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Francis Buck
05-27-2013, 05:51 PM
Hey there. I'll try to keep this as light as possible. I'm a fantasy author working on a novel that's set in North America. It takes place in the future after the world has essentially become a "wildlife preserve", where humans have retroactively recreated natural landscapes (they removed the cities, infrastructure, basically anything artificial, etc.). However, a small population of humans stayed back on earth to live primitively. Eventually these humans began re-building a new society, starting from simple tribes and moving into a pseudo-medieval esque civilization (it's really closer to the Dark Ages, possibly even antiquity). They had no records or knowledge of the previous civilizations, so their progression would be natural and "fresh". These particular civilizations are centered around the eastern coast, with the major population centers being roughly around Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York State, Kentucky, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Kentucky and North Carolina, in particular, would theoretically be the most densely populated, as well as areas along the Ohio river. The only reason I really want to know about populations is for references to army sizes. My question is simply what you guys think the best way to go about estimating general army sizes would be in this particular context? There's "magic" (actually a form of nanotech remaining from the previous human societies), but it's rare and very minimal, mostly relegated to prophecies and telepathy and such, so it shouldn't affect the civilizations all that much in this regard (the biggest use of "magic" -- even though it's technically science-fiction -- is through an advanced, almost god-like transhuman entity, who has subtly pushed the civilizations towards advancement, as otherwise there's no guarantee that human societies living in North America would have ever progressed to a point comparable to ancient Rome or Greece).

I'm not how much the actual cultures matter, but if so, they're very, very roughly like a mixture between ancient China and medieval europe, with lots of fictional elements. They're supposed to be brand new cultures, so the similarities to our historical ones are fairly minimal.

I realize that this is a really odd sort of situation, and it's difficult especially because I like to make my fantasy worlds as realistic as possible (I'm also omitting an enormous amount of information here in order to keep this post short, so the whole thing probably sounds kind of unrealistic, but trust me when I say I've put a lot of effort into making the situation as believable as possible). I'm willing to make some concessions in this particular case, but I'd still like it to be relatively grounded in reality.

Thanks for any and all tips! If there's some other relevant information that would I should add, let me know. Like I said I've done a ton of world-building, it's just hard to know what to include here without going overboard.

ravells
05-27-2013, 06:33 PM
Hi Francis and welcome to the guild, This isn't a mapping related question so I've moved it to general discussion. Gopod luck wth finding an answer. I'm guessing a big part of the answer would be how martial the societies are, what sorts of threats they face, whether by armies you mean standing armies or volunteer units that are called up as needed.

waldronate
05-27-2013, 08:41 PM
What sort of army structure are you looking for? Elites only, freemen, or conscript? What sort of population densities are you looking at for the basis of your armies?

Is warfare planned to be a seasonal affair or year-round? What is the level of agriculture that will feed these armies? Modern agricultural varieties allow for yields unheard of in the middle ages. Much of classic warfare was seasonable because someone had to stay home and do the farming (or leave the battlefield for planting and harvesting). I vaguely recall reading that classical yields for grains were around 4:1 on average (some crops are lower, some higher; some years are better, some worse). Modern yields might be ten times that due to genetics, fertilization, and mechanization.

Why are the cultures at war (wars based on ideology can have a much different army composition than a regular army - the crusades, for example)?

A critical component in most battles has historically been intelligence gathering. If you know when to engage an enemy and when not to, you have a huge advantage. Similarly, if you have communication between units in battle, there is also a huge advantage. Anything resembling telepathy will have a huge advantage on the battlefield and anything resembling clairvoyance will have a huge impact in intelligence gathering.

Most folks who are likely to respond probably won't mind reading lots of information.

Francis Buck
05-27-2013, 09:39 PM
Thank you for the reply! I will do my best to provide the information you requested, and I'm also going to whip up a very rough map of the general placement of things.

54940

So basically, the war that's taking place is between the relatively newly formed Empire of Orthigar, which is maybe ten years old by the time the story actually starts. Before the Orthian Empire formed, it was was a feudal monarchy. We'll ignore the Free Tribes to the north for now.

