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Forum LockedThe Top 100 Leaders in History

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Latest List:
Rank Name Country
1 George Washington United States
2 Salāh ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb  Ayyubids
3 Mohammed Arabs
4 Augustus Caesar Rome
5 Cyrus the Great Persia
6 King Alfred the Great Wessex
7 Ghengis Khan Mongols
8 Queen Elizabeth I England
9 Chandragupta Maurya Maurya
10 Charlemagne Franks
11 Hammurabi Babylon
12 Peter the Great Russia
13 Philip II Macedonia
14 Moses Israel
15 Darius I Persia
16 Heraclius Byzantine
17 Sargon Akkad
18 George Kastrioti (Skanderbeg) Albania
19 Henri IV France
20 Khālid ibn al-Walīd Arabs
21 Cardinal Richelieu France
22 David Israel
23 Tiglath-Pileser III Assyria
24 Abd al-Mu'min  Almohads
25 Philip Augustus France
26 Rudolph I Austria/Habsburgs
27 Alexios I Komnenos Byzantine
28 Robert the Bruce Scotland
29 Nabopolassar Babylon
30 Shamshi-Adad I Assyria
31 Simeon I the Great Bulgaria
32 Winston Churchill England
33 Imhotep Egypt
34 Ashur-uballit I Assyria
35 Louis XIV France
36 Frederick the Great Prussia
37 Epaminondas Greece
38 Jan ika Hussite
39 Mentuhotep II Egypt
40 Abraham Lincoln United States
41 Ashoka the Great India
42 Asparukh Bulgaria
43 Thutmose III Egypt
44 James Madison United States
45 Sher Shah Suri Pashtun/Suri
46 Ptolemy I Soter Egypt
47 Ivan I Russia
48 Ferdinand III  Castile
49 Ahmose I Egypt
50 Suhungmung Ahom
51 Frederick V Austria/Habsburgs
52 Joshua Israel
53 Acamapichtli Aztec
54 John II Komnenos Byzantine
55 Itzcoatl Aztec
56 Tigranes the Great Armenia
57 Muhammad Shaybani Uzbekh
58 Maximilian I Austria/Habsburgs
59 Ivan Asen II Bulgaria
60 Maximilian I Bavaria
61 Moshe Dayan Israel
62 Charles VII  France
63 Jean d'Arc France
64 Idris Alooma Bornu
65 Scipio Africanus Rome
66 Pulakesi II Chalukya
67 Oliver Cromwell England
68 As-Saffah Abbasid Caliphate
69 John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough England
70 Ivan Asen I Bulgaria
71 Arnulf I Bavaria
72 Ramesses II Egypt
73 Justinian I Byzantine
74 Yusuf ibn Tashfin Almoravids
75 William Pitt the Elder England
76 Hamilcar Barca Carthage
77 Basil II Byzantine
78 Ahmad Shāh Durrānī  Afghan
79 Vikramaditya VI Chalukya
80 Tiglath-Pileser I Assyria
81 Harun al-Rashid Abbasid Caliphate
82 Umar Arabs
83 Jos de San Martn Argentina
84 Robert Clive England
85 Nikephoros II Phokas Byzantine
86 Menes/Narmur Egypt
87 Philip the Bold Burgundy
88 Supaatphaa Ahom
89 Franklin Roosevelt United States
90 Abū Bakr  Arabs
91 Themistocles Athens
92 Hannibal Barca Carthage
93 Alexander the Great Macedonia
94 Hatshepsut Egypt
95 Thomas Jefferson United States
96 Benjamin Franklin United States
97 Julius Caesar Rome
98 Edward III England
99 Nebuchadrezzar II Babylon
100 Krum Bulgaria


Edited by DSMyers1 - 28-Apr-2008 at 15:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Julius Augustus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 16:23
Originally posted by DSMyers1 DSMyers1 wrote:

Originally posted by Julius Augustus Julius Augustus wrote:

Ds there is something that doesnt make sense to me, I rank Khalid as one of the greatest generals to ever set foot in the world but his overall impact to governance wasnt as much as either of the caliphs he served, Abu Bakr or Umar.


I think his overall impact to the course of the Arab/Moslem advance was greater than either of theirs.  If he had lost several of the battles that he won--well, I just don't know if the Arab/Moslems could have sustained the losses and still advanced anywhere near as far or as fast.  I think those two early caliphs, though great leaders, weren't better than many other leaders who could have done just as well in their place.


I see your point. by the way, have you added the Parthians? I think Mithradates might even enter the top one hundred, kicking out the Seleucids and then fighting rome at least deserves merit. same with ardhashir.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 17:04
"I should define "leader."  By a leader, I am talking about the leader of a nation, or the leader of a people.  The man (or woman--I'm not leaving out Joan...) does not have to be a political leader or even a military leader.  However, this person must change the trajectory of the nation.  This is less subjective than the Top 100 Generals, because the impact is more measurable, even for subjects in the far distant past about which we have little detail."

I see the list is full of monarchs... well not a good list to my view. But then again it's impossible to satisfy everyone isn't it :)

I am not a nationalist but I am surprised that no one mentioned Kemal Ataturk.

And I don't think Hannibal Barca belongs to the list. He was a brilliant supreme commander but as a leader of people... naah. Also Tighlat Pileser...

Mahatma Gandhi
Che Guavera
There two life stories made an impact upon many people regardless of their naitons... In fact all the three names' did.

