The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Politicians of all time. This list of famous Politicians 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 Politicians.
With an HPI of 88.95, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 193 different languages on wikipedia.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, or Mustafa Kemal Pasha until 1921, and Ghazi Mustafa Kemal from 1921 until 1934 (c. 1881 – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish field marshal, revolutionary statesman, author, and the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first president from 1923 until his death in 1938. He undertook sweeping progressive reforms, which modernized Turkey into a secular, industrializing nation. Ideologically a secularist and nationalist, his policies and socio-political theories became known as Kemalism. Due to his military and political accomplishments, Atatürk is regarded as one of the most important political leaders of the 20th century.Atatürk came to prominence for his role in securing the Ottoman Turkish victory at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915) during World War I. Following the defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish National Movement, which resisted mainland Turkey's partition among the victorious Allied powers. Establishing a provisional government in the present-day Turkish capital Ankara (known in English at the time as Angora), he defeated the forces sent by the Allies, thus emerging victorious from what was later referred to as the Turkish War of Independence. He subsequently proceeded to abolish the decrepit Ottoman Empire and proclaimed the foundation of the Turkish Republic in its place. As the president of the newly formed Turkish Republic, Atatürk initiated a rigorous program of political, economic, and cultural reforms with the ultimate aim of building a modern, progressive and secular nation-state. He made primary education free and compulsory, opening thousands of new schools all over the country. He also introduced the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Turkish women received equal civil and political rights during Atatürk's presidency. In particular, women were given voting rights in local elections by Act no. 1580 on 3 April 1930 and a few years later, in 1934, full universal suffrage.His government carried out a policy of Turkification, trying to create a homogeneous, unified and above all secular nation under the Turkish banner. Under Atatürk, the few surviving indigenous minorities were asked to speak Turkish in public, but also were allowed to maintain their own languages at the same time; non-Turkish toponyms and minorities were ordered to get a Turkish surname as per Turkish renditions. The Turkish Parliament granted him the surname Atatürk in 1934, which means "Father of the Turks", in recognition of the role he played in building the modern Turkish Republic. He died on 10 November 1938 at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, at the age of 57; he was succeeded as president by his long-time prime minister İsmet İnönü and was honored with a state funeral. In 1981, the centennial of Atatürk's birth, his memory was honoured by the United Nations and UNESCO, which declared it The Atatürk Year in the World and adopted the Resolution on the Atatürk Centennial, describing him as "the leader of the first struggle given against colonialism and imperialism" and a "remarkable promoter of the sense of understanding between peoples and durable peace between the nations of the world and that he worked all his life for the development of harmony and cooperation between peoples without distinction". Atatürk was also credited for his peace in the world-oriented foreign policy and friendship with neighboring countries such as Iran, Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Greece, as well as the creation of the Balkan Pact that resisted the expansionist aggressions of Fascist Italy.
With an HPI of 84.49, Pericles is the 2nd most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.
Pericles (; Greek: Περικλῆς; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek politician and general during the Golden Age of Athens. He was prominent and influential in Athenian politics, particularly between the Greco-Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War, and was acclaimed by Thucydides, a contemporary historian, as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", but the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars or as late as the following century. Pericles promoted the arts and literature, and it is principally through his efforts that Athens acquired the reputation of being the educational and cultural center of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that generated most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon. This project beautified and protected the city, exhibited its glory and gave work to its people. Pericles also fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics called him a populist. Pericles was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically-influential Alcmaeonid family. He, along with several members of his family, succumbed to the Plague of Athens in 429 BC, which weakened the city-state during a protracted conflict with Sparta.
