Empire that ruled the largest % of world population

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,701
SoCal
#31
The Persian empire at it's height was said to have ruled around 44% of the world population in 480 BC, skip ahead to Alexander's conquest in 323 BC and this would imply he ruled close to half the world's population if the population % of the region had not changed. Is there any other ruler/empire that comes close to this percentage?
What's the source for the 44% part?
 
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
#36
Wow!

Was the Chinese and Indian % of the total world's population much lower back then?
Probably at least the same even though the populations were tiny. Keep in mind in 500 BC though the rest of the world besides Persia is relatively empty, China and India had tiny populations but were still the largest civilizations other than the Persian Empire which is why we were having a dispute about it further up the thread.
 
Likes: Futurist

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,638
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#38
The Tang dynasty had a population of roughly 80 million in the 9th century, during which time the world's estimated population was 240 million (all figures from Wiki), meaning it had some 33% of the world's population.
 
Mar 2012
4,370
#39
I don't know why people are still using amateur figures from online or wikipedia when I cited the actual representative scholarly estimate (some with primary sources) in this thread.
Probably at least the same even though the populations were tiny. Keep in mind in 500 BC though the rest of the world besides Persia is relatively empty, China and India had tiny populations but were still the largest civilizations other than the Persian Empire which is why we were having a dispute about it further up the thread.
There are no reliable estimates for India whatsoever in 500 BC, the guestimate range of Indian population literally range from as low as 34 million to as high as 75 million in 1 AD.
1559959465245.png


For China, Ge Jianxiong already made the convincing argument by comparing several regions to Han times, that population of the Warring States-Qin might not have been much smaller and that the population of the late Warring States in 300 BC might have been as high as 45 million (probably still close to 40 million in the 5th century BC).

So far the only scholarly estimate I've seen for Achaemenid population is the low count by McEvdy and Jones, giving the Achaemenid a population of just 17.5 million (out of a world population of around 100 million; he also gives around 30 million for China and close to 25 million for India), to the high estimate given by Schiedel giving 30-35 million. This would still be lower than Warring States China, and even if we take the middle range guestimate for India, probably roughly comparable. When adjusting for the higher figures for Persia, India and China, the world population should be around 130-140 million with 30-35 million, the Achemenid would have had probably just under 1/4 of the world's population. This of course is a very unreliable rough estimate as well.
 
Jun 2017
2,879
Connecticut
#40
I don't know why people are still using amateur figures from online or wikipedia when I cited the actual representative scholarly estimate (some with primary sources) in this thread.


There are no reliable estimates for India whatsoever in 500 BC, the guestimate range of Indian population literally range from as low as 34 million to as high as 75 million in 1 AD.
View attachment 20422


For China, Ge Jianxiong already made the convincing argument by comparing several regions to Han times, that population of the Warring States-Qin might not have been much smaller and that the population of the late Warring States in 300 BC might have been as high as 45 million.

So far the only scholarly estimate I've seen for Achaemenid population is the low count by McEvdy and Jones, giving the Achaemenid a population of just 17.5 million (out of a world population of around 100 million; he also gives around 30 million for China and close to 25 million for India), to the high estimate given by Schiedel giving 30-35 million. This would still be lower than Warring States China, and even we take the middle guestimate for India, probably roughly comparable. When adjusting for the higher figures for Persia, India and China, the world population should be around 130-140 million with 30-35 million, the Achemenid would have had probably just under 1/4 of the world's population. This of course is a very unreliable rough estimate as well.
Never said there were reliable estimates for India. Part of studying ancient demography especially when you get out of cities into empires is it's a guesstimate. But you can tell what just doesn't fit with the history of a region based on later guesstimates. 50-70 million for India which is above the Mauryan era is not realistic for 500 BC. 25-30 makes far more sense and still might be an overcount

I laid out my case against those figures I see as unreasonably high on the ."What are the greatest Middle Eastern Empires Thread" this morning.


Per Persia as a whole and regions there is far less evidence there, surprising since the area developed earlier while India and China developed later. But we do have the reputable city data from Tertius Chandler and the biggest cities in the world are in the Persian Empire and there's a lot of them, the idea that India and China can have twice the population as an empire with most of the worlds major cities seems influenced by modern reality more than the past. You can also see China and India's cities swell during the times of their empire and I find the idea that China and India were not considerably smaller in 500 BC than in the Han Era and Mauryan era(both populations which are the size of the Roman Empire's zenith to put that into perspective) to be ridiculous and goes in the opposite direction of not just common sense(earlier development, more major cities, less people) but the most accurate scholarly data we have from the time, the major city data from Chandler It was hard to find sources for not only the Persian Empire but the empire's four predecessors that make up most of it in the general sense. It can not be proven Persia had 44% of the world's population at it's height. But it is not clearly wrong, it is a perfectly plausible number(and Persia's status as the one with the largest population share is not dependent on the specific number if it's close, which is the reason this discussion started, the 44% figure is cited as how impressive Persia is). It could be lower but you know it could also be higher(less likely but plausible) and pre 500 BC the predecessor empires that make up Persia might have gotten into the 50's.
 

Similar History Discussions