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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.

Cas writes:
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."

Patrick writes:
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.

Hail Melee

John Paul

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