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Historical Leaders Called 'The Great,' Ranked By Greatness

Updated 7 Jan 2020 20.2k votes 2.6k voters 67.0k views16 items

List RulesVote up the greatest 'The Greats' from history.

They don't hand out nicknames like "the Great" to just anyone. History has seen its share of the Greats, with the works and deeds of such titleholders varying as much as their origins, eras, and cultures. How does one achieve "the Great" status, or quantify such a distinction? Plenty of ways. The number of buildings or statues constructed, for example. Or the amount of art produced. How about progress in science, technology, or medicine? Improvements to political structures?

Then again, this lofty title is often bestowed upon those who earned it the hard way - the bloody way. You can't expand borders, conquer armies, and exponentially enhance wealth without breaking a few eggs. Some so-called Greats have broken the boundaries, taboos, or social structures of their time. Some have been tyrants, others beneficent caretakers, and others still have been various shades in between. From Alexander to Peter to Catherine, here are the historical figures who have been bestowed with that rare and simple title: the Great. Vote up the Greats most worthy of the name.

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