And you have counted many French or Frankish names but I'd like to point out Clovis my only monarch...

You mentioned many Caliphs but simply forgot the most important figure who has the soundest impact. Maybe the second greatest man in Islam and even first for some  Ali.

And Vladimir Lenin. Needless to say anything about him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 17:16
Agh sorry, for Kemal Ataturk you haven't reach "T" yet and I am sorry for posting before reading all the thread.... Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 19:28
Originally posted by Julius Augustus Julius Augustus wrote:


I see your point. by the way, have you added the Parthians? I think Mithradates might even enter the top one hundred, kicking out the Seleucids and then fighting rome at least deserves merit. same with ardhashir.
 
No Parthians yet.  For everybody's happiness, here is the list of nations/peoples (which I am constantly expanding) and in Red are the nations I have completed.  Partially completed nations in Blue.
 
Abbasid Caliphate Benin Crete Ghana Kara-Khanid Khanate Maurya Oman Saxony Turkey
Adal Boer Croats Ghaznavids Karluk Maya Ottoman Empire Scotland Tuscany
Afghan Bohemia Crusader Ghurid Kashgar Media Ouaddai Scythia Ummayad Caliphate
Ahom Bolivia Cuba Golden Horde Kassite Mercia Pagan Seleucid United States
Akkad Bornu Cuman Goryeo Kazakh Meroe Pala  Seljuk Turks Ur 
Albania Brazil Cush Goths Khazar Khanate Mexico Palatinate Serbia Urartu
Algeria Brittany Cyprus Goturk Khiva Milan Palmares Shang Uruguay
Almohads Bulgaria Dacia Granada Khmer Minoa Papal States Shawnee Uzbekh
Almoravids Bulgars Dahae Greece Khoisan Mitanni Paraguay Sicily Vandals
Angles Burgundy Dai Viet Gupta Khwarezm Moldavia Parthia Sikh Venezuela
Aquitaine Burma Dali Haiti Kiev Mon Pechenegs Songhai Venice
Arabs Buyids Delhi Hausa Korea Mongols Pegu South Africa Vietnam
Aragon Byzantines Denmark Hedjaz Kushan Moravia Persia Spain Vijayanagar
Arakan Cambodia Dilmun Hittites Lagash Morocco Peru Sparta Vladimir
Argentina Canada Dzungar Holy Roman Empire Leon Mughal Phoenicia Srivijayan Volga Bulgar
Armenia Carthage Egypt Hoysala Lithuania Mycennae Poland Sunda Wales
Ashanti Castile Elam Hungary Lombard Mysore Pontus Sweden Wallachia
Assyria Celts England Hussites Luxembourg Nabatea Portugal Switzerland Wends
Athens Chad Epirus Il-Khanate Lydia Naples Prussia Taiwan Wessex
Australia Chagatai Khanate Ethiopia Inca Macedonia Navarre Pyu Teutonic Order Xiongnu
Austria/Habsburgs Chalukyas Etruria Indonesia Madramaut Nepal Rashtrakuta Thailand Yemen
Austro-Hungary Champa Fatimid Caliphate Ireland Magadha Netherlands Rome The Knights Yue 
Avars Cherokee Fez Iroquois Maha Janapadas Nigeria Russia Thebes Yue-Chi
Axum Chi Finland Israel Malay Nogai Khanate Sao Tibet Yugoslavia
Ayyubids Chile France Italy Mali Northumbria Sardinia Timurids Zapotec
Aztec China Franks Japan Malta Norway Sarmatia Tlemcen Zengid
Babylon Cholas Funj Kakatiya Malwa Novgorod Sassanid Transylvania Zhao
Bavaria Chu Genoa Kalinga Mameluke Nubia Satavahana Troy Zimbabwe
Belgium Columbia Georgia Kanem Maratha Oirats Khanate Savoy Tuareg Ziyarid
Bengal Congo Germany Kara Khitai Mataram Olmec Saxons Tunisia
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 19:42
Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

"I should define "leader."  By a leader, I am talking about the leader of a nation, or the leader of a people.  The man (or woman--I'm not leaving out Joan...) does not have to be a political leader or even a military leader.  However, this person must change the trajectory of the nation.  This is less subjective than the Top 100 Generals, because the impact is more measurable, even for subjects in the far distant past about which we have little detail."

I see the list is full of monarchs... well not a good list to my view. But then again it's impossible to satisfy everyone isn't it :)
 
Most people that have had a significant impact on their nations were monarchs or generals--in terms of the nation's standing in the world.  Many have had an impact only seen far later, that was much less direct--perhaps a scientist or inventor.  Those are too hard to quantify.  Thinkers also seldom have a direct impact until down the line when someone applies their concepts in practice--and then whose leadership was it?  Therefore, I, for the most part, only look at the impact that the person had during their lifetime.

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

I am not a nationalist but I am surprised that no one mentioned Kemal Ataturk.
 
Don't worry...

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

And I don't think Hannibal Barca belongs to the list. He was a brilliant supreme commander but as a leader of people... naah. Also Tighlat Pileser...
 
Shocked You don't think Hannibal belongs?!?!  He *should have been* a top 5 leader--he just had too big a task in front of him.  As a political and administrative leader he was exceptional, also.  All around spectacular--but it did not bear fruit because of too much opposition within Carthage and from the outside (Rome).  Had he been in a different situation, I think he would have been a top 5 leader.

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

Mahatma Gandhi
 
He'll be on there.  (Probably, I haven't done the math yet).

