List of people who have been considered deities: Wikis


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This is a list of those notable human beings who were considered deities by themselves or others. The list distinguishes people who claimed divinity or were worshipped as deities during their lifetimes, and examples of individuals who were deified posthumously (hero cult). For people considered avatars in Hinduism, see list of people who have been considered avatars.


Relevant distinctions

Imperial cults

Posthumous deification

Who Image When Notability
Egyptian pharaohs Tutmask.jpg 3050 - 30 BC Egyptian pharaohs were kings of Ancient Egypt, and were considered by their culture to be gods. Their titles equated them with aspects of the likes of the hawk god Horus, the vulture goddess Nekhbet and the cobra-goddess Wadjet. The Egyptians believed that when their Pharaoh had died, he would continue to lead them in the next life, which is why his burial was grand and completed to perfection, to please him in the next life and ensure his immortality to protect his people. See List of pharaohs.[1][2]
Naram-Sin Stele Naram Sim Louvre Sb4.jpg 2255-2119 BC The first Mesopotamian king to claim divinity
Chinese Emperors QinshihuangBW.jpg 221 BC - AD 1911 Deified as "Son of Heaven" since the Qin Dynasty under Qin Shi Huang
Roman Emperors 0092 - Wien - Kunsthistorisches Museum - Gaius Julius Caesar.jpg 42 BC - AD 363 Following Julius Caesar who in 42 BC was formally deified as "the Divine Julius" (Divus Iulius), and Caesar Augustus henceforth became Divi filius ("Son of a God"), some (not all) Roman Emperors of the 1st to 4th centuries claimed divinity, including Tiberius 14-37, Caligula 37-41, Claudius 41-54, Hadrian 117-138, Commodus 161-192, Constantine I 306-312, Julian the Apostate 361-363
Japanese emperors Imperial Seal of Japan.svg  ? - Claimed, at least by some Shintoists, including government officials, to be divine descendants of the goddess Amaterasu. Hirohito, the Showa emperor, allegedly repudiated this claim in the Ningen-sengen in 1945.
Natchez rulers 700 The Natchez were a theocracy ruled by "The Great Sun." This ruler has sometimes been deemed a God-king.[3]
The Sailendras Borobudur Northwest View.jpg 700 The Sailendra dynasty of Java were active promoters of Mahayana Buddhism and covered the plains of Central Java with Buddhist monuments, including the world famous Borobudur. [4]
Dalai Lamas 1st Dalai Lama.jpg 1391- considered re-incarnations of Avalokiteśvara in Tibetan Buddhism. Panchen Lamas are incarnations of Amitabha Buddha.
Inca Emperors Ataw Wallpa portrait.jpg 1438 The Inca Emperors had a status very similar to that of the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Nepalese monarchs 1768-2008 Although Nepal was the birthplace of the Buddha, the kings of the Shah dynasty were held to be incarnations of Vishnu.
Who Image When Notability
Imhotep Imhotep-Louvre.JPG 2600 BC Ancient Egyptian architect and physician, who two thousand years after his death, was raised to that of a god, becoming the god of medicine and healing.
Dido Guérin Énée racontant à Didon les malheurs de la ville de Troie Louvre 5184.jpg 814 BC Founder and first queen of Carthage, after her death, she was deified by her people with the name of Tanit and assimilated to the Great Goddess Astarte (Roman Juno).[5] The cult of Tanit survived Carthage's destruction by the Romans; it was introduced to Rome itself by Emperor Septimius Severus, himself born in North Africa. It was extinguished completely with the Theodosian decrees of the late 4th century.
Homer (hero cult) 8th century BC Venerated at Alexandria by Ptolemy IV Philopator
Romulus (hero cult) She-wolf suckles Romulus and Remus.jpg 771-717 BC Founders of Rome, sons of Mars, Romulus served as first king. After his death, Romulus was defined as the god, Quirinus, the divine persona of the Roman people. He is now regarded as a mythological figure, and his name a back-formation from the name Rome, which may ultimately derive from a word for "river". Some scholars, notably Andrea Carandini believe in the historicity of Romulus, in part because of the 1988 discovery of the Murus Romuli on the north slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome.[6]
Hephaistion 356-324 BC Deified by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great (hero cult) AlexanderCameo.JPG 356-323 BC Some believe he implied he was a demigod by actively using the title "Son of AmmonZeus". The title was bestowed upon him by Egyptian priests of the god Ammon at the Oracle of the god at the Siwah oasis in the Libyan Desert.[7]
Jesus of Nazareth Grunewald - christ.jpg ~4 BC - ~33 AD Considered to be God in most Christian views of Jesus, God the Son in Trinitarian Christianity. See Christology for details.
Simon Magus Death of simon magus.jpg 1st century Considered a god in Simonianism. Apocryphal accounts of self-deification: "There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, ..."[8]
Antinous Antinous Ecouen Louvre Ma1082 n3.jpg 111-130 Deified by Hadrian. He is the last non-Imperial human to be formally deified in Western Civilization.
Guan Yu Guan Yu Portrait.jpg 581-618 Guan Yu has been deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still popularly worshipped today among the Chinese people variedly as an indigenous Chinese deity, a bodhisattva in Buddhism and a guardian deity in Taoism. He is also held in high esteem in Confucianism. In Hong Kong both police and gangsters consider him to be a divine object of reverence. In certain schools of Taoism and Chinese Buddhism he has been deemed divine or semi-divine status. The reverence for him may date back to the Sui dynasty.[9]
Ali 599-661 According to the Alawite faith, Ali is one member of a trinity corresponding roughly to the Christian Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[10]
Sugawara no Michizane Hyakuninisshu 024.jpg 845-903 Japanese Imperial courtier banished from the capital and deified upon his death to appease his angry spirit. Worshipped as Tenjin, kami of scholarship.
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah AHMosque.jpg 985 Sixth Fatimid Caliph in Egypt, ruling from 996 to 1021. Many of the druze believe he is an incarnation of God and that he will come back as the Mahdi
L. L. Zamenhof 1859 - 1917 Considered a god by members of the Oomoto religion.
Jose Rizal Jose rizal 01.jpg 1861 - 1896 Deified by some people in the Philippines due to his contributions to the Philippine Revolution.[11][12]
Wallace D. Fard ~1877 - ~1934 Posthumously (?) deified by Elijah Muhammad . He is also given other titles by the Nation of Islam.[13]
Emiliano Zapata General Emiliano Zapata.jpg 1879-1919 Achieved semi-deity status as Votan-Zapata, after the Mayan god Votan.
Kanichi Otsuka 1891 Shinreikyo states of its founder "God became one with a human body, appeared among humanity, and founded Shinreikyo."[14]

