How rich was Marcus Crassus? What was his net worth?
Contrary to popular belief, Marcus Crassus was not one of the wealthiest Romans of all time and was not even the wealthiest Roman of his contemporary time. He largely gained his wealth during the dictatorship of Sulla, who used his power to execute his enemies and auction off their properties, of which Crassus bought a large portion.
Crassus gained the majority of his wealth from land and slaves, and Pliny valued his net worth at around 200 million sesterces. It is difficult to translate this into modern wealth, as some value it in the hundreds of billions in today’s money while others only in the millions. In general, his net worth is usually placed at around $168 billion in today’s money.
Crassus was an expert at creating a public image of a vastly wealthy and influential individual, and it is certain that that is true, but that does not mean he was the wealthiest Roman of his day. For example, Pompey Magnus used his political authority to seize administrative control of the large majority of tributes and taxes from both Greek and Middle
Eastern territories owned by the Republic. This meant that he was in control of billions of sesterces worth of property and goods, rather than Crassus’ millions. Even Caesar was likely more wealthy than Crassus due to his campaigns in Gaul. Some sources claim that Caesar captured so many slaves in his campaign that he caused the slave market to crash within Rome due to the sheer number of captives he brought back.