Did the ancient Chinese have the command and control system and logistics to control and supply hundreds of thousands of men in a single battlefield

heavenlykaghan

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,486
The settlement density (about 0.8 hectare for every km2) compared with the size of the largest settlements (some over 1,000 hectares for the period of the Persian Empire, that is, nearing the size of classical Rome) do provide information to at least make population estimates, "aggregate site areas provide approximations of local area populations". The article cites another that estimates 8 million neolithic Europeans, when the settlement density was less than 0.2 hectares per km2, meaning 4 people living for every said 0.2 hectares. Using this, we can indeed estimate around 50 million people living in the Persian Empire, as the settlement density increased to 0.8 and thus the number of people to about 6 or 7. Again, I see this as a high end, but the point is that I don't think McEvdy and Jones were accurate when they estimated just 35 million as their high end for such an enormous urbanised area. And notice how little the population increased in Italy in a period of over a millennium. Not even all of Roman Italy was equally urbanised anyway. The large area in and around Cisalpine Gaul was far less urbanised than central and southern Italy. You don't find anything close to Rome or Pompeii there. Indeed, there was an inversion in population in the Middle Ages, as the most urbanised centres moved north (Florence, Milan, Pisa, Genoa, Venice). Spanish-ruled southern Italy was only about 3 million people in the 16th century, and even accounting for the bubonic plague, the population couldn't have been much higher in the early 14th century before the plague struck.
If you think this type of gross generalization can approach anywhere near an accurate estimate then you might as well throw all census out the window, but no demographic historians do that nor are these type of vague estimates more authoritative than census and backward projections. Furthermore, its Schiedel who estimates 30-35 million for the Achaemenid Empire, McEvdy and Jones only estimated 17.5 million. You still have yet shown me what the exact size of urban settlements are in the Persian Empire or its urbanization rate. The case of Italy emphatically proves that urbanization is not directly related to population size; how its distributed does not refute the statistics that the Roman Empire had a higher urbanization rate, and that Italy had a larger urban population, yet less people overall than it did in medieval times.



I'm not establishing any arbitrary upper limits because the number of 50 million comes from a scholarly source. You back project too much when in demography it is well-known that back projections of such a long time are not helpful. Just like countries such as the Philippines grew from barely 1 million people to over 100 in five centuries, areas like the Persian Empire could have reached a point of equilibrium and not increase their size as much.
Scholarly means little when the source cited has no proper demographic methodology and is outdated by a century. No scholar takes that over recent demographic estimates.
No one said backward projection isn't infallible, but we can establish an upper limit, and the upper limit for population size of these areas have already been reached in Roman, medieval and early modern times, unless you are telling me that population during Achaemenid times are larger than they were in these later periods (in which case you'll need to provide the prove); McEvdy and Jones for example, have estimated the population of the entire Islamic world under Harun-Al Rashid, where we actually have more census, in the 8th century to be peaking at 35 million (which includes just about all of the Persian Empire outside of Asia Minor, but with the addition of Arabia, north Africa, and Spain).

And let's not exclude Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, northern Sudan, and even northern India which you arbitrarily excluded from that estimate, because it can easily double the number for the year 1900. The Persian Empire was not just the Middle East. I know that the Persian territories today don't have the same population size nor density as China, but this is a result of Greek and Roman warfare, the Mongol invasion, the bubonic plague, and constant warfare against the Habsburgs, Russians and British. Equally as important is how the Ottomans and Iranians were cut from international trade by Europeans since at least the 17th century, which is why they didn't enjoy any demographic benefits like those enjoyed by India and China who became important components of early globalisation. Even the possible demographic benefit of introducing New World crops was offset because of this. And the Kangju mentioned by the Han is at the periphery of the Persian Empire, whereas the border areas with Iran and the Caspian sea were indeed highly urbanised, as I have already mentioned various times before. This area is the size of such massive settlements for the time like Gornu Tepe. A more representative example are the Da Yuan, which the Han seem to have described as densely populated.
The Persian Empire never conquered Ukraine or Sudan (Nubia) nor were these areas in the demographic estimates of McEvdy and Jones or Schiedel. The Persian claim to Nubia was countered by the Napata inscription which declared that Nastesen had routed the Persian armies of Cambyses and captured all his ships. The very fact that the Kushite king was able to raise such a monument supports the fact that he was independent. Furthermore, Herodotus, whose informants were Greek mercenaries in the Persian army, also depicts the Nubian expedition as a disaster.

