List of people known as the Great

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This is a list of people known as the Great, or the equivalent, in their own language. Other languages have their own suffixes, such as Persian e Bozorg and Urdu e Azam.

In Persia, the title "the Great" at first seems to have been a colloquial version of the Old Persian title "Great King". It was first used by Cyrus II of Persia.[1] The title was inherited by Alexander III when he conquered the Persian Empire, and the epithet eventually became personally associated with him. The first reference to this is in a comedy by Plautus,[2] in which it is assumed that everyone knew who "Alexander the Great" was; however, there is no evidence that he was called "the Great" before this. 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. Once the term gained currency, it was broadened to include persons in other fields, such as the philosopher Albert the Great.

Later rulers and commanders were given the epithet during their lifetime, for example, the Roman general Pompey. Others received the title posthumously, such as the Indian emperor Ashoka. As there are no objective criteria for "greatness", the persistence of the designation varies greatly. For example, Louis XIV of France was often referred to as "the Great" in his lifetime, but is rarely called such nowadays, later writers preferring his more specific epithet "the Sun King". German Emperor Wilhelm I was often called "the Great" in the time of his grandson Wilhelm II, but rarely before or after.


Name Description Dates Sources
Abbas the Great Fifth Shahanshah of Persia Safavid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 15711629 [3]
Abgar VIII King of Osroene ? – 212
Afonso I of Portugal First King of Portugal 11391185
Akbar the Great Third Mughal emperor 15421605 [4]
Alan I, King of Brittany Duke of Brittany ? – 907
Alexander I of Georgia King of Georgia 13861446
Alexander the Great King of Macedonia and Persia. Pharaoh of Egypt. 356 BC323 BC
Alfonso III of Asturias King of León, Galicia and Asturias 848910
Alfred the Great King of Wessex and the Anglo-Saxons 848/849899
Amenhotep III Pharaoh of Egypt ? – 1353 BC
Antiochus III the Great Ruler of the Seleucid Empire 241 BC187 BC
Artaxerxes I Fifth Shahanshah of Persia Achaemenid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 465 BC424 BC
Ashoka Indian emperor of the Maurya dynasty 304 BC232 BC [5]
Ashot I of Armenia King of Armenia 820890
Ashot I of Iberia First Bagratid king of Georgia ? – 830
Askia Mohammad I Ruler of the Songhai Empire 14421538 [6]
Bagrat V of Georgia King of Georgia ? – 1393
Bayinnaung King of Toungoo Dynasty (in present-day Myanmar) 15501581
Berengaria of Castile Queen of Castile and Toledo 11791246
Bhumibol Adulyadej King of Thailand 19272016
Bolesław I the Brave First king of Poland 9671025 [7]
Casimir III the Great King of Poland (1333–1370) 13101370
Catherine the Great Empress of Russia 17291796
Charlemagne ("Charles the Great") King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans 800814
Chlothar II King of Neustria and King of the Franks 584629
Constantine the Great Roman emperor 272337
Cnut the Great King of England (1016–1035), Denmark (1018–1035) and Norway (1028–1035) 985 or 9951035
Cyrus the Great Founder and First Shahanshah of Persia Achaemenid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 600 BC or 576 BC530 BC
Darius the Great Third Shahanshah of Persia Achaemenid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 550 BC486 BC
Eucratides I Ruler of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom 170 BC145 BC [8]
Ewuare Founder and Oba (king) of the Benin Empire (in present-day Nigeria) ? – 1473
Farrukhan the Great Ispahbadh of Tabaristan 712728 [9]
Ferdinand I of León King of León and Count of Castile 10151065
Frederick the Great King of Prussia 17121786
Genghis Khan Founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire 11621227
Gwrgan Fawr King of Ergyng c. 619 – c. 645
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden King of Sweden (1611–1632), founder of the Swedish Empire, and noted military leader 15941632
Gwanggaeto the Great King of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea 374413 [10]
Hanno the Great Three different Carthaginian leaders, of the 4th, 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, respectively Multiple
Henry IV of France King of France and King of Navarre 15531610
Herod the Great King of Judea 73 BC/74 BC4 BC
Hugh Magnus Co-King of France 10071025
