• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

Essay On Historical Person You Admire

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.


Edited: Dec 26, 2009, 9:33pm

I couldn't possibly narrow it down to one, and I figure you guys probably couldn't either, it's hard! XD But just give a list, and they may not necessarily be your idols or role models, maybe they're just people you like reading about? And they don't have to be deceased, as clearly there are some wonderful people alive and out there making history as we speak :)

ps. Thanks to all of you for joining this very new group, and feel free to invite others who you think might like it as well!

*My list: and sadly, I am a fan of the dead, sorry, no breathers on this list*
1.) Thomas Jefferson (yep, I'm a major Jeffersonian "fangirl")
2.) Queen Elizabeth I (the one got me interested in history in the first place)
3.) Queen Marie Antoinette
4.) Giacomo Casanova
5.) Chevalier D'eon de Beaumont
6.) Comte de Saint Germain
7.) Oscar Wilde
8.) Saint Joan of Arc
9.) Saint George
10.) Voltaire


Dec 26, 2009, 4:49pm

Don't know if I can give a list of 10 but here are my top ones.

1. Isaac Newton
2. Malcolm X
3. Benjamin Banneker
4. Benjamin Franklin
5. Egyptian pharaohs: Akhenaten and Hatshepsut
6. Pushkin


Dec 26, 2009, 6:23pm

Lao Tzu (aka Laozi





WIliam of Occam

Joan of Arc

Wlliam Shakespeare

John F. Kennedy

Jimmy Carter


Edited: Dec 26, 2009, 6:43pm

No particular order:

Elizabeth I
Henry VIII and wives and extended families
Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II
Catherine de Medici and Henri II
Marie Antoinette
Mary Queen of Scots
Lady Jane Grey
Mary I
Charles II
Joan of Arc


Edited: Dec 28, 2009, 5:37pm

Alexander Hamilton
Vlad the Impaler
Benjamin Rush
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
T.E. Lawrence
Abraham Lincoln
Genghis Khan
Napoleon Bonaparte
Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh (and family)
Queen Mary I of England


Edited: Dec 29, 2009, 9:44am

Great lists! And great question. I love an excuse to geek out in list form.

1. Theodore Roosevelt (total fangirl for this one)
2. Jane Austen (again, another fangirl obsession)
3. Marquis de Lafayette
4. Winston Churchill
5. William Wilberforce
6. John Singer Sargent
7. Virginia Hall
8. Coco Chanel
9. Robert Burns
10. James Garfield (mostly because I think it's tacky we forgot he was ever president)


Dec 29, 2009, 10:33am

To All So Far:

I'm really surprised. All these lists are different! I expected some like Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc to show up at least twice, but I like how diverse everyone's tastes are! :)


Dec 30, 2009, 1:10am

Here are mine (just off the top of my head, the list would probably change slightly if asked again):

1. Albert Einstein
2. Richard Feynman
3. Edna St. Vincent Millay
4. Robert Louis Stevenson
5. Jane Austen
6. Theodore Roosevelt
7. Wally Schirra
8. Plato
9. Chief Joseph
10. Ernest Shackleton


Edited: Oct 30, 2011, 8:55pm

Again, no particular order:

1 Anne Boleyn
2 Anne of Cleves
3 George Eliot
4 Charles Darwin
5 Socrates
6 Pope Joan (allowing for the possibility that she did exist)
7 Alan Turing
8 Caravaggio
9 Aspasia of Miletus
10 Mary Magdalene (also assuming she actually existed)


Dec 30, 2009, 9:44am

What a great new group! My list--
Abraham Lincoln
Virginia Woolfe
Teddy Roosevelt
Charles Darwin
Bobby Burns
Winston Churchill
Susan Glaspell
John Kennedy
Eudora Welty
Mary, Queen of Scots


Dec 30, 2009, 10:00am

No particular order:

Alexander Hamilton
George Washington
Robert E. Lee
Henry VIII
Benjamin Franklin
Abraham Lincoln
Genghis Khan
Teddy Roosevelt
Albert Einstein
Any account from the solider in the ditch.

By the way - I cannot wait for the biography of Shirley Temple to come out (if ever).


Dec 30, 2009, 10:01am

have you ever been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston?

Ms. Gardner has many works by Sargent (they were good friends). If your name is Isabella you get to go in free.


Dec 30, 2009, 11:37am

It is more than ten (20) but:

Brian Barou
Henry II, of England
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Richard I, of England
Fredrick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Robert the Bruce
Edward III, of England
Silliman the Magnificent
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Hugh O’Neal, The Great O’Neal
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Winfield Scott
Von Ranke
Jacob Burckhardt


Dec 30, 2009, 11:43am

yeshua bar joseph
francis of assisi/ giovanni francesco di bernardone
sojourner truth/ isabella baumfree
elizabeth cady stanton
emma goldman
mohandas k. gandhi
eleanor roosevelt
dorothy day
teresa of calcutta/ agnese gonxhe bojaxhiu
martin luther king jr


Dec 30, 2009, 12:12pm

This was difficult as I realised I did not read as much about specific historical figures as I thought I might, so trying to find a top 10 was not really practical. I enjoyed reading Niccolo Machiavelli's despatches. Landucci's Florentine Diary was quite fun too. Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, and a couple of books about him - lots going on there. I read a very colourful and entertaining biography of Beau Brummell. The Medici family - lots of absorbing stuff there, and still more to read. I enjoyed reading Julian of Norwich, and indeed the book of Margery Kempe, but did not get much of a sense of them as people other than/beyond their spiritual facets. I recall enjoying some of Montaigne's essays.

