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SV: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

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  • Niels Peter Lemche
    Dear Andrew, This is a good example of the problems created by a too simplistic use of the Old Testament. A heavy manipulation of numbers is necessary, a
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 3, 2007
      Dear Andrew,

      This is a good example of the problems created by a too simplistic use of the Old Testament. A heavy manipulation of numbers is necessary, a disregard for information of non-biblical character, e.g., such information you find in various studies by Finkelstein and the Tel Aviv group, including now Oded Lipschits, etc. etc. The final number of 250.000 is strangely enough probably not a bad guess. That's the reason the mail got through, although you are totally disregarding information about family size in ancient times (nuclear family probably around five, making 123.000 men into c. 650.000 persons. What the Essenes has to do in this connection I do not know.

      But again, there is a lot of information in literature by the people mentioned above.

      Niels Peter Lemche

      -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Andrew Fincke
      Sendt: 4. februar 2007 03:43
      Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

      Dear Ethan,
      When Gad returned from his census-trip he reported that Israel numbered "800,000 men of strength drawing a sword". There were also "500,000 men of Judah". One of the stops on this trip was "all the cities of Canaan" (2 Sam 24:7). 1 Chronicles doesn't mention the stops on the trip and gives the figure for Israel 1,100,000 (1 Chr 21:5) and for Judah 470,000. According to Chronicles also the men of Judah "drew a sword". 1 Chron 21:6 says that they didn't count the Levites and Benjamin, because they were bored with the work. Take away from the figure the residents of all the other places Joab and the princes went - about 10 plus "all the land" - and the 70,000 that died in the subsequent plague, and you get 130,000 (tenth of the census) - 7000 (tenth of the plague) = 123,000 (Samuel figure). Add to this the women and children and Essenes, and you get 250,000.
      Andrew Fincke




      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Peter T. Daniels
      Could this again be running up against the question of )LP = military company of a few men rather than = 1000 ? An army of 1.3 - 1.57 million men is about
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
        Could this again be running up against the question of )LP = 'military company of a few men' rather than = '1000'?

        An army of 1.3 - 1.57 million men is about the size of the US's peacetime standing army.
        --
        Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Andrew Fincke <finckean@...>
        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, February 3, 2007 9:42:38 PM
        Subject: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

        Dear Ethan,
        When Gad returned from his census-trip he reported that Israel numbered "800,000 men of strength drawing a sword". There were also "500,000 men of Judah". One of the stops on this trip was "all the cities of Canaan" (2 Sam 24:7). 1 Chronicles doesn't mention the stops on the trip and gives the figure for Israel 1,100,000 (1 Chr 21:5) and for Judah 470,000. According to Chronicles also the men of Judah "drew a sword". 1 Chron 21:6 says that they didn't count the Levites and Benjamin, because they were bored with the work. Take away from the figure the residents of all the other places Joab and the princes went - about 10 plus "all the land" - and the 70,000 that died in the subsequent plague, and you get 130,000 (tenth of the census) - 7000 (tenth of the plague) = 123,000 (Samuel figure). Add to this the women and children and Essenes, and you get 250,000.
      • Ariel L. Szczupak
        ... One of my pet peeves :( A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
          At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
          >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
          >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
          >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...

          One of my pet peeves :(

          A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
          a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
          tracing publications and references and running some population
          models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
          - but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...

          Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
          coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
          which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
          of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
          assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
          off. Some examples:

          Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
          people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
          and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
          there are no Pyramids in the Levant.

          There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
          correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
          for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
          were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
          taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
          of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
          require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.

          Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
          that they were low.

          And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
          numbers per long period.

          First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
          population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.

          But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
          I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
          every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
          that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
          or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
          40 years .

          That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
          1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
          rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
          and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.

          I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
          rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
          the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
          population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
          opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
          average numbers.

          What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
          support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
          numbers, when given, were low.

          As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...

          >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
          >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
          >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
          >economy being c. 1 million persons

          Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
          Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
          Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
          you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
          is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
          exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
          pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
          evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.


          Ariel.

          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

          ---
          Ariel L. Szczupak
          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
          ane.als@...
        • Niels Peter Lemche
          Dear George, Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my reading
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
            Dear George,

            Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my reading some two or three years in a decade). Then we have deceases, plagues and the like (like the one that decimated Asia Minor after Suppiluliumas' campaign in Syria). Rate of child deaths upon all of that, and you end up with a population that may be more stable than your figures express.

            Isn't 9.000.000 a bit high from Palestine today? Rather some 6-7.000.000. but that is also an awful lot in such a small country (about the size of Danish Jutland where you only find 1.000.000 to 1.500.000 although the climate and soil is much more favourable).

            Niels Peter Lemche


            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Ariel L. Szczupak
            Sendt: 4. februar 2007 21:44
            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?

            At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
            >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
            >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
            >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...

            One of my pet peeves :(

            A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
            a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
            tracing publications and references and running some population
            models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
            - but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...

            Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
            coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
            which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
            of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
            assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
            off. Some examples:

            Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
            people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
            and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
            there are no Pyramids in the Levant.

