Historians

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A historian may refer to any person who is involved in the study of history of a particular period of time or any other kind of social phenomenon that has occurred in the past. Historians are regarded as the authority in affairs related to history and they may be involved in many kinds of research activities of past events. In the late 19th century, the profession of a historian became one of the established professions, after many universities were delving into research work. It is very important for a historian to treat all the facts that he procures with a certain degree of objectivity and consider counter evidences that he comes across. Historians hold a significant and important position in the society as they play the role of telling the world the truth. Historians may also be involved in the research of already established facts to ascertain truth or provide other sources of information. The job of a historian is versatile and dynamic one as their work can provide many pieces of information that is hitherto unknown to the world. This collection of biographies with trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history will provide detailed information on famous historians.
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 1 
Niccolò Machiavelli
(Diplomat & Philosopher Best Known for His Political Treatise 'The Prince')
Niccolò Machiavelli
15
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 22, 1527
Italian Renaissance philosopher, diplomat, and author Niccolò Machiavelli is remembered for his work The Prince. He believed that the end or the intention behind any action justifies the action. He gave rise to the term Machiavellianism, which signifies the use of deceit and treachery to achieve one’s goals. 
 2 
Voltaire
(French Historian and Philosopher Known for His Wit and His Pointed Social Critique)
Voltaire
6
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.
 3 
Herodotus
(The Father of History)
Herodotus
10
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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 4 
David Hume
(Best Known for His Highly Influential System of Philosophical Empiricism, Scepticism and Naturalism)
David Hume
6
Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1776

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.

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 5 
Josephus
(Historian)
Josephus
17
Birthdate: 0037 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0100 AD

Josephus was a Romano-Jewish historian. He played a major role during the First Jewish–Roman War, where he fought against the Romans as head of Jewish forces. However, he surrendered to Roman forces in 67 CE. As a historian, Josephus' works provide the first-known source for stories considered Biblical history. These stories include the narration of the Siege of Masada

 6 
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.

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 7 
Ibn Khaldun
(Sociologist, Philosopher, and Historian)
Ibn Khaldun
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1332
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tunis, Tunisia
Died: March 16, 1406

Ibn Khaldun was an Arab scholar, philosopher, social scientist, and historian. He is often credited with founding the modern disciplines of sociology, historiography, economics, and demography. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the medieval period.

 8 
Thucydides
(Athenian Historian and General)
Thucydides
6
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.
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 9 
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.

 10 
Livy
(Roman Historian)
Livy
4
Birthdate: 0059 BC
Birthplace: Padua, Italy
Died: 0017 BC

Livy was a Roman historian. His seminal work, Ab Urbe Condita, covers the history of Rome through several centuries. A respected figure in society, he was on friendly terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He wrote during the reign of Emperor Augustus, who was reportedly his friend. Livy was married and had at least two children. 

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 11 
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.

 12 
Strabo
(Geographer, Philosopher, Historian)
Strabo
4
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.

 13 
Edward Gibbon
(Historian)
Edward Gibbon
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

Eighteenth-century historian and author Edward Gibbon is best remembered for his 6-volume historical work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a narrative that charted events from the 2nd century to the Fall of Constantinople. He had also been an MP, representing Lymington and Liskeard.

 14 
Arnold J. Toynbee
8
Birthdate: April 14, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: October 22, 1975
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 15 
Max Weber
(Sociologist)
Max Weber
4
Birthdate: April 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Erfurt, Germany
Died: June 14, 1920

Max Weber was a German historian, political economist, jurist, and sociologist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important theorists, Weber's ideas had a profound influence on social research and social theory. Although he did not see himself as a sociologist, Weber is often counted among the fathers of sociology alongside Émile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx.

 16 
Terry Jones
9
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 
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 17 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
(Novelist & Writer Best Known for His Work 'The Gulag Archipelago')
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kislovodsk, Russia
Died: August 3, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, philosopher, historian, and political prisoner. An outspoken critic of Communism and the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn helped raise awareness of the Gulag, a government agency that oversaw forced labor camps set up in accordance with Vladimir Lenin's order. His non-fiction text The Gulag Archipelago was a highly influential work and sold millions of copies.

