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==Alexander the Great==
Alexander III, king of Macedonia (356-323 BC), was perhaps the
greatest military commander of all time. He inherited a powerful army from his father Phillip II and a number of gold mines. Alexander was a wealthy monarch even before he set off on his conquests, from his revenues from the mines, which were worked by slaves. They proved to be crucial to his ability to wage war. Alexander campaigned in the Balkans and later Greece to secure his position. Then he launched an invasion of the Persian Empire, then the most powerful state in the world. In 333 BC he defeated a large Persian army at the River Gracus, then he moved inland and inflicted a historic defeat on the Persian Empire , at Issus (330 BC). As he entered the Persian Empire he seized many treasures, which was the custom of war at the time. It also appears that many cities and local rulers were forced to give monies and goods to the Macedonian army. Alexander had a great many expenses and the costs of maintaining his army were staggering. One of his major sources of revenue was selling captives into slavery. In the Ancient World, there were no rules of war and the conqueror could do as he pleased with the conquered. One scholar has recorded some two dozen instances when the Macedonian Conqueror sold huge numbers of people into slavery. After the siege of Gaza, he sold the entire population into slavery. In 335 BC, the victor of Issus ‘’auctioned 30,000 Greek captives for 25 tons of silver’’<ref>Holt, Frank Lee. The treasures of Alexander the Great: how one man's wealth shaped the world (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016), p 119</ref>. Alexander also collected a large amount of treasure from Egypt. When he finally defeated the Persians’, he seized the Emperor’s treasury. Moreover, the land that was conquered by Alexander became part of his private estate and he could dispose of it as he wished. It is estimated that the Macedonian king controlled a sizeable portion of the World’s GDP during his reign. One modern historian reckons that he earned 17,000,000 pounds of silver during his years of conquest <ref>Holt, p 145</ref>. However, he was a notorious spendthrift and once bought a dog for almost 100 pounds of silver. Moreover, much of his wealth was misappropriated or wasted. Alexander by the time of his death in Babylon in 323 BC was almost certainly the richest man alive. [[File: Rich 2.jpg |200px|thumb|left|A mosaic with Roman Slaves]]
Carcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BC) was born into a wealthy and noble family. However, his family lands and wealth were seized when the
‘populist’ leaders Marius and Cinna came to power. Crassus was left one of the many impoverished aristocrats in Rome at this time. His fortunes changed when Sulla became a dictator. He served in the army of the dictator and as a result, he was able to benefit from the proscriptions of Sulla. These were when Sulla executed many of his enemies and seized their property <ref> Brunt, Peter Astbury. Social conflicts in the Roman Republic (Londres: Chatto and Windus, 1971), p 114</ref>. Because of his role in the confiscations, Crassus was able to restore his family fortunes. He was a brilliant entrepreneur and financier. He used his political connections to great effect. The wily politician was able to acquire mines which earned him a great deal of money. Crassus also engaged in the slave trade which was one of the most lucrative businesses in the Ancient World. Like many other rich men throughout history, he made most of his money through real estate speculation. He would buy ruined and derelict buildings and restore them and ‘flip’ them for a hefty profit. Crassus was ruthless when it came to making money. There was no fire fighting service in the city of Rome, so he formed one out of his slaves. He would send them to fires and offer their services in return for a price. If the owners of the property could not afford the fee, Crassus would offer to buy the burning building. With little choice, many property owners sold their property for ridiculously low prices. As a result, Crassus became the biggest property owner in Rome and he became notorious for charging high rents <ref> Cadoux, Theodore J. "Marcus Crassus: A Revaluation." Greece & Rome 3, no. 2 (1956): 153-161 </ref>. Crassus attempted to conquer Parthia in 53 BC but was captured and killed. According to legend, the Parthians killed him by pouring gold into his mouth and eyes, as a symbol of his greed for money <ref>Plutarch, The Life of Crassus, 12.2</ref>
Caesar (100-44 BC) was one of the greatest generals who ever lived. He was also a consummate politician. He was born into a noble if impoverished family and was associated with
the ‘popular’ party in Rome. The young Caesar was not wealthy and was obliged to borrow money from moneylenders at extortionate rates of interest to finance his political campaigns <ref>Plutarch, The Life of Julius Caesar, 6. 2</ref>. He was elected Pontifex Maximus, an important religious position and this allowed him to stave off bankruptcy. Caesar entered into a political arrangement with Pompey and Crassus which effectively partitioned the Roman Empire between them <ref> Wacher, John. The Roman World (London, Routledge, 2013) p. 198</ref>. Julius was given the command of several legions and control of a province. He used his position to conquer the rest of Gaul. Caesar was able to plunder a great many wealthy fortresses and cities’, and this made him fabulously wealthy. He also captured many men, women, and children, whom he sold into slavery and this made him an absolute fortune. Caesar also made money by selling conquered lands and commercial concessions to Roman entrepreneurs. For the first time in his life, the great commander was financially secure. After the death of Crassus at the Battle of Carrahae (55 BC), the agreement with Pompey ended and soon Caesar was fighting a civil war with his old ally and many of the Roman senatorial elite. The Civil War was won by Caesar and during the course of many battles, he amassed a great deal of treasure and made himself dictator of Rome. By 44 BC he was the richest man in the Roman Republic, if not the world, and his personal fortune was vast, and he used it to maintain his power. However, his power and his wealth were resented by many members of the Senatorial elite and he was assassinated. After his assassination, he left his considerable fortune to his adopted son Octavian and the population of Rome.
[[File: Rich 4.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Bust of Augustus]]
[[File: Rich 3.jpg |200px|thumb|left| Statue of Trajan]]
==Who was the richest man in the Ancient World?==
very hard to definitively state who was the richest man in Ancient Rome and Greece. This is because of a scarcity of records and no agreed way to measure individuals’ wealth. However, it is possible to estimate how rich these historical figures were. Trajan was very wealthy but much of it was transitory and spent in his failed attempt to conquer the entirety of Parthia. Crassus was the richest person in the Ancient Word who was not a ruler. Julius Caesar was fabulously wealthy and was probably the richest person who ever lived in the Roman Republic. Alexander the Great was also very rich and his enslavement of whole groups and war-loot made him the richest man in the world and possibly the richest who ever lived up to that point in time. However, it appears that Augustus, the man who established the Imperial system in Rome was probably the richest man in the Ancient World. This was because he controlled the Imperial Treasury and his careful management of the Roman budget. He was not extravagant and did not engage in needless wars and as a result, controlled a significant share of not only Rome’s wealthy but that of the entire Ancient World.
Morris, Ian. The Ancient Economy. Berkeley (University of California Press, 1999)
Brunt, Peter A. "The
‘fiscus’ and its development." The Journal of Roman Studies 56, no. 1-2 (1966): 75-91.
Hopkins, Keith. "Taxes and trade in the Roman Empire (200 BC-AD 400)." The Journal of Roman Studies 70 (1980): 101-125.