The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Military Personnels of all time. This list of famous Military Personnels is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Military Personnels.
With an HPI of 94.56, Alexander the Great is the most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 195 different languages on wikipedia.
Alexander III of Macedon (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος, romanized: Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20, and spent most of his ruling years conducting a lengthy military campaign throughout Western Asia and Egypt. By the age of thirty, he had created one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Greece to northwestern India. He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered to be one of history's greatest and most successful military commanders.Until the age of 16, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle. In 335 BC, shortly after his assumption of kingship over Macedon, he campaigned in the Balkans and reasserted control over Thrace and Illyria before marching on the city of Thebes, which was subsequently destroyed in battle. Alexander then led the League of Corinth, and used his authority to launch the pan-Hellenic project envisaged by his father, assuming leadership over all Greeks in their conquest of Persia.In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Persian Empire and began a series of campaigns that lasted for 10 years. Following his conquest of Asia Minor, Alexander broke the power of Achaemenid Persia in a series of decisive battles, including those at Issus and Gaugamela; he subsequently overthrew Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. After the fall of Persia, the Macedonian Empire held a vast swath of territory between the Adriatic Sea and the Indus River. Alexander endeavored to reach the "ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea" and invaded India in 326 BC, achieving an important victory over Porus, an ancient Indian king of present-day Punjab, at the Battle of the Hydaspes. Due to the demand of his homesick troops, he eventually turned back at the Beas River and later died in 323 BC in Babylon, the city of Mesopotamia that he had planned to establish as his empire's capital. Alexander's death left unexecuted an additional series of planned military and mercantile campaigns that would have begun with a Greek invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars broke out across the Macedonian Empire, eventually leading to its disintegration at the hands of the Diadochi. With his death marking the start of the Hellenistic period, Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism that his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism and Hellenistic Judaism. He founded more than twenty cities that bore his name, with the most prominent being the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture led to the overwhelming dominance of Hellenistic civilization and influence as far east as the Indian subcontinent. The Hellenistic period developed through the Roman Empire into modern Western culture; the Greek language became the lingua franca of the region and was the predominant language of the Byzantine Empire up until its collapse in the mid-15th century AD. Greek-speaking communities in central Anatolia and in far-eastern Anatolia survived until the Greek genocide of the 1910s and early 1920s as well as the Greek–Turkish population exchange of the mid-1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, featuring prominently in the historical and mythical traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. His military achievements and unprecedented enduring successes in battle made him the measure against which many later military leaders would compare themselves, and his tactics remain a significant subject of study in military academies worldwide.
With an HPI of 81.35, Spartacus is the 2nd most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 81 different languages.
Spartacus (Greek: Σπάρτακος Spártakos; Latin: Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian gladiator who, along with Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus, was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about him beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory. All sources agree that he was a former gladiator and an accomplished military leader. This rebellion, interpreted by some as an example of oppressed people fighting for their freedom against a slave-owning oligarchy, has provided inspiration for many political thinkers, and has been featured in literature, television, and film. The philosopher Voltaire described the Third Servile War as "the only just war in history". Although this interpretation is not specifically contradicted by classical historians, no historical account mentions that the goal was to end slavery in the Republic.
With an HPI of 78.39, Themistocles is the 3rd most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 65 different languages.
