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Thread: Italy - Demographics throughout history

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    Italy - Demographics throughout history



    There was a question regarding the size of Italy's population during the Lombard invasion in the 6th century. What would you say was the correct figure?

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    From Anthropological Society of Paris: 6 or 8 milions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    From Anthropological Society of Paris: 6 or 8 milions.
    The difference of 2 million people is 33.3% of 6 million. That is like saying the population of Italy today is 40 to 60 million. I doubt your source went to any considerable lengths in finding this 6 or 8 million figure. It seems unreliable.

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    Let's say that in mediaeval times there was a system of census not equal to that of today, so there may be a margin of error and variability. I say 6 or 8 milions because I want to wander between the time of the Goths and Longobards; we think that in the 700 a.d there whose 8 milions, and before, in Gothic age, Italy has about 6 milions people "Les estimation pour les périodes successives montret una forte eduction. Déjà à l'époque de la venude des Goths, vers 476, on relève una diminution de 20% et estimation est de 6.200.000." (La composition ethinique de la population italienne)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    Let's say that in mediaeval times there was a system of census not equal to that of today, so there may be a margin of error and variability. I say 6 or 8 milions because I want to wander between the time of the Goths and Longobards; we think that in the 700 a.d there whose 8 milions, and before, in Gothic age, Italy has about 6 milions people "Les estimation pour les périodes successives montret una forte eduction. Déjà à l'époque de la venude des Goths, vers 476, on relève una diminution de 20% et estimation est de 6.200.000." (La composition ethinique de la population italienne)
    Your interpretation of 'La composition ethinique de la population italienne' is including many strictly non-Italian regions who were viewed as playing a part in the ethnogenisis of the modern Italian state. This means that areas outside the boundaries of Italy proper during the 6th century such as Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Calabria, Trieste and even regions of Western Greece and Albania and other regions were also included in the study as people from all these regions were arguable part of Italy and contributed to the composition of the Italian ethnic identity later on.

    In the 6th century the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I reconquered Italy from the Ostrogoths. Immediately, a new wave of Germanic tribes, the Lombards, reduced the Byzantine presence to the Exarchate of Ravenna and southern Italy. The Lombard reign of northern and central Italy was absorbed into the Frankish Empire by Charlemagne in the late 8th century. The Frankish kings also helped the Popes to establish a true state in central Italy, extending from Rome to Ravenna, although for most of the Middle Ages they effectively controlled only what is now Lazio.

    590AD

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    Sorry but i don't understand exactly what do you mean. In my numbers are not included Sicilia, Sardegna and Corsica, couse they
    not considered Italy, so if we were to put even these will probably arrive at a population of 7 millions during the Gothic period. This research considers only the continental italy, to Alps from Calabria.

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    What I would like to add is that there were two major events which are very likely to have drastically reduced the population of Italy:

    - the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century AD, which hit the Byzantine Empire in the critical moment as it was trying to reconquer lands in the western Mediterranean.

    - the Black Death in the 14th century AD.

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    That's right. In fact, in the 8th century AD, the total population of Italy was no more than 5,800,000 habitants, a drastic reduction from previous centuries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    What I would like to add is that there were two major events which are very likely to have drastically reduced the population of Italy:

    - the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century AD, which hit the Byzantine Empire in the critical moment as it was trying to reconquer lands in the western Mediterranean.

    - the Black Death in the 14th century AD.
    Much of Italy was Orthodox and these people left North Italy in swathes following Lombard hostilities, some settled in the Veneto region and others moved to the Ionian and Dalmatian islands, remaining however part of the Greek Orthodox Exarchate of Ravenna. People fleeing Italy would have been registered in Ravenna but living outside Italy.

    The figure of 6.2 million Italians according to Leonardo in my opinion is a guestimate based on a number of arbitrary sources. Byzantine administration of Italy were including Western Greece and Albania, the Exarchate of Ravenna's registry included the church registries of the Eastern Orthodox church along the Dalmatian coast, the Ionian islands, Epirus, Achaia and Crete if I recall.

    We know that Rome's population during this time was no more than 50 000 and we know that during the Roman Empire Rome was said to have been the home of between 10 to 25% of the Italian population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    Sorry but i don't understand exactly what do you mean. In my numbers are not included Sicilia, Sardegna and Corsica, couse they
    not considered Italy, so if we were to put even these will probably arrive at a population of 7 millions during the Gothic period. This research considers only the continental italy, to Alps from Calabria.
    What are the demographic sources for this figure, does your book describe the registries used or don't you know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorianfinder View Post
    Much of Italy was Orthodox and these people left North Italy in swathes following Lombard hostilities, some settled in the Veneto region and others moved to the Ionian and Dalmatian islands, remaining however part of the Greek Orthodox Exarchate of Ravenna. People fleeing Italy would have been registered in Ravenna but living outside Italy.

