Sigella

Oldtown is weird

64 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Sigella said:

I think you're underestimating the scale of trade during medieval times. It was small but very much a fact already during the viking age and it flourished during the medieval period. And its been 6000 years since the Andals invaded and 12 000 years since the arm broke - which means plenty of time to re-adjust.

We are not talking about the medieval age, except for the last couple of thousand years or so. We're talking for the most part of antiquity. The Andals only arrived around 2500 years ago, not 6000 years ago as suggested in Book 1. Oldtown was established before the Long Night, and most likely before the Breaking of the Arm of Dorne. This is on the order of 10,000 years ago or more.

Most trade would have involved coastal hugging ships traveling between Oldtown and the various Reach settlements upriver of Oldtown and along the Reach coast, maybe up to Lannisport. Once the Arbor was settled (presumably after the First Men developed deep sea seafaring), it would have extended to the Arbor as well. Travelling along the coast of Dorne would for thousands of years have offered little value, as it is a thousand miles of barren coastline, with few harbors and little trade benefit.

Mediterranean trade in the Middle Ages and antiquity involved many important trade ports all around the Mediterranean Sea, going back to Carthage and earlier. The same did not apply to the Narrow Sea, as it did not have similar settlements that we know of prior to 5000 years ago.

Sure, some ships from Old Ghis and the Summer Isles may have traded with Oldtown, but was the reverse true? Did Westerosi ships travel in the opposite direction to visit Ghis and the Summer Isles in that ancient time? Considering that even the Andals only came over in longships around 2500 years ago, what type of ships would the First Men have had thousands of years before that?

As I said, the Narrow Sea really gained importance with the growth of the Free Cities. Before that, it was not the trade hub it is today.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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8 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

We are not talking about the medieval age, except for the last couple of thousand years or so. We're talking for the most part of antiquity. The Andals only arrived around 2500 years ago, not 6000 years ago as suggested in Book 1. Oldtown was established before the Long Night, and most likely before the Breaking of the Arm of Dorne. This is on the order of 10,000 years ago or more.

Most trade would have involved coastal hugging ships traveling between Oldtown and the various Reach settlements upriver of Oldtown and along the Reach coast, maybe up to Lannisport. Once the Arbor was settled (presumably after the First Men developed deep sea seafaring), it would have extended to the Arbor as well. Travelling along the coast of Dorne would for thousands of years have offered little value, as it is a thousand miles of barren coastline, with few harbors and little trade benefit.

Mediterranean trade in the Middle Ages and antiquity involved many important trade ports all around the Mediterranean Sea, going back to Carthage and earlier. The same did not apply to the Narrow Sea, as it did not have similar settlements that we know of prior to 5000 years ago.

Sure, some ships from Old Ghis and the Summer Isles may have traded with Oldtown, but was the reverse true? Did Westerosi ships travel in the opposite direction to visit Ghis and the Summer Isles in that ancient time? Considering that even the Andals only came over in longships around 2500 years ago, what type of ships would the First Men have had thousands of years before that?

As I said, the Narrow Sea really gained importance with the growth of the Free Cities. Before that, it was not the trade hub it is today.

 

Even if we narrow the scope to the last 500 years it is still a boat-load of time.

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, Sigella said:

Firstly the Arm broke 12 000 years ago, I'm thinking of the period of time after it broke.

Picture this:

Gardener-King: "Hey you have a port that lies much closer to Essos, wanna make a deal and sell our produce there and share the profits?"

Duskendale-merchant: "Sounds awesome, start shipping!"

How is this such an unthinkable scenario? I don't get the problem.

Land transport of anything but the most premium goods was prohibitively high.

Anything sold in bulk went by river/sea.

I read a learned essay on coal mining in the Newcaste area. I don't remember the exact distance - 2 miles? 3 miles? - from a navigable river that a coal mine unprofitable.

With grain and other produce the distance might be greater, but the principle stands. You ferry goods down the Honeywine and put it on ships there. For all bulk goods a barge to Oldtown, then a ship to Essos is cheaper than carting it Duskendale.

Why no comparable port on the Mander? Go and ask GRRM :)

At a certain level all fantasy worlds fall apart and do not make sense :)

 

Edited by TMIFairy

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28 minutes ago, TMIFairy said:

Land transport of anything but the most premium goods was prohibitively high.

Anything sold in bulk went by river/sea.

I read a learned essay on coal mining in the Newcaste area. I don't remember the exact distance - 2 miles? 3 miles? - from a navigable river that a coal mine unprofitable.

With grain and other produce the distance might be greater, but the principle stands. You ferry goods down the Honeywine and put it on ships there. For all bulk goods a barge to Oldtown, then a ship to Essos is cheaper than carting it Duskendale.

Why no comparable port on the Mander? Go and ask GRRM :)

At a certain level all fantasy worlds fall apart and do not make sense :)

 

Stuff could be shipped by ship too...

 

I'm not trying to pick apart planetos as much as I'm hopeful for a western surprise :D 

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3 hours ago, TMIFairy said:

 

At a certain level all fantasy worlds fall apart and do not make sense :)

 

Infidel!

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6 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

House Manderly who was even booted out by the Gardeners? Who the Mander is probably named after. Its not named the Gardener River. House Manderly also still claims this title. 

Point of Order:

I submit that House Manderly takes it's name from the region they fled in defeat, the Mander river basin, rather the opposite.

Andals came from Andalos, for example, and there Rhoynar from the Rhoyne river area. Valyrians from Valyria.

 

One example IRL, Cajuns came to the Louisiana territory as fugees from Acadia, in Canada, and were called Acadians, shortened to Cajuns over time.

It's a minor point, but I think any argument using the reverse logic would be a little shaky.

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George has put the cities on the map before he thought about the economy.

It is odd that Oldtown is at the mouth of the Honeywine and not at the mouth of the Mander - which is both the larger river as well as the one where more trade is likely to be done. Or why on earth is there no city at the mouth of the fucking Trident? It is the main trade road of the entire Riverlands, and surely ships from Essos and elsewhere would be landing there - or even go up as far as the river is navigable - to collect the goods the Riverlanders have to offer.

But the real freak city is Lannisport. How on earth could that grow literally at the end of the world? The gold might have drawn people there, sure, but why didn't the Ironborn permanently take it and Casterly Rock back in the days when they were really strong? How and why did the Ironborn allow trade in Lannisport to prosper? And why on earth did the Lannisters never make the Iron Islands part of the kingdom when they were essentially in their backyard? They were a constant threat to the trade of Lannisport.

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2 hours ago, Reekazoid said:

It's a minor point, but I think any argument using the reverse logic would be a little shaky.

OTL examples:

- Angles came to Britain -> England

- the Bojuvari came to Noricum - > Bavaria

- the Magyars came to Panonia -> Magyarország

- Goths came to North Iberia -> Catalonia

- Longobards came to Galia Cisalipjna -> Lombardy

- Bulgars came to Thrace - > Bulgaria

The list just goes on and on ...

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10 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The Andals only arrived around 2500 years ago, not 6000 years ago as suggested in Book 1.

Why is there a group of fans that takes the number 2500 as absolute fact, and the numbers 6000, 4000, and 2000 as implausible fantasy? There is even less evidence for the 2500 number than for any of the others.

And why do you think it makes such a difference? 2500 years is still ridiculously long. That's almost three times as long as the actual middle ages.

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13 hours ago, Sigella said:

Firstly the Arm broke 12 000 years ago, I'm thinking of the period of time after it broke.

Picture this:

Gardener-King: "Hey you have a port that lies much closer to Essos, wanna make a deal and sell our produce there and share the profits?"

Duskendale-merchant: "Sounds awesome, start shipping!"

How is this such an unthinkable scenario? I don't get the problem.

I'm also (for the most part) thinking of the period of time after the Arm broke. The suggestion really isn't feasible. I'll try to answer your question to the best of my ability, as I'm no expert. In addition to what @elder brother jonothor dar and @TMIFairy have said (as well as other posters who've made cogent points): 

Foremost: you are talking about a trade empire that requires the modern-day infrastructure and globalization to support! 

But I'll come back to that a little later. 

To start, I just want to ask... do you now agree that the time post-breaking of the Arm is irrelevant to Oldtown's founding? I'm not certain if you do, or if you're still arguing the point. 

As to your suggestion: 

I have already reminded you that you are inserting a (actually very many!) middleman, which is not a good way to do business if it can be avoided (and, with Oldtown, it can!). A businessman wants to trim the fat, so their steak (stake!) is as lean as it can be, so that he can enjoy the choicest cuts of the meat (his stake--his profits!) without having to share his supper with the next guy (not so much as a crumb, if he can help it!). 

