Citizens, several years ago, I put together my personal list of great men and women whom I would most love to get around a dinner table. Having just come across the list again, I thought it worth sharing. 🙂
Can you imagine having some of history’s greatest philosophers, scientists, leaders, heroes, musicians and bon vivants together – and the discussions that would result? After much thought, these would be the people I’d invite – I’ve included only verified historical figures for this exercise.
In alphabetical order:
The nameless man who stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square.
Alexander the Great (Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας) – Conqueror of the known world by age 32.
Aristotle (Ἀριστοτέλης) – The premier philosopher, rhetorician and natural scientist.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of modern Turkey, a renowned secular humanist, politician and statesman.
Marcus Aurelius – The Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.
Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) – The revered haiku poet of feudal Japan.
Sir Richard Francis Burton – The incomparable Victorian adventurer.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) – The great wit, writer and cynic.
Paulo Coelho – The unmatched Brazilian author and philosopher.
Leonardo da Vinci – The original ‘renaissance man’.
Albert Einstein – Perhaps the greatest theoretical scientist in history.
Queen Elizabeth I – The greatest Queen in modern history.
Benjamin Franklin – The scientist/statesman/wit of the American Revolution.
Mohandas K. Gandhi – The greatest practitioner of non-violent struggle in the history of the world.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – The Age of Enlightenment’s ‘renaissance man’ and polymath.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ།) – The greatest living exponent of tolerance and world peace.
Hildegard of Bingen – The Medieval-era mystic, poet and musician.
Hinmatóoyalahtq’it (“Thunder traveling to higher areas”), aka Chief Jospeh – An indomitable voice of conscience for the American West.
Hypatia of Alexandria (Ὑπατίᾱ η Αλεξανδρινή) – The greatest female mathematician and philosopher the world has ever known.
Imhotep (*jā-im-ḥātap meaning “the one who comes in peace, is with peace”) – The great architect who designed the first pyramid, as well as being one of the leading scholars and physicians of Ancient Egypt.
Count Nikola Jurišić – Leading just 750 men without cannons and few guns, he successfully defended a town against a Turkish army of more than 130,000.
Mansa Musa (N’Ko: ߞߊ߲߬ߞߎ߬ ߡߎߛߊ߫) was the mansa of the Mali Empire, which reached its territorial peak during his reign. Musa is known for both his wealth and generosity and was in fact the wealthiest man in history.
Yuan Mei (袁枚) – Gastronome extraordinaire, painter, poet and auteur.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Who needs no introduction.
Marco Polo – The great Medieval traveler, trader and chronicler.
Rosa Robota – She made the ultimate resistance – and sacrifice – in Auschwitz.
Fred McFeely Rogers – commonly known as Mister Rogers, television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian minister.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (جلالالدین محمد رومی) – Perhaps the greatest Sufi mystic and poet.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson – The Lubavitcher Rebbe of Chabad.
William Shakespeare – The Eternal Bard.
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