Who’s More Famous Than Jesus?


An interactive catalog of fame, from Abraham to Zinedine Zidane.

There are many varieties of fame. Jesus Christ was the first person to achieve it globally, Clive James wrote, “without conquering the world by violence.” The best kind for a poet to earn, W. H. Auden said, is like some valley cheese — “local, but prized elsewhere.” Yet if all fame, like all politics, is to some degree local, how thoroughly it has been transmitted across the planet and through the centuries has been difficult, if not impossible, to quantify.

Pantheon, a new project from the Macro Connections group in M.I.T.’s Media Lab, is giving that a stab. It has collected and analyzed data on cultural production from 4,000 B.C. to 2010. With a few clicks on its website, which just went live, you can swing through time and geography, making plain the output of, say, Brazil (largely soccer players) or Belarus (politicians). It also ranks professions from chemists to jurists to porn stars (No. 1 is Jenna Jameson; No. 2 is the Czech Republic’s Silvia Saint).


For now, you are legitimately famous, the M.I.T. team has decided, if a Wikipedia page under your name exists in more than 25 languages. We have taken a smattering of the most famous, according to Pantheon data and classifications, and wandered down rabbit holes of fame. There are many ghosts in the machine — spirits that César Hidalgo, the project’s director, likes to tend. (The ranking system takes longevity into account, which helps explain why many of its most famous people have been dead for at least 1,500 years.) “Poetically, we can say that Isaac Newton’s ghost — understood as information — lives reincarnated in the hard drives that populate server farms,” he says. And these ghosts gather to make a point. Even in an era of Kardashians, actually making things matters. “Tangible achievements,” Hidalgo says, “whether these are songs, books, works of art or scientific discoveries, are better tickets to long-term immortality than the accumulation of material wealth.”

Most Famous People of the Last 6,000 Years

2. Plato

3. Jesus Christ

4. Socrates

5. Alexander the Great

6. Leonardo Da Vinci

7. Confucius

8. Julius Caesar

9. Homer

10. Pythagoras

Most Famous Soccer Players of the 20th Century

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Pelé

3. Lionel Messi

4. Ronaldo

5. Ronaldinho

6. Diego Maradona

7. Zinedine Zidane

8. David Beckham

Most Famous Guys Named John

1. John the Baptist

2. John Locke

3. John Calvin

4. Johnny Depp

5. John F. Kennedy

6. John Maynard Keynes

7. John Lennon

8. Pope John Paul II

Most Famous Guys Named Steve

1. Steven Spielberg

2. Steven Seagal

3. Steve Jobs

4. Stevie Wonder


 Source:  nytimes.com


  1. Who’s More Famous Than Jesus? | Andrismoi - Ανδρισμοί

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