Ancient Greece was one of the greatest civilisations in history. They put an emphasis on the value of the person and education. It was their people that made them great. Here is only a small list of the most famous people from ancient Greece:
Croesus (reigned: c. 585 – c. 546 BC) was the king of Lydia, who reigned from 585 BC until his defeat by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 547 or 546 BC.
Croesus was renowned for his wealth; Herodotus and Pausanias noted that his gifts were preserved at Delphi.
The fall of Croesus had a profound effect on the Greeks, providing a fixed point in their calendar.
In Greek and Persian cultures the name of Croesus became a synonym for a wealthy man. He inherited great wealth from his father who had become associated with the Midas mythology because Lydian precious metals came from the river Pactolus in which King Midas supposedly washed away his ability to turn all he touched into gold.
Croesus father Alyattes’ tax revenue may be the real ‘Midas touch’ financing his and his sons’ conquests. Croesus’ wealth remained proverbial beyond classical antiquity: in English, expressions such as “rich as Croesus” or “richer than Croesus” are used to indicate great wealth to this day.
Demetrius I was a Greco-Bactrian and later Indo-Greek king (reigned c. 200 – 167 BC), who ruled areas from Bactria to ancient north-western India. He was the son of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom’s ruler Euthydemus I and succeeded him around 200 BC, after which he conquered extensive areas in what is now southern Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and India.
He was never defeated in battle and was posthumously qualified as the Invincible (Aniketos) on the pedigree coins of his successor Agathocles.
Demetrius I (185 – 150 BC), surnamed Soter (Saviour), reigned as king of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire from 162 – 150 BC. Demetrius grew up in Rome as a hostage, but returned to Greek Syria and overthrew his young cousin Antiochus V Eupator and regent Lysias. Demetrius took control during a turbulent time of the Empire, and spent much of his time fighting off revolts and challenges to his power from threats such as Timarchus and Alexander Balas.
Demetrius I is recorded in Jewish history (and later Christian history, after the Books of Maccabees were included in some denomination’s Biblical canons) for defeating and killing Judas Maccabaeus, the leader of the Maccabean.
Demosthenes (died 413 BC), son of Alcisthenes, was an Athenian general during the Peloponnesian War.
In 425 BC, while still with his fleet in the Ionian Sea, he was ordered by Cleon to join a fleet sent from Athens to put down a revolt in Sicily. Due to a storm, Demosthenes instead landed at Pylos in the Peloponnese. In order to keep his soldiers busy, he had them fortify the port, giving Athens a strong base close to Sparta. Sparta, meanwhile, landed an army on the nearby island of Sphacteria, and Demosthenes moved his men to the beach to prevent the Spartans, commanded by Thrasymelidas and Brasidas, from landing there. The Spartan landing was repulsed, and the main Athenian fleet (having turned back from its journey to Sicily) arrived in time to chase off the Spartan ships.
Back in Athens, the Spartans tried to negotiate a peace. This failed, and Cleon went to assist Demosthenes, who was planning an invasion of Sphacteria. The Athenian forces successfully attacked Sphacteria, forcing the Spartans to surrender – a very unusual event.
(384 – 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 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 speech-writer (logographer) and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in private legal suits.
Dienekes (continuous, unbroken) was a Spartan soldier who fought and died at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. He was acclaimed the bravest of all the Greeks who fought in that battle. The historian Herodotus related the following anecdote about Dienekes:
… the Spartan Dienekes is said to have proved himself the best man of all, the same who, as they report, uttered this saying before they engaged battle with the Medes: – being informed by one of the men of Trachis that when the Barbarians discharged their arrows they obscured the light of the sun by the multitude of the arrows, so great was the number of their host, he was not dismayed by this, but making small account of the number of the Medes, he said that their guest from Trachis brought them very good news, for if the Medes obscured the light of the sun, the battle against them would be in the shade and not in the sun.
Diogenes Laertes (c. 3rd century AD) was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy. His reputation is controversial among scholars because he often repeats information from his sources without critically evaluating it. He also frequently focuses on trivial or insignificant details of his subjects’ lives while ignoring important details of their philosophical teachings and he sometimes fails to distinguish between earlier and later teachings of specific philosophical schools. However, unlike many other ancient secondary sources, Diogenes Laertes generally reports philosophical teachings without attempting to reinterpret or expand on them, which means his accounts are often closer to the primary sources. Due to the loss of so many of the primary sources on which Diogenes relied, his work has become the foremost surviving source on the history of Greek philosophy.
