Monarchs are admired by their subjects and some are idolized worldwide. Who are these pretty famous monarchs that history remembers then? Learn their identities here.
10 Awesome and Famous Monarchs Every Historian Should Know:
I’ve got a confession to make. I have become fascinated with TV series like ‘The Crown’ and anything that deals with famous royals in history. Fortunately for me the internet exists and a lot of historical records and information on monarchs are available for one to sift through.
Just like any healthy obsession I researched and tried to find every piece of information on these persons. No I am not crazy maybe just enthusiastic and hell bent on knowing more.
You might think this is strange but I do it for a very important reason. I am just trying to figure out how influential were these personalities plus why are they so popular. It is no wonder history has been so kind to them with their names edged or remembered by every generation.
Anyway this is what I found out on these famous monarchs that left a mark on history.
10. Queen Cleopatra VII of Ancient Egypt
An Egyptian queen that had Macedonian origins from the Ptolemy ancestry, Ptolemy 1 was Alexander the Great’s general. She was actually the last pharaoh of Egypt before it fell to Rome.
What made Queen Cleopatra impressive was her intellect; she was well versed in different languages and also well educated in things such as mathematics and philosophy.
But her affairs or relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony made her also famous that even Shakespeare wrote about her. These relations with such powerful Roman men enabled her to secure her reign in Egypt. But the Roman people disliked her especially because she was a mistress to Emperor Julius Caesar who was already married.
When the emperor was stabbed to death in the Roman senate she escaped back to Egypt and the new ruler Octavian declared her an enemy of Rome. This is where the Roman general Mark Anthony became a great ally and lover. Mark Anthony was also not a fan of Octavian so he fled to Egypt where he met Queen Cleopatra.
But when Octavian forces invaded Egypt winning decisive battles, both Mark Anthony and Queen Cleopatra committed suicide. The Romans now controlled Egypt becoming part of the Roman Empire and the queen’s monarchs was over.
9. King Alexander the Great of Macedonia
A King of Macedonia at the age of 20 years, not only was he king but also a great military leader. As king he did the impossible that still bewilders people throughout every century. He was a dominant force during the 4th and 5th century.
His military genius was the key to him becoming a legendary figure. As king of Macedonia he set out to conquer lands and the Persian kingdom. During that time the Persian kingdom was the most formidable empire.
By the time of Alexander’s death at age 33 he had managed to have an empire that stretched through Europe, modern day Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Egypt, India, Syria and Iraq. He was King of Macedonia, King of Persia and Pharaoh of Egypt. He became a legend throughout the centuries as not only a warrior king but the greatest monarchs.
8. King Darius III of Persia
He was king of the mighty Persian Empire, which covered most of the Middle East and parts of Asia. He came to power after the previous king, Artaxerxes IV Arses, was killed in a power struggle. But unfortunately King Darius III came to power at a time when the Persian Empire was falling or on its last leg.
There were rebellions throughout the empire as most people despised the rulers. This was coming at a time when another king, Alexander the Great, was planning to attack and conquer the Persian Empire.
King Darius III is famous as the last Persian Empire king and also the king that stood in the path of Alexander’s conquest.
Although king Darius III had a greater army he was always outsmarted by Alexander who was a much greater military leader. Most of the battle he engaged with Alexander ended up with him running away or fleeing. Eventually he was killed by his own officials who led to the Persian Empire falling to the King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great.
7. Queen Sheba of Ancient Ethiopia
She was the queen that visited King Solomon after hearing stories of his great wisdom. She came with gifts such as gold and gems and asked the king different questions to be certain that he’s the man that she had heard of. After this she was impressed and King Solomon had her stay in his castle where they had a love affair.
Both the Koran and the Bible try to explain the story of Queen Sheba and who she actually was. They are different conflicting versions of her origin, some claim to be modern day Yemen while others state it was Ethiopia.
But the Ethiopian version resonates with a majority of people, as Queen Sheba is mostly identified as Queen Makeda of Ancient Ethiopia. Queen Makeda did travel to Jerusalem to visit the wise King Solomon, coming back to Ethiopia bearing a son who was called Menelik meaning ‘son of the wise.’
Her relationship with King Solomon and how she is part of Ethiopian traditions make her famous throughout generations. Emperor Haile Selassie was descended from Menelik who according to stories had travelled to see his father, King Solomon, but returned back to Ethiopia with the Ark of the Covenant.
They are different versions of this story of Queen Sheba but both state she had visited King Solomon, but her origins/kingdom is a mystery.
6. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
This Britain’s queen is the current and longest reigning British monarchs in history. She became queen when her father King George VI died in 1952, the following year she was crowned as Queen Elizabeth II at age 27 in a televised coronation.
During World War II she played a role in the war effort, first at 14 years of age she would make radio broadcasts that were intended for British children. At 18 years of age she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to train as a mechanic and driver. She valued her role that when the war was over she and her sister, Princess Margaret, joined the British citizens to celebrate on the streets.
The queen is admired among British society and all over the world. She managed to keep the British monarch relevant and modernized it for the 21st century. But kept traditions such as British Royal Family members taking part in military service.
