10) Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar, was a Roman general and politician who nearly single-handedly orchestrated the transition of Rome from republic to empire through force-of-arms. His victories in Gaul pushed the borders of Rome farther than they’d ever been, and his military successes laid the groundwork which would culminate in the peak of Roman power throughout the world. Caesar subdued the Roman Senate (led by rival general Pompey) with but a single legion; appointing himself dictator of the faltering nation and preparing the way for his great-nephew and adopted son Octavian (Caesar Augustus) to become Rome’s first emperor.
The Roman Empire would go on to shape the fortunes of the world for over two millennia — playing significant roles in the rise and propagation of Christianity (currently the world’s largest religion) and as an important initial model for the world’s only current superpower (the United States of America).
“Men willingly believe what they wish.” – Gaius Julius Caesar