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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 22 July, 2014

Jesus Christ named the number one “historical meme”

Justin Bieber is all the way down at number 8,633. Thank GOD.

YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT the world’s favourite meme was Grumpy Cat or one of his ilk, but no.

Jesus Christ has been named the “most successful historical meme”, beating out Shakespeare, Aristotle and Abraham Lincoln to the top spot.

This is “meme” in the traditional sense of the word, rather than the fancy new internet version of it: an element of culture passed on from one person to another by imitation.

The research is part of a new book, Who is Bigger? Where Historical Figures Really Rank – historical figures were ranked “just as Google ranks webpages” by looking at websites such as Wikipedia and estimating the size of their following over time.

Jesus won out in the end because even though he died 2,000 years ago, we’re still talking about him. So Justin Bieber didn’t really have a chance, poor thing.

Author Steven Skiena told the UK Independent:

The significance of Jesus is shown by his mindshare today fully 2,000 years after his death. We don’t see the same happening for Justin Bieber.

Oof. Here’s the top 10 in full:

1. Jesus
2. Napoleon
3. William Shakespeare
4. Mohammad
5. Abraham Lincoln
6. George Washington
7. Adolf Hitler
8. Aristotle
9. Alexander the Great
10. Thomas Jefferson

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