This 93 year old monarch has served the British people while introducing and transitioning the British monarchy to the modern era. She has been on the throne for 67 years since 1952.
5. King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia
Ruler of the Babylonian Empire which he succeeded from his late father, Nebuchadnezzar II was both a king and a warrior. This enabled him to make the Babylonian Empire the greatest empire that ever existed. He managed to defeat the Assyrians with Nineveh and Syria falling to the Babylonians.
He didn’t stop there with him taking over the Kingdom of Judah; Destroying the city of Jerusalem and taking the Jewish people back to Babylon. He also defeated the Egyptian forces that were allied with the Assyrian empire king. The Egyptians were trying to offer support to the Assyrians against the Babylonians but it was futile as the empire fell to king Nebuchadnezzar II.
King Nebuchadnezzar II reign is recorded both in Biblical text and historical records highlighting the greatness and landmass of the empire. The Babylonian empire in modern day Iraq is a world heritage site that’s still impressive in the 21st century.
4. Queen Esther of Persia
A beautiful Persian Empire queen that was Jew and married to the Persian King Xerxes I but her ethnicity was unknown to the king. She replaced Queen Vashti who had been sentenced to death by the king. In Biblical text she is referenced as the hero that saved the Jewish people from extinction/death/genocide. Most Jews had fled into exile when Jerusalem was destroyed therefore there were Persian Jews.
Haman was their biggest threat in Persia. Haman who was the king’s highest ranking advisor had planned this genocide of the Jews in Persia. When Esther learned of the plan, she approached the king inviting him to a banquet. In the banquet Haman was present; therefore it was Esther, Haman and the king.
This is where Queen Esther made the king aware of Haman’s plan to eliminate the Jews of Persia. She also told the king of her origins that she was Jew. This king immediately ordered that Haman be killed and the plan was foiled, Esther’s relative, Mordecai was appointed as the king’s highest ranking adviser.
She was considered a heroine to the Jewish people and Hebrew scripture has a whole text dedicated to her that’s the Book of Esther.
3. Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt
She was an Egyptian queen that ruled alongside her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten in Ancient Egypt. She was considered a beauty as her name Nefertiti means ‘a beautiful woman has come.’ Both the pharaoh and queen established and popularized the worship of the Sun god in Ancient Egypt.
Her beauty can clearly be seen in Egyptian artwork and sculptors. She helped the pharaoh rule and was an active queen in the kingdom. The pharaoh also ensured that she was perceived as an equal. They oversaw the most prosperous times in Ancient Egypt.
Although the pharaoh had many more wives she was the Great Royal Wife (the favorite). She also created her own make up using the Galena plant. It was Ancient Egypt’s most recognizable monarchs after Queen Cleopatra.
2. King Solomon of the Kingdom of Israel
This king referenced from the Bible is considered the wisest king that ever lived. He was last king of United Israeli Kingdom and had inherited the throne from his father King David. King Solomon’s best moments came when he was supposed to make a ruling on a child’s biological mother.
The story goes like this, two women came to the king requesting for his ruling on a child they both claimed to be theirs. He stated that the baby should be cut into two halves equally for both women. The first woman said yes that should be done while the second woman objected the decision stating that the king should allow the first woman to take the baby. This was proof enough for King Solomon to know who the child belonged to, the second woman.
In a time where there were no DNA tests this decision showed his wise nature. Another thing that you know this king for was the number of concubines he had, stating that he was a ladies man would be totally correct.
He had an astounding 700 wives and 300 concubines, most were part of the king forming alliances with the neighboring kingdoms from the Egyptians to the Hittites.
But regardless of how wise King Solomon was he lost favor with God because he started worshipping gods of his wives and concubines. He eventually died at the age of 80 of natural causes leaving his son Rehoboam as next king. He was the author of the Songs of Solomon which can be summarized as love songs or notes.
A civil war eventually breaks out as his two sons (Rehoboam and Jeroboam) fought for control of the kingdom. Eventually it was divided into two as the Kingdom of Judah, Rehoboam as king and Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam as king. The United Israeli Kingdom was over with the death of King Solomon monarchs.
1. King David of the Kingdom of Israel
A king that managed to unite all the people of Israel into a formidable fighting force and form the United Israeli Kingdom, and father to the future Israeli king. Probably the most famous thing he ever did was slay the giant Goliath using only a sling shot and pebbles at a very young age.
David was the youngest among his brothers and when he took food for them in the battlefield. The giant Goliath of the Philistines was demanding the bravest of Israeli soldiers to fight him. Everyone was afraid and nobody volunteered, this is where young David volunteered to slay the giant.
When he slayed the giant and it was a decisive win for the Israeli kingdom his fame started to rise. He was put as commander where he led the Israelis against their enemies winning every battle. The Israelites would chant and sing, “Saul has killed a thousand enemies; David has killed ten thousand.”
He was a warrior king but he lost Gods favor when he plotted and led to death of Uriah. Uriah was the husband of Bathsheba that he had an adulterous relationship with. When Uriah died he married Bathsheba and God punished him with the death of their first child.
King David died at the age of 70 having written the Book of Psalms and laid a firm foundation for his son Solomon to take over.