Classical Greek population estimates have been fairly consistent, and the main Greek peninsula's population was generally estimated at no greater than 3 million, and Persia didn't even conquer all of it; and only very briefly. The exact extent of Achæmenid India is uncertain, since there is no helpful documentation and no archaeological evidence. It seems not to have survived the 5th century BC, and is generally considered to have been confined to Taxila (173,744 square miles), to which Alexander added Porus and Abhisara. McEvdy and Jones gave only a population figure of around 1.5 million for Persian India, even if it was over twice that size the figure of 50 million is extremely unlikely given the fact that the same area for later empires in medieval times fluctuated only between 20-40 million. Da Yuan's population was given in the Hanshu as 300,000, whereas the Yuezhi (southern Central Asia and northern Afghanistan)'s population was given as 400,000. Even when adding these all up, we get not much more than a million people for Persian Central Asia, a far outcry from the population of the same region with 7 million in 1900.


These considerations means the Persian Empire under Darius at its greatest extent was around 5,724,200 sq km, not 8 million sq km.



The Romans did not just have a bit of Spain, they had virtually half of Iberia plus all other territories of the Carthaginian empire as at least vassals by the Battle of Magnesia. The Romans also included virtually all of the Adriatic coast and a huge portion of the interior too when they went to war against Antiochus. They couldn't have less than 5 million people as a low end. And yes, Antiochus reestablished Darius's empire with the exception of such massive territories as Egypt, Pakistan, northern India, and also excluding European Scythia and northern Sudan (which the Persians may have vassalised in their entirety). He barely ruled half of the empire at most. He didn't even rule all of Achaemenid Central Asia since he failed in his campaign against Euthydemus and was forced to recognise his independence. Suffice to say that while the Seleucids were indeed bigger at that point, the Romans weren't that much smaller either, at most four times less in territory and population, and taking into account the greater distance the Seleucids had to march to meet the Romans. The numbers for both armies at Magnesia also did not get anywhere close to 100,000, at best only over half of it.

Roman Republic around 200 BC includes about 3/4 of Spain and Italy. It's area is around 300,000 sq miles; about the same size as the state of Qin or Chu in 300 BC

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You exaggerated the extent of Persian control in India, Africa, and Europe (Darius' expedition against the Scythians, like the Persian campaign over Nubia, was a disaster and not a conquest), and other than Taxila, Egypt, Greece, and a few very small locations, the Seleucid under Antiochus had pretty much conquered all of Darius' Empire (vassal over Parthia and Bactria included). The fact that it wasn't able to out-mobilize the Roman Republic despite being several times its size should already show you that territorial size without the consideration of political organization and military recruitment system is not an accurate gauge of mobilization potential.
 