Involuntary deification

Who Image When Notability
Hernán Cortés 1471 - 1541 Identified as Quetzalcoatl by Moctezuma II
Antiochus II Theos AntiochusIIMET.jpg 286-246 BC Seleucid ruler. The younger son of Antiochus I and Stratonice, succeeded his father in 261. He liberated Ephesus, Ionia, Cilicia and Pamphylia from Egyptian domination, and in return for their autonomy the cities of Asia Minor gave him the title Theos ("God").[15]
Jiddu Krishnamurti 1895-1986 Renounced the status of messiah and Maitreya incarnation given him by the Theosophical Society.
Haile Selassie I Selassie restored.jpg 1892-1975 Among most followers of the Rastafari movement, Haile Selassie is seen as God incarnate, the Black Messiah and "Earth's Rightful Ruler" who will also lead African peoples to freedom. Rastas say that his royal titles (ie. King of Kings, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Root of David) were prophesied as belonging to the returned Messiah in Revelation 5:5. Their faith in his divinity first appeared in Jamaica, soon after his 1930 coronation in Addis Ababa..[16] Before his coronation he was called Ras (meaning Prince) Tafari.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip at NASA 2007.jpg 1921- Considered a god in the village of Yaohnanen, a cargo cult in Vanuatu[17]. See Prince Philip Movement.


