The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Greek Military Personnels of all time. This list of famous Greek 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 Greek Military Personnels.
With an HPI of 96.43, Alexander the Great is the most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 188 different languages on wikipedia.
Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος, Aléxandros; 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. A member of the Argead dynasty, he was born in Pella—a city in Ancient Greece—in 356 BC. He succeeded his father King Philip II to the throne at the age of 20, and spent most of his ruling years conducting a lengthy military campaign throughout Western Asia and Northeastern Africa. 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 most successful military commanders. During his youth, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16. His father Philip was assassinated in 336 BC at Alexander's sister's wedding, and Alexander assumed the throne to the Kingdom of Macedon. After sacking the city of Thebes, Alexander was awarded the generalship of Greece. He used his authority to launch his father's pan-Hellenic project, which involved him assuming the leadership position to all the Greeks in their conquest of Persia.In 334 BC he invaded the Achaemenid Empire (Persian Empire) and began a series of campaigns that lasted 10 years. Following his conquest of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, including those at Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew King Darius III and conquered the Achaemenid Empire in its entirety. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to 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 King Porus at the Battle of the Hydaspes. He eventually turned back at the Beas River due to the demand of his homesick troops, dying in Babylon in 323 BC; the city he planned to establish as his capital. He did not manage to execute a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart. Alexander's legacy includes the cultural diffusion and syncretism which his conquests engendered, such as Greco-Buddhism and Hellenistic Judaism. He founded more than twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander's settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture resulted in Hellenistic civilization, which 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 end in the mid-15th century AD. Greek-speaking communities in central and far eastern Anatolia survived until the Greek genocide and the population exchange in the 1920s. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mould of Achilles, featuring prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. His military achievements and enduring, unprecedented success in battle make him the measure with which many modern military leaders compare themselves. Military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics. He is often ranked among the most influential people in human history.
With an HPI of 89.39, Spartacus is the 2nd most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 78 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. However, 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 84.08, Themistocles is the 3rd most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
Themistocles (; Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς [tʰemistoklɛ̂ːs]; "Glory of the Law"; 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 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 82.20, Pyrrhus of Epirus is the 4th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 60 different languages.
Pyrrhus (; Greek: Πύρρος, Pyrrhos; 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 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 79.55, Miltiades is the 5th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 44 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 78.48, Seleucus I Nicator is the 6th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Seleucus I Nicator (; c. 358 BC – September 281 BC; Ancient Greek: Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ, romanized: Séleukos Nikátōr, lit. 'Seleucus the Victor') was a Greek general and one of the Diadochi, the rival generals, relatives, and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death. Having previously served as an infantry general under Alexander the Great, he eventually assumed the title of basileus (king) and established the Seleucid Empire, one of the major powers of the Hellenistic world, which controlled most of Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, and the Iranian Plateau until 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 between the two empires was formalized with Chandragupta marrying Seleucus' daughter. 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 77.02, Hephaestion is the 7th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 35 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 76.45, Cimon is the 8th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Cimon (; c. 510 – 450 BC) or Kimon (; Greek: Κίμων, Kimōn) was an Athenian statesman and general in mid-5th century BC Greece. He was the son of Miltiades, the victor of the Battle of Marathon. Cimon played a key role in creating the powerful Athenian maritime empire following the failure of the Persian invasion of Greece by Xerxes I in 480–479 BC. Cimon became a celebrated military hero and was elected to the rank of strategos after fighting in the Battle of Salamis. One of Cimon's greatest exploits was his destruction of a Persian fleet and army at the Battle of the Eurymedon river in 466 BC. In 462 BC, he led an unsuccessful expedition to support the Spartans during the helot uprisings. As a result, he was dismissed and ostracized from Athens in 461 BC; however, he was recalled from his exile before the end of his ten-year ostracism to broker a five-year peace treaty in 451 BC between Sparta and Athens. For this participation in pro-Spartan policy, he has often been called a laconist. Cimon also led the Athenian aristocratic party against Pericles and opposed the democratic revolution of Ephialtes seeking to retain aristocratic party control over Athenian institutions.
With an HPI of 75.34, Mardonius is the 9th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Mardonius (Ancient Greek: Μαρδόνιος Mardonios, Old Persian: 𐎶𐎼𐎯𐎢𐎴𐎡𐎹, Marduniya, literally: "the mild one"; 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. The Indo-European root "mild" is found in the gaulic tribe name MELDI "the mild ones" and in Slavic (Russian MOLODOi = young).
With an HPI of 75.30, Djemal Pasha is the 10th most famous Greek Military Personnel. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.
Ahmed Djemal Pasha (Ottoman Turkish: احمد جمال پاشا, romanized: Ahmet Cemâl Paşa; 6 May 1872 – 21 July 1922), also known as Cemal Pasha was an Ottoman military leader and one of the Three Pashas that ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I and carried out the Armenian genocide. Djemal was born in Mytilene, Lesbos. As a member of the II Army Corps of the Ottoman Empire he was stationed in Salonica where he developed political sympathies for the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) reformers. He was initially praised by Christian missionaries and provided support to the Armenian victims of the Adana massacres. In the course of his army career Djemal developed a rivalry with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, served in Salonica on the frontlines of the Balkan Wars and was given the military command of Constantinople after the Raid on the Sublime Porte. Djemal's authoritarian three year rule in Syria alienated the local population who opposed Ottoman nationalism.
Pantheon has 44 people classified as military personnels born between 650 BC and 1923. Of these 44, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased military personnels include Alexander the Great, Spartacus, and Themistocles. As of October 2020, 3 new military personnels have been added to Pantheon including Erigyius, Alexandros Othonaios, and Konstantinos Miliotis-Komninos.
356 BC - 323 BC
109 BC - 71 BC
524 BC - 459 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
650 BC - 570 BC
400 BC - 329 BC
Which Military Personnels were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 10 most globally memorable Military Personnels since 1700.