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.
- Neil Armstrong – The first man in space.
- Aristotle (Ἀριστοτέλης) – The premier philosopher, rhetorician and natural scientist.
- 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.
- Paulo Coelho – The unmatched Brazilian author and philosopher.
- Marie Curie – The scientist who discovered Radium, also a remarkable philanthropist and activist who paid dearly for her studies.
- Leonardo da Vinci – The original ‘renaissance man’.
- 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’s ‘renaissance man’ and polymath.
- Hildegard of Bingen – The Medieval-era mystic, poet and musician.
- The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ།) – The greatest living exponent of tolerance and world peace.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Robert Smalls – An escaped slave and a Civil War hero, Robert Smalls served five terms in the U.S. House for South Carolina.
- Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) – The great wit, writer and cynic.
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