Top 10 most famous people of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was rich in history, marvelous architecture, and prominent individuals. Ibn Khaldun, Moses, and Cleopatra were amongst the many prominent figures that had a massive role with their contributions in highlighting Egypt’s name in history.

Their contributions spread across essential fields as science, technology, and leadership. One of the exceptional constructions, the Great Pyramids, dated back to 2550 BC, still stands tall, proving the strong foundation and grand plans. Whereas the modern buildings cannot even withstand mere natural occurrences. 

Here is the list of the top 10 most famous people of Ancient Egypt and their contributions to Egyptian history.

10. Ibn Khaldun

A statue of Egyptian Philosopher Ibn Khaldun
A statue of Egyptian Philosopher Ibn Khaldun
Source: Wikimedia Common

Ibn Khaldun (27 May 1332- 17 March 1406) was an Arab sociologist, philosopher, and historian. He was the earliest founder of the proto-disciplines, the earliest form of discipline.

Niccolò Machiavelli of the Renaissance and other European scholars of the nineteenth( 19th) century considered Khaldun one of the most outstanding scholars of the Middle age considering his works of great significance.

His intelligence and hard work brought him outstanding achievements in his political career. Khaldun would take a head start in his political career due to his intelligence at 20.

He would rely on his reliable conscience to figure out the truth with great morality and ethical motives. Whatever was morally delinquent for him, he would give in his all for it to either be alternated or eliminated.

While people would generally praise him for his intelligence and conscience, his peers would criticize him, especially Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani was a classics Islamic scholar, and polymath.

Khaldun would be accused of having inadequate historical knowledge, incorrect title, disorganization, and a style similar to that of the bountiful Arab writer, Al-Jahiz.

Despite the accusations of Khaldun being ignorant and copying famous writers, he is still renowned for his intelligence, his way with words, and his wittiness. 

9. Maimonides

A bas relief of Egyptian Philosopher Maimonides
A bas relief of Egyptian Philosopher Maimonides
Source: Wikimedia Common

Moses ben Maimon, Maimonides, was born in 1138 in Cordoba, Spain. He was a well-known medieval philosopher, physician, and scholar.

Maimonides had a significant influence on Jewish philosophy. His perspectives and writings to date hold an essential role in Jewish theoretical history. 

As one of the first marshals of Jewish law in the Medieval period, Maimonides brought laws to the Jewish people into one textbook; The Mishneh Torah. Here, he created thirteen principles of faith and consequential Jewish texts into a single book.

The thirteen principles include:

  • the existence of God
  • the eternity of God
  • the absolute unity of God
  • the incorporeality of God
  • God alone is to be worshipped
  • Moses is the greatest Prophet
  • God gives Torah
  • the Torah is immutable
  • the God communicates to the Prophet
  • there is divine providence
  • there is divine punishment and reward
  • there will be a Messia and ,
  • that the dead will be resurrected.

His intelligence showcased through his writings, accompanied by his great compassion towards people, sanctioned his leadership in the Jewish community. During this period, his younger brother’s sudden demise affected Maimonides greatly.

After his brother’s demise, Maimonides continued his studies and successfully became a physician. His knowledge of various fields left an imposing impression on the people.

Maimonides passed away on 13 December 1204 in Fustat, Egypt.

8. Moses 

Image of Moses, a Hebrew Prophet and a leader
Image of Moses, a Hebrew Prophet, and a leader
Source: Wikimedia Common

Moses (1391- 1271 BCE) was a Hebrew Prophet, leader, and teacher in the 13th century. According to the book of Exodus, Moses would become the savior of the Jews, who the Egyptians were exploiting.

Moses himself was born in a family of Hebrew slaves. However, he was adopted during his childhood so he could enjoy the benefits of royalty.

When he would become aware of his past, he would run away from home to the Southern Islands, where no one would find him.

God later ordered him to help the other slaves escape from the exploitations of their masters. Following God’s orders, Moses successfully helped the Jews escape from slavery in Egypt.

The success of his mission would lead to his formation of a community, and he would become the Prophet of all Abrahamic religions. A well-reputed and respected Prophet at that.

Abrahamic religions, also Abrahamism, refer to a group of monotheistic religions. Meaning the believers of such religions believe in the existence of only one God who created the world. Thus, God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.

He would be a very reputed and respected teacher. However, according to the Exodus, after leading the Jews for forty years, he would leave everything in the hands of Joshua and leave Israel. 

7. Cleopatra

A white bust of Cleopatra
A white bust of Cleopatra
Source: Wikimedia Common

A very influential female in the history of Egypt, Cleopatra, was born in 69 BC in Alexandria, Egypt. She was one of the Egyptian Pharaohs and became the Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt after her father’s demise.

Cleopatra was well known for her beauty and power, well portrayed in paintings and sculptures. Along with her beauty, her intelligence is something that lured recognition her way.

Ptolemaic Pharaohs spoke Greek and refused to learn the native Egyptian language. She was the first person to learn the Egyptian language along with other multiple languages. 

Although her peers expected her to use Greek as the official communication medium, she still preferred the Egyptian language. Her knowledge of many languages mirrored her desire to restore Northern Africa and West territories to Egypt.

Her knowledge of all these aspects allowed her to become a great administrator who created significant policies and positively helped Egypt. There were silver, copper, and other metal coins with her image engraved on them during her rule, although no gold coins.

Her infamous affairs with Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony gained a lot of attention. She also had four offspring, Cleopatra Selene II, Ptolemy Philadelphus, Caesarion, and Alexander Helios.

Despite her successful regime and abundant fame, she took her life on 12 August 30 BC. Apparently, by an asp, a poisonous Egyptian serpent as well as a symbol of divine royalty.

