Julius Caesar comes to mind.
He had the fortune of following the footsteps of Marius and Sulla, which enabled multiple consoleships and perpetual dictator status, got lucky in a couple of battles, crossed the Rubicon seeking glory and had the good fortune of having Octavian succeed him. After ruling for something like 30 years, Caesar Augustus legitimized "first citizen" status and upheld the deification of Julius.
Really, at any other time he would not even be remembered, but as it is, he is in the top 5 or so most important men of the "western world." For reference, see Pompey the great and Marcus Crassus, who are known to historians and otherwise forgotten.