Who Image When Notability
Veleda 1st century Germanic prophetess considered a deity during her lifetime.
Danila Filippovich 1700 He believed that he was God and started the Khlysts. (There are various transliterations of his name including Danila Filipov, Danila Filipich, and Daniil Filippovich)[18]
Hong Xiuquan 1814 – 1864 Chinese man who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus and thus a son of God. Led the Taiping Rebellion, conquering a large part of China before defeat and suicide.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes AntiochusIVEpiphanes.jpg 215–164 BC Seleucid ruler (reigned 175-164); the only Seleucid king to claim divine honors, calling himself Theos Epiphaneus "God Manifest" and Nikephoros "Bringer of Victory." Nearly conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, the primary rival of the Seleucids among the Diadochi states. Famously attempted to impose ancient Greek religion on the Jews by persecution, leading to the Maccabean Revolt; remembered as a major persecutor in Jewish tradition.[15]
Jehovah Wanyonyi 1924- "I am the one who created Adam and Eve. I made their bodies and their blood", […] "I still use human beings by speaking through them, like I spoke through Jesus Christ until he went to Heaven." There are between 120 and a 1000 followers who consider him God.[19][20]
Father Divine ~1880-1965 Was considered by his followers to be "God in the flesh"[21]
Juanita Peraza (Mita) Juanita Garcia Peraza.JPG 1897 According to the Mita faith, Mita (Peraza) was the incarnation of the Holy Ghost on earth.[22]
Lou de Palingboer 1898-1968 A divorced Dutchman named Louwrens Voorthuijzen who proclaimed himself "Lou the Eel Vendor", this being the translation of his proclaimed name "Lou de Palingboer". He was a figure who mixed marketing European eels with proselytism. His followers also considered him a living God on a mission against evil.[23]
Kim Il-Sung & Kim Jong-Il File:Kim Il Sung Colour.jpg 1912-1994 & 1942- Kim Il-Sung self-developed the Juche idea and established a cult of personality so pervasive and entrenched that North Koreans frequently ascribe "supernatural" qualities to the late leader (even though Marxism rejects the supernatural and paranormal, seeing it as a form of false consciousness and an inadequate explaination for phenomena). North Korea officially refers to him as the "Great Leader" and he is designated in the constitution as the country’s "Eternal President".[24] Kim Jong-Il succeeded his father in 1994. North Korea officially refers to him as the "Great Leader" or "Dear Leader".
Jim Jones 1931-1978 Founder of Peoples Temple
Yahweh ben Yahweh 1935-2007 He was born as Hulon Mitchell, Jr. and his self-proclaimed name means "God, Son of God." He could have only been deeming himself to be "son of God", not God, but many of his followers clearly deem him to be God Incarnate.[25][26]
Matayoshi Jesus 1944- In 1997 he established the World Economic Community Party (世界経済共同体党) based on his conviction that he is the God and Christ.[27]
Claude Vorilhon 1946- Claims to be Maitreya, messenger of the "Elohim" (who are in fact ancient astronauts)
Vissarion 1961- Claims to be Jesus Christ returned, which makes him not "God" but the "word of God"
Nirmala Srivastava 1923- Guru and goddess of Sahaja Yoga, has proclaimed herself to be the incarnation of the Holy Ghost (Adi Shakti), claims that all other incarnations (eg Krishna, Christ, etc) are mere aspects of her.[28][29]
Mata Amritanandamayi 1953- An Indian spiritual leader revered as a saint by her followers
The Spirit of Truth 1965-[30] Repeatedly claimed to be God on his public access show in the late 1990s and early 2000s. When asked during a radio interview if he thought he was Jesus, he replied "no, I'm Jesus's father."

