List of people known as "the Great"

This is a 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 Persian e Bozorg and Urdu e azam.

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 used the epithet "the Great" as a personal name, like the Roman general Pompey. Others received the surname retrospectively, such as 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. German Emperor Wilhelm I was often called "the Great" in the time of his grandson Wilhelm II, but rarely before or after.


Name Description
Abbas I[3] (1571–1629) Shahanshah of Persia (1588–1629)
Afonso de Albuquerque[4] (c. 1453–1515) Portuguese general, statesman and empire builder
Akbar[5] (1542–1605) Mughal emperor (India)
Alexander I of Georgia (1386–1446) King of Georgia
Alexander the Great (356 BC–323 BC) King of Macedonia and Persia. Pharaoh of Egypt.
Alfonso III of Asturias (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[6] (c. 304–232 BC) Indian emperor of the Maurya dynasty
Ashot I of Iberia[7] (died 826/830) Presiding prince of Caucasian Iberia (in modern Georgia)
Askia Mohammad I[8] (c. 1442–1538) Ruler of the Songhai Empire
Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927–2016) King of Thailand
Bolesław I the Brave[9] (967–1025) First King of Poland
Casimir III the Great (1310–1370) King of Poland (1333–70)
Catherine the Great (1729–1796) Empress of Russia
Charlemagne (died 814)
("Charles the Great")
King of the Franks and Emperor of the Romans
Chlothar II (584–629) King of Neustria and King of the Franks
Chulalongkorn (1853–1910) King of Siam (In present-day: Thailand)
Conrad, Margrave of Meissen (c. 1097–1157) Margrave of Meissen
Constantine the Great (c. 272–337) Roman emperor
Cnut the Great (c. 985 or 995–1035) King of England (1016–35), Denmark (1018–35) and Norway (1028–35).
Cyrus the Great (c. 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC) Founder and ruler of the Persian Achaemenid Empire
Darius I (550–486 BC) Third ruler of the Achaemenid Empire
Eucratides I[10] (reigned c. 170–145 BC) Ruler of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom
Farrukhan the Great[11] Ispahbadh of Tabaristan (712–728)
Ferdinand I of León (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, Count of Holstein-Rendsburg (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 (1594–1632) King of Sweden (1611–32), founder of the Swedish Empire, and noted military leader
Gwanggaeto the Great[12] King of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
Hanno the Great Three leaders of Carthage, in the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries BC
Henry I, Duke of Burgundy (946–1002) Duke of Burgundy
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) Count of Paris (923–956), Duke of the Franks (936–956)
Hugh Magnus (1007–1025) Co-King of France
Hugh, Count of Vermandois (1057–1101)
Humphrey I de Bohun (died c. 1123) Anglo-Norman aristocrat
Ivan III of Russia (1440–1505) Grand Prince of Moscow
John I of Portugal (1358–1433) King of Portugal and the Algarve
John II of Aragon and Navarre (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 Hawaii
Kangxi Emperor (1654–1722) Emperor of Qing China
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
Louis XIV of France (1638–1715) King of France and Navarre
Mangrai (1238–1317) Lanna, Northern of Thailand
Manuel I Komnenos (1118-1180) Byzantine Emperor
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 Al-Sabah (1840–1915) Ruler of Kuwait
Mstislav I of Kiev (1076–1132) Grand Prince of Kievan Rus'
Narai (1633–1688) King of Ayutthaya Kingdom (In present-day: Thailand)
Naresuan (1590–1605) King of Ayutthaya Kingdom (In present-day: Thailand)
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 (1123–1186) King of Sri Lanka
Peter Krešimir IV of Croatia[13] (1059-1075) King of Croatia
Peter the Great (1672–1725) Tsar of Russia
Peter III of Aragon (1239–1285) King of Aragon and King of Sicily
Phutthayotfa Chulalok (1782–1809) King of Siam (In present-day: Thailand)
Pompey (106–48 BCE) Rival of Julius Caesar in the late Roman Republic
Qin Shi Huang (259 BC–210 BC) First emperor of China, who unified China from Warring States
Radama I (1793–1828) First king of greater Madagascar
Raja Raja Chola I (947 CE– 1014 CE) The Great Chola Emperor from present day South India who ruled over the Chola kingdom between 985 and 1014 CE.
Ramesses II (reigned 1279 BC–1213 BC) Pharaoh of Egypt known for his temples, monuments, and military feats.
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
Reza Shah (1878–1944) Shahanshah and founder of modern Iran
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
Sancho III of Pamplona (c. 992–1035) King of Navarre
Sargon of Akkad (died c. 2215 BC) Ruler of the Akkadian Empire
Sejong the Great (1397–1450) Korean king[14]
Shapur II (309–379) King of the Sassanid Empire, Persia
Simeon I of Bulgaria[15] (864–927) Tsar (emperor) of Bulgaria
Stephen III of Moldavia (1433–1504) Prince of Moldavia (Romania)
Stefan Uroš I[16] (c. 1223–1277) King of Serbia (1243–76)
Stefan Dušan[17] (c. 1308-1355) King of Serbia (1331–45) and Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks (1345–55)
Sultan Agung of Mataram (1593-1645) Ruler of Mataram Sultanate (present day, Yogyakarta and most of Java island, Indonesia) from 1613 to 1645
Sun Quan (182-252) Emperor of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China, formally known as Emperor Da of Wu (literally "Great Emperor of Wu")
Taksin[18] (1734–1782) King of the Thonburi Kingdom (In present-day: Thailand)
Tamar of Georgia (1160–1223) Queen of the Georgian Empire
Emperor Taizong of Tang (598–649) Emperor of Tang (China)
Theoderic 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
Timur (1336–1405) Better known as Tamerlane, founder of the Timurid Dynasty
Tiridates III of Armenia[19] (285-339) King of Armenia
Valdemar I of Denmark[20] (1131–1182) King of Denmark
Valentinian I[21] (364-375) Roman emperor
Vladimir the Great[22] (c. 958–1015) Kievan Rus' ruler; Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev
Vytautas[23] (c. 1350–1430) Archduke of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy
Emperor Wu of Han (156 BC–87 BCE) Emperor of Han China, from whose reign dynasty the Chinese majority people be named
Xerxes I[24] (519–465 BC) King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire (Persia)
Yuknoom Ch'een II[25] (c. 600–680s) Mayan king of Kaan


