I don't have any suggestions or corrections, but I'm extremely impressed!
Impressive stats and research Does this figure include the navy and diplomatic ahem (espionage) expenses?In that same analysis I calculated that the Roman army cost at minimum 8.4 million hyperpyra. If everything goes up by a third, that comes to 11.172 million hyperpyra per year. That converts to 500 metric tons of silver a year and I’ve established earlier that the total Roman revenue per year is around 750-800 tons per year. Tax reform is looking more necessary than ever.
Oh before Andreas III kicks the bucket, what's the consensus on whether he reached his above ambition?Andreas couldn’t help but smile as the man started eating another one. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an old man this happy. Then he stopped grinning; the man looked at him. Andreas hesitated. “I’m praying that I’ll be like him.” He pointed at the tomb.
“Why? You want to be a great war leader, to conquer distant lands?”
“No, I want this.” He gestured at the flowers and the chocolate. “A hundred years after his death. No one alive can remember him. Yet the people still do this, in honor of his memory. I want to be like that; I want to be an Emperor that is still loved a hundred years after I’m gone.”
Babyrage: He doesn’t have any claim to the throne himself. But his clout is enough that he’s easily in a position to play Emperor-maker.
Roman TV shows: There was a miniseries on the war against Shah Rukh, then The Komnenoi, and another covering the Time of Troubles and the early Drakid dynasty. They were inspired by the TV shows The Tudors and The Borgias actually; I hadn’t read or seen GoT by that point.
There’s a lot of Byzantine history that would make for good TV/movies, but will never get made IOTL because not enough people have enough of a clue to be interested in that sort of thing. TTL will be drastically different.
I was going to post the next narrative update but then a footnote for an upcoming update ballooned massively. So I’m going to post the footnote as its own mini-update. I think people should find it informative and interesting. Plus considering the amount of time I spent on it, I’d be really annoyed if I left it in just as a footnote in a regular update and then it went unnoticed.
The Worth of a Hyperpyron
[This was originally written as a footnote to the narrative regarding the worth of a sum of money] To try and determine what that’s worth in actual terms, according to “The Industries of Art” by Anthony Cutler in The Economic History of Byzantium, pg. 566, a horse was worth 14 hyperpyra in Thessaloniki in 1384 OTL. Now according to “Prices and Wages in the Byzantine World” by Cecile Morrisson and Jean-Claude Cheynet in The Economic History of Byzantium, pgs. 816-17, if a late 10th century hyperpyron of 23 carat gold has an index value of 100, a silver hyperpyron from the 1380s has a value of 39. The hyperpyron of TTL has a value of 89, so the 14 OTL hyperpyra convert to 6.1 hyperpyra TTL. That’s 1384 prices.
Now according to The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II by Fernand Braudel, pg. 520, in Bursa the price of salt (I choose this because it’s consistently necessary but not subject to climate-induced price fluctuations like wheat, for example) in 1489 was 6 aspers but 35 aspers in 1633. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to round it to a 6-fold increase.
However the asper also depreciated during that time, so it wasn’t all inflation. According to a table “Silver Content and Exchange Rates of the Ottoman Currency, 1326-1914” from Dr. Sevket Pamuk’s faculty member page from Bogazici University: The Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History website, the akce/asper had a silver content of .675 grams in 1489 but was down to .225 grams in 1632. So if the akce had remained stable in silver content, prices would’ve only doubled in terms of coinage required.
However that last statement is dependent on silver remaining consistent in value between 1489 and 1633, which considering Potosi was a thing in this period, is highly doubtful. Going back to Fernand Braudel, pg. 473, in Europe the exchange rate of silver to gold was on average 11:1 in 1500, 12.5 to 1 in 1650, so silver lost 14% of its value in relation to gold in those 150 years. So if in 1500 the silver content of 1 akce could purchase X salt, in 1650 the same content could purchase .43X (factoring in loss of silver in relationship to gold bumps it down to .86, and then halving it to .43 because of general price inflation). So in 1650 to purchase X salt, one would need 2.3 of the 1500 akce.
Assuming for the sake of argument that the Thessaloniki horse price follows the same trajectory, that same horse in 1650 (I’m also assuming that inflation between 1384 and 1489 was minimal) would require 14 TTL hyperpyra. Now I say that, but the influx of Mexican and Peruvian silver has been delayed and decreased compared to OTL (greater Japanese involvement makes up for some but not all), so the “actual” TTL price would be around 11-12 hyperpyra.
In an interesting side note, sergeants at Argos in 1394 were paid 8 hyperpyra a month (see The Late Byzantine Army: Arms and Society, 1204-1453 by Mark C. Batusis, pg. 152). Assuming that soldier wages followed the same trajectory (I don’t have any sources on how the pay of late medieval soldiers compared to early modern ones), the above calculations give a rough idea of Roman troop wages at this point ITTL.
According to This Seat of Mars: War and the British Isles 1485-1746 by Charles Carlton,
In 1588 it cost 1700 pound sterling to maintain an infantry company for a year, 3700 for a cavalry troop, and 68000 for an artillery train (I’m assuming for the whole army). How well units match up is questionable, but I’m going to assume that an infantry company = 1 infantry droungos and one cavalry troop equals one cavalry droungoi and I’ll round the figures up to 2000 pounds sterling per infantry unit and 4 thousand per cavalry unit. So one Roman tourma with 8 infantry droungoi and 2 cavalry droungoi would cost 24000 pounds sterling or 48000 hyperpyra. Let’s add 6000 pounds/12000 hyperpyra for the artillery, so 60000 hyperpyra per tourma and 600,000 per tagma.
The above paragraph is from an earlier calculation I made trying to figure out an army budget for the Romans. Using the Argive wages as a base and using the above calculations, the troops now would be making 6.9 hyperpyra a month. The 60000 per tourma is coming up short, even if one follows the common OTL tactic of dividing the year into 10 ‘pay months’ and paying a monthly wage based on those rather than on the calendar months.
I don’t think it’s reasonable that the average wages of soldiers would go down in this period. After all, this is an era of rising prices. Also in the Roman army soldiers get pay increases after certain years in service, plus the cost of army equipment and material has gone up as well. The 60000 estimate is looking woefully inadequate. Let’s up the amount to 80000.
In that same analysis I calculated that the Roman army cost at minimum 8.4 million hyperpyra. If everything goes up by a third, that comes to 11.172 million hyperpyra per year. That converts to 500 metric tons of silver a year and I’ve established earlier that the total Roman revenue per year is around 750-800 tons per year. Tax reform is looking more necessary than ever.
I’m not sure what makes me more of a nerd, the fact that I sat down and actually did all this, or that I have a copy of every piece of source material cited.
Everyone, please let me know if you have comments, questions, suggestions, corrections, or more data to add to the above.
Nope. That is just the army figures alone.Impressive stats and research Does this figure include the navy and diplomatic ahem (espionage) expenses?
Thank you very much for this information. It is very useful. Do you happen to know the sources for the cost of 1630s Dutch soldiers and Marlborough and French soldiers? I'm interested in taking an in-depth look.6.9 hyperpyra a month per soldier makes 82.8 hyperpyra a year or 41.8 pounds. That looks to me as a serious overestimation. By comparison the Dutch army in the 1630s which likely cost more per man given the overreliance on mercenaries did not exceed 2-3 million guilder in cost per year. Given that 1 guilder at the time is 1,71 grams thus 2.28 equal a hyperpyron the 3 million for an army of 70000 mean 18.8 hyperpyra per soldier per year. Come 1700 the Duke of Marlborough army with 40.000 men was costing 1000000 pounds for roughly 40000 men or 25 pounds per soldier while French costs averaged 218 million livres for an army of about 350.000 or about the same per man . A century later to follow the link here https://www.cairn.info/revue-napoleonica-la-revue-2008-3-page-2.htm the average soldier cost was up to 1.91 francs a day or 28 pounds a year, roughly similar. I don't see why a Byzantine soldier should be costing twice as much 50 years earlier. 20-25 pounds a year seems logical.
Note though that the 8.4 million hyperpyra for the army plus or minus some cost for the navy probably are the right ballpark figure, at British 1700 costs they correspond to an army of about 170.000 men which seems about right, this is the time the fiscal military state is getting born after all and Byzantine eminently well placed to lead the switch to that... in fact given the descriptions it is already doing so.
Last minor note the hyperpyron of 1384-94 was a purely theoretical unit worth two silver stavrata. The latter had also been devalued to 7.4 grams each. Thus at 11:1 exchange with silver they are closer to 0.3 nomismata than 0.39.
Some of it is from Kennedy IMS and a fair bit of googling yesterday to make sure I was not remembering things wrong. "The Dutch army and the military revolutions 1588-1688" contains quite a bit of information I think but is mostly unavailable. This will be probably useful too https://books.google.gr/books?id=02IcnmDU9aMC&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=cost+of+british+armyNope. That is just the army figures alone.
Thank you very much for this information. It is very useful. Do you happen to know the sources for the cost of 1630s Dutch soldiers and Marlborough and French soldiers? I'm interested in taking an in-depth look.
I've also made a revision-addition to the update based on the new information provided.
After they manage to defeat in the field 100,000 men field armies backed by a shitload of Vauban style fortifications. Either of the two borders will be a very tough nut to crack and Byzantine will be getting an even tougher target once the full switch to fiscal-military state is complete and the imperial armies hit the 300-400,000 men mark as a result. And the future of the Ottomans lies on whether they will be able to match the economic evolution much more than the military-technical evolution where Iskandar's reforms apparently produced European style infantry.Large scale war with Ottoman should avoid.But Ottoman military base in west bank of Euphrates mean they can march to Antioch in few days.