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

Che Guavera There two life stories made an impact upon many people regardless of their naitons... In fact all the three names' did.
 
I don't rank impact on other people outside the nation except in a very limited fashion, as it is too hard to measure.

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

And you have counted many French or Frankish names but I'd like to point out Clovis my only monarch...
   I haven't looked in depth at the French or Frankish yet.  Coming soon.

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

You mentioned many Caliphs but simply forgot the most important figure who has the soundest impact. Maybe the second greatest man in Islam and even first for some  Ali.
I'm not sure about that.  He didn't take the lead until Muslim power was assured and the course had been set.  Judging from a non-islamic perspective, his impact was mixed.  When he came to power, they were already the greatest power in the world.  So how did he change that?

Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

And Vladimir Lenin. Needless to say anything about him.
I think you'd have to say a LOT about him to get him in the top 100.  Russia was a great power before him and after him.  (By the way, you don't happen to be a bit of a socialist, do you? Smile)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Efraz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 20:46
Good job I don't want to interfere but let me state my opinion once.

About Ali. Have no doubt that under the title of "Greatest Leaders" if you include Omar, Abu Bekir and even
Khālid ibn al-Walīd(when did he became a "greatest leader" for Islam)?? Es-saffah, Haroun(there are many who hate him but great indeed), but not include Ali you will have done a serious error certainly. Hmmm objectively. Believe me.

Throughout islam history you may encounter people even today that never have heard the name Khalid bin Walid for example. But every Muslim in the world knows Ali and 99% respects him as "at least" second greatest leader. This is universal. What he has done is far more greater than conquest. He has been an example. And yet he was a great warrior symbol too. He carried the sword given to Muhammed by the archangel Gabriel. Nothing short there. And "nearly" he has a religion of his own. Don't judge his leadership as a caliph he is much much more than that. He is a mythological figure like Charlemagne. How many of the people in the list has that quality?

And about Lenin and Hannibal.

With Hannibal you admit his office did not give too much fruit for his nation(in fact caused the extermination of his nation) but you exclude Lenin because Russia was a great nation before and after him?? Well Lenin is one of the greatest leaders of the world that had changed Russia forever and maybe the world too. He defeated monarchy, leaded one of the most important revolutions of history and that fire burned alive for all 20.century. You may not be a socialist. But what else does he have to do ?:) (BTW I admire Hannibal)

But I understand, regardless of their greatness Lenin and Guavera(he has changed his continent too) are political names, tricky ones. I can't insist.

Bu for Ali you have no excuse :)) if you'll ever include any other name than Muhammed in Arab-Islam it's Ali. The others will run for third place.


Edited by Efraz - 28-Apr-2008 at 20:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Apr-2008 at 21:49
Originally posted by Efraz Efraz wrote:

Good job I don't want to interfere but let me state my opinion once.

About Ali. Have no doubt that under the title of "Greatest Leaders" if you include Omar, Abu Bekir and even
Khālid ibn al-Walīd(when did he became a "greatest leader" for Islam)?? Es-saffah, Haroun(there are many who hate him but great indeed), but not include Ali you will have done a serious error certainly. Hmmm objectively. Believe me.

Throughout islam history you may encounter people even today that never have heard the name Khalid bin Walid for example. But every Muslim in the world knows Ali and 99% respects him as "at least" second greatest leader. This is universal. What he has done is far more greater than conquest. He has been an example. And yet he was a great warrior symbol too. He carried the sword given to Muhammed by the archangel Gabriel. Nothing short there. And "nearly" he has a religion of his own. Don't judge his leadership as a caliph he is much much more than that. He is a mythological figure like Charlemagne. How many of the people in the list has that quality?

And about Lenin and Hannibal.

With Hannibal you admit his office did not give too much fruit for his nation(in fact caused the extermination of his nation) but you exclude Lenin because Russia was a great nation before and after him?? Well Lenin is one of the greatest leaders of the world that had changed Russia forever and maybe the world too. He defeated monarchy, leaded one of the most important revolutions of history and that fire burned alive for all 20.century. You may not be a socialist. But what else does he have to do ?:) (BTW I admire Hannibal)

But I understand, regardless of their greatness Lenin and Guavera(he has changed his continent too) are political names, tricky ones. I can't insist.

Bu for Ali you have no excuse :)) if you'll ever include any other name than Muhammed in Arab-Islam it's Ali. The others will run for third place.
Ali ibn Abu Talib is on at #50.  Smile

Edited by DSMyers1 - 28-Apr-2008 at 21:53
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I'm now working on the Chinese leaders, with whom I am not very familiar.  If anyone would like to give their advice on Chinese leaders, please do!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 07:58
Lee Shi Min, Wei Qing and Han Xin come to mind initially. There should be a good deal on the list though - more than 3 - so I'll get back to you on some more once I've done another re-evaluation. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 12:20
I'm expecting there to be about as many Chinese leaders on the list as Byzantine--which was what, 14 leaders rated and about 7 actually in the top 100....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Samara Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 12:54
Louis XIV must be highter. In top 10 certainly, his influence dominate the 17 century.
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Originally posted by Samara Samara wrote:

Louis XIV must be highter. In top 10 certainly, his influence dominate the 17 century.
Well, I know how influential he was.  Influence, however, does not necessarily correspond to great leadership.  Louis XIV led France to the first of its two peaks in power (Napoleon was the second) and probably was the greatest power in the world.  However, it's not like France was so weak before him.  So his ratings look like:
Rank Name Country Before After Duration High Point Impact Opposition Good/Bad Rating
35 Louis XIV France 3 5 4 5 4 4 2 25.09
The only thing I could possibly see changing on these ratings was the proportion of the impact, of which I awarded Louis XIV 80%.  I think that is pretty reasonable.  He may go up to a 5, or 100%, when I reevaluate the French leaders here pretty soon.   The Good/bad could also move up to a 3, but I think he was a pretty basic aggressive expansionist, which gets a 2 (he wasn't in the right in his moves of territorial aggrandizement).