            There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
            correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
            for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
            were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
            taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
            of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
            require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.

            Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
            that they were low.

            And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
            numbers per long period.

            First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
            population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.

            But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
            I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
            every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
            that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
            or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
            40 years .

            That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
            1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
            rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
            and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.

            I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
            rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
            the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
            population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
            opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
            average numbers.

            What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
            support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
            numbers, when given, were low.

            As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...

            >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
            >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
            >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
            >economy being c. 1 million persons

            Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
            Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
            Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
            you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
            is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
            exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
            pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
            evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.


            Ariel.

            [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

            ---
            Ariel L. Szczupak
            AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
            POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
            Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
            ane.als@...




            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Rod Nicholas
            Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple and sacked Jerusalem, 70 ce. A further 580,000 were reputedly killed
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
              Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans
              destroyed the 2nd Temple and sacked Jerusalem, 70 ce. A further
              580,000 were reputedly killed [Cassius Dio] during the Bar Kokhba
              uprising in 135 ce alone!
              One can readily find claims of a Palestine population from 25,000 to
              6 million leading up to the Christian [sic] era.
              The claimed deaths in wars during the Seleucid era would even wipe
              out most of those numbers?
              Pompeii in 63 BCE killed a 'quick' 12,000.
              What of natural attrition; high infant mortality, disease
              drought and pestilence?
              Logic would surely dictate the lower end of estimates for all these
              demographics?

              Rod Nicholas
              Melbourne
              Australia
            • Ariel L. Szczupak
              ... George, Ariel, what s in name? :) ... Occasional dry and wet years are part of the climate . The climate changes when multi-year average indicators
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 4, 2007
                At 10:54 PM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

                >Dear George,

                George, Ariel, what's in name? :)


                >Maybe as important will be the fluctuations of the climate, that in
                >an area like Palestine, droughts are rather common (remember from my
                >reading some two or three years in a decade).

                Occasional dry and wet years are part of the "climate". The climate
                changes when multi-year average indicators (temperature,
                precipitation, etc) change significantly. If I recall correctly in
                geological terms we are now in a drier-than-average climate for this
                area. A few drought years in a row is something that can be endured -
                but when it gets to 7 drought years in a row ... :)

                >Then we have deceases, plagues and the like (like the one that
                >decimated Asia Minor after Suppiluliumas' campaign in Syria). Rate
                >of child deaths upon all of that, and you end up with a population
                >that may be more stable than your figures express.

                The 20th century growth rate includes two world wars and assorted
                others, the Spanish Flu pandemic, the spread of the Sahara to what
                were once fertile lands, child deaths in Africa and Mao's
                one-child-per-family, etc. It's a "real" growth rate.

                I don't believe that the population in Canaan grew by a factor of 36
                in 200 years - but it should have. Stating "static" population
                estimates per archeological period of several hundred years hides the
                historically interesting question - why didn't the population grow so
                much. Whatever happened back then, it wasn't some kind of stable
                population utopia.


                >Isn't 9.000.000 a bit high from Palestine today? Rather some 6-7.000.000.

                Yep, I was wrong. Israel's population is 7.1 million (Nov 2006,
                Israeli bureau of statistics). Palestinian Authority - 3.9 million
                (mid 2006, Palestinian bureau of statistics). Total - 11 million.
                [But there are reservations concerning the Palestinian number, saying
                it's inflated by at least 1 million - I have no idea if that's true or not]

                Since the Israeli bureau of statistics has a spreadsheet with
                population per location ...

                http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2007/table3.xls

                ... I calculated the number of people in places that have less than
                25,000 people - about 2 million. [For those familiar, 25K people is
                about the size of Ofakim or Yahud].

                >but that is also an awful lot in such a small country

                Tell me about it :)

                >(about the size of Danish Jutland where you only find 1.000.000 to
                >1.500.000 although

                Western Europe is a negative factor in the global population growth
                rate. I'm too tired to check if it's because it's a slower growth
                rate or actually a negative growth rate (population shrinking).

                >the climate and soil is much more favourable).

                Denmark favorable to human habitation? You mean the Vikings went
                raiding for fun and not out of necessity?



                >Niels Peter Lemche
                >
                >-----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                >Fra: <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                >[mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Ariel L. Szczupak
                >Sendt: 4. februar 2007 21:44
                >Til: <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                >Emne: Re: SV: [ANE-2] Population of Canaan?
                >
                >At 12:16 AM 2/4/2007, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
                > >... It has to do with the maximum amount of people that the land
                > >itself can support, the state of agriculture in mind. Of course
                > >there will be regional and periodical fluctuations. ...
                >
                >One of my pet peeves :(
                >
                >A few years ago (2000?) I found some 2nd mbc population estimates in
                >a paper to be strange and I looked more deeply into the subject,
                >tracing publications and references and running some population
                >models. Unfortunately I archived my photocopies and notes in some box
                >- but didn't index the location. So generalities from memory ...
                >
                >Many of the more recent papers (80's & 90's) used "magic" numbers,
                >coefficients in calculations, taken from much older publications
                >which made assumptions that were more romantic than realistic. Some
                >of the recent publications tried to correct certain of these
                >assumptions, but one at a time so the overall calculations were still
                >off. Some examples:
                >
                >Minimal per day caloric intake was estimated too high, as if the ANE
                >people lived on modern western middle class standards. Flock herding
                >and sedentary agriculture are not high energy expenditure jobs, and
                >there are no Pyramids in the Levant.
                >
                >There are estimates of food yield per surface area. If I recall
                >correctly some of the more recent publications changed those figures
                >for cultivable lands based on real life examples. But these estimates
                >were for agricultural fields. What I didn't see in any publication is
                >taking into account that the Levant is not only the home of wheat but
                >of other very high energy foods that grow practically everywhere (and
                >require very little labor) - olives, almonds, etc.
                >
                >Another type of estimate is people per building. My impression was
                >that they were low.
                >
                >And I didn't like the way the estimates were calculated as static
                >numbers per long period.
                >
                >First reason - the Levant is at the mercy of climate. I didn't find
                >population estimates coupled with climatic evidence.
                >
                >But the worst is the total disregard to natural population growth. If
                >I recall correctly, given optimal conditions human populations double
                >every 12 years. The only real data we have on realistic conditions
                >that reflect various conditions of living are from the last century
                >or so - during which the overall human population doubled about every
                >40 years .
                >
                >That means that an estimate of a Canaan population of 100,000 for the
                >1st year of the 13th cbc will result, using today's population growth
                >rate, in a population of 600,000 people by the end of that century
                >and 3,600,000 by the end of the 12th CBC.
                >
                >I find these population estimates misleading because they ignore the
                >rate of reproduction driving the population growth on one hand, and
                >the factors that curb that growth, or cause major drops in the
                >population size, on the other. It's the interplay between these
                >opposing factors that reflects what is historically interesting, not
                >average numbers.
                >
                >What is more informative, to a point, are "the maximum the land can
                >support" estimates. My impression back then was that the maximum
                >numbers, when given, were low.
                >
                >As I was going to finish this message I saw coming in ...
                >
                > >At 07:22 PM 2/4/2007, Yigal Bloch wrote:
                > >Magen Broshi's [...] the maximum possible number of the inhabitants
                > >of Palestine (Cisjordan) under the conditions of pre-industrial
                > >economy being c. 1 million persons
                >
                >Just speculating out loud ... The current population of Israel & the
                >Palestinian Authority is (I think, unchecked) around 9 million.
                >Remove all the major and medium urban centers and I'm pretty sure
                >you're left with over 2 million, maybe over 3 million. My gut feeling
                >is that given an average-to-wet climate a population that size can
                >exist without an industrial infrastructure. And the agricultural and
                >pastoral parts of that population would leave very little material
                >evidence, if any, for us to find. But that's just a gut feeling.
                >
                >Ariel.
                >
                >[100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]
                >
                >---
                >Ariel L. Szczupak
                >AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                >POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                >Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                ><mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...
                >
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >

                Ariel.

                [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                ---
                Ariel L. Szczupak
                AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                ane.als@...
              • Ariel L. Szczupak
                ... The Roman period added public works - roads, aqueducts, etc. I suppose that increased the maximum number of people the land could support. It is also the
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 5, 2007
                  At 01:13 AM 2/5/2007, Rod Nicholas wrote:

                  >Josephus claims 600,000 to 1,300,000 were killed when the Romans ...

                  The Roman period added public works - roads, aqueducts, etc. I
                  suppose that increased the maximum number of people the land could
                  support. It is also the time of the Nabateans which may indicate more
                  rainfall in the area. But I don't know much about that period so I'll
                  leave this to others.

                  [later ...]

                  Found this:

                  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001036/103637E.pdf

                  Arie S. Issar, "Impacts of climate variations on water management and
                  related socio-economic systems", UNESCO 1995.


                  P.24:

                  "From about 2,300 to 1,700 BP a global cold period occurred. In the
                  opinion of Issar (1990a) this was the early stage of a mini-glacial
                  period ... The more benign climate in the desert of Judea and Edom promoted the
                  flourishing of the Nabatean kingdom which was established in the
                  first century B.C."

                  >What of natural attrition; high infant mortality, disease
                  >drought and pestilence?

                  These are included in the 20th century global growth rate. The point
                  is that if the Canaanite population did not grow at the rate we know
                  from the 20th cad, what were the causes?

                  >Logic would surely dictate the lower end of estimates for all these
                  >demographics?

                  [I associate "logic" with formal, strict arguments, which is not the
                  case. I'd prefer something like "reason".]

                  Why? The material evidence doesn't suggest stagnant societies. It
                  suggests cycles of expansions followed by destructions or
                  abandonments. Fluctuations.

                  "I have water at 50C" is correct both for me having a glass of water
                  at 50C and for me having two glasses, one with ice sludge and the
                  other with boiling water. The statement is statistically correct in
                  both cases, but it is misleading in the second case. I find
                  statements of "population per archeological period" to be similarly misleading.



                  Ariel.

                  [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                  ---
                  Ariel L. Szczupak
                  AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                  POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                  Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                  ane.als@...
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