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 87.73, Saladin is the most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 132 different languages on wikipedia.
Yusuf ibn Ayyub ibn Shadi (Arabic: يوسف ابن أيوب ابن شاذي, romanized: Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb ibn Shāḏī; c. 1137 – 4 March 1193), better known by his epithet Saladin (Arabic: صلاح الدين, romanized: Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn, lit. 'Righteous of the Faith'; Kurdish: سهلاحهدین, romanized: Selahedîn; ) was a Sunni Muslim Kurd who became the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria, and was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. He was an important figure in the Third Crusade. At the height of his power, his sultanate spanned Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Hejaz (western Arabia), Yemen, parts of western North Africa, and Nubia. He was originally sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1164 alongside his uncle Shirkuh, a general of the Zengid army, on the orders of their lord Nur ad-Din to help restore Shawar as vizier of the teenage Fatimid caliph al-Adid. A power struggle ensued between Shirkuh and Shawar after the latter was reinstated. Saladin, meanwhile, climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults against its territory and his personal closeness to al-Adid. After Shawar was assassinated and Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Shia caliphate. During his tenure as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment and, following al-Adid's death in 1171, he abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and realigned the country's allegiance with the Sunni, Baghdad-based Abbasid caliphate. In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt. Not long after Nur ad-Din's death in 1174, Saladin launched his conquest of Syria, peacefully entering Damascus at the request of its governor. By mid-1175, Saladin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the animosity of other Zengid lords, the official rulers of Syria's various regions. Soon after, he defeated the Zengid army at the Battle of the Horns of Hama of 1175 and was thereafter proclaimed the "Sultan of Egypt and Syria" by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin made further conquests in northern Syria and the Jazira, escaping two attempts on his life by the Order of Assassins, before returning to Egypt in 1177 to address issues there. By 1182, Saladin had completed the conquest of Muslim Syria after capturing Aleppo, but ultimately failed to take over the Zengid stronghold of Mosul. Under Saladin's command, the Ayyubid army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, and thereafter wrested control of Palestine—including the city of Jerusalem—from the Crusaders, who had conquered the area 88 years earlier. Although the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem continued to exist until the late 13th century, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its conflict with the Muslim powers of the region. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects. He is buried in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque. Saladin has become a prominent figure in Muslim, Arab, Turkish and Kurdish culture, and has been described as the most famous Kurd in history.
With an HPI of 86.38, Hammurabi is the 2nd most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 103 different languages.
Hammurabi (c. 1810 – c. 1750 BC) was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty of the Amorite tribe, reigning from c. 1792 BC to c. 1750 BC (according to the Middle Chronology). He was preceded by his father, Sin-Muballit, who abdicated due to failing health. During his reign, he conquered Elam and the city-states of Larsa, Eshnunna, and Mari. He ousted Ishme-Dagan I, the king of Assyria, and forced his son Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute, bringing almost all of Mesopotamia under Babylonian rule.Hammurabi is best known for having issued the Code of Hammurabi, which he claimed to have received from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. Unlike earlier Sumerian law codes, such as the Code of Ur-Nammu, which had focused on compensating the victim of the crime, the Law of Hammurabi was one of the first law codes to place greater emphasis on the physical punishment of the perpetrator. It prescribed specific penalties for each crime and is among the first codes to establish the presumption of innocence. Although its penalties are extremely harsh by modern standards, they were intended to limit what a wronged person was permitted to do in retribution. The Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses in the Torah contain numerous similarities. Hammurabi was seen by many as a god within his own lifetime. After his death, Hammurabi was revered as a great conqueror who spread civilization and forced all peoples to pay obeisance to Marduk, the national god of the Babylonians. Later, his military accomplishments became de-emphasized and his role as the ideal lawgiver became the primary aspect of his legacy. For later Mesopotamians, Hammurabi's reign became the frame of reference for all events occurring in the distant past. Even after the empire he built collapsed, he was still revered as a model ruler, and many kings across the Near East claimed him as an ancestor. Hammurabi was rediscovered by archaeologists in the late nineteenth century and has since been seen as an important figure in the history of law.
With an HPI of 83.91, Saddam Hussein is the 3rd most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 124 different languages.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (; Arabic: صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي, romanized: Ṣaddām Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Majīd al-Tikrītī; 28 April 1935 – 30 December 2006) was an Iraqi politician who served as the fifth president of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq. As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflicts between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company and independent banks, eventually leaving the banking system insolvent due to inflation and bad loans. Through the 1970s, Saddam consolidated his authority over the apparatus of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy grow rapidly. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.Saddam formally took power in 1979, although he had already been the de facto head of Iraq for several years. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. He ran a repressive authoritarian government, which several analysts have described as totalitarian, although the applicability of that label has been contested. Saddam's rule was marked by numerous human rights abuses, including an estimated 250,000 arbitrary killings and bloody invasions of neighboring Iran and Kuwait.In 2003, a coalition led by the United States (US) invaded Iraq to depose Saddam. US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair erroneously accused Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and the country's first democratic elections were held. After his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam Hussein took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006.
