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NeoFreak

The Economy of Martin World

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6 m Dragons is about £2m Sterling.if one dragon = 1 noble.

The basic income of the English King was c.£100,000 in 1399. But, Westeros is much larger than England, so we can assume a much bigger Royal income, say £1m a year.

I thinks its a bad thing that I understand the Westeros economy about as well as the real world one.

Still, it has been mentioned a couple of times that the value of a dragon is all over the place. 10,000 on hookers and wine, 6 million royal debt, 1,000 for the kingslayer, 4 for a suit of armour and 30,000 a month for Sallador Saan's 23 ships.

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Only because they lent money to people who couldn't pay them back.

More to the point, I imagine banks also run out of money as fast as they can carry it when enough angry Vikings (or Mongols, Saracens, Dothraki, Ironborn, etc.) show up. Similarly, House Lannister's "old money" may be dependent on a nonrenewable resource and thus vulnerable to inevitable depletion, but in the short term having access to a trained standing army and readily mobilized militia makes it much more resistant to invasion or piracy than the common sources of "earned wealth".

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With the coinage given in the RPG (a pretty good book even with its lack of editing) it's scary how far in debt the crown really is, and how rich the iron bank must be.

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How much do you think is the salary cost of Golden Company? Of Gold Cloaks?

The Golden Company is proparbly very expendsive because of their skill and reputation, But the Gold Cloaks are proparbly dirt-cheap since they are mostly just gutter scum paid to hold spears. My loose guess is that a Golden Company soldier earns about 5 times what a city watchman does.

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Some numbers.

Roman legionaries between Augustus and Domitianus were hired for a nominal salary of 900 sesterces per year - a sesterce was about 1,1 grams of silver. But there were some deductions for provisions, so the legionaries did not get all of the cash. The remuneration package of a legionary also included a retirement bonus of 12 000 sesterces after completion of 25 to 26 years of service - only to the survivors.

Since Augustus, Roman officers had remarkably high pay. A centurion, in command of 80 soldiers, received salary of 15 000 sesterces per year - which is over 16 times that of ordinary soldiers, and more than 1/5 of their combined nominal pay (and even bigger fraction of their actual pay).

Roman army had other units besides legionary infantry. The auxiliary infantry, of noncitizens, had nominal pay of 750 sesterces per year. Roman cavalry had nominal pay of 1125 sesterces per year.

The Praetorian Guard, about 9000 men of infantry, had higher salary, of 1500 sesterces per year. They received a discharge bonus of 20 000 sesterces - and in the shorter time of 16 years. (And since they stayed in Rome, they were more likely to survive to earn it).

And the Praetorian Guards also received donatives, for political disturbances.

Augustus bequeathed to the Guard 1000 sesterces to each in his will (remember, about 8 months salary). Tiberius gave 4000 sesterces for letting him remove their commander Seianus. Caligula, on his accession, gave 15 000 sesterces (10 years salary, and 3/4 of the discharge bonus). Nero followed suit with the same sum on his accession. Nymphidius Sabinus promised the Guard 30 000 sesterces each to depose Nero, which they did - but Galba refused to keep the promise and was deposed by Guard. Otho and Galba both promised smaller donatives of 5000 sesterces, but neither paid.

Petyr´s donativum, to recall, was 1 dragon for each ordinary guardsman. And 1 dragon is worth 210 stars of about 2,3 grams each - so about 480 grams, or around 450 sesterces.

The Gold Cloaks were cheap, relative to Pretorians.

Now, Roman emperor had Equites singularii Augusti in addition to the infantry Praetorians. These horse guards were originally 720, increased to 1000 by Hadrianus.

The Golden Company also is about 1000 cavalry (500 knights plus 500 squires) and 9000 infantry - much like Pretorians.

When Aegon wins, how much of the Company disperses to their hard won lands and castles? And how much would stay as a standing army of Aegon?

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I love this topic and firmly believe that without a very solid 'understanding' of the location and distribution of resources (aka economy), a 'world' can have no coherent or remotely realistic foundation. The location and distribution of resources is basically a map of where a 'world' has come from and where it is going. Cities and Nations rise up where resources are located and, more importantly, at hubs in resource distribution networks. Rome and Athens are excellent examples of this as both where located at important hubs in trade networks and both grew to be dominating powers in themselves, as a result.

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The Lannisters are in the same position as Spain was when it started getting massive quantities of silver from the mines in Peru and Mexico. For centuries, as long as the silver from the Americas kept on coming Spain was the preeminent power in Europe, but when the silver dried out, the Spaniards discovered that their overreliance on the American silver had left all the other areas of their economy far, far behind their peers in other European countries. When the riches of Peru and Mexico stopped coming Spain went on a centuries long decline.

Actually, spanish decline had nothing to do with the silver and the gold runing out, and it wasn't centuries long. The decline of the Spanish Empire was, in fact a quite fast process, due to piracy done by the northern powers of Europe, the lack of investment, its continuos involvment in several conflicts, and the mare liberum policies, that put an end to the Tordesilhas treaty, wich divided the world between two factions: Portugal and Spain.

This all led to the supremacy of England and the Netherlands.

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I think that the amount that people earn should be factored into the overall wealth since in medieval times in a good economy people would earn about $1000 per person per year, keeping in mind that the economy of the seven kingdoms wasn't all that well managed and therefore not all that good, but 7ks was at peace for many years so would have been more wealthy, so if we take $500 to be the amount the people of 7ks make before the war of the five kings. In another thread it was estimated that the population of 7ks was 40 million, this would mean that the toal GDP of the seven kingdoms is $20 billion.

