"The Ptolemaic system [the Ptolemys were Cleopatra's dynastic family and the Greek rulers of Egypt, after its conquest by one of Alexander the Great's generals] has been compared to that of Soviet Russia; it stands among the most closely controlled economies in history. No matter who farmed it -- Egyptian peasant, Greek settler, temple priest -- most land was royal land. As such, Cleopatra's functionaries determined and monitored its use. Only with government permission could you fell a tree, breed pigs, turn your barley field into an olive garden."
Hmmm. Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it? Cleopatra was worth about $96 billion – or about 21st wealthiest in world history. (Cleopatra, a life, 2010)