With an HPI of 83.85, Nebuchadnezzar II is the 4th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.
Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform: Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from the death of his father Nabopolassar in 605 BC to his own death in 562 BC. Historically known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, he is typically regarded as the empire's greatest king. Nebuchadnezzar remains famous for his military campaigns in the Levant, for his construction projects in his capital, Babylon, and for the important part he played in Jewish history. Ruling for 43 years, Nebuchadnezzar was the longest-reigning king of the Chaldean dynasty. At the time of his death, Nebuchadnezzar was among the most powerful rulers in the world.Possibly named after his grandfather of the same name, or after Nebuchadnezzar I (r. c. 1125–1104 BC), one of Babylon's greatest ancient warrior-kings, Nebuchadnezzar II already secured renown for himself during his father's reign, leading armies in the Medo-Babylonian war against the Assyrian Empire. At the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar inflicted a crushing defeat on an Egyptian army led by Pharaoh Necho II, and ensured that the Neo-Babylonian Empire would succeed the Neo-Assyrian Empire as the dominant power in the ancient Near East. Shortly after this victory, Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar became king. Despite his successful military career during his father's reign, the first third or so of Nebuchadnezzar's reign saw little to no major military achievements, and notably a disastrous failure in an attempted invasion of Egypt. These years of lacklustre military performance saw some of Babylon's vassals, particularly in the Levant, beginning to doubt Babylon's power, viewing the Neo-Babylonian Empire as a "paper tiger" rather than a power truly on the level of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The situation grew so severe that people in Babylonia itself began disobeying the king, some going as far as to revolt against Nebuchadnezzar's rule. After this disappointing early period as king, Nebuchadnezzar's luck turned. In the 580s BC, Nebuchadnezzar engaged in a successful string of military actions in the Levant against the vassal states in rebellion there, likely with the ultimate intent of curbing Egyptian influence in the region. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Kingdom of Judah, and its capital, Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem led to the Babylonian captivity as the city's population, and people from the surrounding lands, were deported to Babylonia. The Jews thereafter referred to Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest enemy they had faced until that point, as a "destroyer of nations". The biblical Book of Jeremiah paints Nebuchadnezzar as a cruel enemy, but also as God's appointed ruler of the world and a divine instrument to punish disobedience. Through the destruction of Jerusalem, the capture of the rebellious Phoenician city of Tyre, and other campaigns in the Levant, Nebuchadnezzar completed the Neo-Babylonian Empire's transformation into the new great power of the ancient Near East. In addition to his military campaigns, Nebuchadnezzar is remembered as a great builder king. The prosperity ensured by his wars allowed Nebuchadnezzar to conduct great building projects in Babylon, and elsewhere in Mesopotamia. The modern image of Babylon is largely of the city as it was after Nebuchadnezzar's projects, during which he, among other work, rebuilt many of the city's religious buildings, including the Esagila and Etemenanki, repaired its current palace and constructed a brand new palace, and beautified its ceremonial centre through renovations to the city's Processional Street and the Ishtar Gate. As most of Nebuchadnezzar's inscriptions deal with his building projects, rather than military accomplishments, he was for a time seen by historians mostly as a builder, rather than a warrior.
With an HPI of 77.22, Ashurbanipal is the 5th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.
Ashurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Aššur-bāni-apli, meaning "Ashur is the creator of the heir") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 669 BC to his death in 631. He is generally remembered as the last great king of Assyria. Inheriting the throne as the favored heir of his father Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal's 38-year reign was among the longest of any Assyrian king. Though sometimes regarded as the apogee of ancient Assyria, his reign also marked the last time Assyrian armies waged war throughout the ancient Near East and the beginning of the end of Assyrian dominion over the region. Esarhaddon selected Ashurbanipal as heir c. 673. The selection of Ashurbanipal bypassed the elder son Shamash-shum-ukin. Perhaps in order to avoid future rivalry, Esarhaddon designated Shamash-shum-ukin as the heir to Babylonia. The two brothers jointly acceded to their respective thrones after Esarhaddon's death in 669, though Shamash-shum-ukin was relegated to being Ashurbanipal's closely monitored vassal. Much of the early years of Ashurbanipal's reign was spent fighting rebellions in Egypt, which had been conquered by his father. The most extensive campaigns of Ashurbanipal were those directed towards Elam, an ancient enemy of Assyria, and against Shamash-shum-ukin, who gradually began to resent the overbearing control that his younger brother held over him. Elam was defeated in a series of conflicts in 665, 653 and 647–646. Shamash-shum-ukin rebelled in 652 and assembled a coalition of Assyria's enemies but was defeated and died during Ashurbanipal's siege of Babylon in 648. On account of a lack of surviving records, much of Ashurbanipal's late reign is poorly known. Ashurbanipal is chiefly remembered today for his cultural efforts. A patron of artwork and literature, Ashurbanipal was deeply interested in the ancient literary culture of Mesopotamia. Over the course of his long reign, Ashurbanipal utilized the massive resources at his disposal to construct the Library of Ashurbanipal, a collection of texts and documents of various different genres. Perhaps comprising over 100,000 texts at its height, the Library of Ashurbanipal was not surpassed until the construction of the Library of Alexandria, several centuries later. The more than 30,000 cuneiform texts that have survived from the library are a highly important source on ancient Mesopotamian language, religion, literature and science. Artwork produced under Ashurbanipal was innovative in its style and motifs and is regarded to possess an "epic quality" otherwise absent from much of the art produced under previous kings. Ashurbanipal was remembered in Greco-Roman literary tradition under the name Sardanapalus, erroneously characterized as the effeminate and decadent last king of Assyria and blamed for the fall of his empire. Whether the fall of the Assyrian Empire only two decades after his death is attributable to Ashurbanipal or not is disputed in modern Assyriology. Ashurbanipal is recognized as one of the most brutal Assyrian kings; he was one of the few kings to describe massacres of civilians and the one with the most varied methods in enacting them. His extensive destruction of Elam is regarded by some scholars to amount to a genocide. The Assyrians were militarily successful under Ashurbanipal, campaigning further away from the Assyrian heartland than ever before, but several of his campaigns had little overall effect. Ashurbanipal failed to maintain control of Egypt, his wars in Arabia cost time and resources without leading to the establishment of Assyrian control in the region, and his extensive sack of Babylon after defeating Shamash-shum-ukin fanned anti-Assyrian sentiment in southern Mesopotamia, perhaps contributing to the rise of the Neo-Babylonian Empire five years after Ashurbanipal's death.
With an HPI of 76.04, Sargon of Akkad is the 6th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 74 different languages.
Sargon of Akkad (; Akkadian: 𒊬𒊒𒄀 Šarrugi), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC. He is sometimes identified as the first person in recorded history to rule over an empire. He was the founder of the "Sargonic" or "Old Akkadian" dynasty, which ruled for about a century after his death until the Gutian conquest of Sumer. The Sumerian king list makes him the cup-bearer to king Ur-Zababa of Kish.His empire is thought to have included most of Mesopotamia, parts of the Levant, besides incursions into Hurrite and Elamite territory, ruling from his (archaeologically as yet unidentified) capital, Akkad (also Agade). Sargon appears as a legendary figure in Neo-Assyrian literature of the 8th to 7th centuries BC. Tablets with fragments of a Sargon Birth Legend were found in the Library of Ashurbanipal.
With an HPI of 72.94, Alexander IV of Macedon is the 7th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Alexander IV (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος Δ΄; 323/322– 309 BC), sometimes erroneously called Aegus in modern times, was the son of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Princess Roxana of Bactria.
With an HPI of 72.04, Sennacherib is the 8th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Sîn-ahhī-erība or Sîn-aḥḥē-erība, meaning "Sîn has replaced the brothers") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sargon II in 705 BC to his own death in 681 BC. The second king of the Sargonid dynasty, Sennacherib is one of the most famous Assyrian kings for the role he plays in the Hebrew Bible, which describes his campaign in the Levant. Other events of his reign include his destruction of the city of Babylon in 689 BC and his renovation and expansion of the last great Assyrian capital, Nineveh. Although Sennacherib was one of the most powerful and wide-ranging Assyrian kings, he faced considerable difficulty in controlling Babylonia, which formed the southern portion of his empire. Many of Sennacherib's Babylonian troubles stemmed from the Chaldean tribal chief Marduk-apla-iddina II, who had been Babylon's king until Sennacherib's father defeated him. Shortly after Sennacherib inherited the throne in 705 BC, Marduk-apla-iddina retook Babylon and allied with the Elamites. Though Sennacherib reclaimed the south in 700 BC, Marduk-apla-iddina continued to trouble him, probably instigating Assyrian