First hand accounts, documents, letters, diaries, pamphlets - there's usually something in these for me to enjoy, once I've tracked them down. There has to be some kind of spark for me to find them - perhaps some colourful incident described in a general social and political history, or an excerpt from a diary or some letters.

Sometimes I'm interested in people's motivations and what drives them, and that's often not available, so maybe I read fiction of various sorts to fill in that gap?


Dec 30, 2009, 2:05pm

Livia, wife of Augustus Caesar and their family down to Claudius + wives (more than 10 there!)
Oliver Cromwell
Mad King George
The wives of major historical figures.

Any female figure of note from the 17th and 18th century in particular, especially ones from the demi-monde or who broke the 'rules' such as the Duchess of Devonshire.

Any 'ordinary' person whose story has come to light through the examining of historical records. I dont really go for 'big names' I am much more interested in those who lived and died without making too much of a splash, but who make up the majority of human society and who tell us so much more about how people actually lived in the time period. Even just a snippet about the everyday is fascinating and when I find books on this subject I jump on them e.g Antonia Fraser's book on C17th women.


Dec 30, 2009, 2:08pm

Interesting lists! I would add:

1. Julius Caesar
2. Augustus
3. Frederick Douglass
4. Cicero
5. Plato
6. Eleanor Roosevelt (sans FDR)
7. Louis XIIII
8. Margaret Thatcher
9.Andrew Jackson
10. George Patton


Edited: Dec 30, 2009, 4:20pm

Names on other members' lists that I was particularly glad to see:

Isaac Newton, Malcolm X,
Akhnaten & Hatshepsut (Godesspt2)

Henry VIII and wives and extended families (in spite of, not because of, the inclusion of Henry himself.) (nellista)
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk & Abraham Lincoln (heather)

Marquis de Lafayette, Robert Burns, and
James Garfield ("...it's tacky we forgot...") (maBrown)

Einstein, Millay, and Schirra (janoorani)

George Eliot, Alan Turing, & Aspasia of Miletus (Booksloth)

Aristotle, Caesar, Brian Boru, Hugh O'Neal, Winfield Scott, and von Ranke, & Burckhardt
(jp hughessr)

Yeshua bar Joseph (aka Isa) (aka Jesus)
Francesco di Assissi
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Sojourner Truth
Emma Goldman
Martin Luther King (angelrose)

Cicero and Augustus (RChurch)

When a list like this get long, it is a "Great equalizer -- e.. sounds like I admire YeshuaBen Joseph and Emma Goldman about equally; of course I admire Yesua much more. Actually they don't have much in common except a concern for ordinary peopele and both being Jewish.


Dec 30, 2009, 7:27pm

Thinking about this some more overnight, that often I'm reading about unnamed, or perhaps rather unknown or unfamiliar, people. This might be in a social history, trial records, Society for the Reformation of Manners reports, newspapers, pamphlets, .... I've been enjoying reading Mother Clap's Molly House - some of the people are named and known, most are not - but the excerpts are so fascinating.


Edited: Dec 30, 2009, 8:24pm

Hmmm . . . this question is difficult for me. I tend to read more cultural and social history than biography. But I'll give it a try. Please note, list is subject to change at any moment.

Mary Wollstonecraft
Francis Bacon
Aphra Behn
John Wilmot Earl of Rochester
Anne Hutchinson
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky
Elizabeth I of England
Sir Thomas Moore
Mary Boykin Chesnut
Vera Brittain
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Paine
Remedios Vara


Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 6:11am

Not interpreting the question as what figures I most ADMIRE but like to READ ABOUT/BY:

Bertrand Russell
Thomas Aquinas
Richard Feynman

Strange crew, eh?

Edit: I forgot one interesting historical figure, that surprisingly nobody has mentioned yet, :



Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 6:44am

And, like several others here, my greatest love is for the ordinary Joe and Josephine caught up in history against their will.

#21 Several others have mentioned him but quite a few are trying to confuse you with this Yeshua bar Joseph stuff!

Ed for typos


Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 8:30am

Tough to limit it to 10, but:

Thomas Jefferson
George Washington
John Adams
James Madison
Andrew Jackson
Horatio Nelson
Richard I Coeur de Lion
Aaron Burr
Abraham Lincoln
Ernest Shackleton
Augustus Caesar
Elizabeth I
Sir Francis Drake
Benjamin Franklin
Marquis de Lafayette
Napoleon Bonaparte
Frederick Douglass
Theodore Roosevelt
Neil Armstrong
Joan of Arc
....and just because she had chutzpah, Agnes Randolph Countess of Dunbar


Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 4:43pm

Childeric I
Theoderic Amal

This is right now - in a year I might be reading about heresy and list Wycliff, Hus and Bernard of Gui

Edit - Childeric, not Chilperic.


Dec 31, 2009, 1:16pm

24 I've heard of Justinian, Wycliff, and Hus, but if you don't mind, can you briefly tell me about others on your list? I'm always looking for new historical figures to learn and read about, and your list seems the most foreign to me. :)


Dec 31, 2009, 1:23pm

20: Excellent! Mary Wollstonecraft! I want to get her Vindication of the Rights of Women.