Inal the Great of Circassia Supreme Prince of Circassia ? – 1453
Ivan III of Russia Grand Prince of Moscow 14401505
Iyasu I Emperor of Ethiopia 16541706
John I of Portugal King of Portugal and the Algarve 13581433
John II of Aragon and Navarre King of Aragon and, through his wife, King of Navarre 13981479
Justinian I Roman Emperor (Eastern) 483565
Kamehameha I First king of Hawaii 17581819
Kangxi Emperor Emperor of Qing China 16541722
Kanishka Ruler of the Kushan Empire in Central Asia and parts of India ? – 127
Kvirike III of Kakheti King of Kakheti in eastern Georgia 10101029
Kublai Khan Mongol ruler in the 13th century and Emperor of China; founder of the Yuan Dynasty 12151294
Leo I the Thracian Roman emperor 457474 [11]
Llywelyn the Great King of Gwynedd and de facto ruler of most of Wales 11721240
Louis I of Hungary King of Hungary, Croatia, and Poland 13261382
Louis XIV of France King of France and Navarre 16381715
Marianus IV of Arborea Judge of Arborea 13191376 [12]
Emperor Meiji Emperor of Japan 18521912
Miloš Obrenović I of Serbia Prince of Serbia 17801860
Mithridates I of Parthia Fifth King of Parthia, (in present-day Iran) 171 BC132 BC [13]
Mithridates II of Parthia Eighth King of Parthia, (in present-day Iran) 121 BC91 BC
Mongkut King of Siam (In present-day: Thailand) 18041868
Mubarak Al-Sabah (1840–1915) Ruler of Kuwait 18401915
Mstislav I of Kiev Grand Prince of Kievan Rus' 10761132
Narai King of Ayutthaya Kingdom (in present-day Thailand) 16331688
Naresuan King of Ayutthaya Kingdom (in present-day Thailand) 15901605
Nebuchadnezzar II King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire 642 BC562 BC [14]
Otto the Great Holy Roman Emperor 912973
Owain Gwynedd King of All Wales c.110023/1170 [15]
Pakal Ruler of the Mayan city-state of Palenque 603683
Parakramabahu I King of Sri Lanka 11231186 [16]
Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia King of Croatia 10591075 [17]
Peter the Great Tsar of Russia; founder of the Russian Empire 16721725 [citation needed]
Peter III of Aragon King of Aragon and King of Sicily 12391285
Phutthayotfa Chulalok King of Siam (In present-day: Thailand) 17821809 [18]
Ptolemy II Philadelphus Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Kingdom 284 BC246 BC [19]
Qin Shi Huang First emperor of China, who unified China from Warring States 259 BC210 BC
Radama I First king of greater Madagascar 17931828
Rajaraja Chola I The Great Chola Emperor from present-day Southern India 9471014
Rajendra Chola I The Great Chola Emperor from present-day Southern India 9791044
Ramesses II Pharaoh of Egypt known for his temples, monuments, and military feats. 1279 BC1213 BC [20]
Ram Khamhaeng King of Sukhothai (In present-day: Thailand) 1237/12471298
Rhodri the Great King of Gwynedd (in present-day Wales) 820878
Roman the Great Grand Prince of Kiev 11601205 [21]
Sancho III of Pamplona King of Navarre 9921035
Sargon of Akkad Ruler of the Akkadian Empire ? – 2215 BC [22]
Sejong the Great Fourth King of the Joseon Dynasty 13971450 [23]
Shapur II Tenth Shahanshah of Persia Sassanid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 309379
Simeon I of Bulgaria Tsar (emperor) of Bulgaria 864927 [24]
Simon I of Kartli King of Kartli 15371611
Solomon I of Imereti King of Imereti 17351784
Sonni Ali Ber First Ruler of the Songhai Empire 14621492 [25]
Stephen the Great Prince of Moldavia (Romania) Between 14571504
Svatopluk I of Moravia King of Moravia 840894 [26]
Taksin King of the Thonburi Kingdom (in present-day Thailand) 17341783 [27]
Tamar of Georgia Queen of the Georgian Empire 11601223 [28]
Emperor Taizong of Tang Emperor of Tang (China) 598649
Theoderic the Great King of the Ostrogoths, regent of the Visigoths and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire 454526
Theodosius I Roman emperor 347395 [29]
Thoros II of Armenia Lord of Armenian Cilicia ? – 1169 [30][31]
Thutmose III Pharaoh of Egypt 1481 BC1425 BC [32]
Tigranes the Great Emperor of Armenia 140 BC55 BC [33]
Tiridates III of Armenia King of Armenia 285339 [34]
Valdemar I of Denmark King of Denmark 11311182 [35]
Valentinian I Roman emperor 364375 [36]
Vladimir the Great Kievan Rus' ruler; Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev 9581015 [37]
Vytautas Archduke of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy 13501430 [38]
Emperor Wu of Han Emperor of Han China, from whose reign dynasty the Chinese majority people are named 156 BC87 BC
Xerxes I Fourth Shahanshah of Persia Achaemenid Empire, (in present-day Iran) 519 BC465 BC [39]
Yuknoom Ch'een II Mayan king of Kaan 600 – c. 680 [40]