 18 
Lucy Worsley
(British Historian Best Known as a Presenter of BBC Television Series on Historical Topics)
Lucy Worsley
6
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England

British historian and author Lucy Worsley is not just a curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces, but is also a famed TV presenter, popular for her work on series such as A Very British Murder and If Walls Could Talk. Suffering from a speech disorder, she pronounces “r” in a peculiar way.

 19 
Sima Qian
(Chinese Historian and Astrologer)
Sima Qian
4
Birthdate: 0145 AD
Birthplace: Hejin, Yuncheng, China
Died: 0086 AD

The first noted Chinese historian, Sima Qian is best remembered for authoring the history of China titled Shiji. The son of Sima Tan, a court historian of the Han dynasty, Qian traveled widely and was also responsible for modifying the Chinese calendar. He was later castrated for defaming Emperor Wu.

 20 
Walter Scott
(Novelist and Poet known for his Works Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Lady of the Lake)
Walter Scott
5
Birthdate: August 15, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

 21 
Peter Weller
(Actor and Director)
Peter Weller
6
Birthdate: June 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States
Peter Weller is best known as Robocop from the film RoboCop and its sequel. He also earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1993 short film Partners. He starred in the series 24, hosted a History Channel show, and voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman in the miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
 22 
Anthony Blunt
(Art Historian, University Teacher)
Anthony Blunt
5
Birthdate: September 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
Died: March 26, 1983
Art historian Anthony Blunt is best remembered as part of the spy group Cambridge Five. His confession, revealed after years, stripped him of his knighthood. An expert on the works of Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin, he had also authored works such as Art and Architecture in France 1500–1700.
 23 
Eric Hobsbawm
(Historian)
Eric Hobsbawm
5
Birthdate: June 9, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: October 1, 2012
 24 
Alexis de Tocqueville
(Historian Known for His Works 'Democracy in America' & 'The Old Regime' & 'The Revolution')
Alexis de Tocqueville
5
Birthdate: July 29, 1805
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 16, 1859

French diplomat and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville is best remembered for his written works The Old Regime and the Revolution and Democracy in America. He was part of French politics, primarily during the July Monarchy and the Second Republic. He had been the minister of foreign affairs briefly.

 25 
Ian Kershaw
(Best Known for His Non-fiction Work About Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regim)
Ian Kershaw
5
Birthdate: April 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oldham, England, United Kingdom
 26 
Leopold von Ranke
(German Historian and a Founder of Modern Source-Based History)
Leopold von Ranke
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wiehe, Roßleben-Wiehe, Germany
Died: May 23, 1886

Leopold von Ranke was a German historian who had a major influence on Western historiography. A respected historian, Ranke is credited with founding modern source-based history. When he was ennobled in 1865, honors poured in from several historians and scholars across the world.

 27 
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
(Literary Critic and Scholar Who Became Popular for His Pioneering Theories of African and African-American Literature)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
6
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia, United States

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, historian, professor, filmmaker, and public intellectual. He is currently serving as the director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Over the years Gates has been honored with several prestigious awards including the National Humanities Medal. In 1997, he was named in Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans list.

 28 
Jerome
(Christian Priest Best Known for His Translation of Most of the Bible into Latin)
Jerome
4
Birthdate: 0342 AD
Birthplace: Štrigova, Croatia
Died: September 30, 0420
Latin priest Jerome of Stridon, also known as Saint Jerome, is remembered for translating the Bible into Latin, which came to be known as the Vulgate. Named a Doctor of the Church, he was a secretary to Pope Damascus I and predominantly preached about how women ascetics should behave.
 29 
George McGovern
(United States Senator from South Dakota (1963 - 1981))
George McGovern
10
Birthdate: July 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avon, South Dakota, United States
Died: October 21, 2012

Historian George McGovern had been the U.S. senator from South Dakota. He held important positions related to food, agriculture, and nutrition, too, and was named a World Food Prize laureate for his efforts in reducing world hunger. He had also advocated for the end of the Vietnam War.

