This series of posts by Marian Tupy was kicked off as a response to one writer who disagreed with the assertion that the portion of people living in abject poverty has declined radically starting about 200 years ago. That particular author gives away his worldview by using Marxist terms. Thus we know why he refuses to acknowledge the existence and cause of rapid increases in wealth over the last 200 years. What, oh what, could have possibly caused that change?
I won’t dive in the to the responses. I will however provide a few tidbits from this article for insight of the severity of poverty in the past.
Prior to the 19th century, most people wore clothes made of wool, which not only itched but was also hard to clean, which increased disease transmission.
Keep in mind that concept of germs did not exist and most people lived under the same roof with their livestock, both to prevent theft and for mutual warmth. The animal droppings were used for fertilizer. All of that shot mortality rates skyhigh.
The body armor presented on a Roman Legionnaire, whether on ancient statues, modern re-enactors, or illustrations is usually the scaled plate armor referred to as Lorica Segmentata, a phrase that has been in use only since the 16th century.
The armor consists of horizontal scales, sort of like a lobster. Additional plates protect the shoulders.
Wikipediasays the insides of the plates were soft steel and the outside mild steel. The individual plates were hung on a leather harness with brass buckles. Later on rivets or hooks were used.
The armor fastened in front and back. The sections could be stored inside each other, allowing for compact storage.
The probate document for my paternal grandfather listed the assets in his estate. What is the total value of his estate? Let’s ponder that question.
Values for some items are listed in the probate document. Prices of asset purchases and sales during the time between his death and filing of probate document can be used to estimate other values. For example, I estimated values for livestock at this earlier post.
Here is a summary of the assets:
oats and corn
tractor drawn equipment
horse drawn equipment
total assets, without $400 liability
My estimate for the value of the individual items in his estate as listed in the probate filing are accumulated below. I’ll update this analysis later if I can get better definition for value of some assets.
Legionnaires in the Roman army wore marching boots, called caligae (singular caliga). These may appear to be merely an open sandal. However, they were sturdy enough to wear all day, every day, even on long marches.
A thick lower sole would be attached to a mid sole with hobnails. This added strength to the boot and increased its durability. (I don’t know enough about shoe construction but that is the comment made by several sources.)
For a conception of what hobnailed Roman caligae might look like, consider this photo of a hobnailed boot of the U.S. Union Army. The boot is thus circa 1861 to 1865.
Roman soldiers would wear a belt around their waist.
I have not seen much discussion on the purpose of the belt. It would be the base for carrying some items. For example, a dagger, called a puglio, would be on the left side. A money pouch could be carried on the belt, I suppose.
See update below for comments on purpose of a balteus.
Previous post listed the cash transactions in the estate of my paternal grandfather from the day he passed away until a probate filing was prepared for the court.
The probate filing provides a glimpse into farm life in the mid-1940s.
As you read the summarized income statement and cash transactions below, keep in mind this is the cash activity to feed and cloth a family consisting of one mom and four children still living at home. Notice was one purchase of groceries for $9.60 and only two purchases of clothing. There is no indication of any purchases in November or December which could be considered Christmas presents.
To say finances were tight would be an understatement.
The cash transactions can be summarized into a cash-based income statement as follows:
The estate of my paternal grandfather went through probate in 1946 after he died in 1945. The probate filing listed the cash received and paid from the time of his death until the document was filed with the court.
The filing provides a view of farm life in the mid-1940s. This series of posts uses the filing to take a glimpse into life back then.
Here are the cash transactions listed in the court filing:
The probate filing for the estate of my grandfather, Daniel Ulvog, provides a lot of information about the farm. Let’s look at indicators of the price of farm animals. The filling provides a number of data points.
Here is the listed information sorted by animal with a mean (weighted average), mode (price with largest number of animals), and my point estimate of the price of different animals.
My paternal grandfather passed away on June 1, 1945, near the end of World War 2.
Disposition of his estate was officially approved by a court, which provides us a glimpse into the economics of farm life in the 1940s.
He died intestate, meaning he did not have a will, so the estate was distributed in accordance with South Dakota state law. His estate went through probate, which means a court had to approve the distribution.