The Bloodiest Dynasties in History

#31
In that case what if one were to add to the intra-dynastic blood-letting, the state blood-letting of the populace in general?

I am not up with the Tangs, but working backwards through the Constantinians ... 359 CE: First attested state Inquisition of all Christian history
Ammianus Marcellinus (Book 19,CH 12) - "numbers without end" - (how is this to be quantified?)
State blood-letting of the general population is a somewhat different kettle of fish, and the lack of actual numbers in many cases does make comparisons difficult. There are similar bouts of treason trials during the Julio-Claudian, Flavian and Severan periods that I can think of, but the Roman regimes would be disadvantaged in a comparison with modern totalitarian regimes.
 
#32
Indeed. Not only that, think of the poor towns, cities and officials who sided with the claimant who ended up losing. Often one needed to make a choice, and defeat could mean purges and sackings, especially if the losing claimant chose the city as a base of operations. City councils could feel obliged to make such a choice quickly lest a rival city wins the special favour of the eventual winner by an earlier show of loyalty, and the longer a civil war dragged on the more city councils would need to pick a side anyway.
An addendum: Those occasions when the victor/likely victor offered clemency to cities, officers, officials and military units who chose the wrong side meant that a civil war could finish more quickly. Aurelian undermined support for Zenobia through a consistent policy of showing clemency, and his approach is perhaps one of the reasons why Tetricus later surrendered to Aurelian without a fight, trusting in his mercy. Similarly, Diocletian executed hardly anyone after his victory over Carinus, perhaps because it would have ensured as smooth a consolidation of power as possible (he also rewarded those who had betrayed Carinus).

Unfortunately, Diocletian also demonstrates the other way a civil war could conclude. After defeating the Egypt-based usurpation of Domitianus, he sacked Alexandria and had parts of the city destroyed, and he ordered proscriptions throughout Egypt.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#34
Indeed. Not only that, think of the poor towns, cities and officials who sided with the claimant who ended up losing. Often one needed to make a choice, and defeat could mean purges and sackings, especially if the losing claimant chose the city as a base of operations. City councils could feel obliged to make such a choice quickly lest a rival city wins the special favour of the eventual winner by an earlier show of loyalty, and the longer a civil war dragged on the more city councils would need to pick a side anyway.

As for logistics, it's notable that even during a time of relative peace, Gordian III was petitioned by the citizens of the village of Skaptopara in Thrace, who were suffering due to the requisitions imposed on them by soldiers travelling trough the town, which happened to be along one of the main roads of communication. They threatened the emperor that they were on the verge of abandoning their village, and would thus cease to be a tax-paying population. If it really was that bad, imagine what it would have been like during, say, the reigns of Gallienus, Aurelian and Probus, when imperial units were moving back-and-forth across the empire on a regular basis to deal with frequent usurpations and foreign incursions.

Civil wars could also drag out with terrible consequences. Note for example that the war between Constantius II and Magnentius lasted from 350 to 353, to the extent that Magnentius was unable to spare enough troops to properly deal with the Frankish and Alemannic invasions of Gaul and Raetia, which collapsed the Rhine frontier and led to incursions as far as central and southern Gaul (they apparently invaded on the invitation of Constantius, who had hoped to disperse Magnetius' military manpower and undermine his authority in Gaul). By the time Constantius had defeated Magnentius and got around to dealing with the problem of the German invasions, the Romans on both sides had lost so much experienced military manpower through civil war that his Caesar Julian was badly outnumbered when it came to actually recovering Gaul, which led to close-run affairs like the Battle of Strasbourg.

So civil wars definitely had destructive repercussions!
But Chinese civil wars were much bigger and bloodier from what I have read. Lists of the bloodiest wars and man-made disasters in history have several Chinese Civil wars near the top. List of wars by death toll - Wikipedia
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#35
a mention of the Qin dynasty , lasted only 15years
I'm not sure China could have survived fifteen years more
The first emperor: the megalomaniac who united China

the Great wall is supposed to be the longest cemetery in the world
That is not technically true. It would be poor engineering to put dead bodies inside a wall made of tamped Earth; the bodies would decay and create voids within the wall weakening it. so the longest cemetery would be alongside the great wall.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,521
Sydney
#36
It's an image , supposed to represent the death of all the workers dragged to build it
a solid line of dead lying next to each others for the whole length
being send to the wall was considered a death sentence
 

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