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heavenlykaghan

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,486
Ancient Germanic peoples should have then be regularly mobilising armies of over 200 thousand, but I'm aware of only one such instance, when the Cimbri and Teutones invaded Italy, and that after they had also recruited people from southern Germania and Gaul. We also don't hear of them campaigning for nearly half a century after their defeat. You also changed argument here. First you said universal conscription under a complex system of bureacracy, now you're saying higher mobilisation occurs with states of lower complexities that lack said bureaucracies. And yes, you tried to compare the urban population of Napoleonic France and Han China but that's why I mentioned why they're not comparable. France had a much higher population density than Han China (60 people per square kilometre against just 15), while the point about semi-industrial manufacturing is that they necessarily occur in urban centres and shows how a much higher percentage of both territory and the population were urbanised compared to the Han, otherwise Napoleon's army wouldn't be as well armed as it was. We're also talking about a state that had been deforesting itself since the 16th century to build massive fleets to compete with the navies of Spain, England and Holland and keep overseas colonies, with shipyards all over France's coasts. And urbanisation is not just the percentage of people living in cities either but also the size of urban settlements and their complexity.
I didn't change my argument; you just don't understand it. We are comparing economic structures, not bureaucracy. A simple economic structure does not imply a simple bureaucracy. Plenty of nomadic states had bureaucracy; the Mongol Empire had it, and it could mobilize over 100,000 people with a population less than 1 million. I compared only agricultural states, because nomadic states functioned differently, since their economic production in the form of herding can be performed on campaigns (along with looting), and did not require large amounts of the population working behind the lines to feed the soldiers. Industrialization meant larger amounts of the population working behind the line for industrial production in addition to agricultural production (although industrial machines could also increase agricultural productivity and reduce the population of farmers, but there is no direct relationship here). Napoleonic France and ancient China are both primarily agricultural states, not nomadic nor industrial (Napoleonic France isn't semi-industrial, it isn't industrial at all) and are hence comparable. It's also funny you mentioned the navy, as we didn't even add the naval forces Napoleon possess which also numbered some 150,000 in addition to the land force, while most ancient States of China lacked.
Furthermore, Warring States polities weren't the only ones capable of mobilizing over 200,000, later historical states such as the Xixia, Vietnam, Khitan, the early Manchus, where we have reliable cross referencing, all mobilized armies of such caliber with populations of only several million.


And I don't trust Schiedel. He is not taking into account the settlement density, settlement size, division of labour, the diverse population of the Persian Empire, the enormous size of the Persian Empire, the detailed and numerous tablets and inscriptions keeping count on people and land size. It's likely he is excluding European Scythia (Ukraine), northern Sudan and significant portions of Central Asia and India ruled or vassalised by the Persians from his estimate as well. And the Great Satrapy of Arachosia was arguably more populated than Egypt since it includes the highly dense areas of India, even its sub-satrapies like Hindush and Sattagydia should at least be nearly the same, while other sub-satrapies like Lydia should not have been that far behind Egypt either. Arrian whose account is based on the eye-witness testimony of Ptolemy and Nearchus mentions how urbanised and full of people were the areas explored by Alexander
Yet you trust a figure over a century old whose methodology cannot even be verified, if it is not altogether non-existent.
You have yet to even make a convincing argument how settlement density can determine population size, and your methods have already been pointed out to be wrong, and your estimation of the size of the Persian Empire wrong as well. Error built upon errors, and yet you have the unfounded boldness to challenge actual demographic historians on the matter.


I again pointed out that the Encyclopedia Iranica is a collaborative effort, so yes, it does include professional demographers, while I mentioned above how Schiedel is most likely not considering the entirety of the Persian Empire while also undervaluing just how rich, urbanised and complex it was (and I also already explained why this same area is became less dense as time progressed). The low end for the Qin Empire as a whole also comes from Edgar Kiser, who in fact gave 20 million, and as if it wasn't enough, only gives a high end of 30 million.
A collaborative effort of non-demographic historians is still not a professional demographic estimate; are you not understanding this common sense? Ten people with no training in calculus will not solve a calculus problem. If you insist there are demographers, then show me their participation and methodology, before you do that, stop making baseless assumptions. In fact, do you even know the methodology behind Schiedel?

Edgar Kiser's figures are not his own estimates, it came from those of old school Chinese historians, whose methodology is to multiply the recorded army size (which you are doubting) by a factor of five, by assuming that as much as 1/5 of the entire population of the entire state can be mobilized (a fact you are also doubting). It's clear you don't even know the methodology behind their so called estimates, and choose to believe whatever you think sounds right.
 
