1. Education

Ancient People

Biographies

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Learn about the famous or important people of the ancient world. Below you will find different ways of looking for them, the basic alphabetical index, an occupation index, and lists of ancient biographies grouped by specific fields or characteristics.

The literalists among you may object to the inclusion of fictional or supernatural figures, but this list is for everyone, including those familiar with an ancient name, but unsure or unconcerned with whether the person is real or not.

1. Most Important Ancient Names to Know

Sophocles.jpg
(Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Here you will find my list of the most important people from the ancient world. This is a subjective list, but could be entertaining food for cocktail party conversations. It should also provide a useful background for your reading in ancient history. You might want to refer to Major Events Timeline to place the names chronologically.

You may wonder about omissions. The list may not be complete, so please let me know the name and exactly why others should know about him or her. Note that this list includes only people historians almost universally accept as real.

Also see Time's Top 100 People in History.

2. A to Z

Agrippina-the-Elder.jpg
(Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)
The basic list of ancient people arranged in alphabetical order. Also see Famous Romans A to Z.

Occupation Index

A list of people who fall under the following categories:

Christians | Deities | (Legendary) Heroes | Historians | Mathematicians | Medicine Men | Monsters | Playwrights | Philosophers | Rulers | Writers

 

3. Top Greek Heroes

Image ID: 1703411  [Jason appoints Tiphys to be helmsman] (1918)
Image ID: 1703411 [Jason appoints Tiphys to be helmsman] (1918)NYPL Digital Gallery
Here you'll find the names of famous men and a woman who are familiar from Greek myth and legend and also involved in the early histories of the Greek city-states.

 

4. Plutarch's Lives

An English public domain translation of the biographies of the men Plutarch made famous. Note that Shakespeare and many other writers throughout the ages made use of these biographies, so his selection of famous people is probably worth knowing.

5. Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient World

An alphabetical list of the major gods and goddesses of ancient mythologies. Not limited to Greece and Rome, but largely focused there. Also see Roman Gods and Goddesses, Greek Gods and Goddesses, and Geographic Index of Gods and Goddesses.

 

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