21: Diderot, D'Alembert, and Voltaire? I take you like your Enlightenment! Well Voltaire is a favorite of mine too, he was so different from the rest. Candide and L'Ingenu may be my favorites of his.

23: Yay Horatio Nelson! :D From the profile pic, can you tell that I'm a fan?


Edited: Dec 31, 2009, 1:38pm

No particular order for me either;
Harriet Tubman
Rosa Parks
Louisa May Alcott
Robert la Salle
John Wilkes Booth (I actually found this page interesting; http://www.rense.com/general80/slin.htm)
Marian Anderson
Josephine Baker
Ida B. Wells Barnett
Mary Harris Jones

(As you can probably tell- I am quite interested in slavery acts/women's rights/free Africans) :)


Dec 31, 2009, 1:40pm

Oh! I almost forgot the great Elizabeth Keckley. :)


Dec 31, 2009, 2:04pm

I don't know if I have ten favorites, but I'll give this a go:

Jane Grey
Anne Frank
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Herman Goehring (not a "favorite" by any means; interesting is a better word)


Dec 31, 2009, 2:30pm

"Herman Goering (not a ʻfavoriteʻ by any means; interesting is a better word." #29

My attitude about him, too. And I hope Vortigern, on your list is just interesting and not a favorite.


Dec 31, 2009, 2:53pm

Let me add that the figures on my post are interesting rather than favorites.


Dec 31, 2009, 4:42pm

# 25 - I'll try to keep this brief. My enthusiasm can sometimes get me carried away. My favorites are always people I want to learn more about - not who I'd want to hug if I met 'em on the street. ;)

Stilicho - Stilicho was a Roman General at the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th century. Pretty brilliant guy who always was one step ahead of things except when a bunch of barbarian tribes crossed the Rhine in 405/06 and he lost a good chunk of Gaul and Spain. The Roman Emperor, Honorius, was persuaded to go after him by other advisors and in 408 Stilicho had a choice between a Civil War or surrendering to be executed. He surrendered - of course his wife and kids were killed too. Two years later Alaric sacked Rome.

Aetius - Aetius was Stilicho a generation later. He managed to defend the Empire's Northern borders and even pushed the frontier back to the Loire by using Federates - armed forces from Barbarian tribes - both as part of his armies and as garrisons. His biggest success was in 451 when he put together a coalition that defeated Attila. Valentinian assassinated him a couple of years later - apparently he was intimidated by him. A few months later a couple of Aetius' guards killed Valentinian. Procopius called him "The last true Roman." Things fell apart pretty quick after that.

Childeric I - Clovis and Childeric actually go together. Childeric was Clovis' father. He was a Frank general who ruled N Gaul as a Roman Federate. He was exiled for about 8 years in the middle of it, then returned. Clovis took over after his father died, converted to Christianity and also defeated the Visigoths in 507 to really establish the Merovingians.

Theoderic Amal - He defeated Odoacer in 493 and took over rule of Italy. Retained Roman institutions, kept the Senate in place, etc. A decade after his death Justinian invaded.

Geiseric - He was the King of the Vandals for over 50 years. He took them across Gibralter from Spain in the early 5th century and later defeated Carthage and turned N Africa into a Vandal kingdom. He's been portrayed as being pretty brutal but archaeology's beginning to show that he probably wasn't that bad.

Euric - In the later 5th century he defeated a bunch of Visigoth kinglets to create something of one people that ruled Spain (sort of). Also developed taxation systems and wrote a law code.

Alcuin - Probably the leader of the Carolingian renaissance in the late 8th/early 9th centuries. Taught at Charlemagne's palace school, wrote educational treatises on Grammar, Rhetoric, Math, Dialectics and used to engage in philosophical debate through poetry with other Carolingians. We also have a bunch of his letters.


Dec 31, 2009, 6:24pm

fun idea! here are some off the top of my head i may try to add others later

Nelson Mandela
Abe lincoln
ben franklin
john quincy adams
frederick douglas
Henry the navigator


Dec 31, 2009, 6:51pm

When I was a kid, my favorites were

Alexander the Great
Hero of Alexandria
US Grant
Charles Darwin
Leonardo da Vinci
Teddy Roosevelt
Thomas Jefferson

Nowadays, I tend to study people I don't actually like. I have a ton of books on Mao and Genghis Khan.


Dec 31, 2009, 8:08pm

Ok, also not in order

Mohamed Ibn Abdullah
Alexander The Great
Tomas Paine
Leonardo Da Vinci
Roger Bacon


Jan 1, 2010, 6:49am

Socrates – representing the Greek civilization – there’s too many heroes here for me to mention them all.
Virgil and Horace – for reminding us that Rome was not all about world domination
Ragnar Lodbrok – representing the Viking raiders
Alcuin & Bede – representing the Christian Church of the time
Ethelfred, Queen of Mercia – representing the Saxons
The Empress Maud – for fighting
The Black Prince – for dying
Richard iii – for being misunderstood
Henry Bolingbroke – for being Shakespeare’s hero
Bess of Hardwick – for succeeding


Jan 1, 2010, 9:28am

Alexander the Great
Da Vinci
Baron von Steuben
Marquis de Lafayette
Oscar Wilde


Edited: Jan 7, 2010, 3:52am

Leonardo da Vinci (Italy, Renaissance)
William the Conqueror (France, Middle Ages)
Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse (France, Cathars, Middle Ages)
Elizabeth I (United Kingdom, Renaissance)
Pierre Bérégovoy (France, 20th C)
T.E. Lawrence (United Kingdom, 20th C)
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (France, 20th C)
Alfred Dreyfus (France, 19th-20th C)
Antoine Bernardin Fualdès (France, 18th-19th C)
Pierre Benoit (France, 20th C)


Edited: Jan 1, 2010, 1:55pm

36: Huh. Henry Bolingbroke, looks pretty cool. Ha, I know of a Henry St John, 1st Viscount of Bolingbroke. His writings influenced Thomas Jefferson a lot.