Religious figures

Military people

Legendary people

See also


  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. Eskandar Beg Monshi (1978). History of Shah 'Abbas the Great: (Tarîk-e 'Alamara-ye 'Abbasi). Westview Press.
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (1 May 2008). Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-59339-492-9.
  5. Sir William Wilson Hunter (1886). The Indian Empire: Its People, History, and Products. Asian Educational Services. pp. 291–. ISBN 978-81-206-1581-6.
  6. Monika Khanna (2011). Ashoka, the Great: The Great Reformist Emperor of India. Farsight Publishers & Distributors. ISBN 978-81-89297-75-6.
  7. Donald Rayfield (15 February 2013). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. Reaktion Books. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-78023-070-2.
  8. 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.
  9. Patrick J. Geary (2010). Readings in Medieval History. University of Toronto Press. pp. 642–. ISBN 978-1-4426-0120-8.
  10. Asiatic Society of Bengal (1840). Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Soc. p. 533.
  11. Bernard Lewis; Charles Pellat (1982). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. p. 298.
  12. 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.
  13. Vjekoslav Klaić (1972). Povijest Hrvata od najstarijih vremena do svršetka XIX stoljeća. Nakladni zavod Matice hrvatske. p. 129.
  14. Christoph Bluth; Gareth Schott (2007). Korea. Polity. p. 10. ISBN 0-7456-3356-0.
  15. R. J. Crampton (24 November 2005). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-139-44823-9.
  16. Konstantin Jireček (1967). Geschichte der Serben. Hakkert. p. 310.
  17. A History of the Balkan Peoples. Ardent Media. 1971. p. 35. GGKEY:69RCKY1X0FZ.
  18. Gerald W. Fry; Gayla S. Nieminen; Harold E. Smith (8 August 2013). Historical Dictionary of Thailand. Scarecrow Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-8108-7525-8.
  19. Beate Dignas; Engelbert Winter (13 September 2007). Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals. Cambridge University Press. pp. 180–. ISBN 978-0-521-84925-8.
  20. Lester B. Orfield (1953). The Growth of Scandinavian Law. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-58477-180-7.
  21. Thomas Banchich; Eugene Lane (26 January 2009). The History of Zonaras: From Alexander Severus to the Death of Theodosius the Great. Routledge. pp. 261–. ISBN 978-1-134-42473-3.
  22. Mike Dixon-Kennedy (1998). Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend. ABC-CLIO. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-57607-063-5.
  23. Giedrė Mickūnaitė (2006). Making a Great Ruler: Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania. Central European University Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-963-7326-58-5.
  24. Jacob Abbott (1850). History of Xerxes the Great. Harper & Brothers, publishers.
  25. Robert J. Sharer; Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya. Stanford University Press. pp. 381–. ISBN 978-0-8047-4817-9.
  26. Brian D. Starr (2006). Tree of Saints. Brian Daniel Starr. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-1-4196-3302-7.
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