From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a list of people whose names in English are commonly appended with the phrase "the Great", or who were called that or an equivalent phrase in their own language. Other languages have their own suffixes such as e Bozorg and e azam in Persian and Urdu respectively. In Persia, the title "the Great" at first seems to be a colloquial version of the Old Persian title "Great King". This title was first used by the conqueror Cyrus II of Persia. The Persian title was inherited by Alexander III of Macedon (336–323 BC) when he conquered the Persian Empire, and the epithet "Great" eventually became personally associated with him. The first reference (in a comedy by Plautus) assumes that everyone knew who "Alexander the Great" was; however, there is no earlier evidence that Alexander III of Macedon was called "the Great". The early Seleucid kings, who succeeded Alexander in Persia, used "Great King" in local documents, but the title was most notably used for Antiochus the Great (223–187 BC). Later rulers and commanders began to use the epithet "the Great" as a personal name, like the Roman general Pompey. Others received the surname retrospectively, like the Carthaginian Hanno and the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great. Once the surname gained currency, it was also used as an honorific surname for people without political careers, like the philosopher Albert the Great. As there is no objective criteria for "greatness", the persistence of later generations in using the designation greatly varies. For example, Louis XIV of France was often referred to as "The Great" in his lifetime but is rarely called such nowadays, while Frederick II of Prussia is still called "The Great". A later Hohenzollern - Wilhelm I - was often called "The Great" in the time of his grandson Wilhelm II, but rarely later.