In 370BC, Plato, in his dialogue Protagoras, spoke about the fabled "seven sages" of Greece, namely: Thales, Pittacus of Mytilene, Bias of Priene, Solon, Cleobulus Lindus, Myson of Chenae and Chilon of Sparta.
In 1560, Gerolamo Cardano, in his On the Subtlety of Things, gave a ranking of twelve outstanding men (see: Cardano 12) in the serious studies among the sciences, along with three names above this group "near divinity", and four runners up.
In 1926, Catherine Cox, Lewis Terman, Maud Merrill, in their Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses, gave an achievement-level per decade in respect to peers ranking, based on the newly-invented IQ scale (Terman, 1916), of the top 300 minds from the Cattell 1000, born between 1350 and 1850.
In 1962, John Platt, using the IQ scale, gave a ranking of a dozen geniuses.
In 1994, Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene, in their Book of Genius, gave a ranked table of the 100 geniuses of all time, using a mixture of the IQ scale and their own genius ranking formula.
The following are related quotes:
- “While Goethe thus towers in lofty grandeur, Schiller, who otherwise receives an unstinted tribute of recognition, is admitted to be only a second-class genius, ranking with Virgil, Tasso, Corneille, Spenser, and Byron.”
- — Bayard Taylor (1880), “On German Literature” (pg. 447)
- Genius rankings – Hmolpedia 2020.