Yay for Bolingbrokes? :D

@37: Wow, that's twice I've seen Caravaggio. And another for Oscar Wilde! Yay! Like Oscar doesn't' get enough love on here lol

@38: Yes, someone else who likes Lawrence! And Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? Interesting choice! :)


Edited: Jan 1, 2010, 4:36pm

Antoine de St Exupéry was a famous historical figure in Toulouse, where he used the airport for airmail distribution and geographical exploration. He disappeared suddenly, and some thought he had run out of fuel in Northern Africa. Someone recently discovered his plane and his name-tagged bracelet off the French coast - it appears that the Germans shot his plane and he went down with it. His essays and novels mix deep romantic and heroic notions and also include moving personal views. I recommend 'Vol de Nuit' most of all (his other books are very good too)!


Jan 4, 2010, 12:48pm

#41 Like you, I do have a dinner party list with a mixture of current and historial guests - some dead, some alive. I think that may be one for another thread.


Jan 4, 2010, 2:02pm

Good idea! You should start it :)


Jan 4, 2010, 2:05pm

>41 varielle: varielle,

I can see that Dali would be a good mixer, but Churchill and Boudicca???? Do you think it wise?


Jan 4, 2010, 3:38pm

Here's some I'd want to have dinner with, ideally with a tape recorder:

Aristotle or maybe Theophrastus
The emperor Claudius
Ibn Khaldun
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson

For personal interest I'd add:

Ada of Halicarnassus (Carian dynast with an interesting life)
Aristander of Telmessus (Alexander's diviner)
Artemidorus of Daldis (diviner/author)

These would be interesting to meet or know more about, but I'm not sure they'd be good dinner companions:

King David
Alexander the Great


Jan 4, 2010, 3:44pm

And I hope Vortigern, on your list is just interesting and not a favorite.

Of course!

Nowadays, I tend to study people I don't actually like.

Seems like I'm in the same conundrum.


Jan 4, 2010, 4:25pm

Best dinner party evah, and I would sit at the head of the table indeed with a camcorder (after explaining to them what it is and they wouldn't be too surprised)

Fanceh Dinnah Parteh:
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
George Washington
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Paine
James Monroe
Dr. Benjamin Rush
Isaac Newton
John Locke (because it would make Jefferson's day)
Charles Willson Peale
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
George Wythe
Marquis de Lafayette (for George)

and Oscar Wilde for kicks. XD


Jan 4, 2010, 4:26pm

Newton was an unpleasant man.

George Wythe, for Jefferson? With all these pairings, perhaps you should add:

Aspasia, for me.


Jan 4, 2010, 4:37pm

Yeah, I added Newton and Wythe for Jefferson. One's his hero and the other was the "father-figure".

Aspasia huh? Why don't you make your own list, because I think she might feel a little out of place with all my stuffy 18th c. guys (not saying she couldn't hold her own in an intelligent conversation) :)


Jan 4, 2010, 4:39pm

Benjamin Franklin - a must at every dinner party. I would include Voltaire and Dorothy Parker.


Jan 4, 2010, 4:46pm

>49 asukamaxwell:

Aspasia aside, you definitely need more women at your dinner party. We can start with Abigail Adams and Madame de Staël.


Jan 4, 2010, 5:09pm

Hmmm, the perfect dinner party...

Jane Austen
Percy and Mary Shelley
Benjamin Franklin
Richard Feynman
Leonardo Da Vinci
Niccolo Macchiavelli
Dolly Madison
Catherine de' Medici
Barack Obama


Jan 4, 2010, 5:11pm

Hah, you're right. Alright, Abigail Adams, Martha Jefferson, Martha Washington, Émilie du Châtelet and Mme de Pompadour :D


Jan 4, 2010, 6:04pm

Nah, Sally Hemmings would make things too awkward, plus she'd feel more out of place than anybody, and I wouldn't want her to just sit there and feel uncomfortable.


Jan 4, 2010, 6:23pm

An all-woman dinner party might be interesting. How about;

Hildegard of Bingen
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Dhuoda (mainly because I just read an article which I think gets her thoughts WAY wrong and would like to ask her about that)
Mary Magdalene - I'd like to get her an Aramaic copy of The Davinci Code and see what she thinks of it
Galla Placidia - poor girl got passed around like a deck of cards, be nice to hear her side of the story

If the after dinner entertainment is Braveheart I'd invite Isabella


Jan 4, 2010, 7:31pm

Dinner guests (in no particular order):

1. Thomas Jefferson
2. John Adams
3. Benjamin Franklin
4. Samuel Johnson
5. Francis Bacon
6. Michel de Montaigne
7. Alexandre Dumas pere
8. Johann Sebastian Bach
9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
10. Mark Twain
11. Abraham Lincoln
12. Theodore Roosevelt
13. Winston S. Churchill
14. Ptolemy I Soter
15. Lucretius
16. Aristotle


Jan 4, 2010, 11:24pm

I have to disagree with your list, Betelgeuse. Lucretius was a total bore, and he wrote crap Latin. There, that feels better.


