, he launched the Progressive International.
An ancient Athenian legislator, Cleisthenes is often referred to as the father of Athenian democracy. He not only served as the chief archon, or the top-most magistrate, of Athens, but also transformed the Athenian constitution and made it more democratic. He is believed to have introduced ostracism as a punishment.
Eleuthérios Venizélos was a Greek statesman who played a prominent role in the Greek national liberation movement. He served as the Prime Minister of Greece on eight occasions between 1910 and 1933. As a politician, he contributed immensely to the expansion of Greece. Eleuthérios Venizelos is often called the Maker of Modern Greece due to his influence on the country.
Lysander was a Spartan political and military leader. He is best remembered for destroying the Athenian fleet in 405 BC at the Battle of Aegospotami, forcing Athens to surrender. His actions helped bring the Peloponnesian War to an end. Lysander went on to play an important role in Sparta's domination of Greece until his death in 395 BC.
Greek judge Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who specializes in environmental and constitutional law, became the first female president of Greece back in 2020. Previously, she has also been the first female president of the Council of State, the highest administrative court in her country. She also regularly contributes to various academic journals.
Georgios Papadopoulos was a Greek soldier remembered for leading a military coup d'état in Greece in 1967, which led to a regime of the colonels that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. After seizing power in 1967, Papadopoulos remained Greece's dictator until 1973, when he was overthrown by Dimitrios Ioannidis. Papadopoulos also played an important role during World War II.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is a Greek politician who has been serving as the president of the New Democracy political party since 2016. The current Prime Minister of Greece, Mitsotakis also served as the Minister of Administrative Reform between 2013 and 2015. He is also one of the most controversial leaders, having been associated with the Siemens Greek bribery scandal in 2007.
Ioannis Kapodistrias was a Greek statesman who served as the first Governor of Greece from 1828 to 1831. One of the most distinguished diplomats and politicians of Europe, Kapodistrias had served as the Foreign Minister of Russia from 1816 to 1822. Considered an architect of Greek independence, Ioannis Kapodistrias is also regarded as the founder of the modern Greek state.
Greek military general Ioannis Metaxas also served as the prime minister of Greece during what is known as a dictatorial regime. He had been part of the Balkan Wars. Though appointed the country’s minister of army affairs initially, he began his dictatorship, or the Fourth of August Regime, on August 4, 1936.
Theodoros Kolokotronis was a Greek general and the greatest leader of the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Ottoman Empire. He is credited with defeating Mahmud Dramali Pasha's Ottoman army at the Battle of Dervenakia, which is widely regarded as Kolokotronis' greatest success. Today, Theodoros Kolokotronis is ranked among the most important figures in the Greek War of Independence.
Cleon was an Athenian general who played an important role during the Peloponnesian War. Although he is often portrayed in a negative way, Cleon is best remembered for his compassion towards the poorer citizens which helped increase his popularity; he increased the pay for jury work, providing a livelihood for many poor Athenians.
The king of Thrace and the successor of Alexander the Great, Lysimachus was initially a Macedonian general and one of the bodyguards of Alexander during his invasion in Asia. On the insistence of his third wife, Arsinoe II, he executed his eldest son, Agathocles, but was eventually killed by Seleucus.
Epaminondas was a Greek statesman who is credited with transforming the Ancient Greek city-state and reshaping the political map of Greece. Epaminondas, who served as the general of Thebes, was an influential military figure who invented many important battlefield tactics. His actions led to the defeat of the Spartans and the liberation of the Messenian helots.
Nikolaos Michaloliakos is a Greek politician best known for founding and leading the far-right political party Golden Dawn. A convicted criminal, Michaloliakos and 67 other political leaders from his party, were found guilty by the Athens Appeals Court of leading a criminal organization.
Parmenion was a Macedonian military general who served under Alexander the Great and Philip II of Macedon. Parmenion played an important role in the expansion of Macedonia under Philip II. He also fought alongside Alexander the Great in several battles such as the Battle of the Granicus, Battle of Issus, and Battle of Gaugamela.
New Democracy member Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who has served as the president of Greece, is also a former minister of the interior. Born to a teacher, he initially studied law and then served in the Hellenic Army, before eventually joining the faculty of law at the University of Athens.
While he initially aspired to be a civil engineer, Alexis Georgoulis later joined a drama school. He soared to fame as an actor with the sitcom You Are My Mate and later appeared in films such as Oxygono. He became an international sensation with the film My Life in Ruins.
George Papandreou is a Greek politician who is currently serving as the President of the Socialist International (SI). From 2009 to 2011, he served as the Prime Minister of Greece. He has also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs on two occasions.
Brasidas was a Spartan military officer who achieved popularity during the first decade of the famous Peloponnesian War. He fought in the battle of Pylos and Amphipolis and died in the Second Battle of Amphipolis before leading his troop to a spectacular victory in the battle.
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.
Perdiccas was a general who served under Alexander the Great. He was part of Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia, where he played an important role. After Alexander the Great's death, Perdiccas served as regent of the Macedonian empire and became the supreme commander of the imperial army.
Ivan Savvidis is a Russian-Greek politician and businessman best known for his close association with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A former member of the Russian Parliament, Savvidis is currently one of Russia's wealthiest men.
Former Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras was born into an affluent family and had even won the Greek Teen Tennis Championship at 17. He boasts of a Harvard MBA and, as a New Democracy party member, has held several ministerial positions. He had founded the short-lived political party Political Spring.
Cimon was an Athenian statesman in mid-5th century BC Greece. Also a general, Cimon played an important role in building the dominant Athenian maritime empire. His military prowess exhibited in various battles, including the Battle of Salamis and the Battle of the Eurymedon river, established him as a celebrated military hero.
Aristides was an Athenian statesman remembered for his impact as a general in the Persian War. Aristides has been mentioned by the ancient historian Herodotus as "the best and most honourable man in Athens." A statue of Aristides stands tall at Louisburg Square, Boston, USA. Charles Brocas' 1806 painting of Aristides is preserved at the Musée des Augustins in France.
Ptolemy III Euergetes served as the third pharaoh of Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty from 246 to 222 BC. He is credited with helping the Ptolemaic Kingdom reach the peak of its economic and military power during his reign.
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.
Agesilaus II reigned as the king of Sparta from 399 to 358 BC. Widely regarded as the most prominent king in the Spartan history, Agesilaus II played a vital role during the Spartan hegemony period that followed the Peloponnesian War. Although he was small in stature, Agesilaus' guerrilla warfare tactics and his bravery was seldom questioned during his time.
Konstantinos Karamanlis had been a 2-time president and 4-time prime minister of Greece. A qualified lawyer, he stepped into politics with the Populist Party and held important cabinet posts, such as that of the minister of labor. His efforts led to Greece joining the European Economic Community.
Critias was an ancient Athenian author and political figure. He is best remembered as one of the leading members of the infamous pro-Spartan oligarchy, The Thirty Tyrants. As an author, Critias is remembered for his prose works, elegies, and tragedies.
Herodes Atticus was an Athenian philanthropic magnate and rhetorician who taught rhetoric to Roman emperors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius. Also among his students were Polydeukes, Memnon, and Achilles. Widely regarded as one of the most popular personalities of the Antonine Period, Herodes Atticus also served as a Roman senator.