    The figure of 6.2 million Italians according to Leonardo in my opinion is a guestimate based on a number of arbitrary sources. Byzantine administration of Italy were including Western Greece and Albania, the Exarchate of Ravenna's registry included the church registries of the Eastern Orthodox church along the Dalmatian coast, the Ionian islands, Epirus, Achaia and Crete if I recall.

    We know that Rome's population during this time was no more than 50 000 and we know that during the Roman Empire Rome was said to have been the home of between 10 to 25% of the Italian population.
    I'm confused. Which time are you talking about now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I'm confused. Which time are you talking about now?
    The 6th century to 750AD when the last Exarchate of Ravenna was executed by the Lombards.

    If 6th century Rome had 50 000, what is the probability that Italy had 6 million?

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    Is' simple. You can not compare two different historical times: in the Roman Empire the center of people whose a city, and so you can try to understand how much people there whose in a nation seeing the people in a city; in the barbar invasion period you can not do the same discourse, couse the people, for escape from invasions and wars, dispersed in the countryside.
    Find the information on Persée, Mario Cappieri, Società Antropologica di Parigi: La composition ethinique de la population italienne.

    Talk about 300/400.000 people in all Italy it's at the border of reality; as we could, in medieval situation of disease, famine and poverty , reaching 14 millions in 1400? I have followed the studies of some Italian regional capitals, and 400,000 is the amount you'd find only in Piedmont at this time

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    Here we can see the 'Germanic' Kingdom of Italy just before the 6th century, it encompasses these regions to the east because of the Orthodox population there that self-identified as Romans. The next ruler was Theodoric the Great (493-526) Viceroy of the Byzantine Empire.




    Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna

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    It's truth but this research take in consideration not all the "romans" but the natives of Italy; the analysis does not mention the Reign of Odoacer, but only Italy.

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    If from 500 AD to 1400 the Italian population had grown from 400,000 people to 14 trillion there was an increase of 3500%, about 3.8% for year (In Italy the actualy population annual increse is 0.7%, if go all well.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    Talk about 300/400.000 people in all Italy it's at the border of reality; as we could, in medieval situation of disease, famine and poverty , reaching 14 millions in 1400? I have followed the studies of some Italian regional capitals, and 400,000 is the amount you'd find only in Piedmont at this time
    In the 1,200's the medieval population was nothing but a very small fraction of what it is today. Cities which today are important had only a few hundred thousand inhabitants. Paris and London had no more than 30,000 residents each only 800 years ago!

    The world's largest cities were Constantinople, Baghdad and surprisingly, Tenochtitlan.

    In the year 650AD, only approximately six million European inhabitants were actually recorded. This number increased to almost 37 million by the year 1340. The first recorded population census took place in the 19th century. So your estimate is based on guesswork.

    Below is a link that suggests that the regions in the south were out of sink with their statistics, similar to today. Just look at the high figures for Iberia, the Balkans and Italy ... no explanation is needed really. These figures are unreliable yet they are accepted for no other figures are available.

    In 500AD before the plague, we find a 10x difference between the British Isles (0.5mil) when compared with the above regions of Iberia (5mil), Italy (5mil) and the Balkans (5mil). The British Isles estimate is more accurate if we consider population trends.

    France, West Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium combined are estimated to have had 5 million in 500AD and you claim Italy proper had 6 million.
    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pop-in-eur.asp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    It's truth but this research take in consideration not all the "romans" but the natives of Italy; the analysis does not mention the Reign of Odoacer, but only Italy.
    Old documents say Italy but refer to more than what we call Italy today!

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    Sorry, but Italy has always been called Italy, in the classical age and in the modern times. For two centuries it was understood as an entity under the Po, but Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, Bavaria and Albania have never been considered Italy... does not make sense, and so Mario Cappieri ed Beloch, when estimates made ​​on the Italian population in the Middle Ages, did not refer certain to countries of Eastern Europe..... You make another big error: the first censuses were not done in 900 .... go back to classical age (Augustean censues), and later in the Medieval when censuses were based on baptisms, a decision imposed by the Council of Trent (1545).
    In the site you posted I don't see "Italy, 500 AD : 400,000 habitants", I see 4 million of habitants; and in the 1450 i don't see 4.5 milion of habitants, i see 7.3 milion. You contradicting yourself. However, is not a number that i support (me and the various classical scholars of demographics t demographics I have quoted as reliable references ) for this age, but but is close to reality.