With an HPI of 82.27, Kösem Sultan is the 3rd most famous Politician. Her biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Kösem Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: كوسم سلطان; c. 1589 – 2 September 1651), also known as Mahpeyker Sultan (Persian: ماه پيكر; lit. 'Visage of the Moon'), was the chief consort and legal wife of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I, valide sultan as the mother of sultans Murad IV and Ibrahim, and büyük ("elder") valide sultan and grandmother of Sultan Mehmed IV. She became one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history, as well as a central and controversial figure during the period known as the Sultanate of Women.Born in Tinos, then part of the Republic of Venice, to a Greek Orthodox priest, she was kidnapped and sold as a slave in Bosnia before being sent to the imperial harem in Constantinople, the Ottoman capital. There she rose to prominence, becoming the favourite of Sultan Ahmed I, who later made her his legal wife. Over time her influence over the sultan grew and she became his most trusted advisor. Historians credit her with persuading Ahmed to spare the life of his younger half-brother, Mustafa, thus putting an end to the centuries-old practice of fratricide in the Ottoman Empire. After Ahmed died in 1617, she was instrumental in the enthronement of Mustafa I. Upon Osman II's ascension, she was briefly banished to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı). As a courtier to Ahmed I, Mustafa I, Osman II, Murad IV, Ibrahim and Mehmed IV, Kösem gained both notoriety and affection among her subjects, wielding unparalleled political power and influencing the empire's foreign and domestic policy. Her early years as regent were marked by turbulence and instability, which began when the Safavid Empire annexed much of Iraq and captured Baghdad in 1624, dragging the Ottomans into a 16-year conflict with the Safavids that sparked a series of rebellions, incursions, revolts and independence movements across the Ottoman Empire. During escalating tensions between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice in the 1640s, she and her allies were blamed for pressuring Ibrahim to launch a naval assault on the Venetian-controlled island of Crete. She had to contend with a Venetian blockade of the Dardanelles, which culminated in the naval Battle of Focchies in 1649, as well as merchant uprisings sparked by a financial crisis in the years that followed. Some historians have questioned her support for the Janissaries' cause during her forty years of power. She was also said to have accumulated a fortune through illegitimate means even if she did put the money acquired from her lands and income to good use, undertaking charitable works and construction projects. In 1651 she was murdered at the behest of the Chief Black Eunuch, an event that provoked rioting and the execution of hundreds of men in Constantinople, Afterwards she was sometimes referred to by the names "Vālide-i Muazzama" (Magnificent Mother), "Vālide-i Maḳtūle" (Murdered Mother) and "Vālide-i Şehīde" (Martyred Mother).
With an HPI of 80.74, Philip II of Macedon is the 4th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 78 different languages.
Philip II of Macedon (Greek: Φίλιππος Philippos; 382 – 21 October 336 BC) was the king (basileus) of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia from 359 BC until his death in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead dynasty, founders of the ancient kingdom, and the father of Alexander the Great. The rise of Macedon—its conquest and political consolidation of most of Classical Greece during his reign—was achieved by his reformation of the army (the establishment of the Macedonian phalanx that proved critical in securing victories on the battlefield), his extensive use of siege engines, and his utilization of effective diplomacy and marriage alliances. After defeating the Greek city-states of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Philip II led the effort to establish a federation of Greek states known as the League of Corinth, with him as the elected hegemon and commander-in-chief of Greece for a planned invasion of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. However, his assassination by a royal bodyguard, Pausanias of Orestis, led to the immediate succession of his son Alexander, who would go on to invade the Achaemenid Empire in his father's stead.
With an HPI of 79.74, Bayezid II is the 5th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.
Bayezid II (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد ثانى, romanized: Bāyezīd-i s̱ānī, 3 December 1447 – 26 May 1512, Turkish: II. Bayezid) was the eldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I. He evacuated Sephardi Jews from Spain after the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree, and resettled them throughout Ottoman lands, especially in Salonica.
With an HPI of 78.44, Demosthenes is the 6th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 71 different languages.
Demosthenes (; Greek: Δημοσθένης, romanized: Dēmosthénēs; Attic Greek: [dɛːmosˈtʰenɛːs]; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued effectively to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speechwriter (logographer) and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in private legal suits. Demosthenes grew interested in politics during his time as a logographer, and in 354 BC he gave his first public political speeches. He went on to devote his most productive years to opposing Macedon's expansion. He idealized his city and strove throughout his life to restore Athens' supremacy and motivate his compatriots against Philip II of Macedon. He sought to preserve his city's freedom and to establish an alliance against Macedon, in an unsuccessful attempt to impede Philip's plans to expand his influence southward by conquering all the other Greek states. After Philip's death, Demosthenes played a leading part in his city's uprising against the new king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great. However, his efforts failed and the revolt was met with a harsh Macedonian reaction. To prevent a similar revolt against his own rule, Alexander's successor in this region, Antipater, sent his men to track Demosthenes down. Demosthenes took his own life, to avoid being arrested by Archias of Thurii, Antipater's confidant. The Alexandrian Canon compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace recognised Demosthenes as one of the ten greatest Attic orators and logographers. Longinus likened Demosthenes to a blazing thunderbolt and argued that he "perfected to the utmost the tone of lofty speech, living passions, copiousness, readiness, speed." Quintilian extolled him as lex orandi ("the standard of oratory"). Cicero said of him that inter omnis unus excellat ("he stands alone among all the orators"), and also acclaimed him as "the perfect orator" who lacked nothing.
