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Lord Varys

[SPOILERS] Military matters and population development (including cities)

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That one would be for @Corvo the Crow. A place to collect the various numbers and what they mean for the world. I can open this with a bang by saying that, according to our Gyldayn, archmaesters do agree that the population of Westeros north of Dorne doubled during the reign of the Conciliator, and the population of KL increased fourfold. Lannisport, Gulltown, Duskendale, and White Harbor grew as well, but not to the same extent.

That one should settle an oftentimes discussed issue once and for all.

And keep in mind it is only the Conciliator's reign we are talk about here. The 26-year-reign of Viserys I is another period of peace and plenty and prosperity. With no wars on Westerosi soil at all, whereas there seem to have been various Dornish Wars during the reign of Jaehaerys I.

Edited by Lord Varys

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That one would be for @Corvo the Crow. A place to collect the various numbers and what they mean for the world. I can open this with a bang by saying that, according to our Gyldayn, archmaesters do agree that the population of Westeros north of Dorne doubled during the reign of the Conciliator, and the population of KL increased fourfold. Lannisport, Gulltown, Duskendale, and White Harbor grew as well, but not to the same extent.

That one should settle an oftentimes discussed issue once and for all.

And keep in mind it is only the Conciliator's reign we are talk about here. The 26-year-reign of Viserys I is another period of peace and plenty and prosperity. With no wars on Westerosi soil at all, whereas there seem to have been various Dornish Wars during the reign of Jaehaerys I.

Well, well. That certainly differs from what many were arguing, which is that only the population “South of the Neck” increased substantially during this period.

From that quote, everything North of Dorne grew significantly. White Harbor’s growth is mentioned in the same context as Lannisport, Gulltown and Duskendale’s growth.

Seems like Torhenn Stark’s 30k men should be easily exceeded today, just like the Reach and West can today easily exceed the Field of Fire’s 55k.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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One assumes that the bigger chunk of the double would have been below the Neck, considering the whole winter thing and all, but sure: nobody ever said the North wouldn't have profited from the Targaryen peace at all. Just that it is very, very likely that the lands in the most fertile areas would have profited much more.

Double above the Red Mountains doesn't mean double everywhere equally. It could have quadrupled in the Reach, say, doubled in the Vale, and only slightly increased in the North. All we know is that the total number of the six conquered kingdoms doubled.

In the end, this can mean that 55,000 men for the Reach (minus the Hightowers) and the West is much closer to the upper end of their military potential as we previously believed. If the people in their lands increased this much just in Jaehaerys I's reign then there is nothing to say how much more they got during the reign of Viserys I and during other later long periods of peace and prosperity.

The growth of cities/towns is another matter. It doesn't say how that growth affected their hinterlands - a boom in White Harbor or Gulltown could certainly have led to a rural exodus in the surrounding areas/regions.

But in any case - it is quite clear that everything went up. We'll have to wait and see whether things went down again during later years, but as far as I can see there are no such numbers given in FaB.

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

One assumes that the bigger chunk of the double would have been below the Neck, considering the whole winter thing and all, but sure: nobody ever said the North wouldn't have profited from the Targaryen peace at all. Just that it is very, very likely that the lands in the most fertile areas would have profited much more.

Double above the Red Mountains doesn't mean double everywhere equally. It could have quadrupled in the Reach, say, doubled in the Vale, and only slightly increased in the North. All we know is that the total number of the six conquered kingdoms doubled.

In the end, this can mean that 55,000 men for the Reach (minus the Hightowers) and the West is much closer to the upper end of their military potential as we previously believed. If the people in their lands increased this much just in Jaehaerys I's reign then there is nothing to say how much more they got during the reign of Viserys I and during other later long periods of peace and prosperity.

The growth of cities/towns is another matter. It doesn't say how that growth affected their hinterlands - a boom in White Harbor or Gulltown could certainly have led to a rural exodus in the surrounding areas/regions.

But in any case - it is quite clear that everything went up. We'll have to wait and see whether things went down again during later years, but as far as I can see there are no such numbers given in FaB.

So is that it? Nothing else on population or military numbers?

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Well, I got a life besides this thing. We can discuss things more, when other people have bought and read the book. Have you bought your copy already ;-)?

I can add that the cultivation of new lands and the like is mentioned immediately after the population thing there, meaning Westeros in the days of Aegon I was visibly less populated than Westeros in the days of Jaehaerys I. And it may have increased much more since then.

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Sort of tangentially linked with population but I found the expansion on the info about the north men who stayed behind interesting.  Especially given how they married widowed ladies and became part of the Riverlands community enough to grow the faith of the old gods south of the neck.  Also House Tully was specifically mentioned in this section along with the Blackwoods, so maybe in the future we might find more Stark links with the Tully's beyond Cat and Brandon/Ned.

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3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So is that it? Nothing else on population or military numbers?

What I've come across so far:

During the First Dornish War, in the first attacks by the Targaryens,, Orys led 1000 knights up the Boneway, Aegon I had a force of 30.000, including 2000 knights and 300 bannermen and lords. The size of Harlen Tyrell's force is not mentioned, but a quarter died from the heath during the march.

And by 33 AC, KL had 100.000 residents. 

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25 minutes ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

What I've come across so far:

During the First Dornish War, in the first attacks by the Targaryens,, Orys led 1000 knights up the Boneway, Aegon I had a force of 30.000, including 2000 knights and 300 bannermen and lords. The size of Harlen Tyrell's force is not mentioned, but a quarter died from the heath during the march.

Harlan Tyrell was part of Aegon's host. They only split up after they crossed the Prince's Pass. Orys Baratheon must have been an utter moron for taking 1,000 knights into the Boneway rather than, you know, mostly infantry. Horses are worth nothing if they cannot move and must use steps...

Quote

And by 33 AC, KL had 100.000 residents. 

Yes, that's from TSotD. If there was no significant decrease during the reign of Maegor, I'd think the number to quadruple during the reign of Jaehaerys I would be about 125,000 people, giving KL a population of about 500,000 in 103 AC. And that might not yet be the end of it.

The impression one gets during the Dance is that KL is a city full of people, and the political impact riots may have in the future of the main series cannot be overestimated.

Edited by Lord Varys

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9 minutes ago, Rhaenys_Targaryen said:

What I've come across so far:

During the First Dornish War, in the first attacks by the Targaryens,, Orys led 1000 knights up the Boneway, Aegon I had a force of 30.000, including 2000 knights and 300 bannermen and lords. The size of Harlen Tyrell's force is not mentioned, but a quarter died from the heath during the march.

And by 33 AC, KL had 100.000 residents. 

So Kl couldn't have received too many refugees then, if it was 400000 before them. If I recall KL was not as populous as  Oldtown or Lannisport at this time so they are well above 200000 now.

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2 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

So Kl couldn't have received too many refugees then, if it was 400000 before them. If I recall KL was not as populous as  Oldtown or Lannisport at this time so they are well above 200000 now.

KL had at least 400,000 denizen by 103 AC. It quadrupled during the reign of Jaehaerys, and the numbers may have been higher than 100,000 in 48 AC.

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KL's numbers clearly fell precipitously later on. The peacetime population of the city is c. 400,000 in 299 (up to c. 500,000 with the Lannister and Tyrell armies) and probably slightly less.

I suspect the Great Spring Sickness was particularly devastating, and perhaps the squalor of the city prevented a subsequent population rebound, exacerbated by the Sack.

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3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

KL's numbers clearly fell precipitously later on. The peacetime population of the city is c. 400,000 in 299 (up to c. 500,000 with the Lannister and Tyrell armies) and probably slightly less.

Oh, I don't doubt that later numbers might go down and up again, but we have also the long period of peace and prosperity under Aerys the Wise, and no great calamity in KL during the reign of Robert the Glorious either, so this is 35 years of peace and plenty of the Kingslanders, aside from the Sack. But I think Tywin's dogs only butchered thousands of townsfolk, perhaps tens of thousands, but not hundreds of thousands.

3 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I suspect the Great Spring Sickness was particularly devastating, and perhaps the squalor of the city prevented a subsequent population rebound, exacerbated by the Sack.

Keep in mind that the Shivers ravaged not only Westeros at large but especially KL and Oldtown very hard during Jaehaerys I's reign (Oldtown, for which we have numbers there, supposedly lost a quarter of its population) yet KL still quadrupled its population between 48 AC and 103 AC.

The Great Spring Sickness was bad, but I'm not sure it was as worse as the Shivers or the Winter Fever yet. We'll have to wait and see. However, there is no indication for great calamities hitting KL after 209 AC, and especially the reign of Maekar seems to have been a time of peace and prosperity.

I expect there to have been 600,000 to perhaps even 800,000-900,000 people to have been there in 129 AC, after another thirty years of peace and plenty.

Afterwards, Aegon III may not have been all that great for trade or parties or anything, and Daeron's Dornish War could have also have had a bad effect on KL. But Baelor pretty much made it a feast to live in his city, with free bread and all, so numbers should have risen exponentially during his reign. And it was only four out of ten in KL during the Great Spring Sickness. Once the calamity is over, opportunity comes. Many people inherited a lot of stuff, many houses are empty. Outsiders can come in and make careers where there was no opportunity before, etc.

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Medieval cities don't grow forever like is being assumed. There are boundaries based on complex factors such as geography, climate, resources, water supply, sewage situation, etc., etc. 400,000 is probably near an upper bound for any city in the Seven Kingdoms.

I mean, we know that KL in around 300 AC is not much bigger, and that swollen with refugees.

Also worth noting that not all the maesters agree with these figures -- just "most". Seem there's some dissents.

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I'm just saying we don't know how the things continued after Jaehaerys I. And where a healthy doubt would be in order is on the idea that the population doubled south of Dorne. To get information on that they would have records from the far corners of the Seven Kingdoms, or at least a good chunk of them, to make projections that make some sense.

Cities would be different. There are taxes and tariffs collected, ground and property would be bought and sold, not to mention the physical barriers of the city walls.

And as for medieval cities - KL does get more of a mild Roman flair in FaB, especially if Jaehaerys' improvements, so we should not necessarily limit ourselves too much there.

In the end, though, I don't think it would be more than 500,000 by 103 AC - and that only if the boom continued during the remainder of Aegon's reign and on through Aenys - and there was no decrease during the Faith Military Uprising and Maegor's reign of terror. Which doesn't seem likely in light of what Maegor did to the people who build his castle. But then, after the terror was over, they likely returned.

The impression we get in the novels is not that KL is overcrowded and bursting - even with the refugees and sparrows, there is still plenty of room, no?

And I'm not sure - were all the Tyrell/Lannister men camped in the city after the Blackwater? Some would have been, but you cannot really keep and army together in a city, no?

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My main take from the above is that other than Dorne, all of Westeros experienced population growth in this period.

So the narrative of the North “being left behind” in this growth process is shown to be baseless. And this despite the terrible Winter the North experienced during Jahaerys’s reign.

So with that out of the way, any other population limiting factors, such as diseases, would have impacted the South as much as the North. Which implies that if the South( excluding Dorne) has a higher population today than 300 years ago, then it is logical that the same applies to the North.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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13 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So thr narrative of the North “being left behind” in this growth process is shown to be baseless. And this despite the terrible Winter the North experienced during Jahaerys’s reign.

But that's not what it says. Double the population north of Dorne doesn't mean double the population everywhere equally. As I said already, the population in the North could have increased on slightly whereas that in the Reach may have quadrupled. Most archmaesters would be right (assuming they are) if it was correct that the total population north of Dorne doubled.

And the context with them cultivating new lands and the like strongly indicates that most of that took place south of the Neck where we actually see people living. I mean, the North is empty in the main series, right? Could it have been even more empty back before 48 AC ;-)?

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

But that's not what it says. Double the population north of Dorne doesn't mean double the population everywhere equally. As I said already, the population in the North could have increased on slightly whereas that in the Reach may have quadrupled. Most archmaesters would be right (assuming they are) if it was correct that the total population north of Dorne doubled.

And the context with them cultivating new lands and the like strongly indicates that most of that took place south of the Neck where we actually see people living. I mean, the North is empty in the main series, right? Could it have been even more empty back before 48 AC ;-)?

See, that is a classic example of cognitive bias. The text says the population north of Dorne doubled, with King’s Landing singled out as growing at twice the pace as the rest of Westeros, for very obvious reasons. It being the capital of the now stablized realm.

Other than that, no differentiating information is given on any of the other realms. There is no information to say that the North didn’t perhaps grow FASTER than the Stormlands or Riverlands or Reach. Neither is there to suggest the opposite.

Your reference to new lands being cultivated again is not neutrally evaluated. You have no basis on which to claim that the North was not less cultivated in the past than it is now. How could you possibly know? In fact, if there is any region ripe for expanded cultivation once additional population is available to do the work, it is the North, given that vast areas of it lies untapped and unfarmed, covered by forest and wilderness.

If White Harbor grew, for example, new farms would have sprung up in its hinterlands to support its economy. Same with the growth of the White Knife trade route upriver.

My point is: We don’t know how the growth of the different regions compared. And until we do, it is only reasonable to assume a fairly even growth, until told otherwise.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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What we do know, is that the North had a higher population at the end of Jahaerys’s rule than it had in Torrhen’s time. And yet in Torrhen’s  time the North could already march 30,000 men into the Riverlands. Without any statement confirming that this was the limit of Torhenn’s full strength, even then.

By contrast even today, the suggestion seems to be that the Stormlands can at best raise 30k men. Something the North could already achieve 300 years ago, before the apparent unified age of population growth. Which means the Stormlands back then was likely much lower than 30k, which would seem to tie in with the apparently low numbers of men raised by Argilac Durrandon against Aegon. Maybe as low as 15k even, or half Torhenn’s strength at the time. And that in Argilac’s own territory, not even marched beyond his own borders the way Torhen did.

It combines to imply a significant gap between the strengths of the Stormlands and the North.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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So population of Westeros is discussed in Westeros - but disputed. No officially accepted, updated "census" data.

 

What are the officially assessed units of taxable capacity? "Hides"? "Knight´s fees"? Something else? Do we get a specific clue?

 

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

What we do know, is that the North had a higher population at the end of Jahaerys’s rule than it had in Torrhen’s time. And yet in Torrhen’s  time the North could already march 30,000 men into the Riverlands. Without any statement confirming that this was the limit of Torhenn’s full strength, even then.

By contrast even today, the suggestion seems to be that the Stormlands can at best raise 30k men. Something the North could already achieve 300 years ago, before the apparent unified age of population growth. Which means the Stormlands back then was likely much lower than 30k, which would seem to tie in with the apparently low numbers of men raised by Argilac Durrandon against Aegon. Maybe as low as 15k even, or half Torhenn’s strength at the time. And that in Argilac’s own territory, not even marched beyond his own borders the way Torhen did.

It combines to imply a significant gap between the strengths of the Stormlands and the North.

This is what I have been saying for ages! With calculations and  numbers, no less!

SL during Aegon's time raised only some ten thousand men(can't recall) Now that we now population doubled, Caron and Dondarrion raising 4800, roughly a third of Argillac' entire army, also makes sense. Their numbers back then would roughly be halved too and these guys live in the best portion of SL so them making up a significant portion of SL army should make sense.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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