vassals in the Levant to rebel, leading to the Levantine War of 701 BC, and himself warring against Bel-ibni, Sennacherib's vassal king in Babylonia. After the Babylonians and Elamites captured and executed Sennacherib's eldest son Ashur-nadin-shumi, whom Sennacherib had proclaimed as his new vassal king in Babylon, Sennacherib campaigned in both regions, subduing Elam. Because Babylon, well within his own territory, had been the target of most of his military campaigns and had caused the death of his son, Sennacherib destroyed the city in 689 BC. In the Levantine War, the states in the southern Levant, especially the Kingdom of Judah under King Hezekiah, were not subdued as easily as those in the north. The Assyrians thus invaded Judah. Though the biblical narrative holds that divine intervention by an angel ended Sennacherib's attack on Jerusalem by destroying the Assyrian army, an outright Assyrian defeat is unlikely as Hezekiah submitted to Sennacherib at the end of the campaign. Contemporary records, even those written by Assyria's enemies, do not mention the Assyrians being defeated at Jerusalem.Sennacherib transferred the capital of Assyria to Nineveh, where he had spent most of his time as crown prince. To transform Nineveh into a capital worthy of his empire, he launched one of the most ambitious building projects in ancient history. He expanded the size of the city and constructed great city walls, numerous temples and a royal garden. His most famous work in the city is the Southwest Palace, which Sennacherib named his "Palace without Rival". After the death of his eldest son and crown prince, Ashur-nadin-shumi, Sennacherib originally designated his second son Arda-Mulissu heir. He later replaced him with a younger son, Esarhaddon, in 684 BC, for unknown reasons. Sennacherib ignored Arda-Mulissu's repeated appeals to be reinstated as heir, and in 681 BC, Arda-Mulissu and his brother Nabu-shar-usur murdered Sennacherib, hoping to seize power for themselves. Babylonia and the Levant welcomed his death as divine punishment, while the Assyrian heartland probably reacted with resentment and horror. Arda-Mulissu's coronation was postponed, and Esarhaddon raised an army and seized Nineveh, installing himself as king as intended by Sennacherib.
With an HPI of 72.04, Sargon II is the 9th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Sargon II (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Šarru-kīn, meaning "the faithful king" or "the legitimate king") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 722 BC to his death in battle in 705. Probably the son of Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745–727), Sargon is generally believed to have become king after overthrowing Shalmaneser V (r. 727–722), probably his brother. He is typically considered the founder of a new dynastic line, the Sargonid dynasty. Modelling his reign on the legends of the ancient rulers Sargon of Akkad, from whom Sargon II likely took his regnal name, and Gilgamesh, Sargon aspired to conquer the known world, initiate a golden age and a new world order, and be remembered and revered by future generations. Over the course of his seventeen-year reign, Sargon substantially expanded Assyrian territory and enacted important political and military reforms. An accomplished warrior-king and military strategist, Sargon personally led his troops into battle. By the end of his reign, all of his major enemies and rivals had been either defeated or pacified. Among Sargon's greatest accomplishments were the stabilization of Assyrian control over the Levant, the weakening of the northern kingdom of Urartu, and the reconquest of Babylonia. From 717 to 707, Sargon constructed a new Assyrian capital named after himself, Dur-Sharrukin, which he made his official residence in 706. Sargon considered himself to have been divinely mandated to maintain and ensure justice. Like other Assyrian kings, Sargon at times enacted brutal punishments against his enemies but there are no known cases of atrocities against civilians from his reign. He worked to assimilate and integrate conquered foreign peoples into the empire and extended the same rights and obligations to them as native Assyrians. He forgave defeated enemies on several occasions and maintained good relations with foreign kings and with the ruling classes of the lands he conquered. Sargon also increased the influence and status of both women and scribes at the royal court. Sargon embarked on his final campaign, against Tabal in Anatolia, in 705. He was killed in battle and the Assyrian army was unable to retrieve his body, preventing a traditional burial. According to ancient Mesopotamian religion, he was cursed to remain a restless ghost for eternity. Sargon's fate was a major psychological blow for the Assyrians and damaged his legacy. Sargon's son Sennacherib was deeply disturbed by his father's death and believed that he must have committed some grave sin. As a result, Sennacherib distanced himself from Sargon. Sargon was barely mentioned in later ancient literature and nearly completely forgotten until the ruins of Dur-Sharrukin were discovered in the 19th century. He was not fully accepted in Assyriology as a real king until the 1860s. Due to his conquests and reforms, Sargon is today considered one of the most important Assyrian kings.
With an HPI of 71.53, Nebuchadnezzar I is the 10th most famous Politician. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Nebuchadnezzar I or Nebuchadrezzar I (), reigned c. 1121–1100 BC, was the fourth king of the Second Dynasty of Isin and Fourth Dynasty of Babylon. He ruled for 22 years according to the Babylonian King List C, and was the most prominent monarch of this dynasty. He is best known for his victory over Elam and the recovery of the cultic idol of Marduk.
Pantheon has 201 people classified as politicians born between 2850 BC and 1974. Of these 201, 21 (10.45%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Fuad Masum, Sajida Talfah, and Nouri al-Maliki. The most famous deceased politicians include Saladin, Hammurabi, and Saddam Hussein. As of April 2022, 9 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Nouri al-Maliki, Abu Firas al-Hamdani, and Mahmud Nedim Pasha.
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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.