Edited by DSMyers1 - 30-Apr-2008 at 13:11
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Originally posted by Knights Knights wrote:

Lee Shi Min, Wei Qing and Han Xin come to mind initially. There should be a good deal on the list though - more than 3 - so I'll get back to you on some more once I've done another re-evaluation. 
 
Here's my preliminary list on who needs to at least be evaluated for inclusion (it's LONG!):
 
Cheng Tang of Shang   1646 BC China
Fù Hǎo    1200 BC China
Wu Ding   1192 BC China
Wu of Zhou    1105 BC China
Zhōu Gōng   1030 BC China
Mu of Zhou   922 BC China
Qin Shi Huang (Shǐ Huáng Dì) 259 BC 210 BC China
Xiang Yu   202 BC China
Han Xin   196 BC China
Liú Bāng  (Gaozu of Han)   195 BC China
Wei Qing   106 BC China
Wu Di of Han 156 BC 87 BC China
Liu Yan   23 China
Liu Xiu (Guangwu of Han) 5 BC 57 China
Sīmǎ Yán (Wu of Jìn) 236 290 China
Liu Yu (Wu of Liu Song) 363 422 China
Tuoba Hong (Xiaowen of Northern Wei) 467 499 China
Xiao Yan (Wu of Liang) 464 549 China
Yang Jian (Wen of Sui) 541 604 China
Li Yuan (Gaozu of Tang) 566 635 China
Lǐ Shìmín (Taizong of Tang) 599 649 China
Li Longji (Xuanzong of Tang) 685 762 China
Zhao Kuangyin (Taizu of Song) 927 976 China
Shen Kuo 1031 1095 China
Wányán Aguda 1068 1123 China
Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu) 1328 1398 China
Zhu Di (Yongle) 1360 1424 China
Zhu Youtang (Hongzhi) 1470 1505 China
Huang Taiji 1592 1643 China
Kangxi 1654 1722 China
Sun Yat-sen 1886 1925 China
Chiang Kai-shek 1887 1975 China
Mao Zedong 1893 1976 China
Deng Xiaoping 1904 1997 China


Edited by DSMyers1 - 01-May-2008 at 13:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Apr-2008 at 16:54

Terrific work with your two threads DSMyers Clap 

Your inspiration and perspiration is exemplary; good for you!

I've been too busy to post at length for some time, but have glanced often at the threads. You have outdone me since the first few pages as far as overall objective - great discussions which foment much insight.

Well, does Abraham count? He apparently is the father of us all!
 
It is debatable as to how 'great' a monarch Louis XIV was; he was the central figure of the apogee of monarchical absolutism (which in France required the assent and participation of the dominant class); many social and political blunders under his regime resulted in the suffering of millions. Basically speaking, his revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 was far from politic. But much of his work, supervised amid vast and intense circumstances in which he was between a rock and a hard place, was far from unreasonable and incompetent; he would be elated  to know that his opulent Chateau de Versailles attracts millions of enthusiasts yearly. He established his court there in May of 1682, where he radiated his power over France, and affected Europe greatly. Under his aegis France became the cultural leader of Europe and foreign princes flattered the king by building palaces in imitation of Versailles.
 
One book I have, titled Louis XIV, by one J.H. Shennan (1993 edition), states on Pgs 12-13,
 
"...The High Council was the king's chief committee. It was concerned with all important matters of state, though it tended increasingly to concentrate on foreign affairs. Its membership was very small, between three and five councillors. These were the ministers of state about whom it is worth making several observations. Nobody sat by right, or by virtue of his office, at the High Council. The title of minister depended upon the king's summons and if he ceased to call a particular adviser that individual at once ceased to be a minister.

Thus the absolute authority of the king was reconciled with the obligation traditionally accepted by his predecessors to take counsel. Louis expressed both aspects of royal authority in advising his grandson (who in 1700 became King Philip V of Spain) to listen to his Council but then to take the final decisions himself. Louis believed that professional advice had to be taken seriously, but he also believed that his vocation as king by divine right gave him an additional wisdom and insight which justified his having the last word.

Louis's ministers were more professional than their predecessors. No longer could members of the royal family, princes of the blood, representatives of great noble dynasties, expect to be summoned to advise the king simply because they were who they were. Instead, the king looked to his controller-general of finance and to his secretaries of state, experts in the fields of administration and diplomacy, in military and naval affairs..."  

Despite the decline in his reputation by the end of the War of Spanish Succession, Louis did make great strides in building modern France, and in centralizing the military administration of his reign; he had many greats under him in both government functions and military minds (Louvois, Turenne, Vauban).
 
Moreover, he was not the only warmonger, and his foreign policy was conservative and defensive - but only from his view that he should be the most powerful of monarchs. Events which may seem to be of his provocation could be argued in his case as threats to his borders if passed into the 'wrong hands' (eg, the fate of the Spanish realms upon the death of Carlos II to Hapsburg power). He did secure frontiers, too. No question - he was a masterful self-publicist, and his impact was enormous.  
 