Edited: Jan 5, 2010, 12:26am

Well Betelgeuse can put who ever they want on their list. As hinted at before, why not make your own list and make use of your suggestions?


Edited: Jan 5, 2010, 6:11am

"Lucretius...a total bore and....wrote crap Latin"

I totally disagree with the second half of the above, but I would be interested in seeing an example of the alleged crap Latin. I havenʻt read much criticism or evaluation of Lucretius. I have read that he indulged in pseudo-archaic diction and vocabulary, but even that was not said disparigingly.

Something like the first half of your post appears in a History of Science that I read in the mid-70s (I donʻt r emember the author or the exact title. It was probably someone who read L. in translation). I remember being surprised that the author thought L. was of little or no importance in the history of science. But thinking it over I guess he wasnʻt-- not in Science, but only in philosophy, because the remains of his master Epicurus are so fragmentary that Epicureanism can now be known mainly through Lucretius.

As for his philosophical school, the Epicurean m to my mind, it could be called at best only the lesser of two evils, as against its arch-rival Stoicism.


Jan 5, 2010, 5:34am

#48/59 When did you get to meet all these people, Tim? Do tell.


Edited: Jan 7, 2010, 9:03pm

# 59 "Lucretius...a total bore and....wrote crap Latin"

Tim, I can't really comment on the quality of his Latin, as I am not proficient in that language. And I can't really comment on the personality (or lack thereof) of Lucretius, Aristotle, or Ptolemy I Soter because they lived so long ago and so little is known of their lives. I invited them to my imaginary dinner party because of what they did or wrote. Ptolemy I Soter was the father of the Library of Alexandria (so you and he, as fathers of libraries, are kindred spirits); Aristotle was well...Aristotle; and Lucretius' poem De Rerum Natura fascinated me (at least in the English translation by Loeb Classical Library). I know Lucretius was parroting Democritus and earlier Epicureans, and I'm not especially fond of the Epicurean philosophy per se, but nevertheless I was struck by the modernity of Lucretius' thought: atomism, Brownian motion, his views on death (which I don't share), etcetera.

Ovid, Virgil, Cicero, and Montaigne were brilliant men who did speak Latin, and they were awed by Lucretius, and little ol' me was, too, even if I disagreed with much of what he believed. I invited Lucretius because I'd like to know more about him -- about the quality of his own original thoughts, and what he'd make of the world today. Tim, I'll set another chair at my table for you. I'd love to watch you grill him or anyone else on my guest list. Regards, Betelgeuse.


Jan 5, 2010, 12:29pm

No, I don't mean his Latin is bad Latin, but bad writing, bad poetry. I won't fight it... :)


Jan 5, 2010, 2:18pm

>44 urania1: Well, they did both love Britain, so hopefully they could find something in common.


Edited: Jan 5, 2010, 2:48pm

To timspalding:

"(Lucretiusʻs)..bad writing, bad poetry..." (#64)

I would say GOOD poetry and (generally) good writing, even though I donʻt usually agree with his ideas. Maybe thatʻs just me as a classicist. As an individual, I think he expresses the ideas in beautiful poetry, like them or not. And itʻs a case of "like them or not" with all poetry. (L. wouldnʻt by the way be on any list of "TEN greatest" or "TEN favorites" of mine.)


Jan 5, 2010, 2:56pm

As others have mentioned, these are among the persons I find most interesting:

Charles V
Catherine the Great
Catherine de Medici
Henri III
Gustavus III
Benjamin Franklin
Samuel Romilly
Cesare Beccaria
Jeremy Bentham
Charles-Henri Sanson (executioner during French Revolution)
Wilhelm II


Jan 5, 2010, 3:10pm

@67: Charles-Henri Sanson is a great choice for an interesting read, and I'm glad there's someone else who likes Voltaire :)

ps. All these lists are giving good ideas for my history sprite project. Keep them coming!


Jan 5, 2010, 7:12pm

#59: "I have to disagree with your list, Betelgeuse."

One certainly shouldn't dispute others tastes, but I also ask that you remain respectful as well.


Jan 6, 2010, 12:51am

>70 asukamaxwell: Hear hear!!!! Furthermore, the literary critic in me wants evidence and explanation rather than sweeping generalizations. For example, provide some lines that one feels are particularly bad, explain why said lines do not work well, offer suggestions for what might work better.


Jan 6, 2010, 12:36pm

57> Dinner guests? Wicked idea.

George Harrison
Oscar Wilde
Mark Twain
George Carlin
W.C. Fields
Brian Sewell

(It's a small dining room.)


Jan 6, 2010, 12:39pm

@72 Wow, what a list, that would probably be the most entertaining dinner!


Jan 6, 2010, 1:25pm

#72 I'm tempted to ask for an invite but the thought of ending up next to Brian Sewell puts me off.


Jan 6, 2010, 3:08pm

@74 Well I'll scoot over and make room for you between Wilde and Voltaire :D


Jan 6, 2010, 3:36pm

Thanks! Time to start brushing up on my French.


