Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds
Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds

Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds

Khalid Elhassan - April 12, 2022

Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds
The First Triumvirate. Short History

2. A Rich Man’s Quest for Glory

By the 70s BC, Crassus had established himself as Rome’s richest man. H leveraged his wealth into power and entered into the First Triumvirate, with Caesar and Pompey, to divvy up the Roman Republic. However, Crassus wanted to be more than just a rich man. He also craved military glory such as that enjoyed by his partners. Unlike them, Crassus’ main military accomplishment had been to defeat Spartacus’ slave rebellion. In Roman eyes, defeating slaves paled in comparison to Pompey’s and Caesar’s deeds. To win the glory of his own, Crassus decided to invade Parthia, a newly established wealthy kingdom that ruled Persia and Mesopotamia.

Parthia did not seem a difficult nut to crack. A decade earlier, Pompey had easily defeated other eastern kingdoms, and there was little reason to assume the Parthians would be any tougher. With an army of 50,000, Crassus went to war against Parthia in 53 BC. Things went wrong from the start. His guide, secretly in Parthian pay, took Crassus on an arid route that left his army parched and exhausted by the time they reached the town of Carrhae in today’s Turkey. There, they encountered a Parthian army of 1000 armored heavy cavalry and 9000 horse archers. It did not go well for Crassus.

Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds
The Roman defeat at Carrhae. Military Wiki

1. The End of Rome’s Richest Man

Although they greatly outnumbered the Parthians, the Romans were demoralized by the rigors of the march and by Crassus’ poor leadership. Parthian archers whittled the Romans with arrows from a safe standoff distance, and used the superior mobility afforded them by their horses to retreat to safety whenever the Romans advanced on foot. Morale plummeted as casualties mounted. Crassus finally ordered his son to drive off the horse archers with the Roman cavalry and an infantry detachment. The Parthians feigned retreat, Crassus’ son rashly pursued and was slaughtered with all his men.

Rich People From History Who Committed Shady and Evil Deeds
The Battle of Carrhae. Battles of the Ancients

The Parthians returned, and taunted the Roman army and Crassus with his son’s head mounted on a spear. Crassus retreated, abandoning thousands of his wounded. The Parthians invited him to parley, and offered safe retreat in exchange for Roman territorial concessions. Crassus was reluctant, but his army threatened to mutiny if he did not negotiate. The parley went badly, violence broke out, and Crassus was killed. To mock his greed, the Parthians poured molten gold down the rich Roman’s throat. Out of his 50,000 man army, only 10,000 made it back to Roman territory.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

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Business Insider, May 17th, 2016 – Here’s the Story of How the Hunt Brothers Tried to Corner the Silver Market

Cordingly, David – Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates (1997)

Coward, Barry – The Stanleys, Lords Stanley, and Earls of Derby, 1385-1672: The Origins, Wealth, and Power of a Landowning Family (1983)

Cracked – 4 Stories of Ridiculously Evil Rich People From the Past

Encyclopedia Britannica – Giles de Rais

Encyclopedia Britannica – Marquis de Sade

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe, Volume II (1994)

Guardian, The, August 28th, 2001 – Jane Greer

History Collection – 18 People Who Allegedly Sold Their Souls to Pure Evil

History Network – How America’s Most Powerful Men Caused America’s Deadliest Flood

History of War – Thomas, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby c. 1433 – 1504

Johnstown Pennsylvania Information Source Online – Archived New York Times Coverage of the Johnstown Flood, June 1 – 7, 1889

Knappman, Edward W., et al. Great American Trials (1994)

Law Buzz – Sleepwalking: A Defense to Murder First Used in 1846

Lely, Gilbert – The Marquis de Sade, a Biography (1961)

Los Angeles Times, August 28th, 2001 – Jane Greer, Star of Film Noir ‘Out of the Past’

McCullough, David G. – The Johnstown Flood (2004)

Moss, Jeremy R. – The Life and Tryals of the Gentleman Pirate, Major Stede Bonnet (2020)

New York Post, March 7th, 2016 – BMW Admits ‘Regret’ Over Using Nazi Slave Labor During WWII

Plutarch – Parallel Lives: Life of Crassus

Priceonomics – How the Hunt Brothers Cornered the Silver Market and Then Lost it All

Schaeffer, Neil – The Marquis de Sade: A Life (2000)

Smithsonian Magazine, April 30th, 2012 – The Case of the Sleepwalking Killer

Telegraph, The, September 29th, 2011 – BMW Dynasty Breaks Silence Over Nazi Past

Wikipedia – Albert Tirrell

Wolf, Leonard – Bluebeard: The Life and Times of Gilles de Rais (1980)

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