Re: Re: Tribal size

From: Joerg Baumgartner <joe_at_...>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 11:21:36 +0200 (CEST)

Jeff arguing with Alex:
> Iron Age Britain may have even had a higher population than mid to
> late 11th Century England.

I don't quite see why, given that the major climate deterioration occurred only after the 11th century. Roman farming (perfected for mediterranean conditions) can't have been superior to Germanic farming adapted to climate and soil inheriting Roman tools. I know of no major epidemies (like 14th century plague) or likewise major famines, floodings etc. to cause a decrease in population, especially with the amount of immigrants Britain experienced in the period.

> The difficulty with all this is that it
> is extremely difficult to come up with a reasonably accurate
> population figure for anywhere in pre-17th century Europe.

Burial fields in well-explored circumstances can give you a fair idea of population per settlement and century. Unfortunately well-explored circumstances are limited to a few sites like Hedeby or Hjemsted.

> The same
> difficulty exists trying to come up with population figures for pre-
> introduction of small pox North America.

Effects of the plague have been tracked archaeologically to some precision, especially where it came to abandoned land use.

>> It's not utterly infeasible, but as I say, it's pretty high to be
>> taking as any sort of "baseline" -- certainly it hardly seems to
>> support much of an idea of Sartar as "difficult" country to farm
>> (and graze, and hunt, which let's recall has been implied are both
>> major parts of the subsistence economy, and certainly don't help
>> when it comes to "packing 'em in").

> Nope. But 35 people per square mile isn't "packing them in". 25
> per square mile certainly isn't. Additionally, although much of
> Sartar is difficult to farm, the many valleys (like the Streamvale
> or the Nymie) are probably quite rich and productive.

I'm with Alex when saying that 25 people per square mile is packing it. Your average fertile lowland village (as described in RQ 3rd ed. "deLuxe" Book 3) has a radius of roughly two to three miles, say 8 square miles, one of these under the plow or spade, 2 pasture and the rest rough land for forest pasture, fishing, gathering and hunting, some of it shared with neighboring villages. That's for roughly 100 people, not the 200 a population number of 25 per square mile would indicate. The Heortlings are pretty dependant on the wildland for their economy. In Esrolia, pasture gets less important in the river valleys, and wildland will be productive river wetland used for fowl and fishing, creating a Nile Delta situation. The Heortland Plateau cuts heavily on the wildland, and it shows in them being properly Andrinized. Hill-folk with 25 people per square mile are crowded, almost urban.

>> Sure, I certainly don't expect numbers anything like _that_ low
>> (and couldn't manage them by any means even if I did).
>> (I don't know that I've seen the Colymar wildlands excluded from
>> any such count, and I don't think the Upland Marsh can really be
>> said to be _in_ Sartar, I'll throw in as bonus quibbles.)

> I usually exclude try to wildlands and mountains when trying to
> figure out tribal population density.

My usual approach is to use the RQ3 village/town distribution (although in Heortling terms that would be "steads" and "hill forts") and work from there. A few provisos like "arable land will be in the valley bottoms", and a map will give you an idea. Three miles are about an hour of leisurely walking on a decent way or managable good speed through not too rough offroad terrain.

>> Granted we're stuck with 500,000 Heortlanders to put _somewhere_,
>> so the numbers are going to end up on the high side on way or
>> another (as they likewise are for Sartar), ultimately I've to
>> suck it up, in one form or another.  I don't have an accurate
>> measurement of the land area of H., but by eyeball it doesn't
>> look to me much less than 10,000 sqm. Given the much larger cities
>> on the plateau, and its generally more 'Westernised' character I'd
>> personally be happier to see a somewhat higher number for that area,
>> and somewhat lower for V.

> Volsaxiland takes up more than 10% of the total area, so I think
> 50,000 is pretty reasonable. I don't disagree with your quibbles -
> but I am trying to make the sources work out. I think Greg's
> population figures are largely set in stone - as is the scale of the
> maps. As a result, we just need to make it work.

The population figures were, according to Sandy (who wrote them), guidelines with an error margin of 50% down and 100% up.

I don't think that map scale is that settled. I won't suggest the Swedish definition for mile (10 km, or 6 geographic miles), but a larger measure for the miles in the published map legends might be necessary to "model" Glorantha correctly. In this regard, disagreeing map scales are helpful...

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