Dionysius I or Dionysius the Elder (c.432 – 367 BC) was a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, in Sicily. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage’s influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. However the ancients regarded him as an example of the worst kind of despot – cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
Dionysius was one of the major figures in Greek and European history. He was a champion of the struggle between the Greeks and Carthage for Sicily, and was the first to bring the war into the enemy’s territory. He transformed Syracuse into the most powerful city in the Greek world, and made it the seat of an empire stretching from Sicily across to Italy. Although this empire was technically a constitutional republic, in fact it was the first Greek empire, which was in effect a monarchy; in this, Dionysius foreshadowed the accomplishments of Alexander the Great and beyond him of Augustus. He also foreshadowed these later rulers in being one of the first Greek rulers to be given divine honours during his lifetime, and he made innovations in military technique, such as siege engines, which became a standard feature of warfare under Alexander the Great and later generals.
Draco (c. 7th century BC), also called Drako or Drakon, was the first recorded legislator of Athens. He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood by a written code to be enforced only by a court of law. Draco was the first democratic legislator requested by the Athenian citizens to be a lawgiver for the city-state, but the citizens had not expected that Draco would establish laws characterized by their harshness. Since the 19th century, the adjective draconian refers to similarly unforgiving rules or laws, in Greek, English, and other European languages.
The laws that he laid were the first written constitution of Athens. So that no one would be unaware of them, they were posted on wooden tablets, where they were preserved for almost two centuries on steles of the shape of four-sided pyramids. The tablets were called axones, perhaps because they could be pivoted along the pyramid’s axis to read any side.
Epaminondas (c.418 BC -362 BC) was a Greek general of Thebes and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a pre-eminent position in Greek politics called the Theban Hegemony. In the process, he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenia helots, a group of Peloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 230 years after being defeated in the Messenian War ending in 600 BC. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities. He was also militarily influential and invented and implemented several major battlefield tactics.
Accordingly, in later centuries the Roman orator, Cicero called him “the first man of Greece”.
The changes Epaminondas wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated. A mere twenty-seven years after his death, a recalcitrant Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas – who had been praised in his time as an idealist and liberator – is today largely remembered for a decade (371 BC to 362 BC) of campaigning that sapped the strength of the great city-states and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest.
Ephialtes was an ancient Athenian politician and an early leader of the democratic movement there. In the late 460s BC, he oversaw reforms that diminished the power of the Areopagus, a traditional bastion of conservatism, and which are considered by many modern historians to mark the beginning of the radical democracy for which Athens would become famous. These powers included the scrutiny and control of office holders, and the judicial functions in state trials. He introduced pay for public officeholders, reduced the property qualifications for holding a public office, and created a new definition of citizenship. Ephialtes, however, would not live to participate in this new form of government for long. In 461 BC, he was assassinated, probably at the instigation of resentful oligarchs, and the political leadership of Athens passed to his deputy, Pericles.
Epicurus (341 – 270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his day and established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects. He openly allowed women and slaves to join the school as a matter of policy. Epicurus is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters written by him – the letters to Menoeceus, Pythocles, and Herodotus – and two collections of quotes – the Principal Doctrines and the Vatican Sayings – have survived intact, along with a few fragments of his other writings. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the biographer Diogenes Laertes, the Epicurean Roman poet Lucretius and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, and with hostile but largely accurate accounts by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, and the Academic Skeptic and statesman Cicero.