What that translates to is: 

No, he is not going to ship his goods en masse to another port city when he has his own that he can use. Why not? Some very good reasons: 

1. It's too expensive, too difficult, and too dangerous! He will have to ship goods en masse to another port city, which requires the building of an incredibly massive fleet (and training, employing, and paying all the captains, oarsmen, and merchant guardsmen to defend it), as well as the building or employing of an incredibly massive coastal guardian/patrol fleet, to ensure that his goods aren't simply stolen from him on the high seas. And that's with him praying the gods don't see fit to scatter his fleet to the winds or sink it to the bottom of the sea! The logistics of this effort is mind-boggling--in fact, on the scale of a war effort! Look to the problem of Dany shipping her armies, animals, and supplies from Essos to Westeros to see the kind of logistical nightmare this would be. Look at the difficulty we encountered in shipping goods to Puerto Rico this last month, and that is with modern equipment, funding, and global volunteer efforts to relieve the island of this disaster, and you will see the logistical can of worms you are opening up. In Planetos, it simply cannot be done--physically nor financially. And as we have already agreed that sea travel is the best way to go, I don't think I have to argue the overland alternative here(?).

2. It's downright stupid. Think about this: when Robert Baratheon hosted the Tourney of the Hand, did he (and his city) make money or lose money? The city should have flourished in response to the Tourney of the Hand (especially with Martin's--quite illogical!--insistence that both Anguy the Archer (10,000 gold dragons, archery prize) and the Hound (40,000 gold dragons, joust 1st place) are said to have blown through a significant portion of their winnings on (nonsense!); no mention is made of Ser Loras Tyrell (20,000 gold dragons, joust 2nd place) or Unknown (20,000 gold dragons, melee) blowing through their winnings, but surely they celebrated somewhat, spending money in the city) and the boat-load of commerce brought to the city by all of its cheerful, celebrating, and victorious (or reverse, drowning their sorrows, maybe?) visitors to the city (and the merchant fair that almost-always accompanies a tourney; see Harrenhal, Lannisport Tourney--Maggy the Frog was selling spices at the tourney!). And when the city-dwellers have a little extra coin in their pockets, you know they're just as cheerful, celebrating, and victorious, and happy to spend a portion of it here and there on those things they needed, yearned for, coveted, or wished to splurge on but simply could not afford prior, as well as making plans to pay off debts/taxes and reinvest the other portion of their earnings, so as to increase their earnings in the future. Now, I go through all of this to remind you: having a flourishing and busy massive port city wherein you sell your produce and products that are coveted all across Westeros and Essos both, and get first access to or "first dibs" on coveted goods from around the world, you essentially are having a year-round "tourney"-style economic boost. The more visitors (merchants) you can get to your city, and get in a good mood in your city (cutting a good deal or making a long-term alliance or establishing a sound and prosperous business venture) and keep returning to your city (and experiencing that good mood again), the more money they are spending in your city and the more they are supporting (financially) you and your citizens. This is a factor, the incidental revenue, that cannot be understated. Why would any intelligent and successful businessman cut a deal with anyone that would send his incidental revenues to someone else's city, thereby making his own city obsolete? Why would any lord or king allow it? Imagine the tariffs or taxes or kickbacks that other city would have to pay to make up for this most injurious loss? Who could ever afford to pay it? Why would anyone agree to it? It's a crippling loss for the city that is losing the incidental revenue, and it's a crippling burden to account or adjust for for the city that must "make up the difference" just to get the former city to agree to this idea. 

3. It's doubly stupid. (I'm just making a pun, mind). As I said above, the loss of these visitors represent a financial loss, in both direct revenue and in incidental revenue. Well, the loss of these visitors also represents another grievous loss--the loss of cultural revenue and learning, which is probably more important than the financial gains! Port cities by nature require a clash of cultures, ideas, and equipment, and therefore port cities are often the first to expand the culture and infrastructure of a land. This is a by-product, another form of incidental revenue, that results from so many intelligent and successful (that is, goal-oriented, decision-making, and risk-managing!) minds gathering in one place to meet a direct aim. So, visitor A might bring a new-fangled and more efficient ship or compass or navigational technique with him, and visitor B might bring a language or idea or (scientific or cultural) method with him, and visitor C might bring a new ingredient or item with him that leads to or results in a scientific or cultural revolution. These things are important, and they spark important changes within the host culture. And in addition to that, the host culture is required to show their guest hospitality, which results in equal cultural exchange (so the visitors can take something back with them when they leave), as well as initiates important cultural habits or rights (like religious freedom, or freedom of expression/speech, or standardized legal systems) as merchants are less likely to divert their ships to a backward or barbaric land where they cannot expect human decency and sacred hospitality for the service they provide during their visit! This is a lot of bang for your buck, so it's highly unlikely any agreement could be reached that would divert all the financial and cultural gains to someone else's city (in someone else's country/kingdom!). 

4. It's bound to hit political roadblocks. And this, especially back when the Seven Kingdoms were composed of hundreds of petty kingdoms or even when it was only nine or so kingdoms. Say this agreement was made (against every "survival instinct" of the produce country)... what happens then? Who is responsible for shipping the goods? Protecting the goods? From pirates on the seas? From other petty kingdoms who are greedy for gain or angry they've been cut out of this lucrative deal? Who pays for all the additional middlemen? Why builds or employs the fleet needed to ship the goods? Who pays for it? Who trains and pays the captains and oarsmen and guardsmen? What happens when a ship is lost to pirates or the sea? Who's responsible for that? Who covers the loss (financial? the human loss?)? Who pays out the pensions? What happens when the weather turns? Who pays tribute to the bordering nations so they do not hire or empower privateers? So their massive fleet of ships can make berth in a storm, or shelter from pirates, or resupply? Who pays for resupply? What happens when a petty kingdom takes umbrage to this massive fleet sailing off its coast all the time? (For example in text, see the Iron Fleet's difficulty to resupply in Volantis, Dance, and Euron's statement to Victarion that no one would appreciate a fleet of all Ironborn ships trying to make berth in their harbor or even sailing off their coast or in their waters, Feast.) What happens when pirates or petty kings build false lighthouses to sabotage the fleet? What happens when a storm hits and their fleet washes up on the shores of a petty kingdom, who seizes its surviving elite ships and its coveted goods? (See Jon commandeering ships at Eastwatch and negotiating for Tycho Nestoris's ships--Stannis would have simply commandeered them? See Braavos commandeering the slave ships full of wildlings. See the false lighthouse at the Three Sisters, where Davos washes up.)  It's another logistics nightmare that requires a modern globalized community and extensive, secure, and safe/sturdy infrastructure to untangle. 

5. And after they--miraculously--get everything figured out, what happens when the king dies and his successor is unhappy with the current terms of the deal or thinks it too troublesome and not profitable enough, and wants to re-negotiate or--god forbid!--exit the arrangement altogether?

6. The market, that is the demand, simply isn't there to support the supply such a deal would flood into the host city, thereby immensely deflating the price of the goods, making many goods go to waste, and crippling the profit margin. Oldtown is a great and prosperous city, with many millennia of infrastructure building to support the supply flow, and many visitors and native citizens to create the demand for the supply flow. People are not only coming to Oldtown from across seas, but also from across the Reach and across Westeros. Oldtown was, for a long time, not only the largest city in Westeros, but also the most populous (only recently out-paced in population growth by King's Landing). These factors matter. Duskendale, on the other hand, is just a town, so what happens if you ship this massive supply there--and where are they to store it, having a smaller and less capable infrastructure than Oldtown? and how are they to protect it, having a smaller and perhaps less able/trained town guard than Oldtown?--and the ships don't come or come too late or simply cannot accommodate the goods in that stretch of their journey (ships have and do not divert from their schedules and trade routes)? Who is there in Duskendale and the surrounding environs to eat up this excess supply? At Oldtown, the city is supported by the population of the Reach (the most populous realm of the Seven Kingdoms), so there is already an increased demand just within the Reach itself. Then there are all the visitors, from Westeros and Essos. They're not going to stop visiting such an important port as Oldtown, even though Duskendale might be closer to some of their native countries, so long as Oldtown remains an active port city and safe harbor to make berth/resupply/purchase goods (so Oldtown would have to become completely obsolete to make this deal work). 

7. The harbor just isn't large enough to house the required massive fleet. Wherever you go on the eastern coast of Westeros, you will not find a harbor sufficient to house all the ships of the fleet needed just to get the goods there, let alone to house all of the ships of the merchant visitors come from all over the world to buy up the supply. Even King's Landing is said to be smaller than Oldtown (just more populous), and size matters. It's another crippling infrastructure problem. And expanding a habor is a labor-intensive, costly, and time-consuming affair. It can't be done overnight to satisfy this deal, and if they try to slap it together they'll soon regret it! (This is another indication to us that the market and work force and infrastructure simply isn't there to require such a deal let alone to make it profitable.)

