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.
Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) – the revered haiku poet of feudal Japan.
Sir Richard Francis Burton – the incomparable Victorian adventurer.
The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill – perhaps the greatest statesman/orator/author in modern history.
Marie Curie – The scientist who discovered Radium and helped to shape the modern world, also a remarkable philanthropist and activist who paid dearly for her studies.
Leonardo da Vinci – the original “renaissance man”.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ།) – the greatest living exponent of tolerance and world peace.
Albert Einstein – perhaps the greatest theoretical scientist in history, and a superlative humanist.
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 “renaissance man”.
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.
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. – an icon of equality.
Steve Jobs – the brilliant and mercurial CEO of Apple.
Vincent Price – the consummate bon vivant, actor and artistic philanthropist
Li Po (李白) – an eccentric and brilliant lover of wine, women and life who also happened to be the most acclaimed poet in Chinese history.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – who needs no introduction.
Albert Pike – Scholar of Freemasonry, poet and soldier.
Marco Polo – The great Medieval traveler, trader and chronicler.
Rosa Robota – One of the great heroes of any age, she made the ultimate resistance – and sacrifice – in Auschwitz.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (جلالالدین محمد رومی) – Perhaps the greatest Sufi mystic and poet of all time.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson– The Lubavitcher Rebbe of Chabad.
William Shakespeare – The Eternal Bard.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) – the great wit, writer and cynic.
Wonhyo 원효– one of the leading thinkers, writers and commentators of the Korean Buddhist tradition.