Erasistratus (c.304 – c.250 BC) was a Greek anatomist and royal physician under Seleucus I Nicator of Syria. Along with fellow physician Herophilus, he founded a school of anatomy in Alexandria, where they carried out anatomical research. As well, he is credited with helping to found the methodic school of teachings of medicine in Alexandria whilst opposing traditional humoral theories of Hippocratic ideologies. Together, with Herophilus, is credited by historians as the potential founder of neuroscience due to his acknowledgements of nerves and their roles in motor control through the brain and skeletal muscles. Furthermore, Erasistratus is seen as one of the first physicians/scientists to conduct recorded dissections and potential vivisections alongside Herophilus. The two physicians were said by several Roman authors, notably Augustine, Celsus, and Tertullian, to have controversially performed vivisections on criminals to study the anatomy and possible physiology of human organs while they were in Alexandria. Because of their research, Erasistratus and Herophilus were heavily criticized for their utilization of vivisections specifically, namely the author Tertullian who followed Christian values. Erasistratus and Herophilus are thought to be the only physicians to perform dissections on the human body systematically until the Renaissance. He is credited for his description of the valves of the heart, and he also concluded that the heart was not the centre of sensations, but instead it functioned as a pump. Erasistratus was among the first to distinguish between veins and arteries. He believed that the arteries were full of air and that they carried the “animal spirit” (pneuma). He considered atoms to be the essential body element, and he believed they were vitalized by the pneuma that circulated through the nerves. He also thought that the nerves moved a nervous spirit from the brain. He then differentiated between the function of the sensory and motor nerves, and linked them to the brain. He is credited with one of the first in-depth descriptions of the cerebrum and cerebellum. Erasistratus is regarded by some as the founder of physiology.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene
Eratosthenes (c.276 BC – c.195 BC) was a Greek polymath: a mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. His work is comparable to what is now known as the study of geography, and he introduced some of the terminology still used today.
He is best known for being the first person known to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by using the extensive survey results he could access in his role at the Library; his calculation was remarkably accurate. He was also the first to calculate Earth’s axial tilt, which also proved to have remarkable accuracy. He created the first global projection of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era. Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology; he endeavoured to revise the dates of the main events of the semi-mythological Trojan War, dating the Sack of Troy to 1183 BC. In number theory, he introduced the sieve of Eratosthenes, an efficient method of identifying prime numbers. He was a figure of influence in many fields. According to an entry in the Suda (a 10th-century encyclopaedia), his critics scorned him, calling him Beta (the second letter of the Greek alphabet) because he always came in second in all his endeavours. Nonetheless, his devotees’ nicknamed him Pentathlos after the Olympians who were well-rounded competitors, for he had proven himself to be knowledgeable in every area of learning. Eratosthenes yearned to understand the complexities of the entire world.
Euclid (c. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “founder of geometry” or the “father of geometry”. He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I (323–283 BC). His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics (especially geometry) from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the theorems of what is now called Euclidean geometry from a small set of axioms. Euclid also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory, and mathematical rigour.
Eucratides I (reigned 172/171 – 145 BC), also known as Eucratides the Great, was one of the most important Greco-Bactrian kings. Eucratides overthrew the Euthydemid dynasty of Bactria (possibly killing Demetrius) and restored the Diodotid dynasty of Diodotus I, allied to the Parthian Empire. Eucratides fought against the easternmost Hellenistic and Indian rulers in India, holding territory in the Indus and as far as Barigaza until he was finally defeated by Menander and pushed back to Bactria. Eucratides minted a vast and prestigious coinage, suggesting a rule of considerable importance and prosperity. His son, Heliocles I was father of Heliocles II, who was the last Greek king to rule in Bactria, as Yuezhi and Saka nomads overran the country c.100 BC.
Eurybiades was the son of Eurycleides, and was chosen as commander in 480 BC because the Peloponnesian city-states led by Sparta, worried about the growing power of Athens, Greece as a whole did not want to serve under an Athenian despite the Athenians’ superior naval skill. For all the enmity between the two, Eurybiades was ultimately assisted by the Athenian naval commander Themistocles.
His first act as commander was to sail the fleet to Artemisium, north of Euboea, to meet the Persian fleet. When they arrived the Greeks found that the Persians were already there, and Eurybiades ordered a retreat, although the Euboeans begged him to stay. Instead, they bribed Themistocles to keep the fleet there, and Themistocles used some of his bribe to pay off Eurybiades (at least according to Herodotus). The subsequent Battle of Artemisium was indecisive, and the Greeks removed their fleet to Salamis Island.
Euripides (c. 480 – c. 406 BC) was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom any plays have survived in full. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him, but the Suda says it was ninety-two at most. Of these, eighteen or nineteen have survived more or less complete. There are many fragments (some substantial) of most of his other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together; partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined he became, in the Hellenistic, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes, and Menander. Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. He also became “the most tragic of poets”, focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown.
His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism. Both were frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence. Ancient biographies hold that Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia, but recent scholarship casts doubt on these sources.