6. Ramesses II

A statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II
A statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II
Source: Wikimedia Common

Ramesses II, born in 1303 BC, was one of the very well reputed and the most excellent Egyptian Pharaohs. At the early age of 14, his father appointed him as the prince who would take over the throne after his father.

Ramesses II took over the throne and ruled for six decades after his father passed away in 1279 BC. It made him the second-longest Pharaoh to sit on the throne in ancient Egypt, the first being Pepi II.

During the initial phase of his reign, he constructed various monuments and temples promoting Egyptian civilization. Along with this, he fought and executed many wars that assisted Egypt in financial terms.

In aggregate, he spent sixty-six (66) years on the throne, and during these years, all of his works brought abundance and positive changes in Egypt. He eventually took his last breath at the age of 90 in 1213 BC, leaving a wealthy Egypt behind.

5. Nefertiti

A statue of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti
A statue of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti
Source: Wikimedia Common

Nefertiti, born in 1370 BC in Thebes, was an excellent ruler. Although her royal bloodline cannot be verified, she claimed to be the daughter of Ay and his wife, Tey. However, they have never been mentioned as her parents in any citations.

She became Akhenaten’s regal wife and eventually had six daughters with the emperor. According to the old pictures, she worshiped the sun God and instructed her husband to do so.

She was infamous for her painted sandstone bust, which can now be found in Berlin’s Neues Museum. With her husband, she ruled at the time when ancient Egypt was the wealthiest. 

After her husband’s death, she ruled ancient Egypt as a co-regent with the Pharaoh and previewed her great leadership qualities. She had many titles such as Lady of Grace, Sweet of Love, and Hereditary Princess.

She eventually took her own life in 1330 BC over her daughter’s death.

4. Hatshepsut

A statue of Egyptian female Pharaoh Hatshepsut
A statue of Egyptian female Pharaoh Hatshepsut
Source: Wikimedia Common

Born in 1507 BC, Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. As the wife of Thutmose II, after his demise, she became the regent and ruled over the throne.

After Thutmose II’s demise, the throne was passed on to Thutmose III at only two years of age. Hence, Hatshepsut became a regent to Thutmose III and sat on the throne in 1479 BC by maintaining her lineage as the only daughter to Thustome I and Ahmose.

During her regime, Egypt became a peaceful and prosperous land. The trades were re-established, and the people of Egypt lived a better and successful life. 

Numerous buildings and harbors were built under her leadership, which economically helped in levitating Egyptians living standards. Her reign came to an end after twenty-one years on 14 January 1458 BC with her death.

Eventually, after her death, Thustome III destroyed all her paintings and sculptures from temples and other buildings.

3. Akhenaten

A statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten
A statue of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten
Source: Wikimedia Common

The husband of Nefertiti and the great Pharaoh Akhenaten was born in Egypt. He was the tenth ruler of the eighteenth century of ancient Egypt.

Akhenaten was known mainly by modern scholars for the new religion he created centering Aten, the God of the sun.

He was the first to challenge the polytheist paradigm by incorporating a Sun deity aspect into Aten worship. He also built a slew of temples for the people to worship. 

He was convinced that humans might appreciate the light during this time, as evidenced through art.

Akhenaten governed with his father for eight years until being declared King, shortly after his father’s death. He was thought to have the ability to rule, and Egyptian theology was constantly updated as time went on. 

After his death, many of the objects he pushed on the population were discarded, and the temples he built were wrecked. Akhenaten was a tyrant who did not empathize with his subjects and compelled them to accept what he believed was absolute and correct.

2. Ankhesenamun

A scene depicting Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun
A scene depicting Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun
Source: Wikimedia Common

Daughter of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and great royal wife Nefertiti, Ankhesenamun was the Queen during Egypt’s eighteenth dynasty.

She was the third of the six known daughters of Pharaoh Akhenaten and the royal wife of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The Pharaohs often married their siblings to continue the royal bloodline, and it appears that Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun were half-siblings.

Her reign started in 1332 BC, where she shared the throne with the young King Tutankhamun. After the young King’s unexpected death, her involvement in foreign affairs would be unforeseen.

The early death of her husband left her with no successor and made her a “childless widow.” Her death eventually put an end to her regime in 22 BC.

1. Tutankhamun

A golden mask of young Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun
A golden mask of young Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun
Source: Wikimedia Common

A very young Pharaoh who was born in 1332 BC, Tutankhamun was married to his half-sister Ankhesenamun. Before he could learn to speak, his wife had already become his co-regent. 

As a Pharaoh, he built numerous temples to the Amun God and changed the Egyptian God from Aten to Amun.

Becoming a Pharaoh so young would not, however, assure his extended stay on the throne. He passed away at the mere age of eighteen. 

However, his not-so-long stay on the throne did not limit the efforts he could make to bring prosperity to the kingdom. 

He was known by many to be a great advisor and philosopher. According to historians, his popularity and adoration by the public were depicted by the flowers on his tomb.

As a Pharaoh, he executed many wars during his regime. Due to his disability, he couldn’t physically take part in the battles himself. 

Although the people consistently recognized his efforts to bring prosperity to the kingdom, they couldn’t overlook the destruction these wars brought. 

During his regime, most of the wars he executed brought economic depression in individual kingdoms. 

After his death, there were emerging theories about his death being his wife’s grandfather’s doing. However, since this statement has no backbone, it remains a rumor.

Conclusion

Although the Pharaohs were the most known in ancient Egypt, there were not the only ones who could leave their significance along with their names.

The history and heritage of the locals are vast and very far advanced of their time. Their exceptional construction, such as that of the pyramids, is evidence of their knowledge and advancement of technology despite their time.  

The contributions of these influential individuals do not limit themselves to the constructions but spread as far as technology, art, science, literature, and philosophy. Each contribution is as valued as the other one such that they remain recognized all over the world.

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