Jan 6, 2010, 4:01pm

>67 AlexTheHunn:
Sanson is a great pick, you could actually put together a pretty good list from his, eh... clientele alone. Any suggestions for reading up on him in English?


Edited: Jan 15, 2010, 10:23pm

1. Ben Franklin
2. Eugene Debs
3. A. Philip Randolph
4. Mary Harris Jones
5. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
6. Thomas Jefferson
7. Salvador Allende
8. A. J. Muste
9. Ella Baker
10. Lucy Parsons


Jan 15, 2010, 9:08pm

To TLCrawford (#78)

I recognize all but the last 2 of your list, and approve of all of them -- except that I could live without Franklin.

I notice that 4 of the 8 are Labor activists -- 6 if you count Allende and Flynn who were marginally that.



Jan 15, 2010, 10:31pm

Ella Baker was a civil rights worker / leader. She worked with NAACP from 1940, ran SCLC for King until she decided that her title would never lose the word ‘Acting’. From that she went to SNCC. She stood up to King when she thought he was wrong. He did not like that.

Lucy Parsons was the widow of Albert Parsons, one of the ‘Haymarket Martyrs’. She was active with the IWW, another labor activist
There have been a lot of interesting people listed here.


Jan 15, 2010, 11:10pm

I'll give it a shot - if not all "favorites," at least fascinating. I would love to have the following at my dinner party:

Franklin Roosevelt
Jeremiah Denton
James Cook
Henry Clay
Alice Paul
Patrick Henry
Clarence Darrow
Georgia O'Keefe
Robert Kennedy
Robert Oppenheimer


Jan 16, 2010, 1:23am

To TL Crawford (#79,80)

Thanks for introducing me


Jan 16, 2010, 9:09am

Isaac Newton
William III
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Winston Churchill
Eugene V Debs
Leon Trotsky


Edited: Jan 16, 2010, 11:48pm

To Doug 1943:

You may be the only one that has ever put Churchill and Cromwell on the same list with Eugene Debs.

I was going to say "why Churchill and William III?", but never mind; I can surmise it, even if not agree with it.

I will say, why Cromwell?


Jan 18, 2010, 7:34pm

If you want the psychological justification, as opposed to a rationalization, it's probably because I am re-reading (for the fourth time) Macaulay's wonderful History of England, so all the major political figures of 17th Century England have been on my mind.

He was not a great thinker, granted. And I don't think they like him in Ireland. But he did do what was necessary to do, I think, to preserve our liberties. Which sounds Tea-Partyish ... what I mean is, I've been pondering a lot on the growth of liberal democracy, what were the necessary conditions, how fragile is it, how "automatic" is it, why did it grow in England, what would have happened had the Stuarts beat the Whigs and went on to establish ... or could they? ... a European style powerful monarchy in England. Same reason for William III.

So he was in my mind. I actually have only read one biography of him, a long time ago (by that woman, who was married to that Oxford fellow ... you'll know whom I mean), and didn't even finish it.

I read The Bending Cross while a teenager in 1950s Houston and Debs has been a personal hero ever since, even as I changed my mind about the desirability (or rather possibility) of achieving his political goals.

But they were rather randomly chosen. We ought to ask people for their choices, without any particular limit.


Jan 18, 2010, 8:07pm

1. George Washington

2. Issac Newton

3. Robert E. Lee

4. A. Lincoln

5. W. S. Churchill

6. F. D. Roosevelt

7. C. Darwin

8. Wilbur Wright

9. B. Franklin

10. Thucydides


Jan 18, 2010, 10:17pm

85 I also have Macaulay's History of England and I also love it :)

@86 Robert E. Lee and Lincoln I can see as not confrontational at all, I think the two would have a certain level of respect towards each other. And I think Franklin would enjoy meeting and speaking with Darwin.


Jan 19, 2010, 6:33am

A very disjointed passing thought -

A (very) quick count up reveals that only about 10% or our nominees so far are women. I would partly expect that from our male members (please don't all post in and accuse me of hating men because I said that - I just mean I think we are more likely to be interested in people we can identify with) but am surprised, even so, that the percentage is quite so low, even allowing for the old 'women-had-to-stay-at-home-and-cook-while-their-men-were-out-getting-famous' stuff.

However, of the women who are listed (and I'm including repeats, so an awful lot of them are Elizabeth 1st) it is great to see that the majority of them are famous because of something they did, rather than just who they married or mothered. The real 'passive' ones would have to include Mary and Jane Grey (though I'm not denying they might both have interesting stories to tell) but out of the others, even those who might not have achieved fame other than through their marriages (eg Henry VIII's wives) are now remembered for what they did rather than who they were - so that, at least, has to be a good thing.

No question here or real point to make. Just wondered whether anyone else had any thoughts on the subject?


Jan 19, 2010, 9:00am

"Robert E. Lee and Lincoln I can see as not confrontational AT ALL. . . . a certain level of respect towards each other." (emphasis added) #87

I see your point, but I guess the "at all" is what I object to. Having respect doesn't rule out being an implacable enemy. The Duke of Wellington respected Napoleon. No doubt many Roman militarists respected Hannibal. Allied countries' historians have generally respected Erwin Rommel, as the George Patton of the famous movie did -- and probably the real Patton, too. But then, Rommel did as much as he could, short of changing sides, to oust the Nazi Government. Lee, by contrast, refused an offer -- you might say even a plea-- to head the Union Army, made to him by Lincoln's Chief of Staff, the aging Winfield Scott, a Virginian.

