(Author’s note: I’m well aware that what follows has nothing to do with presidential politics. What am I going to do, though — start another website? Bear with me…)
Back in 2012, I covered the election in weekly columns for Construction Literary Magazine. Once the election ended, Construction’s editors gave me the opportunity to stay on and write about something else. Since my degrees and profession revolve around history, history was what I chose. And since I have on obsession with ranking things, the result was a top 30 countdown of the most influential figures in Western history. The plan was one entry every month. I picked the number 30 because I thought two-and-a-half years would bring us back to the subsequent presidential election, a contest we now know captivated the attention of few people.
It was a ranking I had mulled over for years, and I looked forward to doing a deep dive into each historical figure. I wanted to not only evaluate the importance of each one, but also to give context to their respective eras. By the end of the ranking, I’d have written an overview of Western history dating back to the ancient Greeks, just not in chronological order. After settling on the top 30, I went to work. One entry a month — first #30 (the only tie), then #29, and so on.
I made it halfway. After #16, my wife and I had our first child. Not coincidentally, I ran out of gas (though my son always has plenty). Things have since settled down, however, and PPFA got through another election. As promised when I resurrected the blog earlier this month, it’s now a good time to bring back the countdown.
However, I’ve made what will probably be an unpopular decision to long-time readers who have been asking about the ranking’s continuation: I’d like to first re-run, with edits, the original countdown. That will give new readers a fighting chance to catch up, and it will allow me a sizable pad to write the second half of the list. (As of now, I only have #15 and most of #14 complete.)
Like last time, the entries will be paced at once a month. The only exception is this week, where I have planned the following:
- Tuesday: re-introducing the parameters of the ranking, including clues about who made the list! That’s right — CLUES!
- Wednesday: the entry on the first of the two historical figures tied at #30.
- Friday: the other figure tied at #30.
That’s right — it’s a four-post week! Don’t get used to it. Starting in April, the Top 30 will slow to the monthly standard. To be alerted to new entries in the countdown, sign up for email updates on the sidebar.
I hope you’ll follow it, even if it has nothing to do with presidential politics. You might learn something! I promise to continue sharing political ideas in between.
Thanks so much for reading,