Carathir, Ethage, Ambany, and Strafos are essentially feudalistic monarchies as well. I would like for Orthigar to have a standing army (maybe five years old by the time the story starts), which would also be expanding fairly rapidly. This is partially because of religious conversions, and also because, being in Kentucky, they have access to good farming conditions (and with no threat to them from the west). When the story starts, Ethage has already been conquered and assimilated into the empire.

There are two religions: Tsashurism, which is the faith of the Orthian Empire, and Brishwaynism, which is mostly the faith of all the other "nations". When Orthigar conquers a new nation, the citizens can either convert to Tsashurism, or they can retain religious freedom, but they have to pay a tax to do so (along with other social restrictions, similar to our own historical dhimmi). There is also something comparable to a "knightly" social class for both the Brischwayn and the Tsashurites, but they would not be especially abundant. Horses and cavalry would of course be very valuable, but again I'm vague on the exact numbers there (also, there are no creatures or anything like that to worry about...most if not all of the animals would be ones native to North America).

As I mentioned, I'd like the technological level of these civilizations (which includes agriculture, weaponry, etc.), to be near or around that of the Dark and/or Middle Ages. You mentioned seasonal warfare, which is an excellent point, one that I'm afraid I completely overlooked. The entire story itself doesn't take place over more than a year (maybe a bit longer, if necessary, but the timespan is pretty flexible). So, does that mean it would make sense for me start the story around springtime?

In regards to the telepathy and clairvoyance, they're extremely rare and difficult to control in-universe, so overall I would suggest not to really take them into consideration. Intelligence gathering would be very much along the lines of its real-world historical counterparts (spies, informants, etc.). Magic also has virtually no significance in warfare either. For all intents and purposes, it's probably best just to proceed as if there's no magic at all.

As the story begins, the empire has taken Ethage (as I mentioned), and by about half-way through the story they need to take Ambany as well (Ambany surrenders after a particularly devastating loss, in which their second largest walled-city (called Urminy) is taken by the empire...so that's something else I'll have to figure out logistically). I've purposefully put-off figuring out exactly how the battles will play out, since I think it makes sense to figure out this other stuff first.

Overall, the most powerful nations in descending order (at least according to the plot) should be: Orthigar, Carathir, Ambany, Strafos, and Ethage.

Is there any other information I can add that would be useful? And thanks again!

EDIT: Oh, and the actual territorial lines between these nations are not strongly defined for the most part -- those modern US state lines in the map I posted are just there for reference. They don't have any significance in the actual story.

Hal9000
05-28-2013, 06:50 AM
Well army size depends on which of area of the world you are looking at, which time and which nation.

The romans had 50 legions plus auxilliary troops and a navy at one point => 600'000-700'000 Men under arms. Of course, not all of these would be in the same place but where spread out throughout the empire. Rome would usually field no more than 10 legions in a campaign.

Medieval Europeans did not field very large armies - 20,000 maximum - (they lacked food), this changed with the introduction of the potato. Of course there are also exceptions here. In the 14th century the Tartars (100'000) fought against Dimitrij Donskoj (70'000-120'000).

In India the armies were quite large both in Roman times and after (up to 800'000).

The Chinese however take the top spot for largest single Armies in history wich could number up to well over 200'000 in a single battle.


What you want to do is estimate how big of a population your areas could support. You then take a certain percentage of that population (depending on how warlike the state is) and make them into standing armies. If you need more have them be conscripts :)

Be aware that your nations might be able to feed more people per kmē since they have access to modern high-yield crops (unless they crossbred their own all over again).

Midgardsormr
05-28-2013, 04:12 PM
Some more numbers of note. Charlemagne at the height of his power had approximately 20,000 troops. That's very early Middle Ages, with a population of less than 1 million people to draw on probably (The entire population of Europe ~800 A.D. is estimated at 1.5 million).

A typical Welsh war band was around 150 - 300 in the 13th century. For a major conflict, several war bands would unite and conscripts would be added to their number. If I recall correctly, a typical Welsh fief at that time might have had about 1,000 men available to fight; the chief could levy them for only half the year. Typical army sizes for a formal conflict (as opposed to the near-constant raiding and border skirmishes typical of the Welsh at that time) were around 7 - 10,000. Very major wars could see armies of 15 - 30,000, but I think a large number of those troops were mercenaries. The population estimate for all of Wales at the time of the Norman Conquest is about 150,000, growing to around 300,000 until the Black Death hit in the 14th century.