Themistocles (; Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς; c. 524–459 BC) was an Athenian politician and general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy. As a politician, Themistocles was a populist, having the support of lower-class Athenians, and generally being at odds with the Athenian nobility. Elected archon in 493 BC, he convinced the polis to increase the naval power of Athens, a recurring theme in his political career. During the first Persian invasion of Greece he fought at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) and was possibly one of the ten Athenian strategoi (generals) in that battle.In the years after Marathon, and in the run-up to the second Persian invasion of 480–479 BC, Themistocles became the most prominent politician in Athens. He continued to advocate for a strong Athenian Navy, and in 483 BC he persuaded the Athenians to build a fleet of 200 triremes; these proved crucial in the forthcoming conflict with Persia. During the second invasion, he effectively commanded the Greek allied navy at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis in 480 BC. Due to his subterfuge, the Allies successfully lured the Persian fleet into the Straits of Salamis, and the decisive Greek victory there was the turning point of the war. The invasion was conclusively repulsed the following year after the Persian defeat at the land Battle of Plataea. After the conflict ended, Themistocles continued his pre-eminence among Athenian politicians. However, he aroused the hostility of Sparta by ordering the re-fortification of Athens, and his perceived arrogance began to alienate him from the Athenians. In 472 or 471 BC, he was ostracised, and went into exile in Argos. The Spartans now saw an opportunity to destroy Themistocles, and implicated him in the alleged treasonous plot of 478 BC of their own general Pausanias. Themistocles thus fled from southern Greece. Alexander I of Macedon (r. 498–454 BC) temporarily gave him sanctuary at Pydna before he traveled to Asia Minor, where he entered the service of the Persian king Artaxerxes I (reigned 465–424 BC). He was made governor of Magnesia, and lived there for the rest of his life. Themistocles died in 459 BC, probably of natural causes. His reputation was posthumously rehabilitated, and he was re-established as a hero of the Athenian, and indeed Greek, cause. Themistocles can still reasonably be thought of as "the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Greece" from the Persian threat, as Plutarch describes him. His naval policies would have a lasting impact on Athens as well, since maritime power became the cornerstone of the Athenian Empire and golden age. Thucydides assessed Themistocles as "a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite extraordinary and unparalleled".
With an HPI of 76.47, Ptolemy I Soter is the 4th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.
Ptolemy I Soter (; Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaîos Sōtḗr "Ptolemy the Savior"; c. 367 BC – January 282 BC) was a Macedonian Greek general, historian and companion of Alexander the Great from the Kingdom of Macedon in northern Greece who became ruler of Egypt, part of Alexander's former empire. Ptolemy was pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 305/304 BC to his death. He was the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, turning the country into a Hellenistic kingdom and Alexandria into a center of Greek culture. Ptolemy I was the son of Arsinoe of Macedon by either her husband Lagus or Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander. However, the latter is unlikely and may be a myth fabricated to glorify the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Ptolemy was one of Alexander's most trusted companions and military officers. After the death of Alexander in 323 BC, Ptolemy retrieved his body as it was en route to be buried in Macedon, placing it in Memphis instead, where it was later moved to Alexandria in a new tomb. Afterwards he joined a coalition against Perdiccas, the royal regent over Philip III of Macedon. The latter invaded Egypt but was assassinated by his own officers in 320 BC, allowing Ptolemy I to consolidate his control over the country. After a series of wars between Alexander's successors, Ptolemy gained a claim to Judea in southern Syria, which was disputed with the Syrian king Seleucus I. He also took control of Cyprus and Cyrenaica, the latter of which was placed under the control of Ptolemy's stepson Magas. Ptolemy also had the Library of Alexandria built. Ptolemy I may have married Thaïs, his mistress during the life of Alexander; he is known to have married the Persian noblewoman Artakama on Alexander's orders. He later married Eurydice, daughter of the Macedonian regent Antipater; their sons Ptolemy Keraunos and Meleager ruled in turn as kings of Macedon. Ptolemy's final marriage was to Eurydice's cousin and lady-in-waiting, Berenice I. Ptolemy I died in 282 BC and was succeeded by his son with Berenice, Ptolemy II.
With an HPI of 76.16, Pyrrhus of Epirus is the 5th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Pyrrhus (; Greek: Πύρρος Pýrrhos; 319/318–272 BC) was a Greek king and statesman of the Hellenistic period. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house, and later he became king (Malalas also called him toparch) of Epirus. He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome, and had been regarded as one of the greatest generals of antiquity. Several of his victorious battles caused him unacceptably heavy losses, from which the term "Pyrrhic victory" was coined. Pyrrhus became king of Epirus in 306 BC at the age of 13, but was dethroned by Cassander four years later. He saw action during the Wars of the Diadochi and regained his throne in 297 BC with the support of Ptolemy I Soter. During what came to be known as the Pyrrhic War, Pyrrhus fought Rome at the behest of Tarentum, scoring costly victories at Heraclea and Asculum. He proceeded to take over Sicily from Carthage but was soon driven out, and lost all his gains in Italy after the Battle of Beneventum in 275 BC. Pyrrhus seized the Macedonian throne from Antigonus II Gonatas in 274 BC and invaded the Peloponnese in 272 BC. The Epirote assault on Sparta was thwarted, however, and Pyrrhus was killed during a street battle at Argos.
