Nihlus

A Note on Army Numbers

8 posts in this topic

A while ago, a couple forumites were claiming things like "a knight was equivalent to twenty billmen in medieval England" when discussing the relative strengths of the armies of the Seven Kingdoms (since, unlike Bronze Age to Iron Age Essos, they all seem to be on a similar tech level). But they could never produce the sources stating that when I asked for them. I think I finally know where those assertions came from: the muster rolls and pay rolls of Edward I's army in the 1300 Scotland campaign, one of the most well-documented hosts of the period. These rolls have been cited or transcribed in a variety of history books, such as "Edward I" by Michael Prestwich (p. 484-486). A viewable ebook that cites said documents is this, though it seems to get the billman wage wrong (every other book I've read, including the cited one, says 2d instead of 3d). Anyway, the rolls detail how much each soldier was paid each day by the king or the magnates in exchange for their service, with pay depending on their role. If it interests any of you, then this is what soldiers were worth relative to each other in the eyes of the 14th century English nobility:

Knight: 24d.

Man-at-Arms (heavy cavalry): 12d.

Mounted Sergeant: 12d

Hobelar (light cavalry): 6d

Mounted Archer: 6d

Crossbowman: 4-6d.

Foot Archer: 2-3d.

Spearman/Billman: 2d.

So 1 spearman/billman/archer was the basic unit, a crossbowman was worth 2 spearmen/billmen/archers, a light cavalryman was worth 3 spearmen/billmen/archers, a heavy cavalryman was worth 6 spearmen/billmen/archers, and a full knight (who was also expected to act as an officer commanding a unit) was worth 12 spearmen/billmen/archers. That might help if you would like to determine how wealthy certain regions are relative to each other, based on their army numbers. The only thing missing is ships and how much they cost to maintain and man, but that only really matters for the Crownlands, Iron Islands, and the southwest islands.

Edited by Nihlus

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Thanks for this.

d=penny?

Edited by TMIFairy

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2 minutes ago, TMIFairy said:

Thanks for this.

d=penny?

Yep, 2d = twopence, 12d = 1 shilling, etc.

Edited by Nihlus

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3 hours ago, Nihlus said:

Knight: 24d.

Man-at-Arms (heavy cavalry): 12d.

Mounted Sergeant: 12d

Hobelar (light cavalry): 6d

Mounted Archer: 6d

Crossbowman: 4-6d.

Foot Archer: 2-3d.

Spearman/Billman: 2d.

Shadowbaby: 10,000d.

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18 hours ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

Shadowbaby: 10,000d.

Dragon: 15,000d

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Wouldn't it be something along the lines of:

"For twopence you can have a spearman, for 2 bob - a knight; but a shadowbaby/dragon is priceless"

:D

 

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9 hours ago, TMIFairy said:

a shadowbaby/dragon is priceless"

Actually, a dragon is worth 6,600 trained unsullied plus 5,000-ish half-trained unsullied (or perhaps 14,200 unsullied, as Daenarys agreed to pay double)

Plus there was 2,000 that were purchased with Illyrio's ships and their cargo. So according to that transaction, one dragon was worth up to a dozen laden trading ships. Of course, Barristan said at the time that Aegon had shown the dragons were more valuable than that, and so they proved to be, but still, they were given a price.

 

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21 minutes ago, Walda said:

Actually, a dragon is worth 6,600 trained unsullied plus 5,000-ish half-trained unsullied (or perhaps 14,200 unsullied, as Daenarys agreed to pay double)

Plus there was 2,000 that were purchased with Illyrio's ships and their cargo. So according to that transaction, one dragon was worth up to a dozen laden trading ships. Of course, Barristan said at the time that Aegon had shown the dragons were more valuable than that, and so they proved to be, but still, they were given a price.

 

That was an offer, an offer that was too low for the seller.  Dany demanded 1/3 of all the ships in the world for 1, a price too high for the buyer.

So their true market value lies somewhere in between 

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