10 Richest People Of All Time

10. Marcus Licinius Crassus ~ $200 Billion

By Diagram Lajard (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

There's no easy way to estimate the wealth of 5th century BC general Marcus Crassus because XE.com's range of conversion rates doesn't extend to Roman sesterces. Needless to say, the Latinate politician had a spare bob or two lying around.

Crasuss was unique for his time in that his wealth was largely acquired, rather than inherited. Not that he grew up impoverished; he was bequeathed seven million sesterces following the death of his senator father, Licinius Crassus, only to see them stripped away by proscriptions of the Marian-Cinnan faction.

Exiled to Hispania (the modern day Iberian peninsula), thoughts of retribution fuelled Crassus' avarice; when he returned, he set about rebuilding his fortune through proscriptions of his own, seizing the property of patron Sulla's political enemies. As their houses burned, Crassus snapped them up on the cheap. He further filled his caligae by dabbling in the burgeoning slave trade.

With a private fortune equal to the annual budget of the Roman treasury, it's no wonder Crassus's mates knew him as 'Dives' - Latin lingo for 'the rich'. He also played a significant role in thwarting Spartacus' uprising. Not bad for just a head.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.

Discussion