There's a story that Lincoln (about late 1864) had an informal conference with Confederate representatives -- sort of an unofficial "peace conference". And the Southerners made sure it was unofficial by not sending anyone high up to it.
A Confederate opened by politely asking Lincoln, "What do you think is the main obstacle to peace?"
Lincoln's answer: "I think -- General Lee's Army."
So, respect will mix with determination to defeat the respected enemy.

In regard to LT, I'm glad to have seen your post, because it reminded me of a book that I
haven't seen for decades: J.G. Randall's Lincoln and the South. I have now added it to my Wish List section. I recently added another Civil swar title, Carleton Beals's War within a War about the Southerners who supported the Union, not the Confederacy -- that one's Wish List , too.


Jan 19, 2010, 9:19am

@89 *face palm* Seriously, let's not pick at words. Okay, so not "AT ALL". But all I was saying if that they could tolerate each other's presence peaceably. I'm not saying they would be "buddies".


Edited: Jan 19, 2010, 9:36am

For sure, we can be blind to certain social realities because of unconscious prejudices of various sorts, and seeing women as non-people, or non-people-of-consequence may well be one of them.

On the other hand, oppression oppresses. Women did have to-stay-at-home-and-cook-while-their-men-were-out-getting-famous. We now know that this meant the choking off of a huge amount of talent.

You could count the number of genuine female mathematicians before the 20th Century on the fingers of one hand, and none of them were in the first rank, probably not even the second rank. Now, more than half of young people taking up a mathematics degree in the US are women. (Whether they will produce really first-rate mathematicians from among their numberremains to be seen.)

So .... it may be that there lots of outstanding women whom we should have named, but didn't, due to our male chauvinist conditioning.

Or these outstanding women may have existed, but their achievements have been suppressed. The Aphra Benn argument. In which case we are innocent victims of past discriminators against women.

Or it may be that the 10% that you counted is about right (or even represents an over-count, by an objective criterion).

Of course, the same argument could be put about Black African historical figures, or Chinese, or Arabs or the American (North and South). Their relative lack of presence here probably can be explained in different ways: to generate great historical figures of whom we can be aware, you have to

(1) have generated a fairly high degree of civilization, and have it persist long enough to record its own history , which explains why there are few great African figures -- their great achievements lie in the future -- and no American Indians -- they didn't have enough time to advance the promising beginnings of the Aztecs and Incas, before the Spaniards demolished them (including burning such written records as they had).

(2) your civilization has to have transformed the world, not kept itself to itself, which goes some way to explaining why we know so little about China (in a quick scan of the posts I didn't see a single Oriental name) and scarcely more about the Islamic world (again, only about four Arabs). Here we really do have a case of missing persons, I expect: people we should know about, who existed and did noteworthy things, but about whom we are ignorant, despite the best efforts of people like Joseph Needham.

I think if we aggregated all the names listed here so far, we would find that there are few missing great historical figures who were female; only a few who were Black (where is Toussaint L'Ouverture, for example?) -- and of these, Blacks who were forcibly inducted into Western civilization -- but many -- whose names may have vanished -- who were Arab or Oriental.

Another point: the original call was for "favorite" historical figures, not necessarily people who had played a great role in history, or made great contributions to ideas, etc. "Favorite" is a broad term. You might find a historical figure interesting -- Alexander the Great would qualify for me -- but not approve of them, and thus be reluctant to enlist them among your "favorites" (which seems to imply some degree of approval). Even the term "historical" is pretty broad. Some of my choices are historically insignificant, but I just happened to like them.


Jan 19, 2010, 12:20pm

This message has been deleted by its author.


Edited: Jan 19, 2010, 12:47pm

Oh for god's sakes people, it's just a list of your favorite historical figures, don't look so deep into it, it's honestly not that complicated. Yes, I'm a woman and I don't really care if someone makes a list and it's all white, all men, all women, whatever. Who you admire or like to read about is your business.

If you make a list of all women, for example, not because you admire them, but because "there's too many men on here!" or "it's only fair!", then you're completely missing the point of this very simple topic.


Jan 19, 2010, 1:22pm

Well, as they used to say back in the 60s ... the personal is the political.


Jan 19, 2010, 4:08pm

Or, as they used to say back in the 50s - let's never discuss anything.


Jan 19, 2010, 4:32pm

Or as they used to say back in 1865 - "Suppose we change the subject, I'm getting tired of this."


Edited: Sep 2, 2011, 10:40am

I have favorite people for different reasons, so it’s hard to limit it to just ten. Let’s say I had a time machine and could meet whoever I wanted. For curiosity’s sake, I’d like to meet the Emperors Trajan and Heraclius, to get a first-hand account of their military campaigns. Then, I’d like to have Confucius and Aristotle meet and line up their ideas, as I suspect they’d like each other.

Finally I’d hold two temporal councils, one for the United States in particular and the other for the West as a whole. For the American one I’d have a cross-section of our most important founders, Washington, Jefferson, both Adams, Hamilton, Madison, Mason, Henry, Franklin, Martin, Wilson and Clinton to do a post-mortem on the Constitution. For the Western council, I’d have Cato the Younger, Marcus Aurelius, Boethius, St. Thomas More, Bolingbroke, Burke, Metternich, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Salisbury, and Adenauer discuss the tragic folly of the 20th Century.