Athens during the Peloponnesian Wars could field about 30,000, of which about 16,000 were hoplites (professional well-equipped soldiers). During the relatively peaceful period that followed, they could usually muster less than 3,000. The Persians are reported to have had an army of over 1 million men, but most historians regard that as an exaggeration, with the truth probably being somewhere around 300,000 for the (failed) invasion of Greece. Even so, they had to have left a portion of their troops behind to defend against uprisings in Egypt, which had already disrupted the plan to invade Greece at least once. I have no idea what the population of the Persian Empire was at that time, though. I do know that the Ferticle Crescent was still living up to its name. Most of what is now desert was once very good farmland, capable of much larger ratios of farmers to warriors than other areas.

Galendae
05-30-2013, 11:43 AM
2% to 3 % of pop as professional soldiers. Another 5% levy/militia at most as logistics in ancient times will make it hard to gather more in one spot. Thomas Morwinsky, Armies of Eriador, Do a net search for it.

Francis Buck
05-30-2013, 11:48 PM
Awesome tips guys, much appreciated. I'm beginning to formulate a direction here.

One question I do have is, what should the proportions be between the "peasant-class" (the farmers, the producers) compared to city dwellers? The largest city in Orthigar is Sivan, which I'm tentatively going to place at around maybe 300,000 people, perhaps less if that seems too much. So, let's say there's maybe two other cities at half that size, what would be a reasonable population for the peasant class? I think 30,000 professional soldiers sounds about what I'd like Orthigar to able to field, preferably with no (or very few) conscripts. Keep in mind that the total area of Orthian territory would be greater than that of Kentucky (not massively greater, but greater, in particular it would extend further to the west).

I should add that the crops being used would not our own, modern, high-yield variety. Imagine that the US is literally as it was about 10,000 years ago. Is it generally held that the areas in question (east coast to middle US) would still have more valuable farm land than in comparison to europe?

waldronate
05-31-2013, 01:42 AM
Without an abundance of steel axes or saws, it'd be a serious pain to clear the heavy-duty forest that would be covering up that area, which would affect the kind of crops that would grow. Things like wheat and barley don't grow too well in forests or light woodlands, if I understand. Crops like corn, squash, and beans, though, do fairly well in a woodland environment. As an example of population density, Wikipedia says that Hungary (which is just a little smaller than Kentucky and is broadly similar in terrain) has a population of roughly 600 thousand in 1000 and would have been roughly 2 million in 1300 if not for that pesky Tatar invasion in the early 1200s.

The classic Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm) (a good read, by the way) states that a typical settled region would support about 180 people per square mile. That population density would work out to 7.2 million people in the 40000 square miles of the region if everywhere was settled. If the settled land is roughly a third of the total land area, then the 2 million falls in line with the Hungary number.

Midgardsormr
05-31-2013, 06:18 PM
300,000 would be an enormous city by Middle Ages European standards. Paris and London, I think, were about that size prior to the plague and reached that size again perhaps early in the Renaissance. Some of the cities under the Umayyads and Abbasids exceeded 500,000, but they had a significantly different culture, with a strong middle class that was missing in Christian nations through most of the Middle Ages.

Francis Buck
06-01-2013, 12:16 AM
300,000 would be an enormous city by Middle Ages European standards. Paris and London, I think, were about that size prior to the plague and reached that size again perhaps early in the Renaissance. Some of the cities under the Umayyads and Abbasids exceeded 500,000, but they had a significantly different culture, with a strong middle class that was missing in Christian nations through most of the Middle Ages.

You're absolutely correct. I've researched a little more, and have done some refining (with a special thanks to waldronate for the Medieval Demographics Made Easy link -- I had that page in my bookmarks quite a while ago before losing it, never was able to remember the name). I'm currently putting the entire "nation" of Orthigar at two-million, with the capital city of Sivan holding about 75,000 people, and a standing army of 40,000.

