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Thread: Top 25 most influencial people in human history

  1. #1
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    Question Top 25 most influencial people in human history



    I thought that 100 is too much (especially if we have to discuss everybody's choice) and 10 too few, so 25 should be a good number. Make you list !

    NB : Naturally, despotic/totalitarian rulers have more chances to be in the list as they had more power to personally make things happen.

    Here is mine (by category and chronogical order) :

    Rulers

    Alexander the Great : Hellenised the Middle-East with cultural and politcial effects lasting for centuries
    Julius Caesar : conquered Gaul, paved the way to Britain, and set foundation of the Roman Empire
    Octavianus Augustus Caesar : first and possibly greatest Roman emperor
    Charlemagne : founded Europe's longest lasting empire
    Godfrey of Bouillon : leader of the first crusade, staring centuries of hostilities between Christianity against Islam.
    Genghis Khan : changed the political face of Asia
    Lorenzo de' Medici : allowed the artistic Renaissance of Europe thanks to his liberal rule and philanthropy.
    Napoleon : spread the ideas of the enlightment and the French revolution across Europe, and uniformised legislation and mesaure units in many countries.
    Queen Victoria : ruled over the largest empire ever, giving her name to numerous places around the world.
    Adolph Hitler : caused WWII in Europe.
    Emperor Hirohito : "supervised" WWII in Asia and the economic boom of Japan

    Others

    Siddhartha Gautama : changed the world by creating Buddhism
    Confucius : influenced Sino-Koreo-Japanese thinking and culture
    Socrates : influenced Western thinking and culture
    Plato : influenced Western thinking and culture
    Aristotle : influenced Western thinking, culture and sciences
    Jesus Christ : changed the world by creating Christianity
    Mohammed : changed the world by creating Islam
    Christopher Columbus : changed the world by discovering the Americas
    Martin Luther : Reformed Christianity, sparkling wars between Catholics and Protestant
    Isaac Newton
    Thomas Edison
    Karl Marx : father of communism, which changed the 20th century
    Albert Einstein : changed modern sciences with its relativity, and allowed nuclear sciences.
    Sigmund Freud : invented psychoanalysis

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    Good list. There are a few like Godfrey and Medici that I sould have skipped. Let me think about who else... but 25 is a good number.
    I think Gandhi and FDR would be on my list as well as Descartes. I'm not certain if I would have room to fit The Apostle Paul, Pasteur, Gallileo, Darwin, Copernicus, Euclid, Shih Huang Ti, James Watt, Alexander Graham Bell, Tsai Lun, Constantine... Jimmu and Yoritomo Miramoto for Japanese History.
    Mikhail Kalashnikov
    J Robert Oppenheimer
    The Japanese 100 list had Walt Disney ranked pretty high... I would really have to think about that.
    Good topic...

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    What about each of us proposes to replace one or more person(s) from my original list by justifying why the new candidate had a bigger impact on the world that the replaced one.

    For example, you could choose to replace Thomas Edison by Darwin, because Darwin's ideas had more important consequences for mankind in the way we understand the world.

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    I have to think about this...

    Drop:
    Godfrey d Boullion
    Lorenzo Di Medici
    Hirohito
    Plato
    Add
    Gandhi
    FDR
    Apostle Paul
    Metternick
    Last edited by Maciamo; 24-05-06 at 09:05.