See also


  1. ^ The rulers of Egypt, first the kings and later the pharaohs, were gods as well as men who ruled by divine right. Each king was 'the son of god', who at the point of death became one with his father, to be god in a cosmic Heaven. Christopher Knight, Robert Lomas (August 1, 2001). The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus, 100. Google Print. ISBN 1-931412-75-8 (accessed July 13, 2005). Also available in print from Fair Winds.
  2. ^ The king had a superhuman role, being a manifestation of a god or of various deities on earth. The king's principle original title, the Horus name, proclaimed that he was an aspect of one of the chief gods, Horus, a sky god who was depicted as a falcon. Other identifications were added to this one, notably, "Son of Re [the sun god]" and "Perfect God," both introduced during the 4th dynasty (c. 2575–2465 BC), when the great pyramids were constructed. The epithet "Son of Re" placed the king in a close but dependent relation with the leading figure of the pantheon.Merriam-Webster (1999). Encyclopedia of World Religions (Hardcover). Merriam Webster, Incorporated. ISBN 0-87779-044-2.  
  3. ^ The community leader would be called the Great Sun. Natchez social organization was based on the relationship of community members to the Great Sun. In the 17th century, French explorers and colonists met this leader, who lived in a large house on the top of a platform mound at the site that is now preserved by the State of Mississippi as the Grand Village of the Natchez. The Great Sun enjoyed the status of a living god[1]
  4. ^ "Patrons of Buddhism, the Sailendras during the height of their power in central Java constructed impressive monuments and temple complexes, the best known of which is the Borobudur on the Kedu Plain" (quoted from Hall 1985:109).
  5. ^ Virgil, Aeneid 1.446f, Silius Italicus, Punica 1.81f
  6. ^ Carandini. La nascita di Roma. Dèi, lari, eroi e uomini all'alba di una civiltà (Torino: Einaudi, 1997) and Carandini. Remo e Romolo. Dai rioni dei Quiriti alla città dei Romani (775/750 - 700/675 a. C. circa) (Torino: Einaudi, 2006)
  7. ^ Not the least of the many extraordinary facts about Alexander is that both in his lifetime and after his death he was worshipped as a god, by Greeks and Ancient Macedonians as well as, for example, Egyptians (to whom he was Pharaoh). The episode that led to Callisthenes' death in 327 was connected to this fact. Greeks and Ancient Macedonians believed that formal obeisance should be paid only to gods. So the refusal of his Greek and Macedonian courtiers to pay it to Alexander implied that they, at any rate, did not believe he genuinely was a living god, at least not in the same sense as Zeus or Dionysus were. Alexander, regardless, did nothing to discourage the view that he really was divine. His claim to divine birth, not merely divine descent, was part of a total self-promotional package, which included the striking of silver medallions in India depicting him with the attributes of Zeus. Through sheer force of personality and magnitude of achievement he won over large numbers of ordinary Greeks and Macedonians to share this view of himself, and to act on it by devoting shrines to his cult.Cartledge, Paul (2004). "Alexander the Great". History Today 54: 1.  
  8. ^ Justin Martyr, First Apology [2] Chapter XXVI
  9. ^ "People worship Emperor Guan not merely as a law-protecting heavenly deity, but also as god of war, god of wealth and god of righteousness. They pray to Emperor Guan for many reasons…"[3]
  10. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, online edition
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad identified the Master as being the answer to the one that the world had been expecting for the past 2,000 years under the names Messiah, the second coming of Jesus, the Christ, Jehovah, God, and the Son of Man." quoting Elijah Muhammad
  14. ^ "When I sat cross-legged by myself just like the great statue of the Buddha in Nara, I felt that the earth, about the size of a watermelon, was underneath me and I could see the other me walking about on it. I experience the real "me" looking down at the other "me" on this small planet. I was and understood everything on this earth (Shinreikyo History:5). Religious movements home page on the website of the University of Virginia. This entry was written by Jeffrey Hadden.
  15. ^ a b Harper’s Bible Dictionary, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985
  16. ^ Rastafarians regard Haile Selassie I as God, in part because Marcus Garvey's prophecy -"Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be the Redeemer" - was swiftly followed by the ascension of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia. BBC
  17. ^ BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Is Prince Philip an island god?
  18. ^ His teaching of Twelve Commitments stated, "I am God predicted by the prophets; I descended on the earth to save the human souls; there is no God but me. There is no other teaching. Do not seek for it."St. Petersburg State University article(A bit of dispute here as there are sites that indicate he taught any and all Khlysts could mystically become God incarnate through him)
  19. ^ International Cultic Studies Association (2001). "INTERNATIONAL: Kenya-"God" and 400 Followers Living in Kenya". Cultic Studies Journal 18, No. 4.  
  20. ^ BBC News (November 12, 2001). "Kenyan 'God' sent Aids as 'punishment'". Retrieved December 29, 2004.
  21. ^ "Father Divine: A General Overview", Timothy Miller, 1999, Retrieved June 6, 2007, "Followers of Father Divine proclaimed him God in the flesh, and for most Americans nothing could have been more ridiculous than a small African-American deity."
  22. ^ Essay in Latin American Issues Volume 13 states she taught that, "when a shooting star moving in the distance suddenly approached her and landed on her forehead, filling the room with light (Cruz). She had become the living incarnation of the Holy Spirit, who at that moment revealed to her the name of God in this new era: 'MITA'" or "Spirit of Life."
  23. ^ De God die Lou heette (Dutch language) "The God that was called Lou" VPRO TV programme.
  24. ^ Herman, Steve (2004-07-13). "North Korea: ten years later". Asian Research. Retrieved 2008-11-02.  
  25. ^ "He identified himself as the 'grand master of the celestial lodge, the architect of the universe'"Crimelibrary
  26. ^ Miami Herald(October 15, 2001). "the old message of self-esteem has been crowded out by one that elevates their leader to Grand Master of All, the God of the Universe, the Grand Potentate, the Everlasting Father and the persecuted Messiah."
  27. ^ "After the Upper House Election, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should hand the seat of the Prime Minister to Jesus Matayoshi, the one true God."[4]
  28. ^ Judith Coney, Sahaja Yoga: Socializing Processes in a South Asian New Religious Movement (1999) p27 "She began her mission of salvation in earnest, establishing a reputation as a faith healer ... Then, on December 2nd 1979, in London, she unequivocally declared her divinity to her followers: '[Today] is the day I declare that I am the One who has to save the humanity. I declare, I am the one who is Adi Shakti, who is the Mother of all the mothers, who is the Primordial Mother, the Shakti, the purest desire of God, who has incarnated on this Earth to give meaning to itself...' Since then, she is most often understood by her followers to be the Devi, the Goddess of Indian mythology, returned to save the world."
  29. ^ ::Sahaja Yoga-Tamil:: Adi Sakthi By Thirumoolar
  30. ^ - DonVincent - 42 - Garçon - Beverly Hills, California -


  • Hogue, John Messiahs: The Visions and Prophecies for the Second Coming (1999) Elements Books ISBN 1-86204-549-6

External links



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