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Young Readers—Famous Characters

American     European     Ancient     Bible     Legends and Literature    

The characters listed below are touched upon in one or more of the books in the Young Readers collection. Some students may be interested in "checking off" those characters that they have read about.

Early America

Character Era Description
Christopher Columbus Exploration Sailed across Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas.
Miles Standish Colonial Military advisor to Plymouth colony. Arrived on the Mayflower.
William Penn Colonial Quaker and founder of the colony of Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Franklin Revolution Statesman, publisher, inventor, and non-conformist. Founding father and benefactor of Philadelphia.
George Washington Revolution Leader of Continental Army, and first President.
Daniel Boone Exploration Explored Kentucky and Tennessee. Opened a road for settlers.
Thomas Jefferson Revolution Third President. Author of the Declaration of Independence.
John Paul Jones Revolution Revolutionary naval war hero.
Eli Whitney Republic Inventor of the Cotton Gin and interchangeable parts for rifles.
Andrew Jackson Republic War Hero, President of U.S., and founder of Democratic Party.
Merriwether Lewis Exploration With William Clark, explored the Louisiana Purchase from the Missouri to the Pacific.
Abraham Lincoln Civil War President of the United States during the American Civil War.
Clara Barton Civil War Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.
Robert E. Lee Civil War General of the Confederates during the American Civil War.
Ulysses S. Grant Civil War Commander of Union forces in the Civil War, and President.
Thomas Edison Progress Invented light bulb, movies, phonograph, and many others.
Booker T. Washington Progress Former slave who became leader of newly freed negroes.
Theodore Roosevelt Progress Progressive Republican Reformer, and 26th President.

Western Europe

Character EraDescription
Saint Benedict Middle Ages Monk whose followers founded monasteries.
Frederick Barbarossa Middle Ages Holy Roman Emperor. Died on Third Crusade.
Charlemagne Middle Ages First Holy Roman Emperor. Unified Western Europe.
William the Conqueror Middle Ages Claimed the crown of England and won it at the Battle of Hastings.
The Black Prince Middle Ages English general who ruled alongside his father, Edward III.
Joan of Arc Middle Ages Martyr who led French to victory in Hundred Years War.
John Gutenberg Middle Ages Invented printing press. Improved types, inks, methods.
Martin Luther Reformation Leader of the Protestant Reformation.
John Calvin Reformation Protestant Theologian. Influenced French Huguenots, Presbyterian Scots, and English Puritans.
Galileo Galilei Reformation Promoted heliocentric theory. Invented the telescope.
Henry VIII Reformation King of England famed for marrying six wives.
Elizabeth I Reformation Led England during age of reformation and discovery.
Sir Francis Drake Reformation Sea adventurer. Sailed around the world. Fought in Armada.
Oliver Cromwell Reformation Parliament general during English Civil War. Led government after death of Charles I.
Robert Clive Early Modern British soldier, who delivered Bengal to Britain at Plassey.
Captain James Cook Early Modern Discovered Australia and New Zealand. Founded colonies.
Marie Antoinette Early Modern Queen of France. Beheaded during French Revolution.
Napoleon Bonaparte Early Modern Extraordinary general who rose to power after the French Revolution and nearly conquered all of Europe.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Character Era Description
Achilles Epic Great Greek Warrior in the Trojan War. Invincible except for his heel.
Odysseus Epic Greek hero Iliad and Odyssey, famous for his wiles and craft.
Hector Epic Hero of Troy. Son of King Priam.
Penelope Epic Faithful wife of Odysseus. Kept suitors at bay for twenty years.
Helen Epic Wife of Menelaus, who ran off with Paris. Caused the Trojan War.
Hercules Heroic Greatest of Greek demigod heroes. Succeeded in twelve labors.
Jason Heroic Led a voyage of “Argonauts” on a quest to recover the Golden Fleece.
Perseus Heroic Hero who killed Medusa, a monster so ugly it turned people to stone.
Theseus Heroic Hero who killed the Minotaur. Ancient King of Athens.
Solon Greek Rewrote the laws of Athens to better protect poor citizens from rich.
Xerxes Persian Raised huge army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Salamis.
Leonidas Greek Spartan King whose army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.
Demosthenes Greek Great Greek orator. Spoke against Philip and the Macedonians.
Alexander Greek Greatest general of ancient times. Conquered Persian Empire.
Socrates Greek Philosopher who discussed the meaning of life and nature of truth.
Romulus Roman Legendary founder of the city of Rome, with brother Remus.
Horatius Roman Hero who held the Sublican Bridge against Porsena's entire army.
Cincinnatus Roman Soldier summoned while plowing his fields to be dictator of Rome.
Hannibal Roman Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Cicero Roman Orator and Leader of aristocratic party. Put down Catiline conspiracy.
Julius Caesar Roman Conquered Gaul, prevailed in civil war. Mastermind of Roman empire.
Augustus Roman First emperor. Reigned over fifty years. Established Imperial system.
Constantine Roman Emperor who unified the Roman Empire and supported Christianity.