Keep in mind, goods from the Reach are likely already sold in ports across Westeros, because they are so coveted, but just not in the way or the quantity you think they should be. All the factors and reasons above make such a deal or such massive quantity impossible in Planetos. Your suggestion requires globalized economy, globalized community, and modern equipment and infrastructure to work, elsewise it will simply crumple upon itself, with a hefty price tag (and loss of limb and loss of life!) for the trouble. :dunno:

 

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12 hours ago, Lady Hightower said:

I believe not only the port was critical for the growth of Oldtown, but also the Citadel.

The Citadel was founded during the Age of The Heroes, before the Andals came to Westeros, which is weird considering that the first men didn´t use writting, only runes. The children of the forest and the first men lived in harmony at that time, perhaps the Citadel first purpose was to gather knowledge they acquired through the children, like healing arts and construction methods. People started to travel to Oldtown seeking for the cure of many dieases. The more visitors Oldtown received the more taxes the lords of the port collected and the city kept growing.

After the Andals invasion, Oldtown lost its contact with the children, but on the other hand they started using writting to record all the knoledge and as time passed the histories from the children were forgotten, however the Citadel started to change into the current university model.

The question is, nowadays the Citadel is only finnaced by House Hightower or they receive some contributions from the other lords from the seven kingdons?

I agree. The Citadel increases the cultural and scientific trade between the host city and its visitors, making Oldtown a prime location to flourish into the largest city (and once, the most populous) in Westeros. Now, not only are merchants traveling to Oldtown to exploit the financial gains, but also scholars are traveling to Oldtown (from all over Westeros, and perhaps even from all over the world to access its library) to exploit this knowledge base, which will also serve any king, lord, or merchant or inventor seeking to make his business more efficient. 

As for where their funding comes from... I believe there is a fee prospective-maesters have to pay to study there, which is why only the wealthy seem able to afford it (not to mention having to pay their cost of living). Maybe there's a fee to access the library for any non-maester or -acolyte. Maybe they receive funding from the King of Westeros, in exchange for filling the "Grand Maester" position, or simply as a benefactor of arts and culture. Maybe they accepted donations (in books or funding) from petty kings back in the day, or from lords who wish to be benefactors of arts and culture. Maybe they're permitted a portion of the taxes from Oldtown for their upkeep and maintenance (like the Watch has the Gift and New Gift). Maybe there's a fee for maesters/lords to request "precedent-reviews" from the Citadel (whenever a challenging matter arises) or book loans. Maybe there's a fee for seasonal raven-upkeep (for transporting the white ravens to the Citadel, not for sending them) or other raven-craft (again, transporting ravens from their native castles to the Citadel regularly). Maybe maesters are paid a fee for their services to a castle and the Citadel earns a portion of that (like a tax) for being the central service agency, the main library, the record keepers, and the precedent reviewers and advisory board. Lots of maybes. :shrugs: 

 

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Or why on earth is there no city at the mouth of the fucking Trident? It is the main trade road of the entire Riverlands, and surely ships from Essos and elsewhere would be landing there - or even go up as far as the river is navigable - to collect the goods the Riverlanders have to offer.

But the real freak city is Lannisport. How on earth could that grow literally at the end of the world? The gold might have drawn people there, sure, but why didn't the Ironborn permanently take it and Casterly Rock back in the days when they were really strong? How and why did the Ironborn allow trade in Lannisport to prosper? And why on earth did the Lannisters never make the Iron Islands part of the kingdom when they were essentially in their backyard? They were a constant threat to the trade of Lannisport.

You have Saltpans and Maidenpool on the Trident all Riverlands trade would flow through them, they have not grown to city size probably due to the unstable nature of the region.

Why is any border where it is?  How can a small nation survive next to a bigger stronger one?

I have no doubt the Iron Born did try to conquer Lannisport, and the west would have loved to eradicate the Iron Born.

So we know Lannisport was too well defended for the Iron Born to take and the west was too weak to swallow the Iron islands.

Borders can move with time but often have a natural resting zone,  take a look a map of Europe through the centuries there are some surprising underdog nations that maintain or restablish their borders next to vastly superior neighbours over a long time

Technology seems to stand still too so conquering your neighbours then subduing them is hard work

Why Lannisport I would guess 'center' of the Westerland due to rich gold mines allowing for strong castle, gold and castle allowed the Casterlys to conquer surrounding petty kingdoms to form the Westerland.  Having established itself as the capital started to grow and by chance was an ideal location to develop a port due to natural features.

As the world becomes a smaller place (last 300 years) Lannisport finds itself in the wrong side of the map and it's influence starts to deteriorate (or to be exact is overtaken by Kings Landings rapid growth), should the mines run dry it might even start to shrink

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12 hours ago, TheSeason said:

I'm also (for the most part) thinking of the period of time after the Arm broke. The suggestion really isn't feasible. I'll try to answer your question to the best of my ability, as I'm no expert. In addition to what @elder brother jonothor dar and @TMIFairy have said (as well as other posters who've made cogent points): 

Foremost: you are talking about a trade empire that requires the modern-day infrastructure and globalization to support! 

But I'll come back to that a little later. 

To start, I just want to ask... do you now agree that the time post-breaking of the Arm is irrelevant to Oldtown's founding? I'm not certain if you do, or if you're still arguing the point. 

As to your suggestion: 

I have already reminded you that you are inserting a (actually very many!) middleman, which is not a good way to do business if it can be avoided (and, with Oldtown, it can!). A businessman wants to trim the fat, so their steak (stake!) is as lean as it can be, so that he can enjoy the choicest cuts of the meat (his stake--his profits!) without having to share his supper with the next guy (not so much as a crumb, if he can help it!). 

What that translates to is: 

No, he is not going to ship his goods en masse to another port city when he has his own that he can use. Why not? Some very good reasons: 

1. It's too expensive, too difficult, and too dangerous! He will have to ship goods en masse to another port city, which requires the building of an incredibly massive fleet (and training, employing, and paying all the captains, oarsmen, and merchant guardsmen to defend it), as well as the building or employing of an incredibly massive coastal guardian/patrol fleet, to ensure that his goods aren't simply stolen from him on the high seas. And that's with him praying the gods don't see fit to scatter his fleet to the winds or sink it to the bottom of the sea! The logistics of this effort is mind-boggling--in fact, on the scale of a war effort! Look to the problem of Dany shipping her armies, animals, and supplies from Essos to Westeros to see the kind of logistical nightmare this would be. Look at the difficulty we encountered in shipping goods to Puerto Rico this last month, and that is with modern equipment, funding, and global volunteer efforts to relieve the island of this disaster, and you will see the logistical can of worms you are opening up. In Planetos, it simply cannot be done--physically nor financially. And as we have already agreed that sea travel is the best way to go, I don't think I have to argue the overland alternative here(?).

2. It's downright stupid. Think about this: when Robert Baratheon hosted the Tourney of the Hand, did he (and his city) make money or lose money? The city should have flourished in response to the Tourney of the Hand (especially with Martin's--quite illogical!--insistence that both Anguy the Archer (10,000 gold dragons, archery prize) and the Hound (40,000 gold dragons, joust 1st place) are said to have blown through a significant portion of their winnings on (nonsense!); no mention is made of Ser Loras Tyrell (20,000 gold dragons, joust 2nd place) or Unknown (20,000 gold dragons, melee) blowing through their winnings, but surely they celebrated somewhat, spending money in the city) and the boat-load of commerce brought to the city by all of its cheerful, celebrating, and victorious (or reverse, drowning their sorrows, maybe?) visitors to the city (and the merchant fair that almost-always accompanies a tourney; see Harrenhal, Lannisport Tourney--Maggy the Frog was selling spices at the tourney!). And when the city-dwellers have a little extra coin in their pockets, you know they're just as cheerful, celebrating, and victorious, and happy to spend a portion of it here and there on those things they needed, yearned for, coveted, or wished to splurge on but simply could not afford prior, as well as making plans to pay off debts/taxes and reinvest the other portion of their earnings, so as to increase their earnings in the future. Now, I go through all of this to remind you: having a flourishing and busy massive port city wherein you sell your produce and products that are coveted all across Westeros and Essos both, and get first access to or "first dibs" on coveted goods from around the world, you essentially are having a year-round "tourney"-style economic boost. The more visitors (merchants) you can get to your city, and get in a good mood in your city (cutting a good deal or making a long-term alliance or establishing a sound and prosperous business venture) and keep returning to your city (and experiencing that good mood again), the more money they are spending in your city and the more they are supporting (financially) you and your citizens. This is a factor, the incidental revenue, that cannot be understated. Why would any intelligent and successful businessman cut a deal with anyone that would send his incidental revenues to someone else's city, thereby making his own city obsolete? Why would any lord or king allow it? Imagine the tariffs or taxes or kickbacks that other city would have to pay to make up for this most injurious loss? Who could ever afford to pay it? Why would anyone agree to it? It's a crippling loss for the city that is losing the incidental revenue, and it's a crippling burden to account or adjust for for the city that must "make up the difference" just to get the former city to agree to this idea. 