Saint George (died 23 April 303), also George of Lydda, was a Christian who is venerated as a saint in Christianity. According to tradition he was a soldier in the Roman army. Saint George was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origin and member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He became one of the most venerated saints and megalomartyrs in Christianity, and he has been especially venerated as a military saint since the Crusades.
In hagiography, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and one of the most prominent military saints, he is immortalized in the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. His memorial, Saint George’s Day, is traditionally celebrated on 23 April. England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Catalonia and Aragon in Spain, Moscow in Russia, and several other states, regions, cities, universities, professions and organizations claim George as their patron. The bones of Saint George are buried in the Church of Saint George, Lod, Israel.
Very little is known about George’s life, but it is thought he was a Roman officer of Greek descent from Cappadocia who was martyred in one of the pre-Constantinian persecutions. Beyond this, early sources give conflicting information.
There are two main versions of the legend, a Greek and a Latin version, which can both be traced to the 5th or 6th century. The saint’s veneration dates to the 5th century with some certainty, and possibly still to the 4th. The addition of the dragon legend dates to the 11th century.
Gylippus was a Spartan general (strategos) of the 5th century BC; he was the son of Cleandridas, who was the adviser of King Pleistoanax and had been expelled from Sparta for accepting Athenian bribes in 446 BC and fled to Thurii, a Pan-Hellenic colony then being founded in the instep of Italy with Athenian help and participation. His mother may have been a helot, which meant he was not a true Spartiate but amothax, a man of inferior status. Despite this, from an early childhood he was trained for war in the traditional Spartan fashion and on reaching maturity had been elected to a military mess, his dues contributed by a wealthier Spartiate patron. For an individual of marginal origins, war was an opportunity to gain honour and eminence.
Hephaestion (c.356 BC – c.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.
Hero of Alexandria
Hero (c.10 AD – c.70 AD) was a Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. He is often considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition.
Hero published a well-recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile (sometimes called a “Hero engine”). Among his most famous inventions was a wind wheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land. He is said to have been a follower of the atomists. In his work Mechanics, he described pantographs. Some of his ideas were derived from the works of Ctesibius.
In mathematics he is mostly remembered for Heron’s formula, a way to calculate the area of a triangle using only the lengths of its sides.
Much of Hero’s original writings and designs have been lost, but some of his works were preserved including in manuscripts from the Eastern Roman Empire and to a lesser extent, in Latin or Arabic translations.
Herodotus (c. 484 – c. 425 BC) was an ancient writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus (now Bodrum, Turkey), part of the Persian Empire.
He is known for having written the Histories – a detailed account of the Greco-Persian Wars. Herodotus was the first writer to do systematic investigation of historical events. He is referred to as “The Father of History”, a title conferred on him by the Roman orator Cicero.
The Histories primarily covers the lives of prominent kings and famous battles such as Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale. His work deviates from the main topics to provide cultural, ethnographical, geographical, and historiographical background that forms an essential part of the narrative and provides readers with a wellspring of additional information.
Herodotus has been criticized for his inclusion of “legends and fanciful accounts” in his work. Fellow historian Thucydides accused him of making up stories for entertainment. However, Herodotus explained that he reported what he “saw and (what was) told to him.”
A sizable portion of the Histories has since been confirmed by modern historians and archaeologists.
Hesiod (‘he who emits the voice’) was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded as the first written poet in the Western tradition to regard himself as an individual persona with an active role to play in his subject. Ancient authors credited Hesiod and Homer with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars refer to him as a major source on Greek, farming techniques, early economic thought, archaic Greek astronomy and ancient time keeping.
Hipparchus of Nicaea
Hipparchus (c.190 – c.120 BC) was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry, but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. Hipparchus was born in Nicaea, Bithynia, and probably died on the island of Rhodes, Greece. He is known to have been a working astronomer between 162 and 127 BC.
Hipparchus is considered the greatest ancient astronomical observer and, by some, the greatest overall astronomer of antiquity. He was the first whose quantitative and accurate models for the motion of the Sun and Moon survive. For this he certainly made use of the observations and perhaps the mathematical techniques accumulated over centuries by the Babylonians and by Meton of Athens (fifth century BC), Timocharis, Aristyllus, Aristarchus of Samos, and Eratosthenes, among others. He developed trigonometry and constructed trigonometric tables, and he solved several problems of spherical. With his solar and lunar theories and his trigonometry, he may have been the first to develop a reliable method to predict solar eclipses.