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If you think this type of gross generalization can approach anywhere near an accurate estimate then you might as well throw all census out the window, but no demographic historians do that nor are these type of vague estimates more authoritative than census and backward projections. Furthermore, its Schiedel who estimates 30-35 million for the Achaemenid Empire, McEvdy and Jones only estimated 17.5 million. You still have yet shown me what the exact size of urban settlements are in the Persian Empire or its urbanization rate. The case of Italy emphatically proves that urbanization is not directly related to population size; how its distributed does not refute the statistics that the Roman Empire had a higher urbanization rate, and that Italy had a larger urban population, yet less people overall than it did in medieval times.
I've already provided the settlement density, 0.9 ha per square kilometre, with the biggest sites going into well over 10 square kilometres given by Lawrence, et al. Muller estimates 14 million people for the Near East alone during 2,000 at the same period Lawrence estimates a settlement density of 1.2 ha per km2. There was a decline, but it recovered again by 500 BCE, and the settlement density of the Persian Empire is very much constant since as I've pointed out at various times already, even areas like Central Asia actually had comparable settlements to the Near East, such as Gornur Tepe and the BMAC in general, while the Scythians living in the margins of this area could still mobilise an army comparable to the Persians when under duress and even succeeded in killing Cyrus with Tomyris. Even with Hackneyed's corrections we're talking of some 25 million people and when accounting for other things like agricultural productivity, that number can easily be nearly doubled.



Scholarly means little when the source cited has no proper demographic methodology and is outdated by a century. No scholar takes that over recent demographic estimates.
No one said backward projection isn't infallible, but we can establish an upper limit, and the upper limit for population size of these areas have already been reached in Roman, medieval and early modern times, unless you are telling me that population during Achaemenid times are larger than they were in these later periods (in which case you'll need to provide the prove); McEvdy and Jones for example, have estimated the population of the entire Islamic world under Harun-Al Rashid, where we actually have more census, in the 8th century to be peaking at 35 million (which includes just about all of the Persian Empire outside of Asia Minor, but with the addition of Arabia, north Africa, and Spain).
Except McEvedy and Jones also add the caveat that, during what they called the medieval cycle, there was a previous decline in population in the Middle East followed by a recovered peak that was only broken until the 17th century, hence why medieval empires are not as populated. The primary cycle according to them, meanwhile, was actually more densely populated in the Mediterranean and Near East than at other places but it declined thanks to the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the third century, with places like northern Europe and China replacing the Middle East and the Mediterranean as the focus of human density and population increase. In other words, the disintegration of the Classical world generated a Malthusian limit in the region.


The Persian Empire never conquered Ukraine or Sudan (Nubia) nor were these areas in the demographic estimates of McEvdy and Jones or Schiedel. The Persian claim to Nubia was countered by the Napata inscription which declared that Nastesen had routed the Persian armies of Cambyses and captured all his ships. The very fact that the Kushite king was able to raise such a monument supports the fact that he was independent. Furthermore, Herodotus, whose informants were Greek mercenaries in the Persian army, also depicts the Nubian expedition as a disaster.

Classical Greek population estimates have been fairly consistent, and the main Greek peninsula's population was generally estimated at no greater than 3 million, and Persia didn't even conquer all of it; and only very briefly. The exact extent of Achæmenid India is uncertain, since there is no helpful documentation and no archaeological evidence. It seems not to have survived the 5th century BC, and is generally considered to have been confined to Taxila (173,744 square miles), to which Alexander added Porus and Abhisara. McEvdy and Jones gave only a population figure of around 1.5 million for Persian India, even if it was over twice that size the figure of 50 million is extremely unlikely given the fact that the same area for later empires in medieval times fluctuated only between 20-40 million. Da Yuan's population was given in the Hanshu as 300,000, whereas the Yuezhi (southern Central Asia and northern Afghanistan)'s population was given as 400,000. Even when adding these all up, we get not much more than a million people for Persian Central Asia, a far outcry from the population of the same region with 7 million in 1900.