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How much do you think is the salary cost of Golden Company? Of Gold Cloaks?

Say a Gold cloak make the Westerosi equivalent of 2 pennies a day, an artisan made 3 pennies a day in Elizabethan times and the gold cloaks are mostly illiterate and expected to only hold a spear but still need to be well paid

Two thousand watchmen a day, plus officers, and assuming the total officers pay=half the total men's pay, that's 6000 pennies or 25 pounds of silver, per day

If one dragon=one noble=1/3 pound of silver, that's 75 dragons a day

So the Crown's debts (6 million dragons) are enough to pay the Gold Cloaks wages for 219 years

Put that way you can understand why Ned regarded the debt as apocalyptic and why Tywin had so much pull with King Robert despite being on the far side of the continent

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Longtime lurker, first time poster here. I'm a medieval historian, and this thread really caught my interest. I began writing a reply, but it got rather long, so I turned into an essay. My friends at Freelance Academy Press, who publish books on medieval and Renaissance martial arts (and who I owe a few manuscripts—my other job is teaching historical fencing), posted it in their articles section. Go to http://www.freelance...m/articles.aspx and click "Economy in George R.R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire."

The idea was to show how real-life history can account for all the seeming inconsitencies in economics in ASOIAF. My assumptions are this:

  • Martin is never wrong
  • His world is internally consistent
  • The data in the books is accurate and complete (i.e., there will be no big economic revelations in Books VI and VII)
  • The laws of economics work the same in Westeros as in our world

Tell me what you think... I have quite a few more of these essays in me.

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Longtime lurker, first time poster here. I'm a medieval historian, and this thread really caught my interest. I began writing a reply, but it got rather long, so I turned into an essay. My friends at Freelance Academy Press, who publish books on medieval and Renaissance martial arts (and who I owe a few manuscripts—my other job is teaching historical fencing), posted it in their articles section. Go to http://www.freelance...m/articles.aspx and click "Economy in George R.R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire."

The idea was to show how real-life history can account for all the seeming inconsitencies in economics in ASOIAF. My assumptions are this:

  • Martin is never wrong
  • His world is internally consistent
  • The data in the books is accurate and complete (i.e., there will be no big economic revelations in Books VI and VII)
  • The laws of economics work the same in Westeros as in our world

Tell me what you think... I have quite a few more of these essays in me.

Thank you for this; I'm only halfway through the article, but your section on the debasement of currency alone made it worthwhile, as it resolved a bit of cognitive dissonance I always had when re-reading the series. I'm a micro guy, so I could never make sense of Robert's debts versus the amounts we see circulated day-to-day.

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I agree with you on that. What I don't understand is the value of a Stag. i've read variously that there are 210 Stags to a Dragon (making it roughly the equivalent of one English silver penny) or 56 to the Dragon, making it roughly equivalent to one groat (ie 4d). One stag is what Brienne pays the Innkeeper for a room, stabling for her horse, and a meal, which would easily cost 4d in the late fourteenth century. One penny would be too little.

Can anyone settle this.

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I agree with you on that. What I don't understand is the value of a Stag. i've read variously that there are 210 Stags to a Dragon (making it roughly the equivalent of one English silver penny) or 56 to the Dragon, making it roughly equivalent to one groat (ie 4d). One stag is what Brienne pays the Innkeeper for a room, stabling for her horse, and a meal, which would easily cost 4d in the late fourteenth century. One penny would be too little.

Can anyone settle this.

1 westerosi dragon = 56 stags = 11760 pennies

1 silver stag = 210 pennies.

Brienne is paying the rough equivalent of 4d to the innkeeper.

I think the value of a stag is so low when compared to a dragon because GRRM is taking modern silver and gold relative prices as reference rather than medieval ones.

Silver was much closer to gold in value before the discovery of America, but after the spaniards started to exploit the peruvian silver mines, cheaply extracting a huge amount of silver in a short time, silver's price went down. The japanese silver brought to Europe by portuguese, the development of German mining tech applied to their silver mines, and eventually the discovery of silver mines all around the globe (a lot more than gold mines) pushed down the price of silver far below its medieval price.

EDIT:

1 westerosi dragon = 210 stags = 11760 pennies

1 silver stag = 56 pennies.

That makes the relative value of the stag even lower when compared to the gold dragon.

You are right, Brienne is paying little more than a medieval english penny...

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Ser Lepus - many thanks. I've only read The Hedge Knight, of Dunk and Egg, but I do recall Dunk saying that he could get 750 Stags for his horse, which sounds about right if it's £15. He also said he could live very well for a year on that, which again, is correct (it's the sort of income that minor gentry, reasonably well-to-do merchants would have in late fourteenth century England).

Do you know how much a Star is worth?

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Ser Lepus - many thanks. I've only read The Hedge Knight, of Dunk and Egg, but I do recall Dunk saying that he could get 750 Stags for his horse, which sounds about right if it's £15. He also said he could live very well for a year on that, which again, is correct (it's the sort of income that minor gentry, reasonably well-to-do merchants would have in late fourteenth century England).

Do you know how much a Star is worth?

Currency Exchange:

COPPERS

Halfpenny

Penny = 2 Halfpennies

Half Groat = 2 Pennies

Groat = 4 Pennies

Star = 8 Pennies

SILVERS

Stag = 7 Stars (or 56 Pennies)

Moon = 7 Stags (or 392 Pennies)

GOLD

Dragon = 210 Stags (or 30 Moons, or 11,760 Pennies)

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Sorry, I'm confused again. You said upthread that One Dragon = 56 Stags, not 210 Stags.

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