History/Medieval Studies 303
In the fourth century, Rome declined steadily in population, and in 400 A.D. possibly counted between 500,000 and 750,000 residents. The collapse of the Western Empire in 395-476 saw Rome decline precipitiously to 75,000 to 100,000 residents by 500. The Gothic War (535-554) nearly ruined Rome which sank to the level of to an armed camp of 30,000 residents. CONSTANTINOPLE, dedicated as the New Rome in 330, grew from a population of 30,000, when she was still the city of Byzantium, to 300,000 by 400 A.D. By the age of Justinian (527-565), residents of Constaninople, “Queen of Cities,” might have totaled 1,000,000, but perhaps 500,000 to 750,000 is a more accurate estimate.
Byzantine Empire: In 850, the imperial army (theme and tagmatic units) is estimated at 150,000 men; in 1025 the army was perhaps 150,000 men. Basil II (976-1025) possibly ruled over 18 million subjects: 10 million in Anatolia, 5 million in the Balkans and Greek homeland, 1 million in Constantinople, and possibly another 2 million in southern Italy and Syria. The imperial army perhaps mobilized for military service 3-4% of an adult males reckoned at 4.5 million. Defeats in 1071-1078 and Turkomen migrations reduced the population of Anatolia. By 1125, the emperor John II (1118-1143) possibly ruled over an empire of 10-12 million subjects or two-thirds of the number of subjects over whom Basil reigned one hundred years earlier.
Western Europe: Figures for Western show remarkable growth from 900 A.D. on as northern Europeans cleared forests and perfected deep ploughing techniques. By the eleventh century the populations of Western exceeded those of the Mediterranean world and Near East for the first time in history.
Crusader States: By 1140, the Crusaders occupied the most densely populated
regions of the Levant, possibly dominating 1,625,000 residents. Crusader
numbers can be sensed by the number of knights who could take field in
1140. The King of Jerusalem could field 675 knights from his vassals
and additional 300 knights of the military monastic orders of the Templars
and Hospitalars. The Count of Tripoli could field possibly 100 knights;
the Prince of Antioch and Count of Edessa together could field no more
than 700 knights. This was a potential force of 1,775 knights, but the
greatest host that ever engaged was at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, and
King Guy of Jersualem could muster no more than 1,200 knights.
|Dr. Kenneth W. Harl
Office: History 211 (504)862-8621
Fax: (504) 862-8739