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    Census from 28AD done by Augustus puts population of Italy at 4 mil. The problem is we don't know if it only included male citizens or all the population. If it's the former then adding women, kids and slaves makes it closer to 20 mil.

    The best surveys from antiquity come from china. At around year 1AD population of china reached about 60 million people, area 6,000 km2.
    Let's extrapolate these numbers on Roman Empire.
    First we have to notice that area occupied by China is and was the most fertile land on Earth. Lot's of moisture and rice crops twice a year. 60 mil figure doesn't look like anomaly, because census done a hundred years later confirmed 50 mil people.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census
    Surely there are always doubts. How accurate the bureaucrats were getting to every part of huge country, how efficient was the system, or how honest were government administrates. For the lack of any proofs of otherwise, let's assume that these surveys were pretty accurate statistically.
    Now, Roman Empire covered approximately similar area in it's farthest extent. The nature of land mas was not so fertile though. Half of empire that's desert, semi-desert or mountains, plus crops only once a year. These conditions could probably produce food of 1/3rd of what fertile china could. It means 60/3=20mil, population of Roman Empire.
    If we take figure of 4 mil from Augustus census, and assume that this figure includes all the people in area of todays Italy, then it makes sense. It makes sense that one fifth of people of empire lived in it's center, which includes one million in center of a center, Rome.
    We have to keep in mind that in agricultural societies ratio of city dwellers to farmers is 1 to 9. It takes 9 farmers to feed their families plus to make extra food for one city family. One could say that if Rome was one million strong plus the rest of Italy's cities and towns, let's say 2 million all together. According to ratio 1 to 9, we would end up with 20 million people in Italy.
    Rome at it's hight was a special place though. People from around empire flocked there to live. Rome was rich and could afford that. Shipments with grain and animals were coming to Rome from all over empire every day.
    At the time Lombards arrived, empire was in ruin. Rome sucked few times, people are very poor, and grain shipments stopped coming.
    In this case I put population, in area of today's Italy, by year 600AD at around 2 million.
    Off course this figure could fluctuate drastically in decades. Two or Three years of drought and we are down to one million. Couple of decades of bumper crops and population doubled to 4.

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    In the first century AD the Italian population was male (the Augustan census) 4,937,000 people, so the total population ranged from 10/12 million. However, according to the demographic department of the CNR (National Research Center), the Italian population has never fallen below the 4 ½ million people, otherwise this day our people would suffer from diseases related incest and the lack of genetic variability, race poverty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorianfinder View Post
    I like these numbers, they might be quite accurate, though I'm still thinking that they are pushing the upper limits.

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    I would like to re-iterate a question from earlier (actually, I didn't formulate it as a question, but anyways):

    What do you folks think is the before/after population of Italy in regard for the Plague of Justinian (6th century) and the Black Death (14th century)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Etrusco-romano View Post
    In the first century AD the Italian population was male (the Augustan census) 4,937,000 people, so the total population ranged from 10/12 million.
    From what I gathered, nobody's sure about that. We don't have other surveys surviving till today, right? We don't have names listed in Augustus surveys to figure out if they are men or women, just the numbers, right? Were male slaves included? Were male kids included? How many slaves lived in Italy? Can you answer these questions? Thanks

    However, according to the demographic department of the CNR (National Research Center), the Italian population has never fallen below the 4 ½ million people, otherwise this day our people would suffer from diseases related incest and the lack of genetic variability, race poverty.
    Lol, the incest issue was never proved experimentally or on fauna example, just few doctors observations, plus big support of organized religions. How do you explain healthy population living on island of Sardinia? They have the longest life span of all Italian regions. I guess, incestry does miracles for them. :)
    And even if you were right, and knowing history of your country, how would you worry about genetic variability? Every year of Roman empire there was fresh blood coming: millions of emigrants, slaves, plus invasions of Phoenicians, gals, huns, germans. The genetic pull was always rich and replenished. No need for 4 million Romans to stay healthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I would like to re-iterate a question from earlier (actually, I didn't formulate it as a question, but anyways):

    What do you folks think is the before/after population of Italy in regard for the Plague of Justinian (6th century) and the Black Death (14th century)?
    I think this table might specifically address the issues of plagues. Look at time frames.

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pop-in-eur.asp

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