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Feature Image Credits: Wikipedia

History is broadly divided into four eras or phases: ancient, classical, post-classical and modern. The modern period is further divided into three phases- early modern (1450-1750), modern (1750-1914) and contemporary (1914-present). Ancient phase years to the foundation years, the phase before classical era. The classical civilisation era began around 500 BC and ended by 600 AD. Few developments that occurred in this phase were built upon by successive civilisations such as introduction of religious ideas and philosophies, development of political entities, etc. The post-classical period began around 600 AD and ended by 1450 AD. This phase was characterised by the spread of civilisation and religion.

Throughout these historical phases, there have been major developments and many important figures who have contributed in shaping human history. These important and famous people include politicians, spiritual figures, philosophers, writers, scientists, etc.

We are familiar with most of the famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras, but there are few who are not known. So, let’s take a look at the famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras.

Siddhartha Gautama or Lord Buddha (563 BC – 483 BC):

Gautama Buddha (Credits Wikipedia)Gautama Buddha (Credits: Wikipedia)

Lord Gautama Buddha was spiritual teacher who founded Buddhism was one of the most famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras. Buddha was born into the Gautama family of the Shakya clan. He was a prince as his father was the head of the  Shakyas. Buddha lived a luxurious life, but he wasn’t completely satisfied with his way of living and wanted to know the truth and ultimate happiness, and peace of life. Soon he gave up his claim to the succession of his father’s throne in order to achieve enlightenment. He educated himself is Yogic meditation. He sat under a Bodhi tree facing East and meditated till he attained enlightenment.

Cyrus the Great (576/590 BC – 530 BC):

Cyrus II also know as Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire (first Persian Empire). Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previously civilised states of the ancient near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Cyrus II built his empire by conquering the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire and the Babylonian Empire. He respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. Cyrus was one of the most famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras.

Socrates (470 BC – 399 BC):

Satute of Socrates in Academy of Athens (Credits Wikipedia)Satute of Socrates in Academy of Athens (Credits: Wikipedia)

Socrates was a classical Greek Philosopher known as one of the founders of Western Philosophy. He developed the Socratic method which is said to be the most important contribution to Western thought. Socratic method is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking questions and answering them to stimulate critical thinking, and to illuminate ideas. He was opposed to the democratic ruling of Athens and felt that the government should be a council of philosophers deciding on matters.

Alexander the Great (July, 356 BC – June, 323 BC):

Statue of Alexander the Great (Credits: Wikipedia)
Statue of Alexander the Great (Credits: Wikipedia)

Alexander III of Macedon also known as Alexander the Great was a King of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead Dynasty, an ancient Greek royal house. He had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt into Northwest India and modern-day Pakistan. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.

Archimedes (287 BC – 212 BC):

Archimedes was a Mathematician, an Engineer, and a Physicist. He is regarded as the most important Scientist in antiquity. It is said that he created ancient super weapon the ‘Archimedes Death Ray’ which was made with polished metal mirrors and ‘Archimedes Claw’ which was supposedly a crane like device.

Julius Caesar (July, 100 BC – March, 44 BC):

Julius Cearser (Credits Wikipedia)

Julius Cearser (Credits: Wikipedia)

Julius Caesar, a great Roman conquerer was a politician and General of the late Roman Republic. He extended the Roman Empire before seizing power and becoming the Dictator of Rome. He made two expeditions to Britain in 55 BC and 54 BC. Caesar used his military strength to become Dictator of Rome (49 BC – 44 BC).

Cleopatra (69 BC – 30 BC):

Painting of Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma Tadema (Credits Wikipedia)Painting of Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma Tadema (Credits: Wikipedia)

Popularly known for her beauty, Cleopatra VII was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty ruling from 51 BC to 30 BC.  She was a very intelligent woman and as astute politician who brought prosperity and peace to a country that was bankrupt and split by Civil War. She was one of the most famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras.

Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD):

Statue of Augustus (Credits Wikipedia)Statue of Augustus (Credits: Wikipedia)

One of the most famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras, Augustus was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD. In Julius Caesar’s will, Augustus was named as his adopted son and heir. He replaced the Roman Republic with an effective monarchy and brought peace, and stability during his reign.

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 AD – 1204 AD):

Effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Credits Wikipedia)Effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Credits: Wikipedia)

Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in the 12th century. She was a member of the Ramnulfid Dynasty of rulers in Southwestern France. She became Duchess of Aquitaine after her father, William’s death in 1137. Later she became Queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189).

Marco Polo (1254 AD – 1324 AD):

Bust of Marco Polo (Credits Wikipedia)Bust of Marco Polo (Credits: Wikipedia)

Marco Polo, one of the most famous personalities of classical and post-classical eras, was an Italian merchant traveller whose travels are recorded in the book, The Travels of Marco Polo. Marco Polo was not the first European to reach China, but he was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience. This book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers.

Who is Who: Famous Personalities of Classical and Post-Classical Eras

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