Imperial administration amid the first civilized city-states may begin with Etana, and more so Sargon the Great; Cyrus the Great was a brilliant empire-builder, identifying 'human rights'. I wish we knew more about Chandragupta Maurya (in the mainstream). 

Right from the 'beginning', the city states of Sumer began fighting with each other, then defending themselves from 'barbaric' raids (eg, the Gutians); this necessitated the pressing need for military leadership and organization. The first military leader/empire builder which recorded history (Sumerian cuneiforms) can identify with certainty (though scantly), is probably the ensi of Kish Etana ("...the shephard, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries..."), and one Enmebaragesi is the first confirmed figure independent of epigraphical evidence; subsequently (not soon, by our standards of time passing by), one Eannatum became the supreme ruler of Sumer; the latter built temples, canals, and reservoirs to supply the land in times of the afflicting droughts that often occurred.

How about Isabella? Her influence is way beyond the sanctioning and financing of Columbus' voyage in 1492. For all her nasty policies of religious bigotry (hindsight), she was an innovator and initiator in many military matters, and her impact (in co-ordination with her husband Ferdinand) upon a united Spain and Latin America was very significant.
 
Simon V de Montfort - he ultimately failed due to betrayal, but amid his brief reign as virtual ruler of England (mid 1260s), he established the rights of the commoner in a time when it was too 'early' for constitutional monarchy to be realized. But his legacy should be considered very important. 
 
DS, I love our George, but we have to ask if his eminence was a little cosmetic; he was indeed our fist president, but he wasn't as active or important in the framework of our government as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, or Thomas Jefferson. BUT, on the other hand, it can be argued that his executive leadership, during and after the war, was the paramount agent that allowed for the political development of the United States to thrive. Debatable! 

But goodness me my friend! A major non-mention is Constantine I (did I miss his mentioning by someone?); the backdrop of his realm is fascinating and deeply complex, but basically, he single-handedly diverted the prosecution of the Church to supporting it, wich carried colossal and lasting consequences for Europe and Christianity.

Following the survival of the sect known as Christianity in the late 3rd century from the Diocletianic persecutions, the work of Constantine was momentous (hindsight, of course!). The reign of Diocletian was very affecting, though directly a failure: the empire had become so vast, and his famous tetrarchic system wrought a level of stability, but encouraged usurpations due to the division of power, and his attempt to check the nature of supply and demand, trying to replace economic laws by strict decrees - the Edictum de Pretiis Rerum Vernalium (click here) - was a failure which Constantine revoked. It would take economists, anthropologists, and all other expert erudites to 'explain' and debate why things manifested the way they did from the late 3rd century to Rome's fall, but the infrastructure of agriculture passed from slavery to 'freedom' to serfdom, leading to what we term the Dark Ages.

Anyway, Constantine couldn't prevent the economic decay, class struggles, and stifling taxation (etc., etc., etc.) that brought Rome down, but he seemingly delayed it long enough to establish his hegemony at Byzantium, a more centralized capital for protection and viable for establishing new trade routes etc. The new place Constantinople would thrive as a great center, lasting until Mehmed II's massive bombards marked the arrival of the Ottomans (Mehmed II is another monumental figure of history, who became the master of a great city with a long imperial tradition, and the absolute ruler of a centralised empire). Constantine, in my opinion, was a remarkable ruler, as both a general who scattered all those who opposed him (from his apologists' point of view, of course), and as a subsequent adminstrator and statesman, with autocratic power no less: he seemed to realize absolute rule was necessary due to the chaos of his time, and however sincere his personal conviction with Christianity was at first, the Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) removed the obstacles keeping the spread of the faith checked, and if we need to pinpoint the beginning of Christendom (I'm not referring to the actual faith), that may be it. Constantine encouraged its blossoming and founded many churches. But no man is infallible, and his executions of heretics and even his wife are difficult to justify, for lack of any accounted for provocations.

But with Constantine, Christianity became a state as well as a church, and the mold which would shape Europe and beyond in terms of religious conviction. But - and I consider this important amid these great discussions of historical figures - all these great influential figures could not have known how affecting their work would turn out, and the further we go back, the more romantic they seem to become (or probably the contrary, for some).

I guess every military commander (or monarch who sanctioned an important and successful campaign etc.) who won a 'decisive' battle of history could make a list. But we have to discern how much their supreme leader had a hand in the events. Certainly, Alexander and Chingis would top this list as supreme leaders and the main general of their armies.

I wish I could go on, after I briefly that I think Philip II of Macedon, Shih huang-ti (the internal cohesion of China he laid down has outlasted any other state in history), the great Prophet MuhammedChingis Khan, and Napoleon were giants of history - and all are debatable, as to how much they good they did in connection to how much they resolved to do etc.
 
Oh, heck! Let's go on Big%20smile
 
Now, I am well aware it's difficult, maybe impossible, to discuss Muhammed and Islam in a non-contentious context. 'Religious freedom' always seems synonymous with war, a harsh reality Muhammed had to succumb to. Personally, I am not 'moved' by the tenets of any religion, but identify the enormity of impact that religious leaders of history have had, whatever religious 'trappings' may have been involved amid their quests.
 
