The 100 Greatest Men
of All Time

The list below is from the book 100 Greatest Men (Grolier Educational: Danbury, Connecticut; 1997), written by Michael Pollard.

The names in this list are listed in categories (humanitarians; thinkers and philosophers; kings, emperors and politicians; religious leaders; musicians and composers; writers; painters, sculptors and architects; stage, screen and photography; scientists; inventors; explorers and pioneers).

The book's introduction (pages 6-7) notes:

This book tells the stories of many of the greatest men in history. Some, like Kublai Khan, the great ruler of the Mongols, and Peter the Great in Russia, were born princes and so, in time, became rulers of empirers. Others, like the writer Mark Twain and the aviators Wilbur and Orville Wright, faced a long, hard struggle to make their names. A third group, which includes Martin Luther King and Mikhail Gorbachev, found themselves caught up in political events which put them in positions of challenge and leadership.

One thing that all these men, and the others in this book, had in common was determination...

"Greatness" does not always mean "goodness." Among the great men in this book are some who left a blank mark on world history. Shi Huangdi, Emperor of China in the third century BC, ruled his empire ruthlessly. Death was the only punishment for disobeying his laws. Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, had his son tortured to death for treason... These, and others whose stories have a dark side, have been included because, for good or evil, they left their mark on the age they lived in.

Albert Schweitzer1875-1965Lutheran
Chiune Sugihara1900-1986 
Raoul Wallenberg1912-c.1947 
Martin Luther King, Jr.1929-1968Baptist
Desmond Tutu1931-Anglican
The Dalai Lama1935-Tibetan Buddhism
Han Dongfang1963- 
Thinkers and Philosophers
Lao Zi [Lao Tzu]c. 600 B.C.Taoism
Confucius551-479 B.C.Confucianism
Socrates469-399 B.C.Greek philosophy
Platoc. 427-347 B.C.Platonism / Greek philosophy
Aristotle384-322 B.C.Platonism / Greek philosophy
Niccolo Machiavelli1469-1527Catholic
John Locke1632-1704raised Puritan (Anglican); Liberal Christian
Jean-Jacques Rousseau1712-1778born Protestant;
converted as a teen to Catholic;
later Deist
Karl Marx1818-1883Jewish; Lutheran;
Atheist; Marxism/Communism
Kings, Emperors and Politicians
Hammurabic. 1792-1750 B.C. 
Alexander the Great356-323Greek state paganism
Asokac. 300-232 B.C.Buddhism
Shi Huangdi259-210 B.C. 
Julius Caesarc. 100-44 B.C.Roman state paganism
Charlemagne742-814 A.D.Catholic
Kublai Khan1214-1294 
Peter the Great1672-1725Russian Orthodox
George Washington1732-1799Episcopalian
Napoleon Bonaparte1769-1821Catholic (nominal)
Simon Bolivar1783-1830Catholic (nominal); Atheist
Abraham Lincoln1809-1865Regular Baptist (childhood);
later ambiguous -
Deist, general theist or
a very personalized Christianity
Mahatma Gandhi1869-1948Hindu (mother was a Jain)
Kemal Ataturk1881-1938 
Franklin D. Roosevelt1882-1945Episcopalian
Nelson Mandela1918- 
Mikhail Gorbachev1931-Russian Orthodox
Religious Leaders
Zoroasterc. 628-c. 551 B.C.Zoroastrianism
Muhammadc. 570-632 A.D.Islam
Buddhac. 563-c. 483 B.C.Hinduism; Buddhism
Mosesc. 13th century B.C.Judaism
Jesus Christc. 6 B.C.-c. 30 A.D.Judaism; Christianity
Martin Luther1483-1546Catholic; Lutheran
Musicians and Composers
Johann Sebastian Bach1685-1750Lutheran
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart1756-1791Catholic
Ludwig van Beethoven17770-1827Catholic
Richard Wagner1813-1883 
Arturo Toscanini1867-1957Catholic
George Gershwin1898-1937Jewish
Louis Armstrong1898-1971Baptist
The Beatlesformed 1960 
Homerc. 700-c. 800 B.C.Greek paganism
Virgil70-19 B.C. 
Dante Alighieri1265-1321Catholic
William Shakespeare1564-1616Catholic; Anglican
Charles Dickens1812-1870Anglican
Mark Twain1835-1910Presbyterian
Bertolt Brecht1898-1956 
Painters, Sculptors and Architects
Rembrandt1606-1669Dutch Reformed
Christopher Wren1632-1723Anglican
Katsushika Hokusai1760-1849 
Joseph Mallord William Turner1775-1851 
Vincent van Gogh1853-1890Dutch Reformed
Frank Lloyd Wright1869-1959Unitarian
Pablo Picasso1881-1973Catholic
Le Corbusier1887-1965 
Stage, Screen and Photography
Charlie Chaplin1889-1977Anglican; agnostic
Jean Renoir1894-1979Catholic
Sergei Eisenstein1898-1948Russian Orthodox; Marxist; Freudian
Henri Cartier-Bresson1908- 
Orson Welles1915-1985Protestant Christian
Steven Spielberg1947-Judaism
Euclidc. 330-c. 260 B.C.Platonism / Greek philosophy
Archimedesc. 287-212 B.C.Greek philosophy
Leonardo da Vinci1452-1519Catholic
Galileo Galilei1564-1642Catholic
Isaac Newton1642-1727Anglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e., Athanasianism;
believed in the Arianism of the Primitive Church)
James Watt1736-1819Presbyterian (lapsed)
Michael Faraday1791-1867Sandemanian
Charles Darwin1809-1882Anglican (nominal); Unitarian
Louis Pasteur1822-1895Catholic
Joseph Lister1827-1912Quaker
Sigmund Freud1856-1939Jewish; atheist; Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis
Albert Einstein1879-1955Jewish
Alexander Fleming1881-1955Catholic
Linus Pauling1901-1994Lutheran
James Watson and Francis Crick1928-; 1916-
Zai Lunc. 50-118 A.D. 
Johannes Gutenberg1400-1468Catholic
Samuel Morse1791-1872Christianity
Nikolaus Otto1832-1891 
Alfred Nobel1833-1896 
Alexander Graham Bell1847-1922Unitarian
Thomas Alva Edison1847-1931Congregationalist; agnostic
Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright1871-1948; 1867-1912United Brethren
Guglielmo Marconi1847-1937Catholic and Anglican
Explorers and Pioneers
Marco Poloc. 1254-1324Catholic
Christopher Columbus1451-1506Catholic
Ferdinand Magellan1480-1521Catholic
Roald Amundsen1872-1928 
Yuri Gagarin1934-1968 
Neil Armstrong1930- 


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