Ever wondered who the smartest people in human history were? Wonder no more. Granted there’s a lot of speculation here, but it seems like reasonable speculation. Excerpt:
Making a list of the smartest people who ever lived may not be a smart thing to do. After all, intelligence can be measured in a variety of different ways. Some believe in IQ tests, others place more stock in emotional intelligence. There’s also something to be said about having accomplishments. Being intelligent is not the same as using that intelligence to create something that no one else can, to somehow advance humanity, to be smarter than everyone.
Many smart people do not live up to their potential. It is also true that prejudices and lack of opportunities have surely prevented some brilliant people from reaching their full potential and being recognized. Still, for the sake of argument, we will use all criteria at our disposal to come up with a list of the brightest humans.
Note: while IQ testing was developed in the early 1900s, there have been subsequent studies that estimated IQs of geniuses of the past. Anything above 140 is generally considered near genius-level.
#1 on the list isn’t a surprise: Leonardo DaVinci. DaVinci was multi-talented, a man of many facets; artist, inventor, engineer, and more. But one surprise on the list is Cleopatra, with an (estimated) IQ of 180.
She was widely known as a canny ruler, a great survivor, and a seductress, among whose conquests was Julius Caesar and his cousin Mark Antony – both of whom were not only lovers but key to keeping her on the throne of Egypt for almost thirty years. She spoke five languages, but in those days, that wasn’t all that uncommon – especially among the nobility.
I’d like to see more figuring behind Cleopatra’s inclusion on this list and her estimated IQ of 180. No doubt she was a smart cookie, but 180?
Color me skeptical.
One thing is certain; you won’t find any of our present-day political leaders on this list.