- Feb 2017
- Latin America
Ge may have established that there wasn't much of a population change, but that still doesn't mean that the Han census is accurate. At best, the Han census reflects all of the Han empire (especially since the Han at that point ruled a vast realm that included even areas outside of current China), and not solely the area of the warring states.I also thought you read my posts on Ge Jianxiong before and knows his methodology by now. Ge Jianxiong compared the population of Linzi and Changan during the Han to the Warring States and found that the population during the Warring States was comparable. He also compared the population of Qu Ni county and found the Qin equivalent to be comparable, if not bigger than the Han.
According to Shiji when Gaodi Liu Bang passed the Qu Ni county, he ``asked his minister ´how many people are in Qu Ni´, the Yu Shi replied ´during the Qin there wereover 30,000 households, now because of the numerous battles, most perished and now there is only 5,000 household.´ ``
In another word, the county of Qu Ni´s population declined by some five sixth during the Qin-Han transition, and its actually above average in terms of not losing population compared to other counties, which according to Ge's estimates, declined by some 70 to 80 percent.
Now in 2 AD at the end of the Western Han when we have our first national census, the region of Zhongshan kingdom, where Qu Ni county is located had an average registered household¨per country of 11,490, so the Qu Ni county under the height of the Han probably haven´t even reached the amount of people it had under the Qin.
As stated earlier, in the county of Linzi, during late Warring State period, it had a recorded household figure of 70,000 (shiji, Suqin liezhuan). Under Han Wudi, it increased to 100,000. However, under Han Shu Dilishi, in 2 AD, the population of the entire Qi prefecture(jun) where Linzi county is located only had 154826 household, where the average county only had 5,000 households, so Linzi county probably still had no more than 100,000 household at this date.
From a case study examination of these three locations; Qu Ni county, Linzi county and the capital Changan, Ge Jianxiong demonstrated that the population of these places during the Qin and Warring States was no lower than it was under the Han at its height in 2 AD, if not higher. The size of the Qin and Warring States army was also no smaller than those of the Han at its height and the population the Qin mobilized for forcible relocation, and building projects were all larger than those under the Han at its height.
The three case samples show that Warring States China's population was comparable to those of the Han in 2 AD, with a registered population of around 60 million. The Han also had the extreme southern provinces of Fujian, Guandong, Yunnan etc. But these are very lowly populated provinces at the time with a registered population of merely a few million, and considering that there are also hidden households and populations not counted in the Han census, we are still talking about near 60 million even excluding these commanderies in the south.
This point about mobilisation is interesting and I concede there. I also see you clarify just how rare it was for armies that big to be mobilised and that basically only Qin and Chu when at their biggest were doing so. However, I still see any number bigger than 200 thousand to be exaggerated, and I don't agree those population numbers are low ends or conservative estimates.The Qin had at least 10-15 million, the Chu had 8-9 million, the Zhao had 5-6 million, and these are the only states mobilizing armies over 300,000 by the mid 3rd century BC in records (and the Zhao only did it once). It's also meaningless to compare sheer numbers, as the distance armies march also factors into mobilization. The further an army has to march, the more astronomical the logistic personnel becomes. If you add in supply personnel, then Napoleonic armies should be even bigger. Napoleon's army of 650,000 marched hundreds of kilometers into Russia, whereas most warring states armies were fighting just a dozen of kilometers from home at most. In many cases, they were merely defending their own territory.
I didn't say I believe that either or that this was the case. All I said was that it is more believable given the great size of the Persian Empire.No modern historian I know believes Persia actually has 1 million men standing army. If you believe that, I don't know why you find it hard to believe large warring states polities can mobilize half a million men, if their population is already 1/4-1/2 that of Persia's. Napoleonic France could mobilize nearly three times as much men as pre-1793 France because of universal mobilization, and Persia isn't even as bureaucratized whereas late 18 century France had essentially the same complexity in bureaucracy as Napoleonic France.
Late Medieval France couldn't even mobilize 1/10 the size of the army of Napoleonic France even though it had nearly 2/3 of its population.
I wasn't talking about early medieval Europe, but late medieval Europe of the 14th century. You clearly know more about Chinese agriculture, so I'm not going to press more on that specific issue. That still however doesn't mean that China had anything more than just a somewhat higher population density in the Warring States period to the areas ruled by the Persian Empire. Qin and Chu at their biggest before Qin Shi Huang may rival and surpass even the biggest satrapies, but it is exaggeration to say it would be by much.Warring States China is probably more urbanized than medieval Europe (urbanization by itself also doesn't directly gauge population density, late Medieval Europe was already more populous than the Roman Empire, but no city was as even close to as populous as Rome or Alexandria) and Chinese productivity per area in field was always greater than the west because of loess and that its prominent crop was millet whereas in the west its wheat.
Productivity per mu of field for different Chinese dynasties from Pu Fengxian (in jin);
Eastern Zhou: 91
Qin and Han: 117
AOF: 122/215 (122 for the north, 215 for the south)
Sui and Tang: 124/328
Song and Yuan: 140/343
1 jin = 0.5 kg
The Roman productivity was roughly the same, or even slightly higher than early medieval fields on a per acre basis.
Nathan Stewart calculates that if hypothetical family(5 members) required 1384 to 1591 kilograms(3051-3508 pounds) of wheat per year for food, it will have had to work 20.8 to 23.9 iugera(13-15 acres) of land with a 1 to 3 yield ratio.
The 117 jin/mu for the Han would be roughly 3 times as high as the Roman production per acre given by Stewart.
As Ge Jianxiong argued, the agriculture support capacity in the Warring States period already hit a peak in northern China, and northern China's population did not change drastically from the late Warring States until the middle of the Ming, when new world crops such as potato was introduced in mountainous areas previously unaccessible to agriculture; peaking at about 50 million people.