Predictably, another question has come to mind: what's logical for garrisons? If Sivan, walled-city, has 75,000 people, and Orthigar in total has about 40,000 standing soldiers, what would be a logical number to divert into the defense of said city?

Midgardsormr
06-01-2013, 03:00 PM
It depends on a number of factors: How likely is it that the city will be attacked? In the event of an attack, is there a militia? Is the standing army or a portion thereof typically stationed in the city? Is there some kind of constabulary that would do double-duty as a defense force?

Medieval military doctrine was to attack a fortified position with at least 10 times as many troops as the defender had. Conversely, if you were determined to hold a particular position, you would need to be able to garrison it with troops equal to 10% of the largest army your enemy could bring against it. I'd place that as a soft upper limit of the number of troops that should be assigned to a given city as defenders. Physical size of the city doesn't really matter, since the circumference of your walls will always be less than the circumference of an enveloping force. Thus, the defenders can typically react quickly enough to a redeployment to maintain a proper defense.

That number can be reduced by the other factors mentioned. In a city of 75,000 in which women do not fight, there are probably around 15,000 men able to bear arms who might be able to form a militia. Depending on the severity of the threat, the culture and the laws of the land, I would figure on anywhere from 10 - 20% of that number actually being in an active militia during a given conflict. So possibly 2,000 townsfolk ready to defend the walls. If you follow Ross' numbers, there is one law officer per 150 citizens, so figure around 500 for the city watch.

So then, assuming the enemy has an army similar in size to Orthigar's, and assuming they're holding about 20% back from an attack to defend their own lands, Sivan might be attacked by as many as 32,000 soldiers. We therefore want a defense force of at least 3200. We can whistle up 2500 from the populace, so we need to station about 1000 from the standing army to be certain of the city's security. Now, I believe you mentioned that there were three cities of similar size in this nation, and we want to be sure of all three of them. That leaves us with an army of 37,000. We'll need to keep some of those in reserve, about 20%, in case the enemy does something tricky. That leaves about 30,000 to use against the hypothetical besieging force. We're a little bit outnumbered, but it's our home turf, we've got the city walls as an additional weapon, and the enemy has to use some of his men to defend his supply train. Or we can go on the attack, using the reserve to pin the enemy army against our walls, giving the main army time to establish a presence in enemy territory.

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that can change things, but hopefully that gives you a decent baseline from which you can plan.

vgunn
06-06-2013, 05:21 PM
The classic Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm)

+1 :-)

From a great article from Dragon Magazine that was updated.

Gumboot
08-14-2013, 11:34 AM
The classic Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm) (a good read, by the way) states that a typical settled region would support about 180 people per square mile. That population density would work out to 7.2 million people in the 40000 square miles of the region if everywhere was settled.

I think that's probably a bit high. I wouldn't take population density (over large areas) any higher than 120/sq mi.




300,000 would be an enormous city by Middle Ages European standards. Paris and London, I think, were about that size prior to the plague and reached that size again perhaps early in the Renaissance.

300,000 is ridiculously big. London was actually pretty average for a medieval city - it had less than 50,000 people at the height of the Middle Ages and didn't top 100,000 until the 16th Century. Paris was much bigger, hitting 250,000 in 1328, but that was the largest city of one of the largest and most densely populated countries in Europe, at the height of a population explosion.



You're absolutely correct. I've researched a little more, and have done some refining (with a special thanks to waldronate for the Medieval Demographics Made Easy link -- I had that page in my bookmarks quite a while ago before losing it, never was able to remember the name). I'm currently putting the entire "nation" of Orthigar at two-million, with the capital city of Sivan holding about 75,000 people, and a standing army of 40,000.

