673–735 - English
Priest, monk, author, and saint. He wrote in Latin on a multitude of subjects including sermons, saints' lives, Biblical commentaries, hymns, language, and natural history. His best-known work was The Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People), which covers more than church history and is an invaluable source.
772–846 - Chinese
A Tang dynasty poet, and one of the first poets whose work was printed, he freely describes his own loves and dislikes, successes and failures. Like Epicurus, he favored pleasure and friendship over asceticism and solitude. In addition, he greatly appreciated beauty, whether in a splendid full moon appreciated with friends sharing a jug of wine, or the passing blossoms of spring. Like Montaigne, his is a voice from very long ago that always feels fresh and contemporary.
812–886 - Macedonian
Byzantine emperor. He began life as a peasant horse-trainer, won favor with the dissolute Emperor Michael III because of his magical touch with horses, and insinuated himself into the court. There he gradually acquired enough power to murder Michael and proclaim himself Emperor, which he remained for nineteen turbulent years. His name became a byword for opportunism and treachery, but also for daring and strong military leadership.