With an HPI of 73.36, Miltiades is the 6th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.
Miltiades (; Greek: Μιλτιάδης; c. 550 – 489 BC), also known as Miltiades the Younger, was a Greek Athenian citizen known mostly for his role in the Battle of Marathon, as well as for his downfall afterwards. He was the son of Cimon Coalemos, a renowned Olympic chariot-racer, and the father of Cimon, the noted Athenian statesman.
With an HPI of 71.48, Seleucus I Nicator is the 7th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
Seleucus I Nicator (; c. 358 – 281 BC; Greek: Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ Séleukos Nikátōr, 'the Victorious') was a Macedonian Greek general who was an officer and successor (diadochus) of Alexander the Great. Seleucus was the founder of the eponymous Seleucid Empire. In the power struggles that followed Alexander's death, Seleucus rose from being a secondary player to becoming total ruler of Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, and the Iranian Plateau, eventually assuming the title of basileus (king). The state he established on these territories, the Seleucid Empire, was one of the major powers of the Hellenistic world, until being overcome by the Roman Republic and Parthian Empire in the late second and early first centuries BC. After the death of Alexander in June 323 BC, Seleucus initially supported Perdiccas, the regent of Alexander's empire, and was appointed Commander of the Companions and chiliarch at the Partition of Babylon in 323 BC. However, after the outbreak of the Wars of the Diadochi in 322, Perdiccas' military failures against Ptolemy in Egypt led to the mutiny of his troops in Pelusium. Perdiccas was betrayed and assassinated in a conspiracy by Seleucus, Peithon and Antigenes in Pelusium sometime in either 321 or 320 BC. At the Partition of Triparadisus in 321 BC, Seleucus was appointed Satrap of Babylon under the new regent Antipater. But almost immediately, the wars between the Diadochi resumed and one of the most powerful of the Diadochi, Antigonus, forced Seleucus to flee Babylon. Seleucus was only able to return to Babylon in 312 BC with the support of Ptolemy. From 312 BC, Seleucus ruthlessly expanded his dominions and eventually conquered the Persian and Median lands. Seleucus ruled not only Babylonia, but the entire enormous eastern part of Alexander's empire. Seleucus further made claim to the former satraps in Gandhara and in eastern India. However these ambitions were contested by Chandragupta Maurya, resulting in the Seleucid–Mauryan War (305–303 BC). The conflict was ultimately resolved by a treaty resulting in the Maurya Empire annexing the eastern satraps. Additionally, a marriage alliance was formed, with Chandragupta marrying a daughter of Seleucus, according to Strabo and Appian. Furthermore, the Seleucid Empire received a considerable military force of 500 war elephants with mahouts, which would play a decisive role against Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC. In 281 BC, he also defeated Lysimachus at the Battle of Corupedium, adding Asia Minor to his empire. Seleucus' victories against Antigonus and Lysimachus left the Seleucid dynasty virtually unopposed amongst the Diadochi. However, Seleucus also hoped to take control of Lysimachus' European territories, primarily Thrace and Macedon itself. But upon arriving in Thrace in 281 BC, Seleucus was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus, who had taken refuge at the Seleucid court with his sister Lysandra. The assassination of Seleucus destroyed Seleucid prospects in Thrace and Macedon, and paved the way for Ptolemy Ceraunus to absorb much of Lysimachus' former power in Macedon. Seleucus was succeeded by his son Antiochus I as ruler of the Seleucid Empire. Seleucus founded a number of new cities during his reign, including Antioch (300 BC), Edessa and Seleucia on the Tigris (c. 305 BC), a foundation that eventually depopulated Babylon.