In support of Efraz's astute assessments, from the arguable point of view of one individual affecting more people throughout history than any other from a cosmic work, it may be the Prophet Muhammed - at least people who know from whom they were affected by. Reform and order among the masses seemed hopeless in Arabia at the advent of his coming; there was no centralization to maintain law and order in Arabia before Muhammed, and nothing has been so well unified than when he died in 632. This alone would render him an important figure even if they never left Arabia. Even Sir William Muir, no apologist of Muhammed and Islam, attested this, as he wrote in the early 1860s,

"The first peculiarity, then, which attracts our attention is the subdivision of the Arabs into innumerable bodies, governing by the same code of honour and morals, and exhibiting the same manners, speaking for the most part the same language, but each independent of the others; restless and often at war amongst themselves; and even where united by blood or by interest, ever ready on some insignificant cause to seperate and give way to an implacable hostility. Thus at the era of Islam, the retrospect of Arabian history exhibits, as in the kaleidoscope, an ever-varying state of combination and repulsion, such as had hitherto rendered abortive any attempt at a general union...The problem had yet to be solved, by what force these tribes could be subdued, or drawn to one common centre; and it was solved by Muhammed."

Of course, the followers of Muhammed had to be enticed by other means in the beginning; people wouldn't prostrate immediately under his calling. He achieved this by promising and delivering an equal share of the loot procured from the raiding of caravans of the Banu Quraysh, the main tribe who opposed him at first (and the tribe he was borne out of). Islam had no primary proselytizer of the faith, nor a Doctor of the Church. One appealing characteristic (seemingly) of Islam to its followers was the absence of a formal priesthood. Mullahs and ayatollahs enjoy special respect and authority, but there are no saints acting as mediators between humans and God, thus no mysteries abound of the rites that only priests can perform. The mosque is devoid of anything that resembles an idol. That Christianity required a greater scope for its development than Islam is relevant only when proposing the impact of the individual, in this case Muhammed played a more important role in the development of Islam than any one individual did for Christianity (I know, I'd better be careful there!). An explicit point about Muhammed is described lucidly (IMHO) by one Thomas Kiernan, in his book The Arabs,

"...It is undoubtedly true to the point of banality that the great movements in history are not created by individuals alone, but by a concatenation of time, events and people. The name of Muhammed, regarded by a sixth of all the people of the world to be the initiator of real history, must be considered the likeliest exception to this rule. More than any other individual in the verifiable past, this man single-handedly inaugurated a new era of world history..."

That was written thirty years ago, thus if this assessment can be sustained, it is now a fifth of the people of the world who feel this way. It is also immaterial, for the specificity of Muhammed's impaction upon the world, that the new fait he presented was one of 'legitimacy'; what I feel is so instrumental was, simply, his affect. The same applies to the impact of Christianity: it doesn't matter, for the purposes of claiming the unmatched magnitude of the influence that Christianity has had upon the posterity of people down the ages since its nascent stage, that whatever the apostles told people was 'true' or not; what matters, for the purposes of the affect upon people down the ages, is that people believed. That is what I find fascinating: the amazing influence on people. But, sadly, these things never bring peace and conciliation.

I also believe he is almost solely responsible for the creation of the Qu'ran, the most widely referred-to book today. Thus he is unique in history as not only singularly responsible for creating the tenets (ie, belief structure) of the world's second most followed religion, but also 'revealing' its primary text in guiding life. He didn't write it (I think he was neither illiterate nor a learned scholar) - it was compiled less than two decades following his death primarily by Zaid ibn Thabit, with the 'official' copy in book form (mushaf) arriving in c. 655. During the Prophet's lifetime, the Qu'ran was extant in primarily oral form, dependent on memorization. Differences in reading (or interpretation) were obvious, and the only differences (eleven of them, apparently) between this standard copy now evinced and its predecessor (which arrived in sporadic written fragments), were the addition of vowel marks (tashkil) and diacritical marks (i'jam), both purely for phonetical distinctions to facilitate understanding (whether it worked for that purpose, it is unkown to me, a non-Arabic person). I point this out because I don't believe the intimations by some non-Muslim 'experts' (Michael Cook, Robert Spencer etc.) that Muhammed has been blown out of proportion, and/or that there is a huge apologue behind his incredible story. Of course, anyone can dispute anything; written words and a consensus (which could mean 51%) are never 'proof' enough for anyone who wishes to not agree with something. I think the tenets of Islam were handed down by Muhammed, and he was also enormously impacting on political and secular levels, perhaps more than any figure in history.

Unless one disputes the tradition handed to us by the Persian/Muslim historian Tabari and others, which is certainly not unreasonable to consider, Muhammed was indeed the driving force behind the Arab conquests, one of the most transforming events in history: it was the state consolidation of the Arabian tribes, which went unabated, that allowed the conquests to succeed (the 'weakness' of the bordering enemies notwithstanding). The tradition of Sheikhs leading raids into Syria and Persia would alone not have done anything remotely as substantial. But there were also economic and social factors involved. Muhammed sent epistles to the neighboring kingdoms inviting them to accept the new faith. His messenger was killed by the Arabs on the Syrian border, an open declaration of war. Khosrau II of Sassanid Persia reputedly tore the letter up; Egypt also refused, but respectfully. Heraclius is reputed to have considered it, but with no support from his council, and the negus Ashama of Abyssinia (modern southern Sudan, Etrirea and Ethiopia) embraced the new faith (reputedly). A Muslim army was defeated near Mutah either by Byzantine forces (according to Islamic tradition) or by Arabs living in the Jordanian valley (western sources). Whatever the truth, Muhammed had given orders, three years later, to Usamah ibn Zayd to undertake an expedition to Syria. Usamah, camped around Jorf (near Madina, western Arabia), wanted to return as he felt the departure of his army would endanger Madina etc., but the 1st caliph Abu Bakr replied,

"Who am I to withhold the army that the Holy Prophet had ordained to proceed? Come what may, let Madina stand or fall, the Caliphate live or perish, the command of the Holy Prophet shall be carried out."