 30 
Joe Medicine Crow
(Native American Writer, Historian and War Chief of the Crow Nation)
Joe Medicine Crow
6
Birthdate: October 27, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lodge Grass, Montana, United States
Died: April 3, 2016

The last Crow war chief, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow was part of the Whistling Water clan of Native Americans. The legendary indigenous hero was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A published historian, too, he is remembered for his research on the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

 31 
Fernand Braudel
(French Historian and Leader of the Annales School)
Fernand Braudel
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Luméville-en-Ornois, France
Died: November 27, 1985

Fernand Braudel was a French historian who led a group of historians who were associated with the Annales School. Braudel is credited with popularizing the school in France. As the leader of the school during the 1950s and 1960s, Braudel had a major influence on historical writings around the world. He is also counted among the forefathers of world-systems theory.

 32 
Shelby Foote
(Writer)
Shelby Foote
5
Birthdate: November 17, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Greenville, Mississippi, United States
Died: June 27, 2005
 33 
Bartolomé de las Casas
(The First Resident Bishop of ‘Chiapas’, and the First Officially Appointed "Protector of the Indians")
Bartolomé de las Casas
4
Birthdate: November 11, 1484
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: July 18, 1566
Known for works such as Historia de las Indias, Spanish historian Bartolomé de las Casas is remembered as the first to have focused on the exploitation of the indigenous community in the Americas. His life-long struggle to end slavery brought about significant changes in the treatment of colonized people.
 34 
Suetonius
(Secretary, historian)
Suetonius
5
Birthdate: 0069 AD
Birthplace: Rome
Died: 0122 AD

Suetonius was a Roman historian who lived and worked during the early Imperial era of the Roman Empire. Many of his works have been lost, and the most important of his surviving works is a set of biographies of 12 successive Roman rulers, from Julius Caesar to Domitian. He was a close friend of senator Pliny the Younger.

 35 
David McCullough
(American Historian & Author)
David McCullough
4
Birthdate: July 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: August 7, 2022

David McCullough was an American historian, author, narrator, and lecturer. Over the course of his illustrious career, McCullough received two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, and two Francis Parkman Prizes among other prestigious awards. In 2006, he was honored with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also received over 40 honorary degrees.

 36 
Geoffrey of Monmouth
(British cleric)
Geoffrey of Monmouth
4
Birthdate: 1095 AD
Birthplace: Monmouth, Wales
Died: 1155 AD

English bishop and chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth is best remembered for his iconic work Historia regum Britanniae, which introduced the character King Arthur in literature. His Latin poem Vita Merlini, written in hexameters, is based on the Celtic legend of Merlin. A lot of his so-called historical treatises seem to be fabricated.

 37 
Robert Osborne
(Actor, Television actor, Biographer, Film actor, Historian, Journalist, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Film producer)
Robert Osborne
7
Birthdate: May 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colfax
Died: March 6, 2017

Best known for his over two-decade-long stint as a Turner Classic Movies host, Robert Osborne also gained fame for his penning The Official History of the Academy Awards and the National Film Book Award-winning 50 Golden Years of Oscar. A qualified journalist, he also wrote columns for The Hollywood Reporter.

 38 
Victor Davis Hanson
(One of America’s Best Known and Most Prolific Historians)
Victor Davis Hanson
6
Birthdate: September 5, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fowler, California, United States

Historian and academic Victor Davis Hanson is best known for his opinions on warfare and politics in publications such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He teaches at the California State University and Stanford's Hoover Institution. His academic interests include military history and classics.

 39 
Stephen Jay Gould
(Paleontologist and Evolutionary Biologist Known for His 'Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium' & Book ‘The Mismeasure of Man’)
Stephen Jay Gould
5
Birthdate: September 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayside, New York, United States
Died: May 20, 2002

Stephen Jay Gould was an American evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science. One of the most widely read and influential authors of popular science, Gould was named a Living Legend in April 2000 by the US Library of Congress. He is also counted among the most frequently cited scientists, as far as evolutionary theory is concerned.

 40 
Sarah Vowell
(Author of Seven Nonfiction Books on American History and Culture)
Sarah Vowell
7
Birthdate: December 27, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States

Bestselling author and essayist Sarah Vowell is known for her expertise in American history and her books such as Assassination Vacation and Unfamiliar Fishes. She is also a regular on the radio program This American Life and has voiced Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.