These considerations means the Persian Empire under Darius at its greatest extent was around 5,724,200 sq km, not 8 million sq km.
Except Darius did indeed subjugate at least northern Nubia since it was under him that Kush was listed as part of his empire while even Herodotus mentions this region providing men for his army while the rest of Nubia gave irregular tribute, and it is something confirmed by archaeology at the Dorginarti site in northern Sudan. Meanwhile, Darius also did force the Ukrainian Scythians into at least vassalage and did decisively conquer their coast, building fortifications along the area with the Ukrainian Scythians forced to recognise Persian authority:

The Scythians evaded the Persians, wasting the countryside as they retreated eastward. After following them for a month Darius reached a desert and began to build eight frontier fortresses; owing to Scythian harrassment of his troops and the October weather, which threatened to hinder further campaigning, he left them unfinished and returned via the Danube bridge. He had, however, “advanced far enough into Scythian territory to terrify the Scythians and to force them to respect the Persian forces” (Herodotus, 4.102-55; cf. Meyer, pp. 105-07; Macan, pp. 2-45; Prášek, II, pp. 91-108; Rostovtzeff, pp. 84-85; Junge, 1944, pp. 104-05, 187-88; Schnitzler, pp. 63-71; Fol and Hammond, pp. 235-43; Černenko, with further references). Shortly afterward Megabyzus reduced gold-rich Thrace and several Greek cities of the northern Aegean; Macedonia submitted voluntarily (Herodotus, 4.143, 5.1-30)... Four new “satrapies” were thus added to Darius’ empire: Sakā tyaiy paradraya “Overseas Scythians,”
 
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Latin America
Roman Republic around 200 BC includes about 3/4 of Spain and Italy. It's area is around 300,000 sq miles; about the same size as the state of Qin or Chu in 300 BC

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You exaggerated the extent of Persian control in India, Africa, and Europe (Darius' expedition against the Scythians, like the Persian campaign over Nubia, was a disaster and not a conquest), and other than Taxila, Egypt, Greece, and a few very small locations, the Seleucid under Antiochus had pretty much conquered all of Darius' Empire (vassal over Parthia and Bactria included). The fact that it wasn't able to out-mobilize the Roman Republic despite being several times its size should already show you that territorial size without the consideration of political organization and military recruitment system is not an accurate gauge of mobilization potential.
I did not exaggerate anything because sources are clear about Darius indeed ruling over a vast extended area of nearly 8 million kilometres. He subjugated even areas of Kazakhstan and reached the frontiers of China while also possessing virtually all of Pakistan and a significant portion of northern India, while archaeology does confirm Persian rule over at least part of Nubia and even Herodotus tells us of Nubian irregular tribute and the providing of Nubian troops for the Persian army, while even his European campaign had virtually all the Scythians of Ukraine submit to him. Antiochus the Great did not subjugate nearly the majority of this territory, and failed in even vassalising Euthydemus since he was forced to recognise his independence. He didn't even have a majority of Anatolia since this was under Pergamons rule, who became an ally of the Romans. And the numbers at Magnesia despite the great size of the Romans is indeed the point - the Romans mobilised significantly less than 100 thousand and required troops given by Pergamon to equal the size of the troops by Antiohcus. This is why Qin and Chu regularly mobilising double that number is suspect. And the Romans were not significantly less populated than Chu and Qin either. Again, as a minimum (and your map is excluding the to other Carthaginian territories that Rome did indeed have at least as vassals or dependencies), there are 5-6 million people, but the number is easily double that. And that is excluding Pergamon, which ruled much if not most of Anatolia at a time when the population was between 5 and 10 million people.

A collaborative effort of non-demographic historians is still not a professional demographic estimate; are you not understanding this common sense? Ten people with no training in calculus will not solve a calculus problem. If you insist there are demographers, then show me their participation and methodology, before you do that, stop making baseless assumptions. In fact, do you even know the methodology behind Schiedel?
Schiedel seems to be excluding the true extent of the Persian Empire and thus not taking into account about 5-10 million people.