View Full Version : Classical European Population Boom
January 8th, 2004, 01:23 AM
How do we increase the population of Classical Europe? Classical being around the time of Roman dominance. This shouldn't be something that can be applied universally. I want the European population increasing dramatically, without bringing their neighbors (mediterranean, north africa, mid east, etc.) along for hte ride. My guess is the best idea is to introduce some crops that would grow well, that they didn't have.
January 8th, 2004, 01:33 AM
In ~1200 the climate of south-central France changed enuff to start a population boom. Have the Ice age start 1300 years eariler and this would be during classic Rome.
January 8th, 2004, 02:02 AM
I'm looking for something on a smaller scale than changing the climate.
January 8th, 2004, 03:10 AM
The other thing you can do is increase the birth rate somehow. Maybe have the population engage in a relgious practice at birth that (completely by accident) decreases the infection rate. For example, if the people believe that the 'strength' of the god Apollo is somehow imbued in a new born by wrapping the baby and mother in a special linen wrap that has been blessed by fire.
Less infection, more children live to their first birth day.
January 8th, 2004, 03:18 AM
or a adoption of the "Cleanness is next to Godness" as a religish tenent.
January 8th, 2004, 04:31 AM
in OTL, the introduction of potatoes into Europe allowed for a huge increase in food production. Have something like the potato grow in Europe, but not recognized as a food source until the Classical era (maybe it grows only in central Asia or someplace remote like that)....
January 8th, 2004, 05:13 AM
I was kinda leaning towards a new crop, like potatoes...
Is there anyway we can sneak some potatoes over to the old world? Speaking of Asia, were there any crops there that might help?
I'm hesitant with the religious POD, since that could have the same effect in the neighboring areas.
January 8th, 2004, 02:08 PM
IN the year 125 A.D., a storm blew a trading ship on its way to trade for tin across the atlantic. Then through a series of serendipitous events, the crew eventually finds its way back to Europe with tales of a 'far land'. For what ever reaspn, they have some how gotten hold of potatos, and the knowledge of how to plant them.
With respect to religious or cultural practices, yes you are right, surrounding people may adopt them, but this is usually done within a context of adopting lots of practices. Enough of this and the people cease to be the Cherburdians and start to be Romans.
January 8th, 2004, 04:45 PM
well, it'd be tough to get potatoes to Europe in the Classical era. They are native to the Andes, and were cultivated by the Incas first, IIRC. It'd be hard to imagine how a Greek or Roman ship would get all the way over to the Pacific, land in Inca territory, and climb all the up to the high elevations where potatoes were cultivated, then do it all in reverse and get back to Europe with healthy plants. It'd be easier to give potatoes a relative in the old world somewhere, but out of reach of Europe at first... otherwise, it'd have been cultivated from the beginning.
BTW, the value of potatoes is that they produce a much higher number of calories per acre than grain, although they can't be stored like grain. In OTL, once they reached Europe, they were used as private garden crops. They were mainly for the peasants, who'd let them grow and dig them up when needed. They had an advantage too in that they're hard to destroy (you can chop up the plants, but you have to dig up the tubers to loot them), whereas grain can be burned or trampled. Thus, armies and raiders tended to leave them alone, leaving the peasants a source of food if disaster struck. Potatoes really made it big when Europeans began to plant them in grain fields that were scheduled to be left fallow... this allowed a big boost in available food, which fed a booming European population.
Let's say a similar plant exists in central Asia somewhere, and is brought back to Europe in Roman days. It might go through a similar history and allow a population boom....
January 8th, 2004, 07:10 PM
Perhaps the agricultural techniques that let medieval population boom?
January 8th, 2004, 07:50 PM
Are any of said techniques only really effective in Europe? For example, the moldboard plow, would that help out the mideast much? If not, this could be a good candidate.
As to potatoes, what if they spread to to North America first? Any plausible way to do this?
January 8th, 2004, 11:40 PM
potatoes are pretty adaptable and will grow about anywhere it is cool and sandy. The major problem with them is that they store poorly; they are highly susceptible to rotting, and they will sprout anyway if left too long. I suppose they could have slowly spread north, but the jungles and deserts north of the Inca lands were poor places to grow them. They were originally grown high in the Andes, where the cold dry climate did allow them to be stored fairly long. I always wondered why the Spaniards thought enough of the first potatoes to bother taking them to Europe (the original potatoes were pretty small and tasteless)....
January 14th, 2004, 01:06 AM
How about maize corn? Its adapts pretty well (which actually isn't good for this scenario, since it could expand out of Europe), and compliments wheat nicely (growing where its too wet for wheat). Also produces alot of carbohydrates, sugars, and fats in a relatively short season. Its yield is also about double that of wheat.
And to top things off, its probably easier to get to Europe than potatoes are. Unfortunately, ancient corn was pretty small, I don't know how big it had gotten by this time.
January 14th, 2004, 01:19 AM
why not make it more interesting by letting it get _out_ of europe?
January 14th, 2004, 01:41 AM
IIRC Potatoes were taken back to europw as a cheap Animal Food :eek: of course given the attitude of the nobles towards their Peasants :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
January 14th, 2004, 03:10 AM
why not make it more interesting by letting it get _out_ of europe?
Because I wanna balance out Europe and TROTW. Historically, Europe wasn't as populated as their neighbors. Think of the Roman Empire. The poor, underpopulated European West and the Rich, urban Near Asian East?
January 14th, 2004, 03:51 AM
This is my first post on the new website, and a very smart one it is too (website that is).
Population increase: first, the establishment of the Roman Empire did actually lead to a population increase anyway.
This is everywhere attested to by archeologists and scholars.
However if you want to take it to the next level there are a couple of possibilities.
One is that malaria remains in Africa and does not infect the Mediterranean world.
Another is that some Roman doctor discovers the connection between filfth and disease and gets people to accept the need to change their ways.
Heightened standards of cleanliness particularly as regards water supply and sewerage have actually made more of a difference to human life than anti-biotics.
The Romans are of course famous for this sort of thing, but it never extended to the villages and farms where 80% of the population lived.
Another thing that would have caused a population increase would have been the introduction of more productive agriculture such as happened in the sadly misnamed Dark Ages with the 3 field system and the mould-board plough.
The latter meant that the heavy soils of Northern Europe could be cultivated efficently, which the Romans never achieved.
The second meant that two thirds instead of half one's fields could be productive at any one time.
This sounds like small potatoes now but at the time it was a veritable revolution: it was the first major improvement in agriculture since it had been invented thousands of years before.
It gave Europe the economic strength not merely to survive the Dark Ages but ultimately to do wierd things like establish a new civilisation, settle America and conquer the world. :D
The widespread adoption of water-mills, another Dark Age innovation, would have been a great boost too.
January 14th, 2004, 06:03 AM
Looking good, alot of those are good suggestions.
January 14th, 2004, 07:35 AM
Thank God someone else doesn't think of the 'Dark Ages' as a time when no advances took place.
January 14th, 2004, 02:07 PM
Most people here agree that plenty of advances took place in the Dark Ages. To me, it was just a time when society got more stratified, and civilization got too chaotic.
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