Osman I was the founder of the Ottoman dynasty, which ruled the Ottoman Empire between 1299 and 1922. One of the most important historical figures in Turkey, Osman I is often depicted in popular culture. Interestingly, he is also one of the least documented leaders of the Ottoman Turks, making the factual information of his biographies questionable.
Mahmud of Ghazni was the sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire on two separate occasions. He first ascended the throne upon the death of his father, Mahmud, in 1030. However, he was soon overthrown by his twin brother Ma'sud I. Years later, he was reinstated as sultan but was soon executed by his nephew Maw'dud. His entire family was also killed.
Selim I reigned as the ninth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Although his reign lasted only eight years, Selim I is credited for the vast expansion of the Ottoman Empire; his conquest of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt is widely regarded as his best achievement. A hardworking ruler, Selim was one of the most respected emperors of the Empire.
Bayezid I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1389 to 1402. He is credited with building one of the largest armies of the world, with which he defeated the Crusaders at Nicopolis in 1396. His only defeat at the Battle of Ankara, which turned out to be fatal, became a subject for writers, painters, and composers.
A skilled military leader, Heraclius was also deeply religious, having once read out passages from the Bible when his men wanted to invade Persia. He also treated his prisoners with respect. He is best remembered for his exploits in the Byzantine–Sasanian War and his clashes with the Arabs.
Mahmud II reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1808 to 1839. His reign was marked by the extensive military, administrative, and fiscal reforms which he initiated. The reforms that he initiated eventually led to the formation of the modern Turkish Republic. He is also credited with rebuilding a strong naval force for the empire.
Known as a generous Ottoman monarch, Selim II was the successor of the empire’s longest-reigning sultan, Suleiman I. His reign saw his navy decisively defeated by the Holy League in the Battle of Lepanto before the Ottomans regained control of Tunis from Spain. Selim, who was married to Nurbanu Sultan, was noted for helping his subjects during a severe famine.
Mehmed VI was the last Sultan of the famous Ottoman Empire. He reigned from 1918 to 1922 before the empire was dissolved, making way for the creation of the Republic of Turkey. Apart from ruling the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI also enjoyed music, calligraphy, and writing poems. In 1922, he stepped down, enabling the abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate.
Theodora was an Eastern Roman empress who was married to Emperor Justinian. She was one of Justinian's chief advisers; she had a strong influence on Justinian. A saint in the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, Theodora is commemorated on 28 June. Over the years, she has been the subject of several books, films, and video games.
Mehmed V was the 35th and penultimate Ottoman Sultan who reigned from 1909 to 1918. One of the sons of Sultan Abdulmejid I, he succeeded his brother Abdul Hamid II after the Young Turk revolution. His reign was marked by the loss of the empire’s many territories and witnessed the Ottoman Empire’s entry into World War I.
Mithridates VI of Pontus, also known as Mithridates the Great, came to power as a young boy after his father, Mithridates V, was assassinated by poisoning. However, since Mithridates VI’s mother acted as a regent and favored his brother, Mithridates got them both imprisoned and took over the throne.
Basil II reigned as the emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 976 until his death in 1025. He supervised the expansion of the empire's eastern frontier. He was also instrumental in annexing part of Crimea and conducted several victorious campaigns against the Kingdom of Georgia. His work as emperor ensured that the Empire flourished several years after his death.
Nabonidus was the last ruler of Neo-Babylonian Empire. A strong believer of the moon god Sin, Nabonidus was faced with a revolt by the worshippers of Babylon’s national god, Marduk, and thus left his kingdom in the hands of his son, co-regent Belshazzar. He was later exiled.