Within a year following the Prophet's death, the recalcitrant tribes, who were not necessarily denouncing the new faith but trying to claim their own prophethoods resembling much of the Qu'ran, were subjected within a year (the Ridda Wars, or the War of the Apostasy). Abu Bakr then quickly expanded the sphere of Islamic power beyond what it had been in Muhammed's lifetime. In 634, the Arabs defeated the Byzantines in which for the first time they fought as an army rather than seperate and disparate raiding parties; they were no longer solely seeking booty, but contenders for control of settled (albeit weakened) empires. In the amazing conquests that followed, the Arabs carried with them the cultural standard of Islamic faith (of course there was the reason of garnering riches and the basic principal of booty). Their religion and their culture would be both known as Islam. What seperates Islam from other religions, in specific and isolated terms of the affecting significance of its founder, is that it triumphed swiftly during the lifetime of its founder, who created a state which became a vast empire. But let's be clear about the early conquests: they were enormously successful mainly because of the ideological system the united Arabs had been imbued with, coupled with the fact that the empires they attacked were in a weakened condition (Muhammed and his elite knew how to channel the energies of the Bedouin nomad), but conversions to Islam were not largely coerced or accepted; subjected peoples lived under their own customs under a per capita tax (jizya) and a pact (dhimma). Thus Islamization didn't become prevalant, at least on a substantial level, until the mid-8th century and onwards, when Islam flourished.

The Mongols made no technological breakthroughs themselves (but they didn't care to), nor created anything new in thought or agriculture. But their conquests passed all the skills of their subjects from one civilization to the next; despite the apocalyptic cruelty of their conquests (not everywhere, and only if opposed), Chingis Khan and his successors wrought probably an unprecedented rise in cultural communications and trade on a global scale within the known world. The distinction - not an issue of what's 'better' between the leadership qualities of Muhammed and Chingis - between the Arabs and Mongols was that one, to reiterate, carried the cultural faith into their subjected lands, and kept it there (except, in the long term, the Iberian Peninsula and modern Ethiopia). Thus, unlike the Mongols and Vikings etc., the Arabs became powerful vectors of a culture that is in force today, not invaders who were absorbed by the cultures of the areas they conquered.    

Anyone interested in the great Prophet - who needs a 'brief start' (like me) - the book Muhammed the Prophet (1st edition, 1924), by one Maulana Muhammed Ali is outstanding: it's succinct yet elaborate enough to give the reader a terrific overview of the Prophet.
 
Indeed, the direct and immediate driving force of the conquests in the Near East was the great Khalid ibn-al Walid, one of the greatest battlefield commanders ever.
 
Moreover, Muhammed didn't do anything remarkable with his life 'till he was 40!! That should inspire all of us under-achievers; the (arguably) most affecting individual in history didn't achieve his tasks until middle-age! Yeah, I'll try to catch up with my life like he did LOL.
 
In proportion to what he did for the forming of his modern state, I would say Ataturk was pretty remarkable; we can always find 'chance' and 'circumstances' in everyhting within our context here, but his situation in the early 20th century (beginning in 1923, particularly) was very intense. Turning away from the Ottoman legacy, so imbedded the previous centuries, and resolving to create a secular and rational nation, emphasising science and modern education with industrial economy etc? Before Turkey could be 'remade', political power had to be seized - imagine the reactionaries and conservatives Ataturk had to overcome after defeating the Greeks at Sakarya and capturing Izmir, and avoiding a showdown with the British with diplomacy, and also abolishing the Sultanate. I don't mean to open a can of worms with the Greek-Turkish conflict, and many here know much more than I, but I can't see how he wasn't an amazing leader, whether one's personal convictions harbor good or bad feelings. 
 
Should we talk about the great spiritual leaders?
 
I'll try to contribute soon. Great stuff everyone Smile


Edited by Spartan - 03-May-2008 at 11:52
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Wow, what a post, Spartan!  I'll read and respond when I have time.
One thing to rmember--I have not gone through all of the nations of the world, yet (see the list of nations higher up this page) which is why many of the people you have mentioned aren't on there yet.  Trust me--they will be. Smile

Edited by DSMyers1 - 30-Apr-2008 at 18:11
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Here is my initial ranking of the Chinese leaders.  Please comment--I'm no expert on Chinese History!  Honestly, I'm rather dubious that China would get 15 of the top 100 leaders (though the bottom 3 will probably be pushed off eventually anyway).