3. It's doubly stupid. (I'm just making a pun, mind). As I said above, the loss of these visitors represent a financial loss, in both direct revenue and in incidental revenue. Well, the loss of these visitors also represents another grievous loss--the loss of cultural revenue and learning, which is probably more important than the financial gains! Port cities by nature require a clash of cultures, ideas, and equipment, and therefore port cities are often the first to expand the culture and infrastructure of a land. This is a by-product, another form of incidental revenue, that results from so many intelligent and successful (that is, goal-oriented, decision-making, and risk-managing!) minds gathering in one place to meet a direct aim. So, visitor A might bring a new-fangled and more efficient ship or compass or navigational technique with him, and visitor B might bring a language or idea or (scientific or cultural) method with him, and visitor C might bring a new ingredient or item with him that leads to or results in a scientific or cultural revolution. These things are important, and they spark important changes within the host culture. And in addition to that, the host culture is required to show their guest hospitality, which results in equal cultural exchange (so the visitors can take something back with them when they leave), as well as initiates important cultural habits or rights (like religious freedom, or freedom of expression/speech, or standardized legal systems) as merchants are less likely to divert their ships to a backward or barbaric land where they cannot expect human decency and sacred hospitality for the service they provide during their visit! This is a lot of bang for your buck, so it's highly unlikely any agreement could be reached that would divert all the financial and cultural gains to someone else's city (in someone else's country/kingdom!). 

4. It's bound to hit political roadblocks. And this, especially back when the Seven Kingdoms were composed of hundreds of petty kingdoms or even when it was only nine or so kingdoms. Say this agreement was made (against every "survival instinct" of the produce country)... what happens then? Who is responsible for shipping the goods? Protecting the goods? From pirates on the seas? From other petty kingdoms who are greedy for gain or angry they've been cut out of this lucrative deal? Who pays for all the additional middlemen? Why builds or employs the fleet needed to ship the goods? Who pays for it? Who trains and pays the captains and oarsmen and guardsmen? What happens when a ship is lost to pirates or the sea? Who's responsible for that? Who covers the loss (financial? the human loss?)? Who pays out the pensions? What happens when the weather turns? Who pays tribute to the bordering nations so they do not hire or empower privateers? So their massive fleet of ships can make berth in a storm, or shelter from pirates, or resupply? Who pays for resupply? What happens when a petty kingdom takes umbrage to this massive fleet sailing off its coast all the time? (For example in text, see the Iron Fleet's difficulty to resupply in Volantis, Dance, and Euron's statement to Victarion that no one would appreciate a fleet of all Ironborn ships trying to make berth in their harbor or even sailing off their coast or in their waters, Feast.) What happens when pirates or petty kings build false lighthouses to sabotage the fleet? What happens when a storm hits and their fleet washes up on the shores of a petty kingdom, who seizes its surviving elite ships and its coveted goods? (See Jon commandeering ships at Eastwatch and negotiating for Tycho Nestoris's ships--Stannis would have simply commandeered them? See Braavos commandeering the slave ships full of wildlings. See the false lighthouse at the Three Sisters, where Davos washes up.)  It's another logistics nightmare that requires a modern globalized community and extensive, secure, and safe/sturdy infrastructure to untangle. 

5. And after they--miraculously--get everything figured out, what happens when the king dies and his successor is unhappy with the current terms of the deal or thinks it too troublesome and not profitable enough, and wants to re-negotiate or--god forbid!--exit the arrangement altogether?

6. The market, that is the demand, simply isn't there to support the supply such a deal would flood into the host city, thereby immensely deflating the price of the goods, making many goods go to waste, and crippling the profit margin. Oldtown is a great and prosperous city, with many millennia of infrastructure building to support the supply flow, and many visitors and native citizens to create the demand for the supply flow. People are not only coming to Oldtown from across seas, but also from across the Reach and across Westeros. Oldtown was, for a long time, not only the largest city in Westeros, but also the most populous (only recently out-paced in population growth by King's Landing). These factors matter. Duskendale, on the other hand, is just a town, so what happens if you ship this massive supply there--and where are they to store it, having a smaller and less capable infrastructure than Oldtown? and how are they to protect it, having a smaller and perhaps less able/trained town guard than Oldtown?--and the ships don't come or come too late or simply cannot accommodate the goods in that stretch of their journey (ships have and do not divert from their schedules and trade routes)? Who is there in Duskendale and the surrounding environs to eat up this excess supply? At Oldtown, the city is supported by the population of the Reach (the most populous realm of the Seven Kingdoms), so there is already an increased demand just within the Reach itself. Then there are all the visitors, from Westeros and Essos. They're not going to stop visiting such an important port as Oldtown, even though Duskendale might be closer to some of their native countries, so long as Oldtown remains an active port city and safe harbor to make berth/resupply/purchase goods (so Oldtown would have to become completely obsolete to make this deal work). 

7. The harbor just isn't large enough to house the required massive fleet. Wherever you go on the eastern coast of Westeros, you will not find a harbor sufficient to house all the ships of the fleet needed just to get the goods there, let alone to house all of the ships of the merchant visitors come from all over the world to buy up the supply. Even King's Landing is said to be smaller than Oldtown (just more populous), and size matters. It's another crippling infrastructure problem. And expanding a habor is a labor-intensive, costly, and time-consuming affair. It can't be done overnight to satisfy this deal, and if they try to slap it together they'll soon regret it! (This is another indication to us that the market and work force and infrastructure simply isn't there to require such a deal let alone to make it profitable.)

Keep in mind, goods from the Reach are likely already sold in ports across Westeros, because they are so coveted, but just not in the way or the quantity you think they should be. All the factors and reasons above make such a deal or such massive quantity impossible in Planetos. Your suggestion requires globalized economy, globalized community, and modern equipment and infrastructure to work, elsewise it will simply crumple upon itself, with a hefty price tag (and loss of limb and loss of life!) for the trouble. :dunno:

 

Nope.

Not sure I understand the question, but I'll answer your literal point: No I don't think the founding of Oldtown has anything to do with what happened after it was built. How could it?

Here you are inserting real world capitalism in a feudal society, which doesn't work. Capitalism sprung from puritan christian ideals (and the Iron Bank of Braavos might represent that) but otherwise you are implementing non-existing principles.

1. Thats is too general. If it were true nobody would ever do anything at all. If applied it would argue against barging stuff down the Honeywine and no foreign ships would ever visit Westeros anyways :D 

2. Over-complicating things is stupid too. See 1.

3. You are assuming to much - trade wouldn't die in Oldtown because it trades with Duskendale - a trade-agreement wouldn't destroy everything like a bloody flux - and why would merchants give a hoot about Oldtown as a whole if they can make more money trading in Duskendale as well? 

4. Oldtown trading grains with Duskendale wouldn't make any difference in this regard as Citadel and Starry Sept still stands.

5. So the new King decides he doesn't want these higher incomes? That decision would be, as you say it, stupid.

6. Storage isnt really a problem. Neither are any of your other arguments.

7. Yikes... Building a better harbour (and storage and all the rest) isn't impossible you know...

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16 hours ago, falcotron said:

Why is there a group of fans that takes the number 2500 as absolute fact, and the numbers 6000, 4000, and 2000 as implausible fantasy? There is even less evidence for the 2500 number than for any of the others.

Well, I don't think you are familiar with the relevant evidence, based on that statement. I am happy to elaborate if there is sufficient interest.

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13 hours ago, Sigella said:

Nope.

Not sure I understand the question, but I'll answer your literal point: No I don't think the founding of Oldtown has anything to do with what happened after it was built. How could it?

Here you are inserting real world capitalism in a feudal society, which doesn't work. Capitalism sprung from puritan christian ideals (and the Iron Bank of Braavos might represent that) but otherwise you are implementing non-existing principles.

