Qarun The Richest Man Ever
July of 2015 Jacob Davidson published an article "The 10 Richest People of All Time" on Time's Money. The article listed a mix of the rich and wealthy to world leaders and their wealth as the GDP of the country they rule. The article gave the number one spot to Mansa Musa, the king of Timbuktu, Mali from the year 1280 to 1337.
With Augustus Caesar occupying the second spot with a wealth estimated at $4.6 trillion, we can only assume Mansa Musa's wealth to exceed that figure substantially. His wealth was described as "Richer than anyone could describe". But was Mansa Musa really the richest man that ever lived?
From a religious perspective the bible lists these people as the wealthiest of men. Abraham, Isaac, Job, King Solomon, King David, Joseph ( Son Of Jacob), Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Joseph of Arimathaea (A disciple of Jesus). The Koran on the other hand points to one man as the accumulator of the biggest wealth known to man, he is known by the name Qarun.
Who is this Qarun, where did he live, how much was his wealth, and where did it go?
Qarun was one of the sons of Israel, and specifically lived at the time of Moses, he was a minister at the Pharaoh's court. Qarun was very rich beyond the meaning of the word, and had stores of gold and money, that the keys to his safes were very heavy and difficult to move around by men, so difficult that it needed sixty camels to move those keys. The people of Egypt were in awe of his money, and they believed that his wealth would never end.
Qarun of Jewish decent himself was appointed by the Pharaoh to handle the affairs of the Jewish slaves at the time and collect taxes from his own people. Qarun was a tyrant and did not spare anyone from his wrath. The Pharaoh was pleased with him and gave him more power as time went by. Qarun used this power to seize the wealth of many Jews and others. He filled his stores with gold, money, precious gemstones, and jewelry.
The stories surrounding Qarun's wealth spread all over the land, yet an accurate historical account of the extent of his wealth and the location that he stored it in, were not recorded. However, as the story of Qarun goes, it is told that his residence and stores of wealth were struck down with a huge earthquake that took him along with it to the depth of the earth. The location where this supposedly took place is Lake-Qarun southwest of Cairo, Egypt.
The location today is called Lake Moeris or Faiyum Oasis or Qarun lake, at the the time of the Pharaohs it was known as Lake Osiris or the Pure Lake. The following image depicts a historical reflection of the size of the lake at different times in history.
Is the wealth of the richest man ever buried under Lake-Qarun? Historians tend to disagree on that, as the name of the lake was different throughout the times. Some believe the name Qarun given to the lake was a moderate change from the Name Baron given to it by ancient greeks. Others believe the name was given to the lake because it's location corresponds to the huge earthquake crater it represents.
An article in the Egyptian daily news describes the myths and fables surrounding the lake as follows:
Fishermen and many others who live by the lake believe that Qarun’s treasures lurk beneath the surface of the present day lake, and that they are guarded by a fairy or a mermaid. Over the years stories have been told of people diving for the treasures but so far all attempts at recovery have been in vain. Among the fishermen, fables are told of people who claim to have witnessed the mermaid and were mesmerised by her charm and magic. Read More..