The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Libyan Politicians of all time. This list of famous Libyan 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 Libyan Politicians.
With an HPI of 85.44, Muammar Gaddafi is the most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 130 different languages on wikipedia.
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (c. 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own Third International Theory. Born near Sirte, Italian Libya, to a poor Bedouin family, Gaddafi became an Arab nationalist while at school in Sabha, later enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Within the military, he founded a revolutionary group which deposed the Western-backed Senussi monarchy of Idris in a 1969 coup. Having taken power, Gaddafi converted Libya into a republic governed by his Revolutionary Command Council. Ruling by decree, he deported Libya's Italian population and ejected its Western military bases. Strengthening ties to Arab nationalist governments—particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt—he unsuccessfully advocated pan-Arab political union. An Islamic modernist, he introduced sharia as the basis for the legal system and promoted "Islamic socialism". He nationalized the oil industry and used the increasing state revenues to bolster the military, fund foreign revolutionaries, as well as implement social programs emphasizing house-building, healthcare and education projects. In 1973, he initiated a "Popular Revolution" with the formation of Basic People's Congresses, presented as a system of direct democracy, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third International Theory that year in The Green Book. Gaddafi transformed Libya into a new socialist state called a Jamahiriya ("state of the masses") in 1977. He officially adopted a symbolic role in governance but remained head of both the military and the Revolutionary Committees responsible for policing and suppressing dissent. During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya's unsuccessful border conflicts with Egypt and Chad, support for foreign militants, and alleged responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing in Scotland left it increasingly isolated on the world stage. A particularly hostile relationship developed with the United States, United Kingdom and Israel, resulting in the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya and United Nations–imposed economic sanctions. From 1999, Gaddafi shunned pan-Arabism and encouraged rapprochement with Western nations and pan-Africanism; he was Chairperson of the African Union from 2009 to 2010. Amid the 2011 Arab Spring, protests against widespread corruption and unemployment broke out in Eastern Libya. The situation descended into civil war, in which NATO intervened militarily on the side of the anti-Gaddafist National Transitional Council (NTC). The government was overthrown and Gaddafi retreated to Sirte, only to be captured and killed by NTC militants. A highly divisive figure, Gaddafi dominated Libya's politics for four decades and was the subject of a pervasive cult of personality. He was decorated with various awards and praised for his anti-imperialist stance, support for Arab—and then African—unity, as well as for significant improvements that his government brought to the Libyan people's quality of life. Conversely, many Libyans strongly opposed Gaddafi's social and economic reforms; he was posthumously accused of sexual abuse. He was condemned by many as a dictator whose authoritarian administration systematically violated human rights and financed global terrorism.
With an HPI of 83.38, Septimius Severus is the 2nd most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 79 different languages.
Lucius Septimius Severus (Latin: [sɛˈweːrʊs]; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of the emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the Roman generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul. After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. He then enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202, he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes, capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern desert frontier of the empire. He proclaimed as augusti (co-emperors) his elder son Caracalla in 198 and his younger son Geta in 209, both born of his second wife Julia Domna. Severus travelled to Britain in 208, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In AD 209 he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland) with an army of 50,000 men but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill of an infectious disease in late 210. He died in early 211 at Eboracum (today York, England), and was succeeded by his sons, who were advised by their mother and his powerful wife Julia Domna, thus founding the Severan dynasty. It was the last dynasty of the Roman Empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.
With an HPI of 77.43, Simon of Cyrene is the 3rd most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Simon of Cyrene (Hebrew: שמעון, Standard Hebrew Šimʿon, Tiberian Hebrew Šimʿôn; Greek: Σίμων Κυρηναῖος, Simōn Kyrēnaios; died 100) was the man compelled by the Romans to carry the cross of Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus was taken to his crucifixion, according to all three Synoptic Gospels:And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. He was also the father of the disciples Rufus and Alexander.
With an HPI of 76.13, Idris of Libya is the 4th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.