His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth’s precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalogue of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary sphere that he used during the creation of much of the star catalogue.
Hippias of Elis
Hippias (late 5th century BC) was a Greek sophist, and a contemporary of Socrates. With an assurance characteristic of the later sophists, he claimed to be regarded as an authority on all subjects, and lectured on poetry, grammar, history, politics, mathematics, and much else. Most of our knowledge of him is derived from Plato, who characterizes him as vain and arrogant.
Hippias is credited with originating the idea of natural law. This ideal began at first during the fifth century B.C. According to Hippias, natural law was never to be superseded, as it was universal. Hippias saw natural law as a habitual entity that humans take part in without pre-meditation. He regarded the elite in states as indistinguishable from one another and thus they should perceive each other as so. Because of this they should consider and treat each other as a society of a unanimous state. These ideas were passed on through Cynicism and Stoicism later being the foundation for turning Roman law in legislation. Along with natural law, Hippias also wrote about self-sufficiency as a binding principle. He used this principle in his teachings as he gathered knowledge in numerous subjects so as to be never outwitted or have his reputation questioned.
Hippocrates of Kos
Hippocrates (c.460 – c.370 BC), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles (Classical Greece), who is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is traditionally referred to as the “Father of Medicine” in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field, such as the use of prognosis and clinical observation, the systematic categorization of diseases, or the formulation of humoural theory. The Hippocratic School of medicine revolutionized ancient Greek medicine, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields with which it had traditionally been associated (theurgy and philosophy), thus establishing medicine as a profession.
However, the achievements of the writers of the Hippocratic Corpus, the practitioners of Hippocratic medicine, and the actions of Hippocrates himself were often conflated; thus very little is known about what Hippocrates actually thought, wrote, and did. Hippocrates is commonly portrayed as the paragon of the ancient physician and credited with coining the Hippocratic oath, which is still relevant and in use today. He is also credited with greatly advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine, summing up the medical knowledge of previous schools, and prescribing practices for physicians through the Hippocratic Corpus and other works.
Homer was an ancient Greek author. He is the reputed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential authors of all time.
The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Mycenaean Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy.
The Homeric epics were the greatest influence on ancient Greek culture and education; to Plato, Homer was simply the one who “has taught Greece”.
From antiquity until the present day, the influence of Homeric epic on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music, art and film.
The question of who, when, where and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed continues to be debated. Some scholars consider that different authors wrote the two works. It is generally accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. Many accounts of Homer’s life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.
The poems are in Homeric Greek, also known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries; the predominant influence is Eastern Ionic. Most researchers believe that the poems were originally transmitted orally.
Hypatia (c.360 – c.415 AD) was a Greek Neo-Platonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire.
She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy.
Although preceded by Pandrosion, another Alexandrine female mathematician, she is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded. Hypatia was renowned in her own lifetime as a great teacher and a wise counsellor. She wrote a commentary on Diophantus’s thirteen-volume Arithmetica, which may survive in part, having been interpolated into Diophantus’s original text, and another commentary on Apollonius of Perga’s treatise on conic sections, which has not survived. Many modern scholars also believe that Hypatia may have edited the surviving text of Ptolemy’s Almagest, based on the title of her father Theon’s commentary on Book III of the Almagest.
She constructed astrolabes and hydrometers, but did not invent either of these, which were both in use long before she was born. Although she herself was a pagan, she was tolerant towards Christians and taught many Christian students, including Synesius, the future bishop of Ptolemais. Ancient sources record that Hypatia was widely beloved by pagans and Christians alike and that she established great influence with the political elite in Alexandria. Towards the end of her life, Hypatia advised Orestes, the Roman prefect of Alexandria, who was in the midst of a political feud with Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria. Rumours spread accusing her of preventing Orestes from reconciling with Cyril and, in March 415 AD, she was murdered by a mob of Christians led by a lector named Peter. Hypatia’s murder shocked the empire and transformed her into a “martyr for philosophy”, leading future Neo-Platonists such as Damascius to become increasingly fervent in their opposition to Christianity. During the Middle Ages, Hypatia was co-opted as a symbol of Christian virtue and scholars believe she was part of the basis for the legend of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. In the twentieth century, Hypatia became seen as an icon for women’s rights and a precursor to the feminist movement.
Source: en.wikipedia.com, newworldencyclopedia.org and britannica.com