What is our fascination with extreme wealth, the the kind of unimaginable sums of money that are so vast they could never be counted? Maybe it’s the toys that the super rich get to play with. Maybe it’s the perceived ease with which they live their lives. Or maybe there’s some small part of each of us that thinks a near infinite amount of cash would make us happy (it wouldn’t). No matter the reason, throughout history humanity has always maintained a sort of reluctant love affair with the rich. Here, for your consideration, are fifteen of the richest figures throughout time.
1. Bill Gates
Okay, so Mr. Gates, as your surely know, is the planet’s current number one ranking rich guy with a reported net worth of $79.2 billion. He’s really on this list to give you a frame of reference, because in the grand scheme of things, Mr. Gates doesn’t know a thing about personal wealth (okay, he knows more than you or me). Compared to some of the titans of history included in the list, however, Gates is simply playing for penny ante stakes.
2. Pope Innocent III
Let’s start here, with maybe the most corrupt Pope in history (and that’s saying something). While most of the people on this list certainly accrued their fair share of power along with their vast fortunes, Pope Innocent III accrued so much power he didn’t necessarily need wealth. Early in the thirteenth century, Innocent claimed power over the entirety of Europe’s various monarchies (and actually got it, too). Of course he leveraged that influence into the disastrous Fourth Crusade, but, hey, that’s poor people’s problems. Even better, Pope Innocent also gets to go down in history as one of the most hypocritical figures in history, too, because he preached the virtues of poverty while living one of the most lavish lifestyles in history.
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