That's very unrealistic to me. There's actually an excel spreadsheet which has the data from that article, and you can plug in your kingdom information to determine population, city sizes, and so on. I use it for my world building, and I have a kingdom of 9 million with very fertile land (i.e. very high population density) and the largest city is only 45,000 or so. They also have a standing army, and it took quite a bit of fudging and manipulation to make 18,000 a believable number. 40,000 would be an extraordinary large military even for a modern country of 2 million. Not that it's impossible; it's a smaller percentage than the Roman Empire, but you have to allow for some considerations:
1. The Romans had such a large army because it was a way for immigrants into the Empire and newly conquered peoples to gain citizenship
2. The Romans had such a large army because they were an incredibly aggressive conquest-focused state
3. The Roman model was ultimately unsustainable; they couldn't support their armies long term and this ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Empire




Predictably, another question has come to mind: what's logical for garrisons? If Sivan, walled-city, has 75,000 people, and Orthigar in total has about 40,000 standing soldiers, what would be a logical number to divert into the defense of said city?

A feudal kingdom with a standing army would almost certainly have restrictions on where that army could be deployed (i.e. only on the frontier) because citizens and nobility tend to get nervous when the king/emperor/sultan has an army sitting around getting bored. The defense of the city would most likely fall to a special unit, for example Roman Legions were prohibited from entering Rome (actually they were prohibited from entering mainland Italy at all) and protection of the city was the responsibility of the Urban Cohorts (who were the police force) and the Praetorian Guard (who were the Emperor's bodyguard). That's why Rome got sacked so frequently; if an enemy force actually managed to make it past the frontier of the Empire, there was nothing between them and the capital.

lordhypno
08-19-2013, 06:31 PM
That number can be reduced by the other factors mentioned. In a city of 75,000 in which women do not fight, there are probably around 15,000 men able to bear arms who might be able to form a militia. Depending on the severity of the threat, the culture and the laws of the land, I would figure on anywhere from 10 - 20% of that number actually being in an active militia during a given conflict. So possibly 2,000 townsfolk ready to defend the walls. If you follow Ross' numbers, there is one law officer per 150 citizens, so figure around 500 for the city watch.

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that can change things, but hopefully that gives you a decent baseline from which you can plan.

Hi new here, but I couldn't help but chime in I think it's fair to consider that if they did start over why would the typical old gender roles come in to play especially if someone is pushing them toward advancement.

I do think the numbers look right it would make sense in my opinion, but I believe it wouldn't just be the men, I guess my logic is this advanced humans leaves Earth the group that stays behind is going to have the same views of the people who left they wouldn't necessarily just thrown away everything. So this would be the basis for the new society and things would slowly change from their so picking people to protect the group wouldn't necessarily always come down to men It would come down to picking people who had the skills necessary. In less of course the group that stayed behind were a large Quaker like community, also don't forget about the support people in the military fire crews, supply groups, medical contingent and the engineering group

Midgardsormr
08-19-2013, 08:10 PM
They had no records or knowledge of the previous civilizations, so their progression would be natural and "fresh".

I would assume that, given a clean slate, civilization likely develops in similar patterns this time around as it did the first time. There are reasons why, historically, women soldiers have been rare. They tend to lack the same amount of mass and upper-body strength as men, so they are at a significant disadvantage in personal combat. In the event of major warfare in which a sizable percentage of an army is killed, a few men can more rapidly repopulate the society (better ensuring its survival) if there is a surplus of women. Women are the obvious choice for caring for young children, since men do not usually lactate, and most societies try to keep their children shielded from warfare.

Of course, a situation like this would certainly be a good opportunity to explore that matter, but egalitarianism for its own sake usually feels a little contrived most times I encounter it in a novel.

Tracker
01-01-2014, 11:28 AM
Hello:

Let me give you some historical numbers. During the civil war of the United States the North had 8% to 10% of the population under arms. The North had around 22 million people so around 1.8 to 2 million total under arms. The South had a population of 9 million people and from 15 to 20% under arms.

During World War 2 the United States had a total of around 16 million under arms about 12% of the total population.

Under arms include support, training, logistics, medial personal as well as combat.

The South during the U.S. civil war crippled their industry (what little they had) by not having a work force. It also did not help that most of the soldiers of the South kept in their states by their Governors. If the Governors of the South would hae released their soldiers to the National needs of the Confederate Nation the War could have been really different.

Remember that an acre of wheat can feed 9,000 people for a day; however, if there is not one to tend the wheat or grind the wheat into flour how good is that acre.

Tracker