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(TFT) Medieval Cities
Dave stated, What was the extreme upper limit of medieval city >size?.....
As far as population of cities goes it is variable as to where
and when. In Edo (modern-day Tokyo) in the 16th century, the end of the
MA, population stood at about 1 million; whereas, in
Europe, London and Paris were large cities at 100-200 thousand.
I believe I read somewhere that half the population of England lived in the
confines of London at this time and perhaps the same or more in Paris.
<Barbara Tuchman in "A Distant Mirror" mentions that any statistics
given by medieval writers are generally enlarged by several
"hundred" percent to amaze or appall the reader. Also the use of
Roman numerals (hey, I feel like I am writing on the Harn list) ...
made for lack of precision. The pre-plague population of France has totals
that vary from 11 to 21 million (give or take a few).
I used Judge's Guilds City-State and Gamelord's Free City of Haven
throughout the time I played actively TFT (City-State for a very
short time though.
Don't forget the Italian Cities of Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome. Those
these cities were sizable and could hold their own from sieges, they created
the Renaissance. Consider a couple of these for your world. Also, Rome
about 1100 years before was said to have a population of 1 million. It was
a metropolitan city; perhaps more understandable to us now than that of a
medieval city. There are many books on Rome and several murder mysteries
that will definitely give you a feel for the times.
I would say an average city of the times was about 75,000. Keep in mind
that if this is after the plagues, there will be lots of vacant housing &
businesses. Keep in mind that medieval cities were often chartered and not
under the same feudal practices as a village under the local duke. It was
in the best interest of the local nobility to charter a town because the
profits from taxes, etc, would be greater than that of the local crops he
grew to sustain his domain. These citydwellers were literally "freemen",
who could journey their trade from town to town ("journeymen".)
You mentioned Harn. They have some impressive maps. Are they a good source
of cities? I was also endeared to Midkemia Press's City of Carthe, etc.
Though they have a website, they never respond to my order requests.
Thing about medieval city size is that rules on sanitation, limits on food
production etc. would be only applicable in a magic-poor world. Once you
get magic you can do lots more - sanitation, Light, etc. So make 'em
whatever size fits the storyline...
You're right. This would infuence the city to some degree; especially if
the Churches would go about CURING all those sick and feeble poor. However,
you still need leaders who can administer the area and a beuracracy that can
handle it even if the leaders are regularly knocking each other off. I
don't think the medieval society had the technical background of the
Romans/Egyptians to handle an emense size city on a regular basis. Magic
would have been a tool for a well trained Roman beurocrat; it would be the
constant gap-fix for a limited view medieval mayor. Then again, as a
Worldbuilder GM, I get a little anxious having too much magic available.
Perhaps other GMs Worldbuilders do not have this problem.
But if your world is really set up like an earth medieval history, knowledge
of sanitation went out with Rome. The theory of Galen says its all in mans
Humors for illness. Yes, you don't want to eat rotten food or have it next
to food that might get spoiled, so dump it in the street. You don't eat in
the street, do you? The sanitation and health fields finally rebounded when
we brought them back from the civilized Muslims (who have been reading the
greek and roman texts). I think that magic would be used to treat the
symptoms of sanitation, smell, taste, removing muck because you have to walk
thru it, directly curing by heal with little knowledge as to how it works.
That Physicker talent probably developed from Military First Aid rather than
a "Medical Science."
Wouldn't the cost of magical sanitation, heat, lighting, etc. be
prohibative for the middle and lower classes? I suspect only the nobility
would be able to afford to pay a wizard enough for him to put aside his
pride for the study and practice of 'sanitation magery'.
And Thorn writes:
It may start with the nobility, but like Roman aqueducts and sewers, it
will soon be seen worthwile for the city as a whole.
I agree that it would start with those who have the money to upgrade thier
lifestyles. They would pay the fee to have Light Globes put in on the
Boulevard of Finance and the Street of HighHomes, so they could safely
travel at night from their business.
And I would bet that there would be wizards that are business oriented or
failures in other areas, who would work for The Royal Plumber or The Royal
Department of Fire Control or The Royal Health Department.
And lets not forget one of the things that pulled Italian City-States out of
their medieval mire was the urge for Civic Duty gotten from their looking
back at Roman times. A medieval banker got his money from usery which was
frowned on by The Church. To sooth his own mind, he built civic buildings
or churches or aquaducts as an amend. The fact that it had his name
attached to it and would stand generations, that it showed his status and
taste, that he hired his nephew to build it and his uncle to run it
afterwards was just an added bonus to his Civic Duty.
Just a note. I'm not sure the medieval mind would destroy the refuse. I
agree with Cass, they were more likely to use it for fertilizing the fields
right outside of town.
And last, Patricks comment:
I suspect only the nobility would be able to afford to pay a wizard enough
for him to put aside his pride for the study and practice of 'sanitation
magery'. Might make for some good IQ6 or lower spells
for prootwaddles to learn -- for example: Freshen Urinal, Teleport
Contents of Bowels (popular with anorexic sorceresses), or
Construct Bun-licking Toilet.
This is totally brilliant mayorial thinking. It proposes a use for
prootwaddles, gives them a sort of dignity, and handles a horrid urban
problem. I like it.
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