M. Licinius Crassus.
Remember Crassus? He’s that guy from Spartacus who crucified 6,000 slaves along over 100 miles of road. He was a dick. He was also exorbitantly wealthy and checks in consistently at number five in Forbes’ Wealthiest Historical Figures list. Want to know how he made that money? Before Rome was a city of marble, it was a city of brick. And wood. And flammable everything. And slumlords. This led to rampant tenement fires that affected pretty much everybody living in that shithole city, so it became urgent during the Late Republic to find a way to fix this. Enter the philanthropist Crassus. He fixed up a merry gang of fire-fighting slaves to act as Rome’s first fire brigade, and subsequently put out many, many fires throughout the city quickly and efficiently. However, there was a catch: When he showed up to direct his slaves, he would halt them first, then saunter up to the owner/super of the building and haggle for the flaming building with him. Basically, the landlord could choose between losing his entire property (and tenants) or selling it to Crassus for the modern equivalent of a Coke and a smile, all while he watched his livelihood slowly burn to the ground. This motherfucker acquired so much property and made so much money doing this, he makes Dick Cheney look like Ty Pennington.To find out how Crassus (and Vercingetorix and Pausanias) bites it, read on here. Glackin is spot on about the guy - like most of the 'noble Romans' who 'defended the republic', he was a top-notch a*hole.