A mountain mining town would have specialty manufacturing shops producing mining tools and equipment, sawmills, assayers, alchemists (to produce certain chemicals necessary for mining and assaying certain ores), trappers and the like. Just scroll down a bit. If the queen names Newtown the imperial capital, businesses will move there. Keep in mind regional trades – for instance, a seaport would have sailmakers, at least one ropewalk, fishdryers, nautical carvers, chandlers, warehouses, specialty ship’s carpenters and smiths, navigators, steersmen, boatmakers, tattoo artists, shipwrights, and if large enough marine underwriters and freight shippers. Indeed, the reason why so many Roman-era buildings were in ruins or disappeared entirely is that they were often cannibalized for the stone necessary to build or repair walls, in addition to other buildings. If so, chances are the town’s grown beyond the perimeter. Whether he accurately translated then-current idiom, at this remove, we don't know. Another factor would be in the aftermath of a major fire (that being the chief danger to a medieval town), where entire city blocks and neighborhoods might be redesigned after being razed. * Clergy: 1 per 200, obviously hugely variable depending on how religious your town is. I minored in the subject in college (seriously), largely because I wanted to become as expert as possible in the field for gaming purposes. If you're interested, it's at http://heraldry.sca.org/names/parisbynames.html. In low-tech environments, where the threat of cholera is ever-present, people just didn't drink the polluted water of larger communities if they had any choice in the matter. If your realm tries anyway to maintain a sizable town or city away from natural resources (see below), that means you need an equally-sizable logistics train to support it. persons per km 2 . Email This BlogThis! the self-described “alt-right”) love the Middle Ages, but that The Economist is so late to this revelation. If a border region becomes a no-man’s land, the businesses will up and move. A seaport would have a harbormaster, his staff, and naval units; any trading town would have an official in charge of weights and measures ... and probably in possession of the "standard" weights and weighbeams! * Churches: 1 per 750. You are quite welcome. The large waterskins I've seen pictures of watercarriers lug seem far more aimed at street vending -- getcher cup o' fresh water, one sinver the mug! A gaming blog discussing my thoughts and impressions on tabletop RPG gaming in general, and my GURPS Renaissance-tech campaign in particular. (This, of course, can form the basis for plots.) Supporting ever-larger cities on that’s just a matter of putting more hulls in the water.How far out would they have to go? Thanks so much for these articles. But what about you, what do you suggest? It’s likely (and in some cases certain) that the family that built a fortification is long extinct, the border’s long since shifted, the very nation it was built in no longer exists, the infrastructure needed to maintain it has eroded, the technology – magical or mundane – has made it obsolete ... and it may not even be occupied any more. A motte-and-bailey of ditch, hill, and wooden palisade, or other earthwork/ringwork castles, not so much. Thank you for your kind words, Mary!On scabbards: indeed, those tools needed protecting. Even after a catastrophic raid by the French in 1338, with the financial support of major nobles the King directed them to provide, the town struggled to maintain a permanent garrison of as much as a hundred soldiers. But rather than a fancy scabbard, it'd be much more common for it to be a simple leather wrap held closed with cord or woven thongs.Ultimately, though, we can only speculate. Alas, I don't have the time to collaborate on such a project, between life, my own tabletop campaigning and other commitments, especially paying attention to my loving wife! Any urban area, whether village, town or city, arises out of the need for trade. Anything with an edge probably needed protecting.Thanks again. (Many planned towns quickly failed.) It was common for a river town to expand to the other bank, which necessitated at least one bridge. 1 smith What do you think of this? Where my hackles go up is when they pretend this is anything more than a game fiat. Even medieval Ireland, war-torn and as heavily pastoral as anywhere in Europe, ran about 1:12 by the best estimates.As far as rural population per square mile, this varied a good bit. Any objection?2) On this subject of population support, after reading your awesome and quick answer, I came up with an idea. They just don't work. Yes: if you tell me that your fantasy world has the terrain of southern England, the growing seasons of Sicily and 12th century tech, society is ordered into smallholders with plots of less than 20 acres, and that the land is more or less at peace, I can give you a reasonably accurate number.Whether you’re willing to do that much legwork is up to you!As far as urban vs rural goes, one of my comments above is it: depending on various factors, the percentage of rural in western Europe ran 85%-95%. Maybe densities can go lower. Next in importance comes potters, carpenters, weavers, leatherworkers, masons, a general merchant and at least one tavern. Thank you for this post and for demographics deux. England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England during the medieval period, from the end of the 5th century through to the start of the Early Modern period in 1485. Or, for that matter, cheese. * Masons: 1 per 500, at a ratio of 1:2:4 between sculptors, masons and stonecutters. So how do you know what density is right for a given setting? 