With an HPI of 78.13, Leonidas I is the 7th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 72 different languages.
Leonidas I (; Greek: Λεωνίδας; died 19 September 480 BC) was a king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line, a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles and Cadmus. Leonidas I was son of King Anaxandridas II. He succeeded his half-brother King Cleomenes I to the throne in c. 489 BC. His co-ruler was King Leotychidas. He was succeeded by his son, King Pleistarchus. Leonidas had a notable participation in the Second Greco-Persian War, where he led the allied Greek forces to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) while attempting to defend the pass from the invading Persian army; he died at the battle and entered myth as the leader of the 300 Spartans. While the Greeks lost this battle, they were able to expel the Persian invaders in the following year.
With an HPI of 77.95, Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha is the 8th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha ("Ibrahim Pasha of Parga"; c. 1495 – 15 March 1536), also known as Frenk Ibrahim Pasha ("the Westerner"), Makbul Ibrahim Pasha ("the Favorite"), which later changed to Maktul Ibrahim Pasha ("the Executed") after his execution in the Topkapı Palace, was the first Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire appointed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Ibrahim, born a Christian, was enslaved during his youth. He and Suleiman became close friends in their youth, and later lovers. In 1523, Suleiman appointed Ibrahim as Grand Vizier to replace Piri Mehmed Pasha, who had been appointed in 1518 by Suleiman's father, the preceding sultan Selim I. Ibrahim remained in office for the next 13 years. He attained a level of authority and influence rivaled by only a handful of other grand viziers of the Empire, but in 1536, he was executed on Suleiman's orders and his property (much of which was gifted to him by the Sultan) was confiscated by the state.
With an HPI of 77.81, Cleisthenes is the 9th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.
Cleisthenes ( KLYS-thin-eez; Greek: Κλεισθένης), or Clisthenes (c. 570 – c. 508 BC), was an ancient Athenian lawgiver credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508 BC. For these accomplishments, historians refer to him as "the father of Athenian democracy." He was a member of the aristocratic Alcmaeonid clan. He was the younger son of Megacles and Agariste making him the maternal grandson of the tyrant Cleisthenes of Sicyon. He was also credited with increasing the power of the Athenian citizens' assembly and for reducing the power of the nobility over Athenian politics.In 510 BC, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratus. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras. But his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes and his Athenian supporters. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people of Athens endowed their city with isonomic institutions—equal rights for all citizens (though only free men were citizens)—and established ostracism as a punishment.
With an HPI of 76.06, Solon is the 10th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 72 different languages.
Solon (Greek: Σόλων; c. 630 – c. 560 BC) was an Athenian statesman, constitutional lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in Archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet Solon is credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. His constitutional reform also succeeded in overturning most laws established by Draco. Modern knowledge of Solon is limited by the fact that his works only survive in fragments and appear to feature interpolations by later authors and by the general paucity of documentary and archaeological evidence covering Athens in the early 6th century BC. It is recorded that he wrote poetry for pleasure, as patriotic propaganda, and in defence of his constitutional reform. Ancient authors such as Philo of Alexandria, Herodotus, and Plutarch are the main sources, but wrote about Solon long after his death. Fourth-century BC orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times.
Pantheon has 367 people classified as politicians born between 2780 BC and 1980. Of these 367, 31 (8.45%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Constantine II of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The most famous deceased politicians include Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Pericles, and Kösem Sultan. As of April 2022, 25 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Ioannis Palaiokrassas, Philinna, and Theagenes of Megara.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.