Name Description Dates Sources
Alain I of Albret French aristocrat 14401522
Amadeus V of Savoy Count of Savoy 12491323
Arnulf I, Count of Flanders Count of Flanders 893964 [41]
Atenulf I of Capua Prince of Capua ? – c. 910
Bogislaw X Duke of Pomerania 14541523
Bruno Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia 925965 [42]
Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy Duke of Savoy 15621630
Charles III, Duke of Lorraine Duke of Lorraine 15431608
Conrad, Margrave of Meissen Margrave of Meissen 10971157 [43]
Gerhard III, Count of Holstein-Rendsburg The German prince (house of Schauenburg); also ruled a large part of Denmark 12921340
Gero Ruler of Marca Geronis, a very large march in Europe 900965 [44]
Godfrey I of Louvain Count of Brussels and Leuven; Duke of Lower Lorraine; Langrave of Brabant 10601139
Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine Duke of Lorraine; count of Verdun; and margrave of Antwerp 9671044
Hanno II the Great Carthaginian aristocrat, general, and politician 3rd century BC [45]
Hanno III the Great Carthaginian politician 2nd century BC [46][47]
Henry I, Duke of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy 9461002
Henry V of Luxembourg Count of Luxembourg 12161281
Hugh III of Cyprus King of Cyprus and Jerusalem 12671284
Hugh the Great Count of Paris and Duke of the Franks 898956 [48]
Hugh, Count of Vermandois Count of Vermandois 10571101
Hugh, Margrave of Tuscany Margrave of Tuscany 953/9541001
Humphrey I de Bohun Anglo-Norman aristocrat ? – 1123
Intef the Elder Nomarch of Thebes ? – c. 2135 BC
Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria Ruler of Bavaria 15731651
Odo the Great Duke of Aquitaine ? – 735 [49]
Pompey Military and political leader of the late Roman Republic 106 BC48 BC [50]
Ralph IV of Valois Count of Valois, Bar, Vexin, Vitry, Amiens, Montdidier and Tardenois 10251074 [51]
Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona Count of Barcelona, Provence, and various other counties 10821131
Robert I, Count of Dreux Count of Dreux 11231188
Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel ? – 1094
Roger I of Sicily Count of Sicily c. 10301101
Theobald II, Count of Champagne Count of Blois and of Chartres as Theobald IV, Count of Champagne and of Brie 10901151
William I, Count of Burgundy Count of Burgundy and Mâcon 10201087
William V, Duke of Aquitaine Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitou 9691030 [52]


Name Description Dates Sources
Afonso de Albuquerque Portuguese general, statesman and empire builder 14531515 [53]
Melias Byzantine general of Armenian origin, called "Mleh the Great" in Armenian sources 10th century [54]
Prokop the Great Hussite general in Bohemia 13801434 [55]

Religious figures[edit]


Name Description Dates Sources
Abraham Kidunaia Hermit, priest, and Christian saint of Mesopotamia ? – 366 [56]
Abraham the Great of Kashkar Monk and saint of the Church of the East 492586
Albertus Magnus Medieval German philosopher and theologian 1193/12061280 [57]
Anthony the Great Early Christian saint of Egypt 251356 [58]
Arsenius the Great Roman anchorite saint in Egypt 354445
Athanasius of Alexandria Early Christian saint and bishop of Alexandria 296373 [59]
Babai the Great Assyrian church leader 551628
Basil of Caesarea Greek bishop and theologian 330379 [60]
Bertin Frankish Abbot of a monastery that was named after him after he died 615709
Bruno the Great Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Lotharingia (also listed in the previous section) 925965 [61]
Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria Coptic Orthodox Church pope ? – 454
Euthymius the Great Abbot and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saint 377473
Gertrude the Great German Benedictine, mystic, theologian and Roman Catholic saint 12561302 [62]
Pope Gregory I Roman Catholic pope 540604 [63]
Hugh of Cluny Abbot of Cluny 10241109
James, son of Zebedee[Note 1] One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ 344 [64]
Joannicius the Great Byzantine hermit, theologian and saint 752846 [65]
Pope John Paul II Roman Catholic pope 19202005 [66][67][68][69]
Pope Leo I Roman Catholic pope 391 or 400461 [70]
Macarius of Egypt Egyptian hermit 300391 [71]
Michael the Great Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church 11261199 [72]
Pope Nicholas I Roman Catholic pope 800867 [73]
Photius I of Constantinople Eastern Orthodox saint and Patriarch of Constantinople 810893 [74]
Severus of Antioch Oriental Orthodox saint and head of the Syriac Orthodox Church 459/465538
Shenoute Oriental Orthodox saint and abbot of the White Monastery c.348465
Sisoes the Great An early desert father, a solitary monk pursuing asceticism in the Egyptian desert in a cave of Anthony the Great ? – 429
William of Maleval Founder of the Catholic congregation of Williamites ? - 1157