7-8 miscellaneous businesses In 1123 St. Bartholomew's Priory was founded in the city, and other monastic houses quickly followed. Articles. How large is your nation? There wouldn't be storefronts or colorful shop signs much beloved of Hollywood and Ren Faires – why, when everyone knows what everyone does? When England emerged from the collapse of the Roman Empire, the economy was in tatters and many of the towns abandoned. The most surprising part of that article was not that neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, white supremacist nationalists (i.e. it doesn't have to be spot on accurate , just not so glaringly wrong. Then I thought: hey, maybe I could make that public? Oftentimes the rich and poor parts of town were differentiated by which bank of the river they were on. Back then, they could have been on ANYTHING that needed protecting: sewing awls for example. Capitals of any size, as well as major regional cities, will have a full-blown university. Low-tech villagers/farmers spend a lot of time in the winter doing up various crafts for future sale, mostly to itinerant peddlers and merchants coming around when the weather clears. Do you have a strong monarch (who’ll not be keen on her nobles having their own private fortresses) or a weak one (who can’t prevent them from doing so)? Some medieval cities had several separate walls, built somewhat haphazardly over centuries, all attempts to maintain some manner of defensible perimeter. While a small town can coalesce in a prosperous farming district or gather around a castle (indeed, skilled labor is necessary for a castle to be built), if it's at all possible, larger towns or cities locate on navigable rivers or natural harbors. A number of businesses have a DIY element. Thank you very much for this write up. What about Thomas Aquinas?” Compared to demographics, those two events pale in comparison. But which unusual medieval professions have not made it into our fond reminisces of the past, and why? The absolute basic tradesmen without which a village doesn’t exist are a blacksmith and a miller. Yep. Medieval Demographics Done Better: An Alternative to Medieval Demographics Made Easy. Inns and taverns often brewed their own tipple. It's expensive enough, and hard enough on the soldiers, to subsidize a strictly military outpost in the middle of nowhere: ask the Romans, the French, the British, or the mid- to late-19th century Americans, for that matter. Miscellaneous Shops: 1 per 200. Living la vita apostolica: Life expect -- than in supplying the water needs of a household.Life in a Medieval City is fifty years old now, and yep, the Gieses' research hasn't aged well. If there are no resources and no trade, a ruler would have to be mad (and filthy rich) in order to subsidize a city out in the middle of nowhere, for no good reason whatsoever. Towers houses and castles are common enough sight in my part of Ireland that they don't elicit much notice. Starting at about 10,000 people, you’ll get at least an advanced institute of learning of some sort. These days, people think of scabbards as being on swords. The demographic gr… Well, we can set up a few rules. 1 inn/tavern Maybe. The smith promised he'd get t'that next week. The adventurers swinging by the village in March may well find those good sealed pint pottery jars they forgot to buy before leaving the city.). The local nobles and magnates were generally taxed to pay for improving Probably would have no problem putting the adventurers on his list, if they didn't mind hanging out.) There are so many games which the core economics just seem to be made up on a whim, but also include massive inconsistency. Also consider the stability of the countryside. They own the guilds that matter, public posts are filled by their patronage, civic amusements are graced by their money and presence. Areas such as tax collection, records, justice and civic defense spawn whole departments. only under duress. 1 full scale inn, 3 taverns, 1 brothel Sure. Storage? Unusual Medieval Professions – Part 1. Which is a shame -- S. John having a heavily laden site with many true and useful gems like his Big List of RPG Plots -- but fear not, the Wayback Machine rides to our rescue. I've seen Géraud's list, obviously, but not his source material ... not that I can speak medieval langue d'oil. What D&D players seem to find fun is to have goods-on-demand, to have instant buyers (and at least fair market value) for their loot, and for these things to hold true no matter how small the community is.And that's fine, of course. (And sorry for my not-so-swift one)Indeed, it is quite hard to address such issues in a general manner. See: muktuk. Or is it 50,000? At least Ross actively tells you to fiddle with stuff to reflect your needs for the kingdom, so that's what I do, lol.It always baffled me on how the "people used spices to disguise spoiled meat" myth got started until I found out this article ( http://medievalcookery.com/notes/drummond.pdf ) stating that the misconception started with Jack Drummond in 1912, a chemist who clearly didn't know how to cook ANYTHING, wasn't a known historian, and made a lot of weird assumptions about medieval folks on top of it.And he accidentally counters his own spoiled-meat argument right in his book. Hello!I, as many others, stumbled upon your article while searching for MDME, and am grateful that I did!Thank you for your impressive scholarship.I've one question, though, that you might be able to help:About the population density based on area. It’ll have a relatively primitive tangle of streets in the center, haphazardly radiating out of the original village, which will center around the river/harbor/major road running through the middle, or perhaps around a religious center, castle or other fortification. I realize many people drank light beer because it was safer than water but still, the number seems a tad high. The purpose of this study is to obtain demographic data regarding the medieval population buried at the Yuigahama‐minami site in Kamakura, Japan, and to detect a secular trend in the life expectancy of Japanese population over the last several thousand years. 2-3 miscellaneous businesses, depending on the nature of the town. they must have used the number for fortified places around Paris , Densely populated and extrapolated by the rest of the population ? Another large, industrial-style operation, as opposed to smaller household- or job-lot sized businesses. Few weeks or months, depending on size.OTOH Wikipedia suggested a tall stone keep might take 10 years out of mortar limitations as much as anything else -- time for the mortar to dry, I'm guessing. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel , the Irish Sea , and St George's Channel . Amazon.co.uk has revealed the forthcoming Ideas Medieval Blacksmith on its Shop By Theme page . * Textile trades: 1 per 100, at a ratio of 3:1:1 between weavers/spinners/carders, tailors/carpet/tapestry makers and furriers. For instance: https://web.archive.org/web/20070706202036/https://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm, Medieval Demographics Done RIGHT: Stuff You Can Use. Labels: cities, GM tools, Medieval Demographics, Referee notes, Reference Sheets. Once the empire falls, once the plug is pulled, those cities collapse overnight. A lot of gamewriters love them, too. Many a low-tech bakery was less about churning out loaves themselves than in providing oven space for the neighborhood housewives to bring their own loaves for baking, being rather more economical that way. 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