List of people known as The Great

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This is an incomplete list of people known as "The Great".

There are many people in history whose names are commonly appended with the phrase "the Great" or the equivalent in their own language. Other languages have their own suffixes such as e Bozorg and e azam in Persian and Urdu respectively and Maha in the devanagiri script (Hindi script) as in Mahatma Gandhi.

In Persia, the title "the Great" at first seems to be a colloquial version of the Old Persian title "Great King". This title was first used by the conqueror Cyrus II of Persia.[1]

The Persian title was inherited by Alexander III of Macedon (336–323 BC) when he conquered the Persian Empire, and the epithet "Great" eventually became personally associated with him. The first reference (in a comedy by Plautus)[2] assumes that everyone knew who "Alexander the Great" was; however, there is no earlier evidence that Alexander III of Macedon was called "the Great".

The early Seleucid kings, who succeeded Alexander in Persia, used "Great King" in local documents, but the title was most notably used for Antiochus the Great (223–187 BC).

Later rulers and commanders began to use the epithet "the Great" as a personal name, like the Roman general Pompey. Others received the surname retrospectively, like the Carthaginian Hanno and the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great. Once the surname gained currency, it was also used as an honorific surname for people without political careers, like the philosopher Albert the Great.

As there are no objective criteria for "greatness", the persistence of using the designation greatly varies. For example, Louis XIV of France was often referred to as "the Great" in his lifetime, but is rarely called such nowadays, while Frederick II of Prussia is still called "the Great". German Emperor Wilhelm I was often called "the Great" in the time of his grandson Wilhelm II, but rarely later.

Rulers[edit]