1. Thats is too general. If it were true nobody would ever do anything at all. If applied it would argue against barging stuff down the Honeywine and no foreign ships would ever visit Westeros anyways :D 

2. Over-complicating things is stupid too. See 1.

3. You are assuming to much - trade wouldn't die in Oldtown because it trades with Duskendale - a trade-agreement wouldn't destroy everything like a bloody flux - and why would merchants give a hoot about Oldtown as a whole if they can make more money trading in Duskendale as well? 

4. Oldtown trading grains with Duskendale wouldn't make any difference in this regard as Citadel and Starry Sept still stands.

5. So the new King decides he doesn't want these higher incomes? That decision would be, as you say it, stupid.

6. Storage isnt really a problem. Neither are any of your other arguments.

7. Yikes... Building a better harbour (and storage and all the rest) isn't impossible you know...

You are talking about a trade empire that requires a modern day infrastructure and globalized community to support... or else it would already be in place in Planetos. You are understating things, I'm not over-complicating anything. Your suggestion is not feasible. Cannot say that too many different ways, so, we might be at an impasse, and it's for you to do some research and answer your own question. I'd like to see how you'd make your suggestion actually work, because a single merchant telling a foreign king to "start shipping!" isn't sufficient. 

My question is, are you still arguing your OP, that Oldtown is "weird" because you think it's too big to be in the location that it's in. The founding of Oldtown happened pre-Arm breaking, pre-Valyrian empire and its Free Cities, maybe even pre-expansion wars of Old Ghis (not certain of timeline on this empire), so it isn't improperly placed as the largest city on the wrong side of Westeros, nor does it make less sense that the most fertile and most populous region of Westeros would house the largest and most populous city of Westeros (pre-KL), and there's no comparable elite trade post outside of KL on the Narrow Sea, nor any trade post that produces such coveted items worldwide on the Narrow Sea, so there's no reason for Oldtown to be eclipsed. At most you should ask why Oldtown is on the Honeywine or why there's no sister city on the larger Mander. (That, I cannot answer for you, and I do not think anyone can, outside of suggesting that Martin made a flub with his map.)

I'm not inserting modern day capitalism into the equation, I'm inserting basic human emotion and rationality (greed) into the equation. How often do you let another adult eat off your plate? (And not just a nibble, either, but a fifty-fifty split of a serving meant for one, satisfying his hunger at the expense of your own satisfaction.) Perhaps you object to my use of the term "businessman," so let's remove him from the question altogether. 

Quote

I'm I have already reminded you that you are inserting a (actually very many!) middleman, which is not a good way to do business if it can be avoided (and, with Oldtown, it can!). A king wants to trim the fat, so their steak (stake!) is as lean as it can be, so that he can enjoy the choicest cuts of the meat (his stake--his profits!) without having to share his supper with the next king of a rival kingdom (not so much as a crumb, if he can help it!). 

The principle remains the same. Human greed (whether based upon the entitlement and self-preservation and greed of kings or businessmen) will cut out as many middlemen as is humanly possible, so the king doesn't have to share his earnings with another. 

This principle is what makes peasants in Westeros de facto slaves. The kings and lords are cutting out the common-men instead of the middlemen, despite the fact that commoners do all the work and produce all the goods. So a de facto slave (peasant) might be entitled to a portion of his grain harvest to eat year-round (just to keep the de facto slave/peasant alive for the coming harvest, not out of generosity or charity or respect for human dignity and human rights), but he's not entitled to share in the bounteous profits from selling that grain, nor any tariff or tax. 

This principle, however, is also what's crippling Westeros scientifically and technologically. The de facto slave/peasant isn't going to break his back to make a new, more efficient plow so his lord or king can reap a greater harvest and enjoy greater profits, whilst he's left hungry and cold in his hovel, working the land and sending his even more bounteous harvest away for someone else to make more silver off of. The de facto slave/peasant has so little to gain from his lord's/king's greedy ways that he never tries to improve the situation, even though he might have an inkling how (by putting in the work; the lord/king meanwhile, who doesn't put in any work, can't figure out how to make the process more efficient and prosperous). He knows his labor and all its fruit belong to someone else, so his lord will simply "take" that plow as part of his tax, make money off of it, and give one back to him next year to plow the field, whilst never rewarding him for his troubles. (It takes something much more significant for a lord to uplift a "baseborn" vassal, e.g., the kennelmaster saving Tytos's life from a lion, losing a leg(!) in the process, and being raised to knighthood and awarded lands and a keep of his own--and it's uncertain in this instance if the kennelmaster was already technically a noble; that is, where did the name "Clegane" come from? Or Davos Seaworth, perhaps a better example, saving the lives of the garrison of Storm's End during the rebellion by smuggling in onions, potatos, and carrots; we're told Davos chose "Seaworth" as a surname. In both cases, uplifting the vassal was not entitled to the vassal, but left to the whim of the overlord.)

As to the rest: 

1. It's not too general. I'm answering a specific question with a specific reason why it isn't feasible: risk management. I followed up my "general" statement (too expensive, too difficult, too dangerous) with specific examples of why each descriptor fits. You have to build a new fleet, you have to build a bigger harbor, you have train new oarsmen, you have to train and equip new guardsmen, you have to expand your coastal patrol (more ships, more men, more money), all the while vastly increasing your risk. Pirates will target your ships (loaded down with a country's worth of goods) instead of the singular merchant on his way to Oldtown or Lannisport after a long journey on the trade route (less cargo or less expensive cargo), petty kings might take offense or grow greedy and sabotage you with bad lighthouses or privateers, when the weather turns and your ships sink you lose much more than before, etc. You have to build bigger and better storage and pay men to protect it (because, no, Duskendale does not have the capacity to house the mass of goods taken from Oldtown. It's never had to before. Why build grain silos if you plan to leave them empty?). Just because you're willing to take a risk to accomplish one goal doesn't mean you're willing to scale-up that risk to accomplish an unfeasible one. Risk management is hardly stupid, it's smart, and integral to the survival mechanism. What you're arguing is that because you're willing to take on one risk to achieve any reasonable goal, you should be willing to take on all risks to achieve any unreasonable goal.

2. You might think the Citadel (which draws in a limited number of visitors, usually wealthy prospective maesters, mostly from Westeros itself) and the Starry Sept (more likely to attract wealthy Westerosi pilgrims who worship the Seven)  is enough to carry the cost of that lost incidental revenue, but quite frankly, it isn't. The merchant in his spiffy new ship might mingle with other merchants, sailors, customs agents, shipbuilders, lordlings, etc., but he's probably not making a stop at the Citadel or the Starry Sept. The potshop or tavern owner, or baker, doesn't get to learn a tasty new recipe at the Citadel, he learns it by befriending the sailor who misses the tastes of home. The common-born civil servant doesn't learn a revolutionary new way to govern at the Citadel, he learns it by encountering a learned foreigner who argues passionately for his release after a minor bout of legal trouble caused by drinking too much to celebrate his sales. Within decades, or maybe even years, they will begin to feel the crunch from that lost incidental revenue by making their city obsolete. You see it on all scales, when big business (wealth and prosperity) leaves a place, so do civil services, entire cultures, institutions of higher learning, and everything else. Eventually the infrastructure crumbles and monuments fall into disrepair (for want of funds to maintain them, for want of interest in preserving them and history) and the place becomes a sad backwater. Economics are inherently tied to social class, on the individual level, the group level, the city level, the regional level, and the national or continental level. In the modern day we have words like "socioeconomic" or (formerly) "First, Second, and Third World" or (currently) "Developed" or "Developing" nations to describe how tightly these two factors are tied together. In more ancient times we used words like "civilized" and "savage/barbarian" and "uncivilized" or "empire" and "backwater" or "barbarian lands" or even "wilderness" to describe this difference. Stripping a place of its wealth will inevitably strip it of its learning and culture, because only the wealthy have the privilege to care about learning and culture. 

3. I'm not assuming that trade would die in Oldtown. If Oldtown ships most of its precious goods to Duskendale because Duskendale is closer to the Narrow Sea, Duskendale will grow and flourish, and Oldtown will wither and rot. Do you stop at the second supermarket that's well across town when you're already on the way home after you've picked up everything on your shopping list at the local supermarket? Goods would have to be moved en masse (an incredible surplus) to make your deal workable, which means you're stripping those goods from Oldtown and shuffling them over to Duskendale, which becomes the "hotspot" of trade that Oldtown once was (simply because Oldtown now has much less to offer). It's your suggestion. If you find it unworkable... :idea:I agree. You should answer your own question in the reverse: currently merchants are making money hand-over-fist at Oldtown, so why should they give a hoot about smaller, poorer Duskendale? Currently Oldtown natives are making money hand-over-fist at Oldtown, so why should they give a hoot about far-away Duskendale?

