There are numerous famous women in history and by means of this top 10, I tried to make a selection of the most popular ones. I tried to include those women who achieved eternal glory in various fields and had an impact on the society. Unfortunately, many were left outside, because important, influential women are plenty and there are only 10 places to be filled…
1. Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary occupies a deserved first place on this list. She is without a doubt the most influential woman in history and one of the three most important figures in Christianity. The perfect image of virtuosity, faith and devotion, Virgin Mary is today as important for human kind as she was 2000 years ago.
2. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc lived fast and intense. At 17 years old, she became the commandant of the French army. At 18, she had already proved herself a great strategist and a fearless warrior, having won many battles against the English army. A simple peasant from Orleans, Joan claimed that she was guided by God and her achievements were only made possible by divine intervention. One of the most famous women in history, the 19 years old Joan of Arc was burnt alive for heresy and declared innocent and a martyr 25 years later.
3. Catherine de Medici
This controversial woman was considered great by some and evil by many others. A master of politics, diplomacy and intrigues, Catherine was most probably too ambitious for her own good and too close to the throne yet never on it. She reigned, however, through her sons, who were too weak to resist the pressure of this powerful woman and became, one by one, her puppets. However, many defend her, as her decisions, many time cruel or immoral, were dictated by the necessities of her age.
Cleopatra, the beautiful queen of Egypt, is one of the most famous women in history. Her name is known all over the world, her life is well documented and her accomplishments, as well as her failures are not a mystery to anyone. The wonderful, yet tragic story of Cleopatra, the wife of the equally famous Julius Caesar, was subject to many books and movies and is retold to all children, generation after generation.
5. Queen Elizabeth I
The daughter of Henry VIII and of Anne Boleyn (who was herself a very famous woman), queen Elizabeth I is renowned for having remained unmarried for her entire life, in an era when this was unconceivable, especially since she was the Queen of England and was expected to provide an heir to the throne. Despite this aspect, her reign was considered one of the most successful in the history of England. While controversies arose around her as well( many see her an evil woman, especially for executing her cousin, Mary, the queen of Scots)what is clear is that England thrived under her ruling.
6. Marie Curie
Marie Curie was a woman before her time. Born in 1867, in Poland, she was a genius in physics and in chemistry; she is the first woman ever to receive a Nobel Prize and the only woman in history to receive two Nobel Prizes. The list of achievements and awards may continue, as this amazing woman made many discoveries and pushed the entire human kind a step forward in its evolution. She was the first researcher in the field of radioactivity, a term which was coined by Curie herself.
7. Mother Teresa
Yet another kind of woman was Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to the poor, to the needy and the helpless. She was a nun who felt a great attraction for the life of missionaries since childhood. She left her family and home to establish a charity mission in Calcutta and never looked back. Her work there had an inestimable value: she opened orphanages, hospitals, hospices, and many other facilities, not only in India but in many other countries as well. Having started with 13 nuns, her charity missions count today more than 4000 nuns who work for those in need. However, she was a controversial figure as well, as she had a very strict view on suffering. She considered it a great way to get closer to God and refused to administrate pain killers to the sick.
8. Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette was a queen of France and the daughter of the Emperor Francis I of Austria. She became very famous after being executed during the French revolution. While some claim that she actually caused the revolution, because of her exaggerate taste for luxury and her superficiality, others do not agree with these accusations.
9. Indira Ghandi
Indhira Ghandi was also a special kind of woman. A great, very talented politician, she was the first prime minister of India for a total of 15 years, the greatest accomplishment of this kind that a woman has ever achieved. She was assassinated in 1984. Indira Ghandi highly contributed at the well being of her country and contributed to the raising of the living standard. Also, the food production and the literacy registered great improvement during her mandates.
10. Mata Hari
Mata Hari is one of the most famous women in history. She was a very beautiful woman of Dutch origin who led a rather immoral life, as an exotic dancer and a courtesan. During the World War I, she was suspected of being a double agent, spying both for France and for Germany. Although she try to defend herself and denied the accusations, she was found guilty and executed in 1917. It was then that the public started to question her death, that rumors on her innocence or guilt started to circulate, and her fame started to arise. Up to this day, it is not clear whether she was or a spy or not.