Prince then, or pauper now?

Ok, so I’ve just finished my dual time control/illusion device. Unfortunately, I had to embezzle all of your savings to develop it. Sorry about that. But there’s good news - it can send you back to one of three time periods and let you assume ruling positions.

You can either assume the role of an Egyptian Pharaoh, circa 1250 B.C. - supplanting the role of Rameses II.

You can assume the role of Roman Emperor, circa 100 A.D. - supplanting the role of Emperor Hadrian.

Or you can assume the role of King of England, circa 1250 A.D - supplanting the role of King Henry III.

All positions of great power - you can have your heart’s desire. Harems of the most beautiful women of the age, the finest foods and abodes, power beyond your wildest dreams. Whatever you want - that your subjects can procure. Or you can use your future space knowledge and newfound position of power for altruistic purposes, if that’s your bag.

Or, if you want, I can add additional time periods and rulers to supplant but nothing after 1300 A.D.

The last option is for you to stay in the present without any money. I’ll arrange for you to stay in a shelter until you get back on your feet and I’ll abscond with the machine. Which do you pick?

Since I’m not a total monster I’ll send you back with a copy of Where There Is No Doctor in case you get the royal sniffles - but that’s it. Nothing else from the present aside from the knowledge you carry in your head. All the rulers mentioned died of natural causes so unless you deliberately piss someone off or put yourself in harms way you aren’t going to be assassinated or die in battle.

Oh, I should also mention that the machine includes a universal translator implant, which I developed by embezzling anyone who could lend you a few G’s, so you won’t have to worry about not being understood by your new subjects.
So, should I escape with your savings or do you want to travel back?

Edit: Forgot to mention, if you’re a ladytype you’ll stay that way, although thanks to the machines illusionary powers people will see you as a dude (unless you pick a pre-1300 queen to supplant). Sorry girls, history sucks like that.

Not only would I choose being a Queen or at least Queen Consort then over poverty now, I’d choose it over my actual life now. Sure, it would be smelly and disease-ridden, and you’d have to wear the same clothes every day, but you’d have plenty of day-to-day luxuries – good food and people catering to your every whim, dressing you, fanning you, maybe carrying you on a litter, providing whatever available entertainment you requested (want to see a guy get eaten by a lion? Maybe hear a singer accompanied by a harp or lute?)

I recently read a book about a 14th century Duke’s mistress (a tiny bit after your time period), and it didn’t sound so bad. I chose the Roman option because I’m fascinated by that period, but I’d take any of the three.

Living God [ess] in Egypt. I do not mind polytheism, and I could work well within the extant system as a female Pharaoh as long as I was no shit legit by the laws. I think about the only real changes I would do is modify the medical system and sanitation systems, and perhaps tweak the tax structure slightly. Make it slightly easier to climb from lower to middle class. Helping modernize the medical and sanitary practices would definitely help the populace stay healthy.

I could also perhaps work with military engineering to help keep the Hyksos and Greeks from taking over …

I’m staying put. It’s way too easy to die; I’m not that tough. Also, I have more physical comforts and more access to free knowledge than any prince who ever lived until less than 100 years ago. And, I like air conditioning, so Egypt and Rome are right out.

Poor in modern day America all the way!
I am definitely convinced that the standard of living for a poor person in modern society is far better than the standard of living for a queen in the ancient era. I love indoor plumbing, air conditioning (yes I know not all poor people have it but it’s within their grasp and if nothing else they can go to air conditioned stores during a heat wave), TV, cell phones, internet, cars, ANTIBIOTICS…man, modern society is incredible.

Eh, if it’s a choice about going now, I’ll take Pharoah. I think I can handle godhood.

Roman emperors were just human, and Kings had to deal with all sorts of irritating crap from jumped-up nobility.

I don’t even mind people thinking I’m male. Although if Hatshepsut is available, I’ll go with her instead. She’s friggin awesome. (ixnay on the bone cancer tho - I’d rather live a bit longer and simply abdicate to Thutmose at some point.)

If alternate destinations are possible, I could also be convinced to take over Empress Suiko’s job in Japan in the 600s. She was pretty awesome also, and I think I could manage to stay clean and healthy in an Imperial City.

I’m not in too bad a shape physically, and I’m pretty basically healthy. All my vaccinations are caught up, all my medical and dental work is pretty much set. If (as in both Egypt and Japan) I’m filthy rich and the living incarnation of a god, I can be as eccentric as I want, and no one will be able to do anything about it. (Daily bathing and clothes changes, basic hygiene, and food preferences, mainly.)

However, I’m taking my husband and my cats, or no deal.

Yep, indeed.

But really the hypo as laid out in the OP doesn’t even involve poverty, it just means he takes all my current stuff. I can still work at my current job and get more stuff, so in a few years I’m back, baby.

And you’d be likely to die by disease that you already would have been vaccinated for in childhood.

Honestly even in royal households a large proportion of children did not live to adulthood, not even the greatest kings had access to basic medicine, and you would have to rule (for most of these options) as a despot in society with slavery and nasty warfare.

Now if it say the Victorian aristocracy or being Kaiser Wilhelm II or a Gilded Age capitalist that might be a different story…

Congratulations now an oriental despotism is the most massive superpower in the world and the resulting society doesn’t look different probably from Post-Stalin USSR>

No, too recent! No enjoying the benefits of the Renaissance or Enlightenment. Although life without effective anaesthetic or penicillin still might make me think twice.

Even during the Renaissance 90% of the population were still illiterate peasents and that was largely true even during the Enlightenment.

No way. You’ve read about that mid-Victorian London cholera epidemic, right? That happened because the London sewage systems were so bad (nonexistent) that everyone routinely drank water with poo in it. Only one well got cholera in it, but they were all horrifyingly filthy. Aristocracy were not immune.

Heard about it. That’s why I said “maybe”.

I’ll take Emperor, thanks. Egypt’s too hot, and the style beats the pants off some lousy Brit.

Frankly, I think people are so wired to social success that it’s irrelevant how many creature comforts you have - it’s more about power relations. Not having to fear the petty tyranny of a minimum-wage manager makes living without air conditioning worth it.

Harem > Ipod

Poor in the present. Without my medications, I’d be dead in a matter of days. I suppose if I were poor in the present, there’d at least be a chance of obtaining them, though slim . . . not to mention the open-heart surgery I’ll be needing in several months. Any of the other choices would be a death sentence.

Am I me? Like, the person that I am right now? If I grew up as a prince I suppose I’d probably be a bit more of a self important asshole, but if I’m suddenly teleported into the body of a prince with the set of ideals that I have now I think I would do a lot of good for whatever people I’m a prince over.

Prince then. I’m not so attached to my current life that I wouldn’t leave it for the purposes of seeing time travel for myself. And if I were 100% truly broke today, I would probably kill myself anyway. Might as well give it a whirl!

Yep, you’re you as you are now, just placed into the role of a price. History’s still history though, so if you make yourself King of England and then start talking about tiny monsters that make you sick or whatever people might think His Majesty has become a tad eccentric.

I’d take king of England. I could develop running water in a castle in about 6 months and at least make sure the latrines drained down stream. After that it would be all about ruling with an iron fist and living a life of luxury.

I’d miss football on Saturday’s and baseball but I think it would only take a couple of years to form a peasent sports league. I could live without tv but I’d miss books but there would be some serious hunting and invasions to fill my time.