4. I'm sorry? What do the Citadel and the Starry Sept have to do with hitting unnavigable political roadblocks?

5. There aren't any higher incomes to speak of. That's the point. So no, the new king (either one of them) would not be happy with this deal (neither would either of the old kings, for that matter). And they'd be very smart to see that they're paying out the wazoo in a vain attempt to make it work. You're trying to equate the sales at a single convenience store with the net incomes of the multi-billion dollar convenience empire itself, and that just doesn't fly. Yes, net incomes can be at a net loss rather than a net gain, and when they are, the business goes under or something's (they old way of doing things) gotta give. 

6. Storage is a huge problem (as are all of my other arguments). Duskendale, a mere port town, was built to hold (product) to satisfy local and overseas interests for, say, 300,000 people, and has suffered from centuries of decline, including Aegon II burning its harbor. Oldtown, a massive metropolitan port city, was built to store (product) to satisfy local and overseas interests for, say 1.5 million people (500k for Oldtown itself, 350k for local environs, and the remainder for other Westerosi and overseas clients). If Oldtown ships (product) to satisfy the interests of even 100,000 people to Duskendale, they will not be able to store it, for lacking the infrastructure. Keep in mind, Duskendale is still hosting its own (product) because your deal doesn't include significant reciprocity, so Oldtown-(product) travels to Duskendale to sit on top of Duskendale-(product). Now Duskendale has to accommodate the interests of 400k people on infrastructure built to satisfy 300k. But, luckily for Duskendale, this deal can't take place because it would require a lot more Oldtown-(product) to even make it worth the effort in the first place. 

7. Yikes! No, it's not impossible, but it's neither cheap nor easy. Rome wasn't built in a day, like you think Duskendale should be. And who should pay for the insane costs of this massive overhaul of Duskendale's infrastructure? How can Duskendale afford to expand its harbor, storage and other infrastructure, practically overnight to accommodate this deal, even before they've enjoyed any of the benefits (increased profits) of it? Money won't roll in overnight. They'll be in debt for decades, maybe a century or more, before the net profits (in the black) have accounted for the massive red (debt) they've accrued to get the deal off the ground. Simply, they're biting off more than they can chew. They've got steak on the brain, so they've gone and bit the cow. Unfortunately for them, the cow bites back. So, you tell me how the people of Duskendale could afford this massive infrastructure project, even within a single century(!), because from what I see of Planetos, even King Jaehaerys, who ruled for half a century, couldn't afford to build a sufficient set of roads in Westeros, and in fact piggy-backed off of already existing dirt tracks

So, maybe we are at an impasse, maybe not. This is my last attempt to make common cause with you, and your answer will tell me if you're willing to break before you bend. I've told you why I think it wouldn't work, so I'd like to see how you could make it work. Maybe you're an economic genius and I'm still cramming for night school. :cheers:

 

 

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13 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, I don't think you are familiar with the relevant evidence, based on that statement. I am happy to elaborate if there is sufficient interest.

If you're talking about the theory in, e.g., this thread or this one, then I'm familiar with it. People start off showing that certain bits of history are unreliable, and then come up with the number 2500 by taking some of those bits as absolute truth while ignoring others, and the end result is less plausible than the 4000 (or 6000 or 2000) they rejected. Do you have something else to link to?

And meanwhile, you're ignoring the more important part. Why do you think that something that changing it to 2500 solves anything? Every time it's brought up to explain away why 4000 years is way, way too long without X happening, 2500 years is still way, way too long without X happening. Here you're actually doing the reverse of the usual, saying that Oldtown was already 5500 years old instead of 2000, which not only fails to explain away the problem you're dismissing, but actually makes it worse.

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51 minutes ago, falcotron said:

If you're talking about the theory in, e.g., this thread or this one, then I'm familiar with it. People start off showing that certain bits of history are unreliable, and then come up with the number 2500 by taking some of those bits as absolute truth while ignoring others, and the end result is less plausible than the 4000 (or 6000 or 2000) they rejected. Do you have something else to link to?

And meanwhile, you're ignoring the more important part. Why do you think that something that changing it to 2500 solves anything? Every time it's brought up to explain away why 4000 years is way, way too long without X happening, 2500 years is still way, way too long without X happening. Here you're actually doing the reverse of the usual, saying that Oldtown was already 5500 years old instead of 2000, which not only fails to explain away the problem you're dismissing, but actually makes it worse.

Just dealing with the last paragraph first. Everything in Ice and Fire takes longer than in our world. That's pretty much established as part of the world building. I don't think I'm following the rest of the paragraph clearly. From my point of view, by reducing the existence of a noteworthy Narrow Sea trade economy to the last millennium or two only, while extending the timeframe that Oldtown had existed and grown before that point, it strengthens the case for Oldtown's location. Oldtown's location and growth before that point was not based on the need to be close to the Narrow Sea, and thus by the time the Narrow Sea became a focal point for trade, Oldtown already had the critical mass to become a trade destination in itself, quite independent from its location relative to the Free Cities.

Anyway, that is not really the part that interests me. It's just a proposal to make Martin's Oldtown location fit into a historical context.

The more interesting part of your post which I was responding to was the debate over the evidence for dating the Andal migration. As I said, that's the part I would be happy to discuss in more detail, if there is sufficient interest. And the evidence leans more towards a date between 3000-2000 years ago than one that is in the 6000-4000 years ago timeframe.

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3 hours ago, TheSeason said:

You are talking about a trade empire that requires a modern day infrastructure and globalized community to support... or else it would already be in place in Planetos. You are understating things, I'm not over-complicating anything. Your suggestion is not feasible. Cannot say that too many different ways, so, we might be at an impasse, and it's for you to do some research and answer your own question. I'd like to see how you'd make your suggestion actually work, because a single merchant telling a foreign king to "start shipping!" isn't sufficient. 

My question is, are you still arguing your OP, that Oldtown is "weird" because you think it's too big to be in the location that it's in. The founding of Oldtown happened pre-Arm breaking, pre-Valyrian empire and its Free Cities, maybe even pre-expansion wars of Old Ghis (not certain of timeline on this empire), so it isn't improperly placed as the largest city on the wrong side of Westeros, nor does it make less sense that the most fertile and most populous region of Westeros would house the largest and most populous city of Westeros (pre-KL), and there's no comparable elite trade post outside of KL on the Narrow Sea, nor any trade post that produces such coveted items worldwide on the Narrow Sea, so there's no reason for Oldtown to be eclipsed. At most you should ask why Oldtown is on the Honeywine or why there's no sister city on the larger Mander. (That, I cannot answer for you, and I do not think anyone can, outside of suggesting that Martin made a flub with his map.)

I'm not inserting modern day capitalism into the equation, I'm inserting basic human emotion and rationality (greed) into the equation. How often do you let another adult eat off your plate? (And not just a nibble, either, but a fifty-fifty split of a serving meant for one, satisfying his hunger at the expense of your own satisfaction.) Perhaps you object to my use of the term "businessman," so let's remove him from the question altogether. 

The principle remains the same. Human greed (whether based upon the entitlement and self-preservation and greed of kings or businessmen) will cut out as many middlemen as is humanly possible, so the king doesn't have to share his earnings with another. 

This principle is what makes peasants in Westeros de facto slaves. The kings and lords are cutting out the common-men instead of the middlemen, despite the fact that commoners do all the work and produce all the goods. So a de facto slave (peasant) might be entitled to a portion of his grain harvest to eat year-round (just to keep the de facto slave/peasant alive for the coming harvest, not out of generosity or charity or respect for human dignity and human rights), but he's not entitled to share in the bounteous profits from selling that grain, nor any tariff or tax. 

This principle, however, is also what's crippling Westeros scientifically and technologically. The de facto slave/peasant isn't going to break his back to make a new, more efficient plow so his lord or king can reap a greater harvest and enjoy greater profits, whilst he's left hungry and cold in his hovel, working the land and sending his even more bounteous harvest away for someone else to make more silver off of. The de facto slave/peasant has so little to gain from his lord's/king's greedy ways that he never tries to improve the situation, even though he might have an inkling how (by putting in the work; the lord/king meanwhile, who doesn't put in any work, can't figure out how to make the process more efficient and prosperous). He knows his labor and all its fruit belong to someone else, so his lord will simply "take" that plow as part of his tax, make money off of it, and give one back to him next year to plow the field, whilst never rewarding him for his troubles. (It takes something much more significant for a lord to uplift a "baseborn" vassal, e.g., the kennelmaster saving Tytos's life from a lion, losing a leg(!) in the process, and being raised to knighthood and awarded lands and a keep of his own--and it's uncertain in this instance if the kennelmaster was already technically a noble; that is, where did the name "Clegane" come from? Or Davos Seaworth, perhaps a better example, saving the lives of the garrison of Storm's End during the rebellion by smuggling in onions, potatos, and carrots; we're told Davos chose "Seaworth" as a surname. In both cases, uplifting the vassal was not entitled to the vassal, but left to the whim of the overlord.)