Name Description Dates Sources
Aaron of Karlin (1) Hasidic rabbi 17361772 [75]
Eliezer ben Hurcanus Rabbi in Judea 1st century [76][77]
Hiyya the Great Rabbi in Judea 3rd century [78]

Legendary and mythological figures[edit]

Name Description Sources
Ajax the Great Greek hero in the Iliad [79]
Beli Mawr In medieval Welsh mythology and literature [80]
Boyi Tribal leader of the Longshan [81]
Gradlon Semi-mythical king of Cornouaille
Hayk Legendary founder and patriarch of the Armenian nation [82]
Phrom the Great Legendary king of Singhanavati Realm [83]
Yu the Great (c. 2200–2100 BC) Legendary ruler in ancient China [84]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In this case James is styled "the Greater" to distinguish him from the Apostle James the Lesser, with greater meaning older or taller, rather than more important.


  1. ^ In a clay cylinder (online Archived 22 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine). 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. ^ Eskandar Beg Monshi (1978). History of Shah 'Abbas the Great: (Tarîk-e 'Alamara-ye 'Abbasi). Westview Press.
  4. ^ "Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar (Akbar the Great)". British Museum.
  5. ^ Monika Khanna (2011). Ashoka, the Great: The Great Reformist Emperor of India. Farsight Publishers & Distributors. ISBN 978-81-89297-75-6.
  6. ^ Flora Shaw (23 December 2010). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. Cambridge University Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-108-02492-1.
  7. ^ Patrick J. Geary (2010). Readings in Medieval History. University of Toronto Press. pp. 642–. ISBN 978-1-4426-0120-8.
  8. ^ Asiatic Society of Bengal (1840). Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Soc. p. 533.
  9. ^ Bernard Lewis; Charles Pellat (1982). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. p. 298. ISBN 9789004067127.
  10. ^ Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (15 January 2015). FACTS ABOUT KOREA: South korea, Past and Present. 길잡이미디어. pp. 191–. ISBN 978-89-7375-584-4.
  11. ^ Bury, J. B. (1958) [1889]. "Chapter X: the reign of Leo I". History of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. 1. New York: Dover Publications. pp. 323, note 1. ISBN 978-0-486-14338-5. After the coronation of the child the two Leos would be distinguished as Λέων ὁ Μέγας and Λέων ὁ Μικρός, and this I believe, must be the origin of the designation of Leo as "the Great"; just as reversely Theodosius II. was called "the Small," because in his infancy he had been known as ὁ μικρός βασιλεύς to distinguish him from Arcadius. Leo never did anything which could conceivably earn him the title of Great in the sense in which it was bestowed by posterity on Alexander or Constantine.
  12. ^ Nowé, 174.
  13. ^ Daryaee 2012, p. 169.
  14. ^ Sack, Ronald H. (2004). Images of Nebuchadnezzar: The Emergence of a Legend (2nd Revised and Expanded ed.). Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press. ISBN 1-57591-079-9., p. 41
  15. ^ Lloyd 2004, p. 94.
  16. ^ Datta, p. 220.
  17. ^ Vjekoslav Klaić (1972). Povijest Hrvata od najstarijih vremena do svršetka XIX stoljeća. Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. p. 129.
  18. ^ Sulak Sivaraksa (1985). Siamese Resurgence: A Thai Buddhist Voice on Asia and a World of Change. Asian Cultural Forum on Development. p. 175.
  19. ^ E. R. Bevan (1927) The House of Ptolemy - pp. 115-117
  20. ^ "Ramses". Webster's New World College Dictionary. Wiley Publishing. 2004. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  21. ^ Subtelny, Orest. Ukraine: A History.[page needed]
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  24. ^ R. J. Crampton (24 November 2005). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-139-44823-9.
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  48. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family who Forged Europe, Trans. Michael Idomir Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1993), pp.250–1
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  73. ^ Will Durant. The Age of Faith. New York, New York, USA: Simon and Schuster, 1972. Chapter 21: Christianity in Conflict, p. 517-51
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  75. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "AARON BEN JACOB OF KARLIN". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  76. ^ Pirkei Avot 2:8; Avot of Rabbi Natan 6:3
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