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    Genghis Khan : changed the political face of Asia
    Just Asia? You mean Eurasia as well (although his son Ogedai did the most conquering in Europe).
    Where to begin?
    Ghenghis Khan: Has more descendents today and radically changed the Eurasian continent and the whole civilized world.
    Alexander the Great: Brought Europe and Asia closer together with his conquests.
    Qin Shi Huang: Started the long and power Chinese Empire, a dominate power in history in both the Eastern World (East Asia) and the world. His empires would create the one of the most technologically advanced civilizations of pre-modern times (and was still a world power up till 1800 CE).
    Julius Caesar: Radically changed most of the Western World (Europe) with his creation of the Roman Empire. His conquests would bring and fuse Roman culture to other peoples of Europe.
    Jesus Christ: A religion based on his teachings is practised by over 2.1 billion people! Many people think he is the son of God.
    Paul the Apostle: Spread Christianity.
    Emperor Constantine: Started the first official Christian religion that nearly all Christian sects are based on.
    Mohammed: Created the Islamic Faith.
    Salahuddin: Powerful Muslim warrior and defender of the Muslim lands during the crusades.
    Charlemagne: Brought the much of Western Europe out of the dark ages. Grandfather of France.
    Frederick Barbarossa: Very important Holy Roman Emperor.
    Siddhartha Gautama: Founder of Buddhism, a major world religion.
    Ashoka the Great: Created a giant Indian Empire in the Southern World (India, Persia, and the Middle East) until he converts to Buddhism. Helps spread Buddhism outside India.
    Bodhidharma: Brought Buddhism to the Eastern World and perhaps Shaolin Martial Arts as well.
    Krishna: Major Hindu teacher that many consider a God incarnate. Wrote the important figure in the classic chapter of the epic Mahabharata; the Bhagavat Gita.
    Adi Shankara: Major Indian philosopher who preached a major monistic or 'advaita' philosophy. He defeated nearly all Buddhist and Nihilist philosophers and brought Hinduism back to India back when it was dominated with Buddhism.
    Cyrus the Great: Created the first superpower empire in the Southern World that dominated the earlier ancient world.
    Confucius: Major philosopher of the Eastern World, especially China.
    Lao Tsu: Founder of Taoism, a major eastenr "religious" philosophy.
    Socrates: Major western philosopher.
    Plato: Another major western philosopher.
    Aristotle: Very important western philosopher.
    Karl Marx: Founder of Communism, a major political/economic philosophy that lead many countries to revolution.
    Bennito Mussolini: Founder of Fascism, a major political philosophy that lead many countries to revolution. Major Italian dictator.
    Emperor Hirohito: Many people of the Japanese Empire thought he was a god, major world leader of his time.
    Adolf Hitler: German dictator that started WII whose forces conquered more land in the shortest amount of time in history.
    Napoleon Bonaparte: Founder of the French Empire, a major influence to all of Europe at its time.
    Albert Eistein: Major scientist and Founder of General and Special thoeries of Reletivity. These theories radically changed the way we look at the world. One of the few scientists to receive celeberty status.
    Robert Boyle: Founder of modern science in many ways (created the scientific method used by science today).
    Issac Newton: Major scientist of his day.
    Charles Darwin: Founder of the theory of evolution, a major theory in biology today.
    Leonardo DeVinci: One of the most well-rounded Intelligent man ever.
    Mahatma Gandhi: Major Indian civil rights father. Non-violently drove the British out of India.
    Jospeh Stalin: One of the most powerful men in world history. Probably the most evil man of all time as well.
    In no particular order, 31 or so here.

    Oh yea and I almost for Chairman Mao.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 24-05-06 at 09:05.

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    That's Cheating, you have 32!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Drop:
    Godfrey d Boullion
    Lorenzo Di Medici
    Hirohito
    Plato
    Add
    Gandhi
    FDR
    Apostle Paul
    Metternick
    You have to justify why for each (one against one) and other members have to say if they agree. This way there can be a real discussion.

    I don't see how Metternick influenced more the world than the 4 you want to drop. He just chaired the discussion about how to re-divide Europe after Napoleon, division that mostly didn't last long (e.g. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands split i \n two 15 years later). How is that more important than starting the crusades, sponsoring artists like da Vinci, Boticelli and Michelangelo, starting WWII in Asia or influencing 2500 years of Western culture ?

    Who is FDR ?

    Gandhi's main achievement was the independence of India. I don't think it changed the world more than the independence of the USA, for instance.

    Apostle Paul, maybe, but he would be nothing without Jesus, and we already have him.

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    Excellent list, Silverbackman, although a bit too long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbackman
    Leonardo DeVinci: One of the most well-rounded Intelligent man ever.
    I think that is more a myth that a reality. He was mostly an painter and inventor, and quite frankly I do not think that his paintings were the best of his time, let alone best in history. People like Edison invented so much more than him. He may have known a lot for his time, but that's derisory compared to what people can learn today. So I'd say that the best instructed people nowadays certainly know much more than da Vinci, and can also be more creative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Excellent list, Silverbackman, although a bit too long.



    I think that is more a myth that a reality. He was mostly an painter and inventor, and quite frankly I do not think that his paintings were the best of his time, let alone best in history. People like Edison invented so much more than him. He may have known a lot for his time, but that's derisory compared to what people can learn today. So I'd say that the best instructed people nowadays certainly know much more than da Vinci, and can also be more creative.
    Well yea he didn't directly invent anything but he knew he was a master of many crafts (there are a lot of crafts within invention;)). For example he figured out the physics of flight and created a machine that would very much make a person fly if a man had the strength to power such a machine. He created some unique war creations to. A particular favorite of mine is a covered wagon with spears and other weapons sticking on and around it controlled by a few men. It is almost like an early tank! He had a very unique way of looking at the world that fascinates us today.

    Ok maybe not influential in material contributions but how he fascinates us today like the great philosophers is what makes him influential I think.

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    I could easily give up Metternick- We seem to have a great deal of names from the 20th century and I was thinking of ideas that shaped our way of global governance. Specifically I was thinking of the shift from treaty by personality, marriage or threat of open warfare to a form of diplomacy that is still practiced. But perhaps you are correct. Could I sub in Machiavelli? His influence on realpolitik and political science is unquestionable.

    Gandhi- influenced every non violent movement in the latter half of the 20th century. From the civil rights movement in the US to South Africa and the Philipines, to the eastern bloc countries. I believe he somehow represents the better hope and promise of the 20th century-- that peaceful and meaningful change can take place.

