But often one man made wonders:
The age of Pericles: Pericles managed to hatch in Greece of talented artists: sculptors, philosophers, mathematicians, writers etc.
Alexander the Great also: Alexandria became the capital of knowledge for 1,000 years
Louis XIV gathered Corneil, Racine, Molière, Lully and others
Napoleon has also promoted cultural expansion of France (despite its lack of culture)
And everyone I do not know, Frederick benefactor of Voltaire etc.
It's weird to personify a civilization. A civilization is not composed of a single person but a number of people. The actors are famous people or not that shape or leads to ruin. Eg the Roman Empire.
Without the fans, celebrities are nothing.
A civilization is carried by one or cultures that grow inexorably toward its destiny. The culture is stronger than the will of an individual.
As with any human organization, charismatic leaders are elevated to celebrity to satisfy the greatest number is the mass of principle. This equation is true throughout history, in every age in any environment.
Men need references, resources, they are therefore based on the principle of "good word" and idolatrous worship or despise him, those who are the most representative at the given time.
This is the culture that pushes the single thought which actually shapes the leaders, celebrities. However, we like to think that we remain free both in our thinking and in our actions. We can live in the illusion that we have a major role in choosing "our celebrities."