Idris (Arabic: إدريس الأول; El Sayyid Prince Muhammad Idris bin Muhammad al-Mahdi as-Senussi; 13 March 1890 – 25 May 1983) was a Libyan political and religious leader who served as the Emir of Cyrenaica and then as the King of United Kingdom of Libya from 1951 to 1969. He was the chief of the Senussi Muslim order. Idris was born into the Senussi Order. When his cousin, Ahmed Sharif as-Senussi, abdicated as leader of the Order, Idris took his position. The Senussi campaign was taking place, with the British and Italians fighting the Order. Idris put an end to the hostilities and, through the Modus vivendi of Acroma, abandoned Ottoman protection. Between 1919 and 1920, Italy recognized Senussi control over most of Cyrenaica in exchange for the recognition of Italian sovereignty by Idris. Idris then led his Order in an unsuccessful attempt to conquer the eastern part of the Tripolitanian Republic. Following the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly called for Libya to be granted independence. It established the United Kingdom of Libya through the unification of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan, appointing Idris to rule it as King. Wielding significant political influence in the impoverished country, he banned political parties and in 1963 replaced Libya's federal system with a unitary state. He established links to the Western powers, allowing the United Kingdom and United States to open military bases in the country in return for economic aid. After oil was discovered in Libya in 1959, he oversaw the emergence of a growing oil industry that rapidly aided economic growth. Idris' regime was weakened by growing Arab nationalist and Arab socialist sentiment in Libya as well as rising frustration at the country's high levels of corruption and close links with Western nations. While in Turkey for medical treatment, Idris was deposed in a 1969 coup d'état by army officers led by Muammar Gaddafi.
With an HPI of 67.29, Fayez al-Sarraj is the 5th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.
Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj (Arabic: فائز السراج or فايز السراج; born 20 February 1960) is a Libyan politician, who served as the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord from 2016 to 2021, which was formed on 17 December 2015 under the Libyan Political Agreement. He has been a member of the Parliament of Tripoli.
With an HPI of 66.91, Abdurrahim El-Keib is the 6th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.
Abdurrahim Abdulhafiz El-Keib, PhD, (Arabic: عبد الرحيم عبد الحفيظ الكيب; also transcribed Abdel Rahim AlKeeb, Abdul Raheem Al-Keeb, etc.; 2 March 1950 – 21 April 2020) was a Libyan politician, professor of electrical engineering, and entrepreneur who served as interim Prime Minister of Libya from 24 November 2011 to 14 November 2012. He was appointed to the position by the country's National Transitional Council on the understanding that he would be replaced when the General National Congress was elected and took power. Power was handed to the Congress on 8 August 2012, and the assembly appointed El-Keib's successor Ali Zeidan in October 2012.
With an HPI of 65.91, Pedubast I is the 7th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Pedubastis I or Pedubast I was an Upper Egyptian Pharaoh of ancient Egypt during the 9th century BC. Based on lunar dates which are known to belong to the reign of his rival Takelot II in Upper Egypt and the fact that Pedubast I first appeared as a local king at Thebes around Year 11 of Takelot II's rule, Pedubast I is today believed to have had his accession date in either 835 BC or 824 BC. This local Pharaoh is recorded as being of Libyan ancestry and ruled Egypt for 25 years according to the redaction of Manetho done by Eusebius. He first became king at Thebes in Year 8 of Shoshenq III and his highest dated Year is his 23rd Year according to Nile Level Text No. 29. This year is equivalent to Year 31 of Shoshenq III of the Tanis based 22nd Dynasty of Egypt; however, since Shoshenq II only controlled Lower Egypt in Memphis and the Delta region, Pedubast and Shoshenq III were not political rivals and may even have established a relationship. Indeed, Shoshenq III's son, the general and army leader Pashedbast B "built a vestibule door to Pylon X at Karnak, and in one and the same commemorative text thereon named his father as [king] Sheshonq (III)" but dated his actions here to Pedubast I. This may show some tacit support for the Pedubast faction by the Tanite based 22nd dynasty king Shoshenq III.Pedubast I was the main opponent to Takelot II and later, Osorkon B, of the 23rd Dynasty of Libyan kings of Upper Egypt at Thebes. His accession to power plunged Thebes into a protracted civil war which lasted for nearly three decades between these two competing factions. Each faction had a rival line of High Priests of Amun with Pedubast's being Harsiese B who is attested in office as early as Year 6 of Shoshenq III and then Takelot E who appears in office from Year 23 of Pedubast I. Osorkon B was Pedubast I and Harsiese's chief rival. This conflict is obliquely mentioned in the famous Chronicle of Prince Osorkon at Karnak. Recent excavations by the University of Columbia in 2005 reveal that Pedubast I's authority was recognised both at Thebes and in the western desert oases of Egypt—at the Great Temple of Dakhla where his cartouche has been found. He was succeeded in power by Shoshenq VI.
