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The Richest Romans

Marcus Licinius Crassus - The Wealthiest Ever Roman


Emperors were not the wealthiest Romans. The Roman General Marcus Licinius Crassus 115-53 BC was the richest Roman throughout history, with a fortune estimated to be in the region of $11-$70 billion.


The richest Roman Woman was probably Livia Drusilla, best known as Emperor Augustus's wife.


Emperors’ Exorbitant Spending


10 Roman emperors known for their extravagant spending and specific examples of squandering the empire's resources in ways that would astonish us today.

1       Nero (54-68 AD):

Nero famously spent vast sums on extravagant parties that featured elaborate dishes like roasted peacock tongues and dormice stuffed with nuts and raisins. He once held a party where he flooded a specially constructed area to stage a mock naval battle with real ships.

2       Caligula (37-41 AD):

Caligula's excesses included spending excessive amounts on his favorite horse, Incitatus, and building a marble stable with an ivory manger. He was also known to have declared himself a god and demanded that people worship him.

3       Elagabalus (218-222 AD):

Elagabalus hosted parties with exotic animals, including leopards and cheetahs, which were allowed to roam freely among the guests. He also married and divorced several women in a short period, with extravagant ceremonies each time.

4       Caracalla (198-217 AD):

Caracalla constructed a massive bathing complex in Rome, the Baths of Caracalla, which could accommodate thousands of visitors. The baths featured grand architecture, intricate mosaics, and extensive heating systems, all at significant cost to the empire.

5       Heliogabalus (218-222 AD):

Heliogabalus was known for his bizarre culinary tastes, which included dishes like parrot tongues and flamingo brains. He even proposed building a tower of precious gems.

6       Domitian (81-96 AD):

Domitian built an extravagant palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome known as the Domus Augustana, which featured opulent rooms, gardens, and an artificial grotto with a rotating ceiling to mimic the movement of the stars.

7       Tiberius (14-37 AD):

During his time on the island of Capri, Tiberius indulged in a notorious vice called "sexual tourism," where he would travel to the mainland with groups of young men and women for debauched parties.

8       Commodus (180-192 AD):

Commodus spent vast sums on gladiatorial games, often fighting as a gladiator himself. He would stage elaborate battles in the Colosseum with exotic animals and extravagant props.

9       Gallienus (253-268 AD):

Gallienus was accused of throwing extravagant parties while the Roman Empire was in turmoil. He reportedly held feasts with rare and expensive delicacies even as the economy faltered.

10      Maximinus Thrax (235-238 AD):

Despite his humble origins, Maximinus Thrax lived a lavish lifestyle as emperor. He commissioned grand statues of himself and spent extravagantly on his entourage.

31 of the Richest Roman Emperors

  1. Augustus (Octavian): $4.6 billion

  2. Nero: $4.1 billion.

  3. Tiberius: $3.6 billion.

  4. Caligula: $3.1 billion.

  5. Domitian: $2.6 billion.

  6. Hadrian: $2.2 billion.

  7. Antoninus Pius: $2 billion.

  8. Trajan: $1.9 billion.

  9. Marcus Aurelius: $1.7 billion.

  10. Septimius Severus: $1.5 billion.

  11. Caracalla: $1.4 billion.

  12. Maximinus Thrax: $1.3 billion.

  13. Elagabalus: $1.2 billion.

  14. Philip the Arab: $1.1 billion.

  15. Diocletian: $1 billion.

  16. Constantine the Great: $0.9 billion.

  17. Valentinian I: $0.8 billion.

  18. Valens: $0.7 billion.

  19. Theodosius I: $0.6 billion.

  20. Honorius: $0.5 billion.

  21. Theodoric the Great (Ostrogothic Kingdom): $0.4 billion.

  22. Justinian I (Byzantine Empire): $0.3 billion.

  23. Maurice (Byzantine Empire): $0.2 billion.

  24. Heraclius (Byzantine Empire): $0.1 billion.

  25. Constantine IV (Byzantine Empire): $0.1 billion.

  26. Leo III (Byzantine Empire): $0.1 billion.

  27. Charlemagne (Holy Roman Empire): $0.8 billion.

  28. Louis the Pious (Holy Roman Empire): $0.7 billion.

  29. Charles the Bald (Holy Roman Empire): $0.6 billion.

  30. Otto the Great (Holy Roman Empire): $0.9 billion.

  31. Henry II (Holy Roman Empire): $1 billion.

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