By the way, in his excellent Let the Sea Make a Noise, Walter McDougall does just this type of exercise, breaking his narrative up by creating a fictional dialogue every few chapters between some of the interesting figures involved in his history. Will Durant does the same thing in an epilogue to the Age of Voltaire.


Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 12:34pm

Alexander the Great
Julius Caesar
Emperor Heraclius
Thomas Cromwell
Emperor Aurelian
Winston Churchill
Abraham Lincoln
Antigonos the One-eyed


Feb 1, 2010, 5:50pm

Samuel Johnson
Ben Franklin
Edmund Burke
James Boswell
Edmond Malone
Thomas Paine
Henry Clay
Daniel Webster
Abraham Lincoln
Winston Churchill


Feb 2, 2010, 9:45am

Most interesting...
King Edward I, (Longshanks)
Elizabeth I
King George IV
Queen Victoria
Thomas B. Reed
Lord Salsbury
Georges Clemenceau
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Heinrich Himmler
Joseph Goebbels


Feb 2, 2010, 9:49am

sorry, I forgot to add, some of these are obviously not my favorite people, just most interesting!


Dec 4, 2010, 6:39pm

1) St. Jeanne d'Arc
2) Jesus Christ
3) Pope Leo XIII
4) Abraham Lincoln
5) Thomas Jefferson
6) Nicholas II
7) Harry Houdini
8) King Arthur
9) Pope Pius V
10) Grand Duchess Elizabeth


Dec 4, 2010, 8:03pm

I just joined this group and read with interest the lists posted for this question. My choices:

1. Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Jane Swisshelm
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. Frank Lloyd Wright
5. Alice Paul
6. Babe Didrikson
7. Margaret Sanger
8. Lucretia Mott
9. Rachel Carson
10. Matilda Joslyn Gage


Dec 5, 2010, 1:03am

@102: Looks like we both enjoy reading about St Joan and Thomas Jefferson! I didn't list them, but I also like Nicholas II, Harry Houdini and King Arthur :)


Dec 5, 2010, 6:29am

I have followed this list with interest, but no way could I get it down to ten. Twenty was hard. The following are historical personages (no philosophers!) who have always intrigued me from either Western History or the Middle East. An assortment of Empire builders (or would-be Empire builders), advisors of same, prophets of doom, megalomaniacs, revolutionaries, various defenders of some dying 'golden age', historians, political realists, secular martyrs, and cranks:

Ancient Israel:
1. The Prophet Jeremiah: the end is near, ...always.
2. Cyrus the Great: the first attempt at a 'universal state'.
Classical Greece:
3. Alcibiades: audacity itself!
4. Thucydides: chronicler of the consequences of Athenian audacity...
Ancient Rome:

IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic:

Band 9.0 Model Answer

Generally, people may have admiration for a celebrity like a singer or an actor… but for me, there is a person who is considered my role model… and now I would like to talk about my manager.

About our relationship, as a student with little experience in tourism industry, it is lucky for me to have a talented mentor at work… who keeps an eye on my professional training as well as daily life matters.

I still remember the first time we got to know each other in the interview, when the conversation was started in a formal manner, but ended up being just like an intimate chat between old friends, because we shared so many common things in our interests and background. She struck me with her politeness and a bright smile, by which my stress was slowly released.

Regarding the frequency that we keep in touch, due to my internship schedule that requires daily presence at the office, I’ve got plenty of chances to work with my mentor. She motivates me to strengthen my skills, and never beats about the bush when it comes to criticism, so that my performance can be enhanced. Specifically, she advises me never to let my English out of practice, so that I can maintain my English at advanced level.


p style=”text-align: justify;”>Lastly, I should also mention the reason why I admire my manager, well… she has many years of experience in the industry…and deep understanding of my country’s history, culture, and geography… that may take aback anyone in the first meeting. With  her passion in promoting Vietnam’s tourism,  she is the perfect example of a diligent and passionate employee.


  • Role model: a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.
  • Intimate: familiar, close
  • Diligent: hardworking
  • Passionate: showing or caused by strong feelings or a strong belief.
  • Formal manner: when sth is done seriously
  • To keep an eye on: to keep under careful observation.
  • To keep in touch: to communicate
  • To strike sb with sth: to cause someone to feel a strong emotion suddenly


  • To beat about the bush: to discuss a matter without coming to the point.
  • Out of practice: not currently proficient in a skill due to not having exercised or performed it for some time.
  • The sky is the limit: no limit
  • End up: finally
  • Take aback: make sb surprised

Main IELTS Pages:

This website is to develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free books, and more. Each section (Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading) has a complete collection of lessons to help you improve your IELTS skills.

Get all the latest updates/lessons via email:

Subscribe for free IELTS lessons/Books/Tips/Sample Answers/Advice from our IELTS experts. We help millions of IELTS learners maximize their IELTS scores!

Subscribe to IELTS Material to receive the latest lessons

Did not See What You Were Looking For? - Try Search!

IELTS Cue Card Sample 4 – Topic: A person You Admire/Love

5 (100%) 7 votes

One thought on “Essay On Historical Person You Admire

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *