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What do folks in England eat for breakfast? How do you milk a giraffe? What types of cases go to the Supreme Court? Can you break a car window with a thermos? Use this Q & A forum to help supply your characters, plots, and settings with a dose of reality. Someone, somewhere, has the answer.
Posted: 5/29/2013 8:46 AM PDT
Exactly! That is why I asked.
Okay, so new figures...
The large "enemy" city is a combination of two larger cities plus whoever was conquered (forced into army service or death, because the ruler is trying to take over everything, after all). For them, I'm going to go with about 2,000-3,000. Yes the ruler is slightly insane and getting more insane as the time passes. Eventually I want the people he rules to want to leave him because their standard of living is so low. I think I can accomplish that by forcing everyone into army service. As you said, no one would be around to run the economy. In the end (spoiler alert), everyone will basically stop fighting as soon as this guy is dead. He gets so bent on destroying everyone else that he neglects his own people.
The other side, also (spoiler alert) a combination of two cities, would be 1,000. They do allow women to fight. The first city is pretty much decimated after the end of book one (about half of the population survives), but the other city has been completely untouched so it has a very healthy population.
I'm not looking for exact figures. That's not really the point of the story anyway. I just want to make sure that if I say "the army had 1,000 people", it makes sense.
Posted: 5/28/2013 6:22 PM PDT
Fantasy does NOT need less research than historial; it requires more! Because first you have to find out how things functioned in the real world - and then determine what effects that fantastic elements of your world have, on distorting that picture...
Posted: 5/28/2013 5:20 PM PDT
Okay, thanks for your help! I am writing fantasy but I still want it to be plausible.
Posted: 5/28/2013 11:14 AM PDT
OK, are you talking response to a one-off assault, or a siege situation?
Because it seems to me that you are mobilising far too high a proportion of the population.
1. In a pre-modern society, life expectancy is shorter - a higher proportion of your population are going to be children. Yes, 'adulthood' starts earlier too, but pre-pubertal are not going to be much use in a combat situation.
2. There are going to be the same proportion of "elderly" as in a modern society. "Old age" simply hits earlier - but there will be the same proportion of population worn out by hard work, or illness, and not combat capable.
In poorer societies today, half the population may be children. So I''d say that 2,000 would be the maximum CAPABLE of fighting (and a high estimate) - assuming your society has no social bar on female combatants.
BUT in anything but a one-off assault, that number of people CANNOT be called upon! The city still has to run. Food has to be cooked (& baking, for example is NOT light work). Weapons have to be service, ammo prepared. Children and the elderly can cover SOME of this, but not all. The hard physical tasks that make up day to day life still have to be done during a siege.
I'd say 1000 would be a much more reasonable figure.
We tend to forget that most people had relatively little free time. And most of what they were busy with were essential tasks. That is WHY most premodern battles tended to be fought between small, semi-professional forces.
Killing the peasants was in nobody's interest. Capture (and defence) of a city was only worthwhile if there were enough people left alive to run it. People are a resource, not easily replaced. A sensible ruler, however ruthless, did not squander them - they WERE the motive power behind the economy. It is only as industrialisation allows humans to be replaced by machines that your population ceases to be a vital asset, and the mass destruction of modern warfare begins.
Posted: 5/28/2013 10:53 AM PDT
Haven't checked this since I left....
For my smallest city, I'm thinking a total population of 5,000 ish. That would be about 2,000 for the fighting troops. This particular city is most involved with defense, so actual defenders might be higher.
For the large city (which is really several cities forced together after they were conquered), I'm thinking about 12,000 total population, and a fighting force of 5,000 ish. I want it to sound like this bigger city has a huge advantage over the smaller one.
Does that sound realistic?
Posted: 2/3/2011 4:42 PM PST
If you are thinking of mobilising modern Dublin, then it depends "what for?"!
i.e. an expeditionary force has to be a much smaller proportionm of the population than can be mobilised for city defence.
Posted: 8/17/2010 12:36 AM PDT
This is actually a topic of interest to myself.
modern day setting Dublin has 1,122,600 across 921 km squared.
Backed and surrounded by some of the largest populations in Kildare(163,995 ), Meath(133,936 ) and many others, the capital could have as many as 1,799440 men women and children within a day.
but for the economy and all what would be realistic.
I used the east seven from 26 counties for the above number.
Posted: 8/15/2010 6:11 PM PDT
The size of a city state can vary dramatically, depending on capability of the local terrain to support life; so you first need to work out size of total population.
Then consider how labour-intensive your food production methods are: it's no good winning if you all starve that winter!
Historically, armies could be quite small - they represented an elite fighting force, raised from the class of superfluous men (i.e. nobility) who were not required as part of the normal functioning of the land.
e.g. a major battle determiing the fte of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom probably had no more than 500 men on each side.
Massed armies are a modern development, as we moved away from a subsistence culture. It also requires 'modern' developments in weaponry i.e. guns. Archery and swordsmanship are highly-skilled activities requiring significant amounts of time spent in practice - and are thus an elite activity. (Peasants could turn out to watch battles as a spectator sport, knowing that they were too valuable to be in danger from either side!)
In contrast, it takes relatively little time to train to use a gun adequately enough to do significant amounts of harm - so conscription works nowadays.
Early militarised societies, such as Sparta, required a slave economy to free up such a large proportion of the adult male population for military activity.
I've forgotten the tech level of your world, I'm afraid, so I can't comment further. Hope this helps!
Posted: 8/13/2010 5:15 PM PDT
In my current work(s), I have a war happening between several cities. They are kind of like city states, so they cover large areas and each have their own government. As I have said before, I have no experience with warfare, so I was wondering: how many soldiers could you realistically get from a city state? The troops would include men and women (but mostly men) and the age to join is very young. If anyone has any idea of an acceptable number I would love the help. Thanks in advance!