    FDR- Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The most important and progressive President in American History. Led the US through WWII. Laid foundations for UN. Began Manhattan Project. Responsible for New Deal, Lend Lease, Social Security, Potsdam conference... WWII, Atomic Bomb, Rise of American Global power, and the growth in the role of government- all in one person.

    Apostle Paul- This is kind of like having both Plato and Aristotle. Plato would be unknown without Aristotle's writings and Aristotle would be nowhere without Plato, his teacher. Jesus is the subject of Christianity, Paul's writing gave it substance and shape. Jesus never actually wrote anything that we have. Paul wrote half of the New Testament.

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    I think that Emperor Constantine did more to spread Christianity than Apostle Paul. In the fist 300 years of existence of Christianity, Christians were a small persecuted minority in the Roman Empire. Constantine, by becoming the first emperor to convert and by making it the official religion of the empire, greatly boosted the popularity of Christianity. Soon after all the empire was Christian and the old Roman religion died out. Without him (or somebody else in that position doing the same later), Christians would most probably have remained a small marginal religious group like the Jews, Jainists or Sikhs.

    I didn't know Adi Shankara before Silverbackman mentioned him, but I think that he is indeed worth to be in the list, as without him India would be more Buddhist than Hindu today.

    I am willing to drop Plato and Socrates for these two. I also maintain that Darwin replaces Edison. Maybe Rooselvelt could replace Freud ?

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    I hate to lose Freud and Edison... Our list right now is mostly European, and entirely male (with the exception of Queen Victoria). It's just an observation, but I'm wondering that since the world's population is generally not european and at least half female if there shouldn't be at least a little diversity. Could Simon Bolivar or Tousant L'Overture make the list?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Our list right now is mostly European, and entirely male (with the exception of Queen Victoria). It's just an observation, but I'm wondering that since the world's population is generally not european and at least half female if there shouldn't be at least a little diversity. Could Simon Bolivar or Tousant L'Overture make the list?
    It's only natural that the list in mostly male as women have not enjoyed the same rights and power through history (until now in many countries). What's more half of the list is made of (military) rulers known for invading other countries.

    It is also normal that Europeans dominate, as Europe is the continent that colonised all other continents. However I do not consider Jesus (or Apostle Paul) as a European. Ghenghis Khan, Mohammed, Siddhartha Gautama, Adi Shankara, Confucius Emperor Hirohito and Thomas Edison (+ Gandhi and FDR in your list) are not European. So I think the balance is right.

    Simon Bolivar was of Spanish descent (well, Basque actually) and of Spanish "nationality" until the independence movement he started. So I consider him as more of a European. Anyway his influence on the world was limited to a few South American countries, i.e. not much. If we have to count all independence or revolution leaders, we would have hundreds of them.

    Toussaint L'Ouverture was even less important for world history. He only led to the independence of one of the smallest, poorest and most forgotten country in all the Americas. I'd much rather choose George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Lenin, Gandhi or Mao, rather than Bolivar or L'Ouverture.

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    I concede this point. It is always good to check for obvious ethnocentrism and bias. There is no point throwing a Catherine the great in just for balance or some obscure African ruler for political correctness.

    Bolivar and L'Ouverture inspired the anti-colonial revolutions throughout Latin America and the Carribean, and spread globally during the 20th century.

    We do seem to be leaning toward three groups of men: Conquerers, Inventors (or originators of ideas), and Scientists.

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    Genghis Khan- conquered half of the Asia.

    Mahatma Gandhi- proved that one doesn't need to resort to violence to liberate oneself.

    Albert Einstein- whose theories paved the way for nuclear sciences.

    Siddharta Gautama- founded a major religion

    Martin Luther- was the one who openly denounced the incumbent Catholic Church and rejected what the church was teaching. His strong opposition has undermined the Catholic Church's authority. He not only founded a new Christian religion but also inspired others to create their own Christian sects.

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    I think there is a quartet of great scientists of the 19th century that completely changed our lives.
    Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis,
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,
    Louis Pasteur,
    Joseph Lister.
    Without their pioneering efforts in antiseptic medicine many of us would not be here.

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    what about ancient personalities ? hammurabi, king of babylon invented the code of laws

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    It must be one of the first written codexes. Even the simplest tribes in the past had laws/rules, unwritten though, and justice system (village justice, :) )
    Maybe he invented the first lawyers then.

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    Most influencial? Out of that list it has to be either Jesus Christ or Mohammed.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100

    The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History is a 1978 book by Michael H. Hart, reprinted in 1992 with revisions. It is a ranking of the 100 people who, according to Hart, most influenced human history.

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    Hart wrote another book in 1999, entitled A View from the Year 3000, voiced in the perspective of a person from that future year and ranking the most influential people in history. Roughly half of those entries are fictional people from 2000–3000, but the remainder are actual people. These were taken mostly from the 1992 edition, with some re-ranking of order.

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