As to the rest: 

1. It's not too general. I'm answering a specific question with a specific reason why it isn't feasible: risk management. I followed up my "general" statement (too expensive, too difficult, too dangerous) with specific examples of why each descriptor fits. You have to build a new fleet, you have to build a bigger harbor, you have train new oarsmen, you have to train and equip new guardsmen, you have to expand your coastal patrol (more ships, more men, more money), all the while vastly increasing your risk. Pirates will target your ships (loaded down with a country's worth of goods) instead of the singular merchant on his way to Oldtown or Lannisport after a long journey on the trade route (less cargo or less expensive cargo), petty kings might take offense or grow greedy and sabotage you with bad lighthouses or privateers, when the weather turns and your ships sink you lose much more than before, etc. You have to build bigger and better storage and pay men to protect it (because, no, Duskendale does not have the capacity to house the mass of goods taken from Oldtown. It's never had to before. Why build grain silos if you plan to leave them empty?). Just because you're willing to take a risk to accomplish one goal doesn't mean you're willing to scale-up that risk to accomplish an unfeasible one. Risk management is hardly stupid, it's smart, and integral to the survival mechanism. What you're arguing is that because you're willing to take on one risk to achieve any reasonable goal, you should be willing to take on all risks to achieve any unreasonable goal.

2. You might think the Citadel (which draws in a limited number of visitors, usually wealthy prospective maesters, mostly from Westeros itself) and the Starry Sept (more likely to attract wealthy Westerosi pilgrims who worship the Seven)  is enough to carry the cost of that lost incidental revenue, but quite frankly, it isn't. The merchant in his spiffy new ship might mingle with other merchants, sailors, customs agents, shipbuilders, lordlings, etc., but he's probably not making a stop at the Citadel or the Starry Sept. The potshop or tavern owner, or baker, doesn't get to learn a tasty new recipe at the Citadel, he learns it by befriending the sailor who misses the tastes of home. The common-born civil servant doesn't learn a revolutionary new way to govern at the Citadel, he learns it by encountering a learned foreigner who argues passionately for his release after a minor bout of legal trouble caused by drinking too much to celebrate his sales. Within decades, or maybe even years, they will begin to feel the crunch from that lost incidental revenue by making their city obsolete. You see it on all scales, when big business (wealth and prosperity) leaves a place, so do civil services, entire cultures, institutions of higher learning, and everything else. Eventually the infrastructure crumbles and monuments fall into disrepair (for want of funds to maintain them, for want of interest in preserving them and history) and the place becomes a sad backwater. Economics are inherently tied to social class, on the individual level, the group level, the city level, the regional level, and the national or continental level. In the modern day we have words like "socioeconomic" or (formerly) "First, Second, and Third World" or (currently) "Developed" or "Developing" nations to describe how tightly these two factors are tied together. In more ancient times we used words like "civilized" and "savage/barbarian" and "uncivilized" or "empire" and "backwater" or "barbarian lands" or even "wilderness" to describe this difference. Stripping a place of its wealth will inevitably strip it of its learning and culture, because only the wealthy have the privilege to care about learning and culture. 

3. I'm not assuming that trade would die in Oldtown. If Oldtown ships most of its precious goods to Duskendale because Duskendale is closer to the Narrow Sea, Duskendale will grow and flourish, and Oldtown will wither and rot. Do you stop at the second supermarket that's well across town when you're already on the way home after you've picked up everything on your shopping list at the local supermarket? Goods would have to be moved en masse (an incredible surplus) to make your deal workable, which means you're stripping those goods from Oldtown and shuffling them over to Duskendale, which becomes the "hotspot" of trade that Oldtown once was (simply because Oldtown now has much less to offer). It's your suggestion. If you find it unworkable... :idea:I agree. You should answer your own question in the reverse: currently merchants are making money hand-over-fist at Oldtown, so why should they give a hoot about smaller, poorer Duskendale? Currently Oldtown natives are making money hand-over-fist at Oldtown, so why should they give a hoot about far-away Duskendale?

4. I'm sorry? What do the Citadel and the Starry Sept have to do with hitting unnavigable political roadblocks?

5. There aren't any higher incomes to speak of. That's the point. So no, the new king (either one of them) would not be happy with this deal (neither would either of the old kings, for that matter). And they'd be very smart to see that they're paying out the wazoo in a vain attempt to make it work. You're trying to equate the sales at a single convenience store with the net incomes of the multi-billion dollar convenience empire itself, and that just doesn't fly. Yes, net incomes can be at a net loss rather than a net gain, and when they are, the business goes under or something's (they old way of doing things) gotta give. 

6. Storage is a huge problem (as are all of my other arguments). Duskendale, a mere port town, was built to hold (product) to satisfy local and overseas interests for, say, 300,000 people, and has suffered from centuries of decline, including Aegon II burning its harbor. Oldtown, a massive metropolitan port city, was built to store (product) to satisfy local and overseas interests for, say 1.5 million people (500k for Oldtown itself, 350k for local environs, and the remainder for other Westerosi and overseas clients). If Oldtown ships (product) to satisfy the interests of even 100,000 people to Duskendale, they will not be able to store it, for lacking the infrastructure. Keep in mind, Duskendale is still hosting its own (product) because your deal doesn't include significant reciprocity, so Oldtown-(product) travels to Duskendale to sit on top of Duskendale-(product). Now Duskendale has to accommodate the interests of 400k people on infrastructure built to satisfy 300k. But, luckily for Duskendale, this deal can't take place because it would require a lot more Oldtown-(product) to even make it worth the effort in the first place. 

7. Yikes! No, it's not impossible, but it's neither cheap nor easy. Rome wasn't built in a day, like you think Duskendale should be. And who should pay for the insane costs of this massive overhaul of Duskendale's infrastructure? How can Duskendale afford to expand its harbor, storage and other infrastructure, practically overnight to accommodate this deal, even before they've enjoyed any of the benefits (increased profits) of it? Money won't roll in overnight. They'll be in debt for decades, maybe a century or more, before the net profits (in the black) have accounted for the massive red (debt) they've accrued to get the deal off the ground. Simply, they're biting off more than they can chew. They've got steak on the brain, so they've gone and bit the cow. Unfortunately for them, the cow bites back. So, you tell me how the people of Duskendale could afford this massive infrastructure project, even within a single century(!), because from what I see of Planetos, even King Jaehaerys, who ruled for half a century, couldn't afford to build a sufficient set of roads in Westeros, and in fact piggy-backed off of already existing dirt tracks

So, maybe we are at an impasse, maybe not. This is my last attempt to make common cause with you, and your answer will tell me if you're willing to break before you bend. I've told you why I think it wouldn't work, so I'd like to see how you could make it work. Maybe you're an economic genius and I'm still cramming for night school. :cheers:

 

 

Yeah I feel this is a point when go "yes!" and "no!" back and forth in all infinity and thats a waste of space and energy both. 

Some flaws in your arguments though:

- all society's actually do change over time - its the normal course and arguing against all change with arguments like "storage", "no person would look for new ways to make money EVER" and "harbour is too small" aren't valid at all. 

- shipping stuff isnt impossible either and it does NOT require modern day logistics, arguing that it does is absurd.

- spewing out a billion phrases along the lines of: "They've got steak on the brain, so they've gone and bit the cow. Unfortunately for them, the cow bites back." isn't wholly convincing either I'm afraid :D 

- "Rome wasn't built in a day, like you think Duskendale should be." = this is an in absurdum fallacy fyi.

 

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On 4.10.2017 at 11:29 AM, elder brother jonothor dar said:

You have Saltpans and Maidenpool on the Trident all Riverlands trade would flow through them, they have not grown to city size probably due to the unstable nature of the region.

But that's just the thing - the Riverlands are rich as hell, and the Trident is navigable and is the major trade road in that region. The second or third largest city of the Realm should be at the mouth of the Trident. That's where Duskendale should have been. And, of course, there should also have been a town, or perhaps even a city, at the mouth of the Blackwater before KL was built. The Blackwater is a navigable, too.

Settlements, villages, towns, cities, etc. usually develop at or near rivers, especially large rivers.

On 4.10.2017 at 11:29 AM, elder brother jonothor dar said:

I have no doubt the Iron Born did try to conquer Lannisport, and the west would have loved to eradicate the Iron Born.

So we know Lannisport was too well defended for the Iron Born to take and the west was too weak to swallow the Iron islands.