5 Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu) 1328 1398 China
13 Liú Bāng  (Gaozu of Han)   195 BC China
33 Qin Shi Huang (Shǐ Huáng Dì) 259 BC 210 BC China
35 Liu Yu (Wu of Liu Song) 363 422 China
38 Cheng Tang of Shang   1646 BC China
42 Yang Jian (Wen of Sui) 541 604 China
46 Wányán Aguda 1068 1123 China
58 Han Xin   196 BC China
64 Lǐ Shìmín (Taizong of Tang) 599 649 China
69 Wu Di of Han 156 BC 87 BC China
81 Wu of Zhou    1043 BC China
84 Li Yuan (Gaozu of Tang) 566 635 China
87 Liu Xiu (Guangwu of Han) 5 BC 57 China
89 Mao Zedong 1893 1976 China
94 Sun Yat-sen 1886 1925 China
108 Fù Hǎo    1200 BC China
110 Zhao Kuangyin (Taizu of Song) 927 976 China
116 Zhu Di (Yongle) 1360 1424 China
133 Zhōu Gōng (Duke of Zhou)   1030 BC China
134 Wei Qing   106 BC China
135 Xiao Yan (Wu of Liang) 464 549 China
144 Shen Kuo 1031 1095 China
147 Xiang Yu 232 BC 202 BC China
163 Huang Taiji 1592 1643 China
179 Zhu Youtang (Hongzhi) 1470 1505 China
180 Wu Ding   1192 BC China
196 Li Longji (Xuanzong of Tang) 685 762 China
197 Mu of Zhou   922 BC China
210 Liu Yan   23 China
214 Sīmǎ Yán (Wu of Jìn) 236 290 China
218 Kangxi 1654 1722 China
232 Chiang Kai-shek 1887 1975 China
235 Deng Xiaoping 1904 1997 China



Edited by DSMyers1 - 01-May-2008 at 19:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Samara Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-May-2008 at 15:03
Originally posted by DSMyers1 DSMyers1 wrote:

Originally posted by Samara Samara wrote:

Louis XIV must be highter. In top 10 certainly, his influence dominate the 17 century.
Well, I know how influential he was.  Influence, however, does not necessarily correspond to great leadership.  Louis XIV led France to the first of its two peaks in power (Napoleon was the second) and probably was the greatest power in the world.  However, it's not like France was so weak before him.  So his ratings look like:
Rank Name Country Before After Duration High Point Impact Opposition Good/Bad Rating
35 Louis XIV France 3 5 4 5 4 4 2 25.09
The only thing I could possibly see changing on these ratings was the proportion of the impact, of which I awarded Louis XIV 80%.  I think that is pretty reasonable.  He may go up to a 5, or 100%, when I reevaluate the French leaders here pretty soon.   The Good/bad could also move up to a 3, but I think he was a pretty basic aggressive expansionist, which gets a 2 (he wasn't in the right in his moves of territorial aggrandizement).


During his reign, Versailles was the capital of the world about politic and cultural.  He finished the war of religion and destroyed the protestant influence in france. He was never agressive, the intervention of France in Thirty wars was due to the arrogance and the menace to Hasbourg Empire. This only fault was to neglige the problem of this people(during the great winter notably).
During his reign, appear Lully and Molière . The science progressed. He modernized the army with Vauban and Turenne and the french army became the best army of the world with great general as Condé and Turenne too.

I dont see in what is not sufficent to be in the first.
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And the next update to the list is ready.  I've added leaders from several nations, though a couple of those nations did not have any leaders make the top 100.  Here are the nations added:
Champa
Cherokee
Chile
China
Chola
 
And here are the leaders put in:
212 Chế Bồng Nga   1390 Champa
244 Indravarman II    896 Champa
248 Indravarman III    958 Champa
156 Sequoyah 1767 1843 Cherokee
159 John Ross  1790 1866 Cherokee
229 Manuel Baquedano 1823 1897 Chile
239 Bernardo O'Higgins 1778 1842 Chile
5 Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu) 1328 1398 China
13 Liú Bāng  (Gaozu of Han)   195 BC China
33 Qin Shi Huang (Shǐ Huáng Dì) 259 BC 210 BC China
35 Liu Yu (Wu of Liu Song) 363 422 China
38 Cheng Tang of Shang   1646 BC China
42 Yang Jian (Wen of Sui) 541 604 China
47 Wányán Aguda 1068 1123 China
60 Han Xin   196 BC China
66 Lǐ Shìmín (Taizong of Tang) 599 649 China
71 Wu Di of Han 156 BC 87 BC China
83 Wu of Zhou    1043 BC China
86 Li Yuan (Gaozu of Tang) 566 635 China
89 Liu Xiu (Guangwu of Han) 5 BC 57 China
91 Mao Zedong 1893 1976 China
96 Sun Yat-sen 1886 1925 China
110 Fù Hǎo    1200 BC China
112 Zhao Kuangyin (Taizu of Song) 927 976 China
118 Zhu Di (Yongle) 1360 1424 China
136 Zhōu Gōng (Duke of Zhou)   1030 BC China
137 Wei Qing   106 BC China
138 Xiao Yan (Wu of Liang) 464 549 China
147 Shen Kuo 1031 1095 China
150 Xiang Yu 232 BC 202 BC China
166 Huang Taiji 1592 1643 China
184 Zhu Youtang (Hongzhi) 1470 1505 China
185 Wu Ding   1192 BC China
201 Li Longji (Xuanzong of Tang) 685 762 China
202 Mu of Zhou   922 BC China
216 Liu Yan   23 China
220 Sīmǎ Yán (Wu of Jìn) 236 290 China
224 Kangxi 1654 1722 China
238 Chiang Kai-shek 1887 1975 China
241 Deng Xiaoping 1904 1997 China
43 Raja Raja Chola I   1014 Chola
48 Rajendra Chola I   1044 Chola
123 Kulothunga Chola I   1120 Chola
174 Karikala Chola   120 Chola
176 Aditya I   907 Chola
207 Vijayalaya Chola   871 Chola
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