With an HPI of 64.37, Ptolemy Apion is the 8th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.
Ptolemy Apion or simply known as Apion (Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Ἀπίων; between 150 BC and 145 BC – 96 BC) was the last Greek King of Cyrenaica who separated it from the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, and in his last will bequeathed his country to Rome. He was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
With an HPI of 63.83, Mahmoud Jibril is the 9th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.
Mahmoud Jibril el-Warfally (Arabic: محمود جبريل الورفلي), also transcribed Jabril or Jebril or Gebril (28 May 1952 – 5 April 2020), was a Libyan politician who served as the interim Prime Minister of Libya for seven and a half months during the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan Civil War, chairing the executive board of the National Transitional Council (NTC) from 5 March to 23 October 2011. He also served as the Head of International Affairs. As of July 2012, Jibril was the head of one of the largest political parties in Libya, the National Forces Alliance.Toward the end of the conflict, Jibril was increasingly referred to by foreign governments and in media as the interim prime minister of Libya. Jibril's government was recognized as the "sole legitimate representative" of Libya by the majority of UN states including France, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, Iran, and Qatar.
With an HPI of 63.10, Gaius Fulvius Plautianus is the 10th most famous Libyan Politician. His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.
Gaius or Lucius Fulvius Plautianus (c. 150 – 22 January 205) was a member of the Roman gens Fulvia. Like Sejanus, Perennis and Cleander, as head of the Praetorian Guard, he was formally extraordinarily powerful and influential in the administration of state affairs, and was involved with Julia Domna, the powerful wife of Septimius Severus, who played a prominent public and political role, in influencing the emperor's decisions. Plautianus was originally from Leptis Magna, southeast of Carthage (modern Libya, North Africa). He was a maternal cousin and long-time friend of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Plautianus' father was another Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, born c. 130, whose sister, Fulvia Pia (c. 125 - after 198), was married to Severus' father Publius Septimius Geta.Plautianus was Praefectus vigilum (commander of the Vigiles in Rome) from 193 to 197.Plautianus was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard in 197. Due to their friendship, Severus rewarded Plautianus with various honors, including a consular insignia, a seat in the Roman Senate and the Consulship of 203. During his consulship, Plautianus' image was minted on coins along with Severus' second son, Publius Septimius Geta. He assisted Severus in administering the empire and became very wealthy and powerful. Severus made him his second in command. He competed with Julia Domna, the wife of the Emperor, in running the government (she too helped her husband run the empire, but was behind the scenes because of her gender). In 202, Plautianus married his daughter, Publia Fulvia Plautilla, to Caracalla (Severus’ first son and co-emperor) in Rome. Plautianus began to conduct himself like a ruthless ruler, having those who opposed him assassinated or executed at will. He became so powerful that Caracalla and his effective mother, Julia Domna, began to be concerned. Aware of her reservations, Plautianus sought to disrepute, dishonor and disempower Julia. He had her servants and friends arrested and tortured in hopes of extracting some damaging testimony against her; however, he was unsuccessful in his efforts.The aforementioned marriage between Caracalla and Plautilla was not a happy one - In fact, Caracalla loathed both her and her father, threatening to kill them after becoming sole emperor. When Plautianus discovered this, he plotted to overthrow Severus' family.This deeply troubled Julia Domna, who began plotting Plautianus's downfall. When Plautianus' treachery was discovered, the imperial family summoned him to the palace and ordered his death on 22 January 205. From this point onwards, the Empress became only the chief political advisor to her husband the Emperor; as Augusta of the empire, she was now the only influential person in the government to help Severus run the empire. After his death, at the request of Julia Domna, Plautianus’ property was confiscated, his name was erased from public monuments, and his son of the same name, his daughter and his granddaughter were exiled to Sicily. They were all strangled on Caracalla's orders in early 212.
Pantheon has 31 people classified as politicians born between 900 BC and 2000. Of these 31, 16 (51.61%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Fayez al-Sarraj, Mahmoud Jibril, and Baghdadi Mahmudi. The most famous deceased politicians include Muammar Gaddafi, Septimius Severus, and Simon of Cyrene. As of October 2020, 1 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Ali Treki.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 9 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.