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what was the inhabitants of historic Mesopotamia?

I attempted to seek out out the inhabitants of Mesopotamia in the course of the time of the late Babylonian Empire, however i could not discover something. All it gave me the place the populations of particular person cities, do we all know? Or is it simply merely one thing no person can work out.

I attempted looking by way of Wikipedia however was unable to seek out something, I’ve discovered numbers between 25,000 folks, to 200,000 folks within the metropolis itself, and 150,000 folks for all the Babylonian Empire which i feel is goofy. To date the one supply I’ve discovered that I believe semi-realistically estimates the inhabitants of Historical Babylonia is not in the fitting interval, its within the time of Hammurabi, and it additionally is not a direct supply, its a PDF for a public faculty.

The rationale I am trying so exhausting for this was as a result of I received into an argument in regards to the military dimension of Babylon close to its destruction, I assumed it was between 50-100,000, however the man I used to be arguing with mentioned populations have been so small again then their military could not have ever reached bigger than 2,000.

Anyone know the place I can determine this out?

Comments ( 7 )

  1. Some digging on Wikipedia shows that the Neo-Assyrians (immediately preceding the Neo-Babylonians) could field an army of 300k men and earlier than that in Egypt Rameses II had an army of 100k men (both pages cite books for their numbers). It doesn’t sound like your estimate is unreasonable at all and 2000 is definitely too low.

  2. I’m not intimately familiar with the population studies of these people, but can speak a bit on populations in antiquity.

    The overwhelming majority of it is just educated guesses/estimates. Very rarely do we get anything that states actual populations, and even those that did have censuses should be taken with a grain of salt.

    So what do we look at? We look at the cities themselves mainly. We know that cities need to be able to house people, feed people, provide water, etc. So if we’re only getting evidence of enough houses for 20,000 people, water (piped in or otherwise) for 30,000 people, etc. then we can start to doubt some of the higher limits.

    However, we also can’t just assume things were perfect either. We can’t assume every room was a bedroom for one person. We can’t assume that the amount of water would have been given to one person and used up (no excess) or that the amount of water was enough to give the right amount to all the people there (inadequate).

    And so on and so forth. That is all to say that the reason we get such wide swings in population estimates is because different people are looking at different criteria and analysising them differently too. Some people may be very conservative, and go for the lowest, some may be a bit more open and go for the highest possible number.

    So who’s right? We usually will never know. Same thing happens with army sizes, with a lot of guesses — though in antiquity this tends to go towards over-exaggerating rather than under, though there’s probably a few instances of that happening too. Additionally, it’s a common mistake to think that all members of an army lived in said place. Mercenaries were far more common than most people think, and this is fairly universal across antiquity.

    /This is by no means describing the whole problem/study, there’s a lot more factors to take into account, more areas of evidence we can look at (burials are fun), but just a very quick introduction.

  3. Most historical sources from that time are highly Apocryphal.

    1. The modern numeric system we use today did not exist
    2. The people who eventually created “historic” version of these ” documents” were born hundreds of years after they supposedly existed, and never actually lived in the places where these events occurred. And even those sources “reporting” on contemporary events are often highly exaggerated. It’s very unlikely the Roman Republic could field 100,000 soldiers in a single battle, let alone do it again multiple times in a century. Those same “historians” we source on figures of this era can’t even be relied upon to provide accurate numbers on things that happened when they were alive. And in fact they likely inflated or just made them up.
    3. Those people likely relied on multiple levels of translations from languages that no longer existed or they did not understand. Provided to them by people who also did not understand those languages.
    4. It was very beneficial to spread stories of great historical civilizations at the time as fact. It was not easy to disprove any claims and you could make a lot of money writing and orating stories about great historical empires and events.

    Given historical comparisons, the logistics and technologies of the time, I think having 10,000 people living together in a “city” would be quite a feat. Add in communication (almost everybody is what you would consider illiterate), logistics, difficulty of travel, would mean that 10% of a population being able to muster for war would be…optimistic.

    It’s likely “great battles” of the time took place between hundreds of soldiers on each side. Thousands could have been possible but very rare.

  4. I believe contemporary Middle or New Kingdom Egypt had a population of 2-3 million at the time?

    As a rule of thumb, urban population in those days usually represent about 5-10% of a local regions total population, so you can calculate a rough estimate of the total pop by multiplying combined population of city centers by a factor of 10 to 20.

    More accurate estimates will require at minimal assessing the food production capacity of the area in question, ideally paired with records from the locale (which the city-states of Mesopotamia made plenty of in the form of cuneiform clay tablets recording taxes and temple contributions). I’ll see if I can dig up something..

  5. I have often wondered this very thing when reading some of the population numbers in the Bible. For instance, the enslaved Hebrew Exodus population was supposedly 600,000 men plus their families. This takes the number upwards of over a million and a half people to almost 2 million people. It’s been estimated that Egypt’s population was around 5 million people (I can’t remember where I read this, sorry) so this means that the population of the slaves was around 1/3 of the population.

    There is zero evidence of the Exodus, it’s a national foundation myth written centuries later but the number of people the Bible alledges were killed in battles or living in cities seems to be highly embellished. Population studies are hard to come by when trying to compare these old stories to realistic population numbers.

  6. Nineveh May have had north of 1MM people before it’s sacking around… 600BC I want to say

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