Name Description
Abbas I of Persia (1571–1629) Shah of Iran
Akbar the Great (1542–1605) Mughal Emperor
Alain I of Albret (1440–1522) French aristocrat
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) King of Macedonia, Persia, Greece, Egypt, and all of Mesopotamia
Alexander I of Georgia (1386–1446) King of Georgia
Afonso de Albuquerque (c. 1453-1515) Portuguese general, statesman and empire builder
Alfonso III of León (c. 848-910) King of León, Galicia and Asturias
Alfred the Great (848/849-899) King of Wessex, England
Antiochus III the Great (c. 241–187 BC) ruler of the Seleucid Empire
Ashoka the Great (c. 304–232 BC) Indian emperor of the Maurya dynasty
Ashot I of Iberia (died 826/830) presiding prince of Caucasian Iberia (in modern Georgia)
Askia Mohammad I (c. 1442–1538) ruler of the Songhai Empire
Bolesław I Chrobry (967-1025) first King of Poland
Bruno the Great (925–965) Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia (also listed in the following section)
Cnut the Great (c. 985 or 995-1035) King of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden
Casimir III the Great (1310–1370) King of Poland
Catherine the Great (1729–1796) Empress of Russia
Chandragupta II (reigned 375-413/415) ruler of the Gupta empire in India
Charlemagne (died 814) King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans
Chlothar II (584-629) King of Neustria and King of the Franks
Conrad, Margrave of Meissen (c. 1097-1157) Margrave of Meissen
Constantine I (c. 272-337) Roman emperor
Cyrus the Great (c. 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC) founder and ruler of the Persian or Achaemenid Empire
Darius the Great (550 – 486 BC) third ruler of the Persian Empire
Devapala (died 850) ruler of the Pala Empire in the Indian subcontinent
Farrukhan the Great Ruler of the Dabuyid dynasty
Ferdinand I of León and Castile (c. 1015–1065) King of León and Count of Castile
Frederick the Great (1712–1786) King of Prussia
Genghis Khan (1162?-1227) founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire
Gerhard III (c. 1292-1340) German prince who ruled Schauenburg and Holstein-Rendsburg and for a while a large part of Denmark
Gero (c. 900–965) ruler of Marca Geronis, a very large march in Europe
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (1594–1632) King of Sweden, founder of the Swedish Empire, and noted military leader
Gwanggaeto the Great King of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea[3][4]
Hanno the Great the name of three leaders of Carthage, in the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries BC
Henry I, Duke of Burgundy (946–1002)
Henry IV of France (1553–1610) King of France and King of Navarre
Herod the Great (73/74 BC-4 BC) King of Judea
Hugh the Great (898-956) Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris
Hugh Magnus of France (1007–1025) co-King of France
Hugh I, Count of Vermandois (1057–1101)
Humphrey I de Bohun (died c. 1123) Anglo-Norman aristocrat
Ivan III of Russia (1440–1505) Tsar of Russia
John I of Portugal (1358–1433) King of Portugal and the Algarve
John II of Aragon (1398–1479) King of Aragon and, through his wife, King of Navarre
Justinian I (483-565) Byzantine Emperor
Kamehameha I (c. 1758-1819) first King of Hawai'i
Kanishka (died c. 127) ruler of the Kushan Empire in Central Asia and parts of India
Kvirike III of Kakheti (1010–1029) King of Kakheti in eastern Georgia
Kublai Khan (1215–1294) Mongol ruler in the 13th century and Emperor of China; founder of the Yuan Dynasty
Llywelyn the Great (c. 1172–1240) Prince of Gwynedd and de facto ruler of most of Wales
Louis I of Hungary (1326–1382) King of Hungary, Croatia and Poland
Mangrai the Great (1238–1317) Lanna, northern Thailand
Emperor Meiji (1852–1912) Emperor of Japan
Mircea I of Wallachia (1355–1418) ruler of Wallachia
Mithridates II of Parthia (died 88 BC) ruler of the Parthian Empire (in present day Iran)
Mithridates VI of Pontus (134 BC–63 BC) ruler of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom
Mubarak the Great (1840–1915) ruler of Kuwait
Mstislav I of Kiev (1076–1132) Grand Prince of Kievan Rus
Sihanouk (1922-2012) Great King of Cambodia
Odo the Great (died c. 735) Duke of Aquitaine
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor (912-973) Holy Roman Emperor
K'inich Janaab' Pakal (603-683) ruler of the Mayan city-state of Palenque
Parakramabahu I of Polonnaruwa (1123–1186) King of Sri Lanka
Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia (died 1075) King of Croatia
Peter the Great (1672–1725) Tsar of Russia
Peter III of Aragon (1239–1285) King of Aragon and King of Sicily
Pompey (106-48 BC) rival of Julius Caesar in the late Roman Republic
Radama I (1793–1828) first king of greater Madagascar
Raja Raja Chola I (c. 947-1014) Chola emperor of Tamil Nadu.[5][6][7]
Rajendra Chola I (reigned 1014–1044) Chola King of Tamil Nadu
Rama I (1782 – 1809) King of Siam (now Thailand)
Rama V (1853–1910) King of Siam (now Thailand)
Rama IX (1946-Present) King of Thailand
Ramesses II (reigned 1279 BC – 1213 BC) considered the greatest pharaoh of Ancient Egypt
Ram Khamhaeng (around 1237 to 1247-1298) King of Sukhothai (in present day Thailand)
Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona (1082–1131) Count of Barcelona, Provence and various other counties
Rhodri the Great (c. 820–878) King of Gwynedd (in present day Wales)
Robert I, Count of Dreux Count of Dreux
Roman the Great (after 1160-1205) Grand Prince of Kiev
Saladin (c. 1138-1193) Kurdish Sultan of Egypt and Syria, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and victor over the Crusaders
Samudragupta (c. 335–375) ruler of the Gupta empire in the Indian subcontinent
Sancho III of Navarre (c. 992-1035) King of Kingdom of Navarre
Sargon of Akkad (died c. 2215 BC) ruler of the Akkadian Empire
Sejong the Great (1397–1450) Korean king[8]
Shapur II (309-379) king of the Sassanid Empire, Persia
Simeon I of Bulgaria (864/865-927) ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire
Stephen III of Moldavia (1433–1504) Prince of Moldavia (Romania)
Stephen Uroš I of Serbia (c. 1223–1277) King of Serbia (1243–1276)
Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia (c. 1308-1355) King of Serbia and Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks (r. 1331-1355)
Taksin (1734–1782) King of the Thonburi Kingdom (Thailand)
Tamar of Georgia (1160–1223) Queen of the Georgian Empire
Timur (1336–1405) better known as Tamerlane, founder of the Timurid Dynasty
Theobald II, Count of Champagne (1090–1151) Count of Blois and of Chartres as Theobald IV, Count of Champagne and of Brie
Theodoric the Great (454-526) King of the Ostrogoths, regent of the Visigoths and a viceroy of the Byzantine Empire
Theodosius I (347-395) Roman emperor
Tigranes the Great (140-55 BC) Emperor of Armenia
Tiridates III of Armenia (285-339) King of Armenia
Umar (c. 579 to 644) Second Caliph of the Muslim Empire
Valdemar I of Denmark (1131–1182) King of Denmark
Valentinian I (364-375) Roman Emperor
Vladimir I of Kiev (c. 958-1015) ruler of Kievan Rus
Vytautas (c. 1350-1430) archduke of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy
William I, Count of Burgundy (1020–1087) Count of Burgandy and Mâcon
William V, Duke of Aquitaine (969-1030) Duke of Aquitaine,also Count of Poitou
Xerxes I (519-465 BC) King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire (Persia)
Yu the Great (c. 2200-2100 BC) legendary ruler in ancient China

Religious figures[edit]

Other[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In a clay cylinder (online). The expression was used in a propagandistic context: the conqueror wants to show he is a normal Babylonian ruler. The first Persian ruler to use the title in an Iranian context was Darius I of Persia (Darius the Great), in the Behistun Inscription (online).
  2. ^ Plautus, Mostellaria 775.
  3. ^ World and Its Peoples:Korea. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. September 2008. p. 887. ISBN 0-7614-7631-8. 
  4. ^ Alison Behnke (2004). North Korea in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 70. ISBN 0-8225-1908-9. 
  5. ^ Sarkar, Benoy Kumar (December 1919). "An English History of India". Political Science Quarterly 34 (4): 644–653. doi:10.2307/2142032. JSTOR 2142032. "The finances of the state were not more centralized under Louis XIV than under Rajaraja the Great." 
  6. ^ "Heaven sent: Michael Wood explores the art of the Chola dynasty". Royal Academy, UK. Retrieved 26 April 2007. 
  7. ^ "The Chola Dynasty: Accession of Rajaraja, the Great". Sify.com. Retrieved 26 April 2007. 
  8. ^ Christoph Bluth; Gareth Schott (2007). Korea. Polity. p. 10. ISBN 0-7456-3356-0.