Bible Heroes

Character Era Description
Isaac Pentateuch Biblical patriarch. Son of Abraham and father of Jacob and Esau.
Jacob Pentateuch Patriarch whose sons formed the twelve tribes of Israel.
Joseph Pentateuch Favorite son of Jacob, who became the Pharaoh's advisor in Egypt.
Moses Pentateuch Prophet who led the Hebrews out of Egypt, authored Pentateuch.
David Prophets Second king of Israel. Great warrior, musician, godly monarch.
Esther Prophets Persian queen who protected the Jews in her kingdom.
Isaiah Prophets Prophet of the 8th century B.C. Author of the book of Isaiah.
Jonah Prophets Prophet who was swallowed by a whale on his way to Ninevah.
Ruth Prophets Faithful heroine who became the grandmother of David.
Solomon Prophets Son of David, known for wealth and wisdom. Built the first temple.
Daniel Prophets Jewish hostage at Babylon. Minister of Babylon, interpreter, prophet.
St John Gospels Long-lived apostle who preached in Asia Minor. Authored gospel.
St James Gospels Apostle who preached in Spain before being beheaded by Herod.
St Peter Gospels Leader of the Apostles and first Pope of the Catholic Church.
St Paul Gospels Apostle who evangelized throughout the Empire. Wrote Epistles.
St Patrick Post Biblical Escaped from slavery in Ireland, returned to spread Christianity.
St Benedict Post Biblical Established the Benedictine order. Founded monasteries in Europe.
St Christopher Post Biblical Early Christian saint who bore the burdens of the Christ child.
Francis of Assisi Post Biblical Founded the Franciscan order of indigent Friars.
St Augustine Post Biblical Great theologian of the Middle ages. Wrote Confessions, City of God.

Legendary Heroes

Character Culture Description
King Arthur British Plotted to kill his brother Artaxerxes and assume the Persian throne.
Robin Hood British Father of modern medicine. Set up medical school to train doctors by scientific methods.
Roland French Historian who led Greek army out of Persia, in retreat of the Ten Thousand.
Siegfried German From humble origins, arose to become tyrant of the city of Syracuse.
Robinson Crusoe British Leader of Sparta after the Peloponnesian War. Campaigned in Asia Minor and warred with Thebes.
Gulliver British Leading General of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War.
William Tell Swiss Story of Damon and Pythias celebrates trusted friendship and willingness to die for one another.
St. George Christian Helped to liberate Thebes. Leader of the "Sacred Band" of Theban warriors.
Guy of Warwick British Greatest general of his age. Defeated the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra, and made Thebes predominant.
Don Quixote Spanish Brother-in-law of the tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse; helped to overthrow him.
Dante Italian Writer of moral philosophy. Well known for Dialogues. Student of Socrates.

The above directory of famous men and women is composed mainly of characters who are introduced in short stories from the Young Readers collection. More advanced curriculums in the Heritage series provide more comprehensive lists of important characters.

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