But how is either of that possible. We know that the Ironborn ruled the entire western coast from Bear Island to the Arbor back in the day. Technically that must have included both Lannisport and Casterly Rock, right, since both places are part of the western coastline.

But no Ironborn king - or his representative - ever sat at Casterly Rock as far as we know, nor was Lannisport ever permanently under their power - unlike Oldtown, which actually sent tribute to the Iron Islands.

For Lannisport to prosper and develop into the second largest city in Westeros the ancient Lannisters and Westermen in general must have built a fleet as large and powerful as the Redwyne fleet - or even larger - to be able to protect all their merchant ships against Ironborn raiders and chase them out of their waters.

But if they did that they would also have had the strength to actually conquer the Iron Islands. In a realistic setting there would have been constant war between the West and the Islands until the Lannisters decided to solve the problem for good simply killing all or most of the Ironborn and transferring the survivors off the Iron Islands on the mainland where they could learn to behave like proper human beings.

In addition, the Ironborn effectively raided all along the western coasts of Westeros until the Conquest. How on earth could it have been attractive to trade with Lannisport if sailing there meant to sail through hundreds of leagues of Ironborn-controlled territory? The major goods Lannisport is exporting is gold jewelry and other stuff made out of gold. How are such ships not the most searched after prizes of the Ironborn?

On 4.10.2017 at 11:29 AM, elder brother jonothor dar said:

Borders can move with time but often have a natural resting zone,  take a look a map of Europe through the centuries there are some surprising underdog nations that maintain or restablish their borders next to vastly superior neighbours over a long time.

Well, this has mostly to do with the feudal setting of the middle ages and early modern times. Europe was controlled by a handful of royal and noble families and lands went with the titles. Territories were rather seldom taken by conquest. If you won a war you usually claimed only a fraction of the territory the losing monarch or prince controlled.

On 4.10.2017 at 11:29 AM, elder brother jonothor dar said:

Why Lannisport I would guess 'center' of the Westerland due to rich gold mines allowing for strong castle, gold and castle allowed the Casterlys to conquer surrounding petty kingdoms to form the Westerland.  Having established itself as the capital started to grow and by chance was an ideal location to develop a port due to natural features.

The Casterlys were rich as hell but they never wore crowns. Lann's descendants established Lannisport leaving Casterly Rock.

But the point is that gold does not help you found a thriving city if the people buying your stuff risk losing everything in the attempt to get to you. And why on earth didn't those ancient powerful Ironborn kings not throw their entire might against the Lannisters, overwhelming them by sheer force and ferocity? I mean, the West is essentially the backyard of the Ironborn. It is what the Cuba and the Caribbean are for the US. And considering that the West is rich as hell huge chunks of it - and perhaps even the entire West - should have been under Ironborn control more than just a couple of times.

When the first Ironborn began to conquer land in Westeros their main - and only - target should have been the gold-rich and fertile West. What else to you need when you have conquered those lands?

On 4.10.2017 at 11:29 AM, elder brother jonothor dar said:

As the world becomes a smaller place (last 300 years) Lannisport finds itself in the wrong side of the map and it's influence starts to deteriorate (or to be exact is overtaken by Kings Landings rapid growth), should the mines run dry it might even start to shrink

Well, technically it should have gotten a real boost after the Conquest considering that Aegon took care of the Ironborn.

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Sigella said:

Yeah I feel this is a point when go "yes!" and "no!" back and forth in all infinity and thats a waste of space and energy both. 

Some flaws in your arguments though:

- all society's actually do change over time - its the normal course and arguing against all change with arguments like "storage", "no person would look for new ways to make money EVER" and "harbour is too small" aren't valid at all. 

- shipping stuff isnt impossible either and it does NOT require modern day logistics, arguing that it does is absurd.

- spewing out a billion phrases along the lines of: "They've got steak on the brain, so they've gone and bit the cow. Unfortunately for them, the cow bites back." isn't wholly convincing either I'm afraid :D 

- "Rome wasn't built in a day, like you think Duskendale should be." = this is an in absurdum fallacy fyi.

 

I noticed you didn't bother to actually answer any of my questions, or proffer a valid argument in favor of your own stance (only attempting to dismiss me out of hand and roll your eyes like you think no debate is necessary, the points I made are so absurd) so yeah, we're at an impasse. I'm satisfied I answered your question three times over, and since you refuse to engage, all I can do is wash my hands. It's evident to me you're not interested in a debate or a serious answer to your question, but in reaffirmation of your supposition. 

Since you brought up those "flaws" (my rebuttal, for anyone else who might deign to read this exchange): 

1. I never said "change" was avoidable (and your supposition isn't about "change" at all; it's about a refusal to accept the good reasons why Duskendale is a mere port town and Oldtown is a flourishing metropolitan city).  I said change (that is, your trade empire) can't be forced (overnight, without immense effort or funding) simply because you wish it to be. Change also includes decline, which is the kind of change that happened in Duskendale. Sometimes places like Duskendale do bounce back, but natives to other cities, regions, nations, and kingdoms rarely pay for it (and it's only in the last three hundred years that Oldtown and Duskendale were in the same kingdom). Oldtown is flourishing, Duskendale is declining. The Defiance of Duskendale (about seeking royal support for a city charter--so they could compete with King's Landing, which is why the king, based at King's Landing, smacked it down) is actually proof of its increasingly rapid decline and demise. Randyll Tarly (and traitorous Roose Bolton) bringing war to the area, might have given its economy a small boost (it depends upon the damages done to its infrastructure), but definitely not on the scale you're talking about, and scale matters. As I mentioned before, Oldtown is already trading with the people of Duskendale, just not in the way you think they should

2. I never said "shipping stuff is impossible and...requires modern day logistics." You take my words out of context to try to make them sound absurd and your argument more logical. What I argued is that the trade empire you want Oldtown-Duskendale to build (because Duskendale is "closer" to the Narrow Sea, so that automatically equals "more money"--it doesn't) requires modern day infrastructure and a globalized community. The Romans had excellent infrastructure, and even they had difficultly controlling the far reaches of their empire, and had to use extreme brutality in an effort to keep it afloat. The Caliphate, the Ottomon Turks, the Byzantines, the Chinese, the Egyptians, etc., all cared about their infrastructure. The Valyrians cared about their infrastructure so much that their roads seem almost indestructible to the peoples that survived to use them to this day (like the Roman roads appeared after their empire collapsed). I'm sure Old and New Ghis, Slaver's Bay, and others cared about their infrastructure too. Infrastructure does promote exchange and trade, cultural and economic and scientific, but if it isn't there to trade like an empire, you can't trade like an empire. Infrastructure, logistics, and empires (of one sort or another) do go hand-in-hand, but the Westerosi are still using dirt tracks and hugging the coast for most of their seafaring. You can't trade like an empire if you can't build like an empire. 

3. Fair enough. It's not like I find any of your scant rebuttals convincing either. Since you asked the question, you ought to do some research and answer it yourself. I'm sure there's a scholar out there who's argued more convincingly that you can't store 10,000 apples in a vat built to hold 1,000. Citations and all.

4. It's also a fact of life, fyi. Castles don't rise up over night. Neither do harbors or silos or shipyards or roads or ships or warehouses, or any other infrastructure. And when they do rise up (especially rise up en masse), someone has got to pay for them. Someone had to pay to build and expand Rome (very many someones). Someone will have to pay to build and expand Duskendale. There are modern day developed nations that can't afford to rebuild their crumbling infrastructure--especially when it was built mostly all at once in one massive initiative to get people back to work and out of poverty, as well as to unify the nation for ease of travel for armed forces, like in the US (interstates built wide and sturdy enough to transport intercontinental missiles, not mere cars or trucks; cars and trucks take advantage of the ease of travel, and the government lets them because it kicks back cash and makes the people think it was actually built for their use and convenience, so they'll be happy to shell out for its upkeep. The interstate infrastructure was the US's largest engineering project, and is technically still ongoing; roads in the US are like ancient Egypt's great pyramids or ancient China's Great Wall)--and have resorted to "patch and pray" techniques, so I really would like to know where you think Duskendale (described as a large port town) is getting the money and material to overhaul theirs in a single go. 

And please, please, please show me where I said, quote, "no person would look for new ways to make money EVER," because I don't remember saying that (and isn't that a logical fallacy too?). You can try to twist my words all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that your suggestion (I've yet to see an actual argument in favor of it) is bust. I've made a valid argument (claiming that I haven't is insulting to my intelligence and yours), but if you don't want to examine it with an open mind, then we are most definitely at an impasse. Adios. Good luck researching your question. 

 

 

Edited by TheSeason
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