 41 
Howard Zinn
(American Historian, Playwright, Philosopher and World War II Veteran)
Howard Zinn
10
Birthdate: August 24, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 27, 2010

Born into a Jewish working-class, immigrant family in Brooklyn, Howard Zinn was initially dragged into communism. He was part of the U.S. Army during World War II and later established himself as a historian. Of his many books, the most popular has been A People's History of the United States.

 42 
E. P. Thompson
(British Historian, Writer and Socialist Known for His Work 'The Making of the English Working Class')
E. P. Thompson
4
Birthdate: February 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: August 28, 1993

British historian E. P. Thompson is best remembered for his iconic works such as The Making of the English Working Class. He was also a poet, a novelist, and a biographer. An anti-nuclear activist, too, he played a significant role in the formation of the New Left.  

 43 
Cato the Elder
(Historian)
Cato the Elder
4
Birthdate: 0234 BC
Birthplace: Tusculum, Italy
Died: 0149 BC

Known for writing the first authentic history of Rome in Latin, Cato disliked luxury and was against the Hellenic culture that the Scipio family propagated. His role in the destruction of Carthage is of major significance. The Roman statesman gained many enemies for his stern actions as a censor.

 44 
Suzannah Lipscomb
5
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

Apart from being a historian and an award-winning professor, Suzannah Lipscomb is also a popular author and broadcaster. Known for presenting documentary series such as Walking Tudor England and Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, she also pens columns for History Today and other publications and is a public speaker, too.

 45 
Carter Woodson
(Historian)
Carter Woodson
5
Birthdate: December 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Canton, Virginia, United States
Died: April 3, 1950

Historian Carter Woodson was is remembered for pioneering Black studies in schools and colleges. He began the Negro History Week, which is now celebrated as the Black History Month. Poverty had pushed him to work in the coal mines initially, and he couldn’t join high school before 20.

 46 
E. H. Carr
(Historian, Journalist, Diplomat, Writer, Political scientist, Professor)
E. H. Carr
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: November 3, 1982

Best known for his 14-volume book A History of Soviet Russia, British historian and diplomat E. H. Carr had been part of the Foreign Office for a long time, before stepping into the academic world. He had also been an assistant editor of The Times and a fellow of both Oxford and Cambridge.

 47 
Diodorus Siculus
(Historian)
Diodorus Siculus
4
Birthdate: 0090 BC
Birthplace: Agira
Died: 0030 BC

Diodorus Siculus was an ancient Greek historian known for writing the monumental universal history, Bibliotheca Historica. The original series consisted of 40 books, out of which 15 survive intact. In his own work, it is mentioned that he was born in Agyrium in Sicily. Exact details about his personal life are not available.  

 48 
Lola Van Wagenen
(Historian and Co-Founder of ‘Consumer Action Now’)
Lola Van Wagenen
9
Birthdate: 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Provo, Utah, United States

Lola Van Wagenen is an American historian who is credited with co-founding non-profit educational organizations like Consumer Action Now (CAN) and Clio Visualizing History, Inc. Consumer Action Now went on to establish several environmental education and consumer-oriented programs in an attempt to raise awareness about the effects of consumers' buying habits on the environment.

 49 
Bettany Hughes
(Historian)
Bettany Hughes
6
Birthdate: 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

The daughter of English actor Peter Hughes, art historian Bettany Hughes is also a popular TV personality and an author. Best known for presenting and writing documentaries and shows such as Ancient Discoveries and The Spartans, she also supports The Iris Project, which promotes Latin and Greek languages.

 50 
René Girard
(French Polymath, Historian and Philosopher of Social Science)
René Girard
4
Birthdate: December 25, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: November 4, 2015

René Girard was a French philosopher of social science, literary critic, and historian. Over the years, Girard's work has had an influence on disciplines like philosophy, anthropology, psychology, mythology, theology, economics, sociology, and cultural studies among other important disciplines. In 2006, René Girard was honored by the University of Tübingen with the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize.