Famous Greek Writers

Believe it or not, much of what we read today was first evolved by Greeks. Yes, Greek writers did not just plainly write but were the initiators of genres in the world of literature. Ancient Greek writers exerted a strong influence on western society. Their works and write-ups are such that till date their impact on modern culture is quite evident. And if you don’t believe us still, read on. Homer’s ‘Illiad’ and ‘Odyssey’, the two epic poems are generally regarded as the oldest work of western literature. Do you know that even in the present times, Greeks do not consider themselves educated unless they read his works? Sophocles tragic plays changed the way theatre functioned. He, through his innovative style, added dramatic value to plays by abolishing the trilogy form. Every doctor today, before commencing his duties in the society, takes up the Hippocratic Oath to serve unconditionally to the patients and the sufferers. Did you know that the doctoral ethics mentioned in the oath was a compilation of work of a Greek writer Hippocratic and thus the name, Hippocratic Oath? To know more fascinating facts about famous Greek writers, their life and their works, read through this segment.

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 
Homer
(Author)

Homer
10
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.

 2 
Aeschylus
(Tragedian)

Aeschylus
10
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.

 3 
Sophocles
(Tragedian)

Sophocles
5
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.

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 4 
Sappho
(Poet)

Sappho
4
Birthdate: 0630 BC
Birthplace: Lesbos, Greece
Died: 0570 BC
Sappho was a lyric poet from Lesbos, in the 6th-7th century B.C. Known as the “Tenth Muse,” she wrote the Ode to Aphrodite and the Tithonus poem. Though her sexuality is still debated, she gave rise to the terms “sapphic” and “lesbian,” used to denote love and desire between women. 
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 5 
Euripides
(Playwright)

Euripides
5
Birthdate: 0480 BC
Birthplace: Salamis, Greece
Died: 0406 BC

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.

 6 
Aristophanes
(Playwright)

Aristophanes
5
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.

 7 

Arianna Huffington
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Athens, Greece

Arianna Huffington is a Greek-American author, businesswoman, and syndicated columnist. She is credited with co-founding the popular news aggregator and blog, The Huffington Post. She is also the founder of Thrive Global, for which she also serves as the CEO. She has been featured on lists, such as Time magazine's 100 most influential people and Forbes magazine's Most Powerful Women.

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 8 
Aesop
(Fabulist)

Aesop
4
Birthdate: 0620 BC
Birthplace: Delphi, Greece
Died: 0564 BC

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.

 9 
Nikos Kazantzakis
(One of the Most Important Figures of Modern Greek Literature, Best Known for His Work 'Zorba the Greek')

Nikos Kazantzakis
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Heraklion, Greece
Died: October 26, 1957

Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer whose works earned him nine nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Regarded as a giant of modern Greek literature, Kazantzakis achieved international fame when his works, such as The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba and The Last Temptation of Christ, were adapted into feature films. 

 10 
Hesiod
(Poet)

Hesiod
4
Birthdate: 0750 BC
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.

 11 
Empedocles
(Philosopher)

Empedocles
3
Birthdate: 0494 BC
Birthplace: Agrigento, Italy
Died: 0443 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.

 12 
Pindar
(Poet)

Pindar
3
Birthdate: 0518 BC
Birthplace: Cynoscephalae, Boiotia
Died: 0438 BC
Pindar was an influential lyric poet from ancient Greece. Legend has it that when a fellow poet, Corinna, had advised Pindar to use less mythical elements in his poems, he had called her a pig. His “honey-like” verses were attributed to a bee's sting in his early days. 

Constantine P. Cavafy
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1863
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: April 29, 1933

Widely regarded as one of the most distinguished Greek poets of the 20th century, Constantine Peter Cavafy became known for his own individual style. During his lifetime, he preferred to share his work through local newspapers and magazines only. His first book was published two years after his death. He also worked as a journalist and a civil servant.

 14 
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.

 15 
Thespis
(Poet, Actor)

Thespis
3
Birthdate: 0501 AD
Birthplace: Icaria, Greece

Greek poet Thespis is not just believed to be the first actor of Greek drama but also the inventor of tragedy. He is also said to have introduced dialogues into choral tragedies and was the first to stage a Greek tragedy at the City Dionysia.

 16 
Diogenes Laertius
(Biographer)

Diogenes Laertius
3
Birthdate: 0180 AD
Birthplace: ancient Rome
Died: 0240 AD

 17 

Luke the Evangelist
4
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Antioch, Turkey
Died: February 29, 0084

Widely considered as the author of the two books of the New Testament, Saint Luke the Evangelist contributed far more to the New Testament than any other author and had a huge impact in the development of Christianity. He was also the companion of St. Paul the Apostle, a physician as well as the patron saint of artists and physicians.

 18 
Menander
(Dramatist)

Menander
3
Birthdate: 0342 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0290 BC

Princess Marie Bonaparte
5
Birthdate: July 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Cloud, French Third Republic
Died: September 21, 1962

 20 
Isocrates
(Orator, writer)

Isocrates
3
Birthdate: 0436 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0338 BC

 21 

Archilochus
3
Birthdate: 0680 BC
Birthplace: Paros
Died: 0645 BC

Archaic Greek poet Archilochus is remembered for his elegiac and lyric poetry. Fragments of his poetry that are still available offer significant descriptions of the solar eclipse of 648 BCE, the events leading to the Trojan war, and Lydian king Gyges’s riches. Some even compare him to Homer and Hesiod.

 22 

Simonides of Ceos
3
Birthdate: 0556 BC
Birthplace: Ioulis
Died: 0468 BC

Known for his lyric poems, Simonides of Ceos is also known as the Greek Voltaire. Often compared to legends such as Pindar, Simonides served in the court of Peisistratids and was also later patronized by Scopas and other significant figures. His poetry often described battles, such as the Persian Wars.  

 23 

Nâzım Hikmet
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thessaloniki
Died: June 3, 1963

Turkish poet and author Nâzım Hikmet was chiefly known as a Romantic Communist. After being jailed in Turkey for his political activities, he spent the rest of his life in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. He redefined Turkish literature with his free verse and poems such as Şeyh Bedreddin destanı.

 24 

Theocritus
3
Birthdate: 0300 BC
Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy
Died: 0260 BC

Best known for his idylls such as Thyrsis and Thalysia, Greek poet Theocritus hailed from Sicily. Remembered as the pioneer of pastoral poetry, he described realistic rural ways of life and inspired later pastoral poems and elegies by legends such as John Milton, P. B. Shelley, and Matthew Arnold.

 25 
Nicholas Gage
(Writer, Journalist, Screenwriter)

Nicholas Gage
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Epirus

 26 
Christos Papadimitriou
(Writer, Mathematician, Computer scientist, University teacher)

Christos Papadimitriou
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens

One of the world’s most prominent computer science theorists, Christos Papadimitriou is also a professor at Columbia University. Best known for his research on computational complexity, he has also contributed to areas such as the theory of evolution, game theory, robotics, and economics. He has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, too.

 27 
George Seferis
(Poet, Diplomat)

George Seferis
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1900
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Urla, Turkey
Died: September 20, 1971

George Seferis was a Greek diplomat and poet. A Nobel laureate, Seferis is widely regarded as one of the most prominent Greek poets of the 20th century. A well-known and respected diplomat, George Seferis served as the Ambassador to the UK from 1957 to 1962.

 28 

Odysseas Elytis
2
Birthdate: November 2, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Heraklion, Greece
Died: March 18, 1996

Odysseas Elytis was a Greek poet, translator, and essayist. He is widely regarded as one of the most popular and important exponents of romantic modernism of his generation. He is also one of the most celebrated poets of the latter half of the 20th century. Odysseas Elytis was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979.

 29 

Cleopatra the Alchemist
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 30 
Alcaeus
(Former lyric poet from the Greek island of Lesbos who is credited with inventing the Alcaic stanza)

Alcaeus
2
Birthdate: 0620 BC
Birthplace: Mitilini, Greece
Died: 0580 BC

Alcaeus, also known as Alcaeus of Mytilene, was an important lyric poet from the island of Lesbos in Greece. Alcaeus is remembered for his invention of the Alcaic stanza, a lyrical meter. Alcaeus was named among nine lyric poets included in the canonical list by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. Alcaeus' work has influenced the works of poets like Horace.

 31 
Critias
(Ancient Athenian Leading Role in the Pro-Spartan Govt.)

Critias
2
Birthdate: 0460 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0403 AD

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.

 32 
Anacreon
(Poet)

Anacreon
2
Birthdate: 0582 BC
Birthplace: Teos, Greek
Died: 0485 BC

 33 
Savitri Devi
(Spy Who Served the Axis Powers by Committing Acts of Espionage Against the ‘Allied Forces in India')

Savitri Devi
0
Birthdate: September 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: October 22, 1982

Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

 34 
Berossus
(Writer)

Berossus
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: -

Berossus was a Babylonian writer, astronomer, and a priest of Bel Marduk. Berossus, who wrote in the Koine Greek language prevalent during the Hellenistic period, is claimed to have invented the semi-circular sundial by popular Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius.

 35 
Arion
(Poet)

Arion
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Greece

Often considered a mythical figure, Arion was a Greek poet and musician from Lesbos, and is considered to be the inventor of the dithyrambic form of poetry. Mythical versions state he was the son of Cyclon, or of Poseidon, and was saved from drowning by dolphins who were mesmerized by his music.

 36 
Aratus
(Poet)

Aratus
2
Birthdate: 0315 BC
Birthplace: Soli
Died: 0240 BC

Aratus was a Greek didactic poet whose major works have not survived, although some remain like his impressive hexameter poem Phenomena. Aratus, who described constellations and celestial phenomena in his work, was hugely popular in the Roman and Greek world. His works attracted younger writers, who in turn produced a large number of translations and commentaries based on Aratus' work.

 37 

Rigas Feraios
2
Birthdate: 1757 AD
Birthplace: Velestino, Greece
Died: June 24, 1798

Rigas Feraios was a Greek writer, revolutionary, and political thinker. A front runner of the Greek War of Independence, Feraios is revered as one of the most important national heroes in Greece. Rigas Feraios is also credited with kindling the Greeks' love of freedom.

 38 
Flavius Philostratus
(Greek author)

Flavius Philostratus
2
Birthdate: 0170 AD
Birthplace: Lemnos
Died: 0250 AD

 39 
Tyrtaeus
(Poet)

Tyrtaeus
2
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Athens

Tyrtaeus was a Greek elegiac poet best remembered for his works written during a time of crises in the city of Sparta: a civic unrest—which he later mentioned in his poem Eunomia—and the Second Messenian War, which saw him play a crucial role in successfully egging on Spartans to fight for their city until their death.

 40 

Sanchuniathon
2
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Phoenice

 41 
Lysias
(Orator, logographer)

Lysias
2
Birthdate: 0445 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0380 AD

 42 

Dio Chrysostom
2
Birthdate: 0040 AD
Birthplace: Bursa, Turkey
Died: 0115 AD

Greek orator and philosopher Dio Chrysostom is best remembered for his political discourses. Exiled from Bithynia and Italy for political differences, he lived the life of a vagrant for 14 years, and got back to be a philosopher after emperor Domitian’s murder. His works contain orations for Trajan and essays on slavery.

 43 
Agathon
(Tragedy writer)

Agathon
2
Birthdate: 0448 BC
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0401 BC

 44 

Theognis of Megara
2
Birthdate: 0570 AD
Birthplace: Megara, Greece
Died: 0485 AD

Theognis of Megara was a Greek lyric poet best remembered for his gnomic poetry featuring practical advice about life and ethical maxims. He was the first known Greek poet to worry about the eventual fate and existence of his own work. Theognis of Megara's work has attracted and influenced several modern-day scientists and scholars like Charles Darwin and Friedrich Nietzsche.

 45 
Phaedrus
(Fabulist)

Phaedrus
2
Birthdate: 0015 AD
Birthplace: Pydna

 46 
Aristoxenus
(Philosopher)

Aristoxenus
2
Birthdate: 0360 AD
Birthplace: Taranto, Italy
Died: 0300 AD

 47 

Bacchylides
2
Birthdate: 0516 AD
Birthplace: Ioulis, Greece
Died: 0451 AD

Bacchylides was a Greek lyric poet whose elegant and polished lyrics led scholars of future generations to characterize them as superficial charm. Bacchylides is widely regarded as one of the last major poets to represent the more ancient tradition of lyric poetry.

 48 
Nonnus
(Greek poet)

Nonnus
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Akhmīm, Egypt

Nonnus, also known as Nonnus of Panopolis, was a Greek epic poet considered the most important of them all from the Imperial Roman era. Nonnus is credited with composing the epic poem Dionysiaca, which is one of the longest surviving works from Greco-Roman antiquity. His works seems to have greatly influenced the poets of Late Antiquity like Musaeus and Colluthus.

 49 

Vassilis Vassilikos
2
Birthdate: November 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kavala, Greece

 50 
Erinna
(Greek poet)

Erinna
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Tilos, Greece

Erinna was an ancient Greek poet who is most recognised for her poem The Distaff, a 300-line hexameter poem of lament for her childhood friend Baucis. Other than this, Erinna is also known for three epigrams which are preserved in the Greek Anthology. She is believed to have lived in the fourth century BC, most likely, on the Greek Island of Telos.