With an HPI of 70.35, Hephaestion is the 8th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Hephaestion (Ancient Greek: Ἡφαιστίων Hephaistíon; c. 356 BC – October 324 BC), son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great. He was "by far the dearest of all the king's friends; he had been brought up with Alexander and shared all his secrets." This relationship lasted throughout their lives, and was compared, by others as well as themselves, to that of Achilles and Patroclus. His military career was distinguished. A member of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguard, he went on to command the Companion cavalry and was entrusted with many other tasks throughout Alexander's ten-year campaign in Asia, including diplomatic missions, the bridging of major rivers, sieges and the foundation of new settlements. Besides being a soldier, engineer and diplomat, he corresponded with the philosophers Aristotle and Xenocrates and actively supported Alexander in his attempts to integrate the Greeks and Persians. Alexander formally made him his second-in-command when he appointed him Chiliarch of the empire. Alexander also made him part of the royal family when he gave him as his bride Drypetis, sister to his own second wife Stateira, both daughters of Darius III of Persia. When he died suddenly at Ecbatana around age thirty-two, Alexander was overwhelmed with grief. He petitioned the oracle at Siwa to grant Hephaestion divine status and thus Hephaestion was honoured as a Divine Hero. Hephaestion was cremated and his ashes taken to Babylon. At the time of his own death a mere eight months later, Alexander was still planning lasting monuments to Hephaestion's memory.
With an HPI of 69.32, Cimon is the 9th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Cimon or Kimon (Greek: Κίμων; c. 510 – 450 BC) was an Athenian strategos (general and admiral) and politician. He was the son of Miltiades, also an Athenian strategos. Cimon rose to prominence for his bravery fighting in the naval Battle of Salamis (480 BC), during the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Cimon was then elected as one of the ten strategoi, to continue the Persian Wars against the Achaemenid Empire. He played a leading role in the formation of the Delian League against Persia in 478 BC, becoming its commander in the early Wars of the Delian League, including at the Siege of Eion (476 BC). In 466 BC, Cimon led a force to Asia Minor, where he destroyed a Persian fleet and army at the Battle of the Eurymedon river. From 465 to 463 BC he suppressed the Thasian rebellion, in which the island of Thasos attempted to leave the Delian League. This event marked the transformation of the Delian League into the Athenian Empire. Cimon took an increasingly prominent role in Athenian politics, generally supporting the aristocrats and opposing the popular party (which sought to expand the Athenian democracy). A laconist, Cimon also acted as Sparta's representative in Athens. In 462 BC, he convinced the Athenian Assembly to send military support to Sparta, where the helots were in revolt (the Third Messenian War). Cimon personally commanded the force of 4,000 hoplites sent to Sparta. However, the Spartans refused their aid, telling the Athenians to go home – a major diplomatic snub. The resulting embarrassment destroyed Cimon's popularity in Athens; he was ostracized in 461 BC, exiling him for a period of ten years. The First Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta began the following year. At the end of his exile, Cimon returned to Athens in 451 BC and immediately negotiated a truce with Sparta; however it did not lead to a permanent peace. He then proposed an expedition to Cyprus, which was in revolt against the Persians. Cimon was placed in command of the fleet of 200 warships. He laid siege to the town of Kition, but died (of unrecorded causes) around the time of the failure of the siege in 450 BC.
With an HPI of 67.63, Mardonius is the 10th most famous Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Mardonius (Old Persian: 𐎶𐎼𐎯𐎢𐎴𐎡𐎹 Mr̥duniyaʰ; Greek: Μαρδόνιος Mardónios; died 479 BC) was a leading Persian military commander during the Persian Wars with Greece in the early 5th century BC who died at the Battle of Plataea.
Pantheon has 48 people classified as military personnels born between 650 BC and 1923. Of these 48, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased military personnels include Alexander the Great, Spartacus, and Themistocles. As of April 2022, 2 new military personnels have been added to Pantheon including Markos Botsaris and Wehib Pasha.
356 BC - 323 BC
109 BC - 71 BC
524 BC - 459 BC
367 BC - 283 BC
318 BC - 272 BC
540 BC - 488 BC
358 BC - 281 BC
356 BC - 324 BC
510 BC - 450 BC
600 BC - 479 BC
1872 - 1922
400 BC - 329 BC
Which Military Personnels were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 13 most globally memorable Military Personnels since 1700.